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Do Travel Miles Affect MLB Teams’ Performance?

Do Travel Miles Affect MLB Teams’ Performance?

A lot of traveling in a short amount of time can really begin to affect your everyday life. In the world of Major League Baseball, two teams will play and then both will begin a series with another team for anywhere from one to five days in a row. That means that traveling across the United States and into Canada can take its toll on a team. Today, we are going to dive into teams that have the most miles traveled this season and if it has affected their play throughout the last few years.

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The 2021 Season

For those familiar with the geography of all 30 MLB teams, it should not come as a shock that the Seattle Mariners have the most miles traveled throughout a majority of the seasons as they recorded 48,401 miles traveled. However, that also means long trips for the opposing team as well to get to Seattle. The Mariners were an exciting team as they finished second in the AL West and failed to reach the postseason, but had a 90-72 regular-season record with a 44-37 road record over the course of the season.  

The Chicago White Sox finished the 2021 season with the fewest total miles traveled with 23,271 which was 1,100 miles less than the second-fewest. Chicago was one of the best teams in the sport with a 93-69 record but was subpar on the road, finishing 40-41 when traveling. 

The 2020 Season

This season is going to have an asterisk beside it as Major League Baseball was only able to play 60 regular-season games due to COVID-19. Teams also only played their division and the opposing league’s same division to limit travel and potential exposure so travel was way down. 

The Texas Rangers managed to log the most travel miles with 14,706 and were the only team to eclipse 14,000 miles. They finished with the second-worst record in the majors and the worst in the American League as they were 22-38 to conclude the season. Traveling was brutal for them as they went 6-24 on the road. 

The Milwaukee Brewers had the easiest schedule in terms of travel as they finished the 60-game season with just 3.962 total miles. No other team finished below 4,000 miles in the course of the season. However, they finished with a 29-31 record, which was good enough for the postseason as MLB had an expanded postseason. They did not travel well as they finished 14-17 on the road throughout the course of the season.

The 2019 Season

In a full season, it should be no shock that the Seattle Mariners, the only American League team in the northwest, finished with the most miles logged at 46,247. It should not come to shock you that the team did not perform well as they finished with a brutal 68-94 record and were 15 games under .500 on the road with a 33-48 record away from Seattle. 

The team that did not have as much traveling as any other team was the Detroit Tigers as they only logged 24,139 total miles, which was 3,246 miles less than any other team that year. However, it did not help them at all as they finished with the worst record in baseball at 47-114. 


There are two things that become evident when diving deeper into this:

  • The Seattle Mariners are going to log the most miles a majority of the time due to the location of their team compared to their opponents.
  • The Central divisions are going to record the least travel miles a majority of the time since they do not have to travel across the country and are located halfway between each coast. 

It would be ridiculous to think that travel is the reason a team wins or loses more, but with the schedule the way it is and the constant amount of miles logged, it definitely plays more of a factor than you would want to believe.

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