Shining a spotlight on celebrities and athletes who love to travel. Created and developed by Stacy Steponate Greenberg.
Smooth swing. Impeccable defense. Remarkable consistency and possible comeback player of the year. All these and more can be, and routinely are, said about New York Yankee’s first baseman Mark Teixeira. Back where he belongs this week, in the All Star Game, Teixeira continues to follow the trail created by his boyhood hero Don Mattingly, driving in runs in bunches, saving others with his glove, and doing it all with a ready wit and great regard for the fans. The Overhead Compartment joined Mark Teixeria for some peanuts and cracker jack to learn about his life, his new diet (which does not include peanuts or cracker jack) and discover a few of his favorite places to travel.
THE OVERHEAD COMPARTMENT WITH MARK TEIXEIRA STARTS NOW…..
OC: Your travels take you all over, what is your favorite city to visit on a road trip?
MT: My favorite road trip is Seattle, it is a very cool city in a beautiful part of the country. Views of the Puget Sound and Mt Ranier make you feel like you’re on vacation (especially in the summer when the weather is perfect). I love that you can walk the entire city and all of the great restaurants). Safeco field in Seattle is my favorite road ballpark and the fans are some of the best in baseball.
OC: How do you spend the free time?
MT: Most of our free time is in the mornings (night games) so I like to sleep in and have a big breakfast. I usually pack comfy clothes and lounge around the hotel and read books or catch up on emails. I know people all over the country so I use road trips to grab lunch before games and catch up with friends and family.
OC: Baseball travel is all domestic. what is your favorite international city to visit?
MT: I don’t travel internationally much, mostly to the Bahamas with my family in the offseason. We are building a house in the Abacos and take 3-4 trips there every offseason when the weather is cold at home in Connecticut. I have been to London and Amsterdam, two very fun cities. I plan on making a lot more trips to Europe once my playing days are over, I love the history and culture in Europe and can’t wait to visit Italy, Spain, and Germany in the future.
OC: You’ve recently started what you call the “no-fun diet”, removing all gluten, sugar and dairy. How hard is it to follow when you are on the road?
MT: The “no-fun diet” is a little more challenging on the road. I eat a lot of salads, adding chicken and salmon on top for my protein. I also pack a lot of healthy snacks for hotels and airplane rides. Every trip, I bring a huge bag of mixed nuts, beef/turkey jerky, and all-natural health bars.
OC: First thing you do when arriving at a hotel?
MT: I’m a neat freak so the first thing I do is unpack, hang up my clothes and set up my room. We usually arrive late at night to a new city, so I’ll usually order room service and go to bed.
OC: What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you on a team plane?
MT: Early in my career when I was with the Texas Rangers, there was a mix-up with the catering and we had no food for a cross-country flight. So we ordered pizzas and while waiting, the captain came on the intercom and said there was a storm coming so we had to take off immediately. We weren’t flying five hours without food so the pizza truck drove out to the runway and literally delivered the pizzas as we were taking off!
OC: You’re the father of three young kids, do they ever come on the road with you and if so, do they ever get nervous watching you play? What about your wife Leigh?
MT: As an every day player, I don’t have a lot of free time on the road so my family won’t make a lot of trips. They like to go to Boston and Baltimore since they are close trips and can take the train. My kids are still young (9,7,4) so they don’t get nervous for me. Neither does Leigh, we’ve been together since college so she’s a veteran baseball wife and doesn’t get caught up in all of the emotions of a baseball season. My kids do like it when I hit home runs and when the Yankees win!
OC: Favorite place for family travel?
MT: Baker’s Bay in the Abacos. It is an amazing beach community and the kids have a blast. swimming, snorkeling, fishing, golfing, basically a huge playground on the ocean. My kids have a unique freedom when they are there so I’ve been able to watch them grow and have a lot of fun. After a full day of playing, the kids are exhausted so Leigh and I get some great alone time sitting on the beach with a glass of wine.
OC: Complete the following sentence: I never leave home without:
MT: My iPad.
OC: You chose to stay in school at Georgia Tech rather than turn pro. Would you give the same advice to young players in a similar position today?
MT: I had the opportunity to sign professionally out of high school but opted to attend Georgia Tech. It was a great decision both personally and professionally. I would tell any young athlete to go to college, you learn so much about yourself and have a great time as well. Most eighteen year-olds are not ready for pro sports, so go to college, get and education, and have fun. If you’re an elite athlete, the pro game will be waiting for you after college.
OC: You were drafted by the Texas Rangers in 2001, with a debut in MLB in 2003. What is your most vivid memory of your first day in the big leagues?
MT: Just that I had “made it”. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a major leaguer. All of the hard work had paid off and now I was in the big leagues. I could never imagine having the career I have had, but what sticks out the most about my first day in the majors was that I had made it. My wife, parents, and sister were all there and it was a wonderful experience for my family.
OC: My research tells me you love the theater, what’s your favorite play and/or musical that you’ve seen recently?
MT: My favorite all time musical is Les Miserables, I’ve seen it three times and can sing every line! My most recent show on broadway was “Rock of Ages”. I actually made a cameo in the show and was in a few scenes. I watched the whole thing backstage and was so impressed with the athletic ability and talent of the actors and actresses.
OC: You’re a natural in front of the camera and started a parody interview show on the YES network called Foul Territory. Where did that idea come from and who is the one person you would like to interview on the show?
MT: The idea behind “Foul Territory” was that we had a lot of new players last season and I wanted to welcome them to New York. The media is notorious for being a pain so I wanted to have some fun with the new guys. They were told that I was interviewing them and they were to just have fun with it, most guys figured it out pretty early and played along nicely. If I bring back “Foul Territory”, I would like to interview Will Ferrel. He is a huge sports fan and part of my inspiration for my character is Ron Burgundy from “Anchorman”.
OC: One thing nobody in the world knew about me until right now:
MT: I’m going to learn guitar when I retire. I absolutely love music and I’ve always wanted to be able to play guitar and sing.
Mark Teixeira, please use care upon departure as items may have shifted in The Overhead Compartment during our journey. Thanks for choosing us for your travel tips! Have a wonderful day!
Top Photo Credit: Harlem RBI