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business traveller

Baseball columnist Shi Davidi travels light while covering the Blue Jays throughout North America.Mark Blinch/The Globe and Mail

As a late-winter ice storm blew through Toronto in mid-March, Shi Davidi went through the hassle many business travellers face, especially those who are on the go for a big portion of the year.

"Frozen roads, dodgy ride to airport, two hours on tarmac, three hours in air, one hour in traffic," he tweeted at the time, with a picture of his final destination attached.

But for Mr. Davidi, the photo was not of a cubicle, trade show or windowless boardroom. It was instead the Toronto Blue Jays' spring-training facility in sunny Florida.

As a baseball columnist for Rogers Sportsnet, and the Blue Jays beat reporter for the network, he's on the road more than 100 days in a year. And although it sounds like a grind, Mr. Davidi wouldn't have it any other way.

Especially when it comes to being able to cover exciting events such as the Blue Jays' run last year – the team made the playoffs for the first time since 1993, extending the 162-game regular season by 11 more.

"It's fun to cover a story that big and that people are so interested in," he says. "It wasn't the extension of the season that was a grind. It was more of a challenge logistically."

Since the Blue Jays' playoff competitors were the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals, Mr. Davidi sighs as he remembers the frantic pace in which he needed to arrange travel for games.

"They weren't the easiest places to get to, especially when you had to book last minute. You don't have a ton of options," he explains. "All the direct flights could be $2,000, so you'd have to take connections or early-morning flights, and there are the inevitable delays."

But Mr. Davidi says it was a fun opportunity to be part of something the whole country was watching.

Mr. Davidi, who has been with Sportsnet since the 2011 season, spent 10 years full-time as a sports reporter with the Canadian Press after several years part-time with the wire service. He is also a journalism instructor at Centennial College.

Although he chuckles when asked how he manages to juggle both professional responsibilities – along with having a wife of 14 years and two boys, aged 8 and 5 – he admits he tries his best to cut out extra travelling where possible.

"The biggest challenge is that I have a family and being away from my kids so much is really hard," Mr. Davidi confirms. "I try to arrive day-of and leave night-of when possible, and I try to minimize my time on the road. But, that can make for some long travel days."

"When you travel this much, there are little things [that help] like getting free checked bags or priority upgrades. You live at airports so much, I'm all about minimizing my time at them," he continues. "I can make a carry-on work for a week and a half, and I try not to take anything that isn't really necessary."

Joe Brancatelli, a business travel expert and editor of JoeSentMe.com, a website dedicated to business travellers, says baseball writers have a big advantage over other frequent travellers – a precise schedule.

"There's not usually a schedule in February that says, 'Okay, this is where I'm going to be and when for the next 10 months.' Business travellers do not get that."

With 30 teams in Major League Baseball, there are only two Mr. Davidi hasn't yet visited, one of which will be checked off this year when the Blue Jays play the Colorado Rockies in late June. The other, the Los Angeles Dodgers, will have to wait for another year.

And although the Blue Jays made their season debut on the road on April 3 – so beginning another 162-game marathon – Mr. Davidi found some solace.

The team started its season in Tampa.