It's too bad the latest TV season of "The Amazing Race" has concluded, because Redlands East Valley pitcher Griffin Murphy would have been a worthy contestant.
Since his sophomore year, when his father, Dennis, trained him to go off on his own and take trips for baseball showcases and tournaments, Murphy has been preparing for the day he left for college or began living in and out of hotel rooms as a minor leaguer.
He has traveled to Mississippi, Florida, Arizona and Georgia. He usually takes the last Metrolink train from San Bernardino at 9 p.m. to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. His flight leaves from LAX the next morning, so he'll either sleep a couple hours at Union Station before catching a shuttle bus to LAX or spend a couple of hours sleeping at LAX to make sure he doesn't miss his flight.
He has to have everything planned -- how much money to take, what to pack and where to find a taxi when he arrives at his destination.
"It's a crazy life, but you got to love it," he said.
The 19-year-old Murphy is a 6-foot-4 left-handed pitcher with a 92-mph fastball and an 11-1 record this season. He has signed with the University of San Diego but figures to be a high draft pick next month. And he just might lead the Griffins to a Southern Section Division 2 championship. The team plays La Verne Damien in a second-round playoff game Tuesday.
His maturity makes him an appealing prospect.
"As the stakes go up in a big-time game, his demeanor seems to calm," Coach James Cordes said.
One of the few times he might have sweated was when he took the shuttle bus from LAX to Union Station and learned he could only pay in cash. He was out of money. Luckily, his parents showed up to pay the fee or he wasn't going to get his bags off the bus.
Such is life for the teenage traveler. He remembers how his father taught him to focus during a training session for a tournament.
"We stayed at a real nice hotel, and right from the get-go, the guys wanted to dump their stuff and go to the pool," he said. "My dad wouldn't allow it. He made me go into my room, put my clothes into the drawer and figure out how to get to and from places. That's what I've been trained to do. I need to know my times, write them down, have the right amount of money and make sure I don't leave anything behind because if it happens, it ruins your trip."
He's looking forward to the next adventure in his life.
"I'm not nervous about the next step," he said. "I'm excited to go out on my own and be a more independent person."
And while his regular-season record was good, what lies ahead is more important.
"All this is great, but the playoffs is where our main concern is, going as far as we possibly can," he said.
If the bus driver needs directions or a helping hand during the playoffs, Murphy will be ready.
Happy times at Loyola
New Los Angeles Loyola football Coach Mike Christensen started spring practice with no complaints.
"The kids are phenomenal," he said. "We have everything we need to be successful."
One player already making an impression is 6-6, 297-pound junior-to-be offensive tackle Travis Harvey. "He got a black eye," Christensen said. "I told him that's a good sign he was mixing it up."