Pope Francis’s visit to the United States will force the Phillies to change their travel plans following their final away series of the season.
The Phillies begin a three-game series against the Nationals in D.C. on Friday. They have an off day on Monday before starting a six-game home stand against the Mets and Marlins on Tuesday to close out the season.
However, with the Pope scheduled to travel to Philadelphia on Saturday morning, the Phillies will stay in Washington for an extra night.
Typically, the team would head home immediately following the conclusion of Sunday’s game, but Frank Coppenbarger, the team’s director of travel and clubhouse services, decided traffic caused by the Pope’s visit would make it too difficult for the team to travel to Philadelphia while he was still in town.
Streets and bridges in the Philadelphia area will be closed to accommodate the Pope’s visit, and parking lots surrounding Citizen’s Bank Park will be used to park tourist buses.
Players who wish to travel home on their own may do so, but official team travel will not happen until Monday.
“Some of our guys haven’t been here that long and they only know one way home,” Coppenbarger said. “The GPS doesn’t factor in the Pope.”
The Pope will leave from Philadelphia to return to Rome on Sunday night.
- Erin Flynn