Here's the possible travel situation in the American League playoffs:
1. Oakland beats Detroit in five games, winning Game 5 on Thursday.
2. A's wait as Orioles and Yankees also go five games. Game 5 takes place on Friday.
3. Game 1 of the ALCS takes place on Saturday.
The A's have to sit around Friday night, not knowing where they'll be playing on Saturday: At home if the Orioles advance, but in New York if the Yankees advance. If they end up playing the Yankees, they'll have to take a red-eye cross-country flight to New York for Saturday night's game. Not a lot of fun, even for 25-year-old athletes.
The situation isn't quite as dire for the Tigers. They would fly home after beating the A's to host the Orioles or then travel to play the Yankees, but at least their flight from Detroit to New York would be much shorter. The situation works in reverse for the Orioles, of course: If they win in five games, they'd be taking a cross-country flight to Oakland. Of course, teams make these trips all the time during the regular season; the difference from past postseasons is that there's usually at least one day off between the end of the Division Series and the first game of the LCS.
In the end, just another small advantage the Yankees potentially gained by securing that No. 1 seed. They know where they'll be playing if they move on.
Update: The Oriole-Yankees game would actually start at 5 p.m. ET on Friday, which means the game would end around 8-9 p.m. As somebody mentioned to me, factor in a 5-hour flight with the prevailing winds and the A's get in around 2 a.m. -- no different from most 25-year-olds on a Friday night. So "nightmare" is a bit strong on the wording.