Red Sox can now sleep on the job with a nap room

BOSTON, MA - JULY 14: Andrew Benintendi
BOSTON, MA - JULY 14: Andrew Benintendi /

The Boston Red Sox now have a nap room installed at Fenway Park where players and coaches can catch a few winks or unwind.

The Boston Red Sox have a nap room and that has been mentioned on broadcasts and occasionally in media items such as this one.

Of course, writing about baseball, snoozing, napping and just falling asleep offers a treasure trove of comments that I shall now resist – this requires some extraordinary discipline on my part.

"“Just a relaxing dark room, just to kind of relax and catch a blow, so to speak.”  “It’s nice. It’s comfortable. It’s small. – Jackie Bradley"

Sleeping on the job is not a new concept and I actually did it many years ago when I was firmly entrenched in the DPS or Dreaded Private Sector. I happened to work a three-day work week with 12 and ½ hour shifts. Occasionally a crisis would strike and you may be required to stay until some corporate blaze was extinguished.

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Since this was “off-shift” with a far more relaxed environment the corporate powers gave their blessing for us to devise our own nap room. Of course, there was abuse – usually a night out on the town and dragging a limp body to work resulted in an employee taking advantage. That happens.

Other professions have their own nap rooms. I have a son who is an airline captain and aircrafts have their own sleeping quarters aboard a plane. What! On long overseas flights, you will have two crews on the aircraft to comply with federal regulations regarding flight time and crew attentiveness. So you have one crew resting and one (hopefully) paying attention to where that Boeing Dreamliner is heading.

Many other professions also have the availability of nap rooms or sleeping quarters from the more traditional firehouse ones to medical facilities to businesses where rooms to relax are far more common.

For baseball, it is all about the travel and the length of games. Fans think of games in just a certain time frame, but it extends more than one may suspect. Players arriving three hours before a game and leaving an hour later after the game is commonplace. With the length of games this is an eight-hour shift, but with travel tossed in sleep deprivation is an issue. That impacts performance and that impacts wins and losses. Often the starter pitcher is sent to the next destination a day early to accommodate sleep issues.

Numerous studies have focused on the connection between sleep and performance, but that is just confirming the obvious to all of us. Having young children, maintaining a house and working a job all combined to leave one ready for a very long nap. With baseball, you have traveled and by travel, that means a world of travel.

"“Everybody in professional sports — especially baseball, with the travel requirements of the sport — feels like sleep is something that can be a competitive advantage,” “We think we can win the sleep game.” Boston Red Sox athletic trainer Brad Pearson"

Back before airlines, teams would travel by train. The road trips would be longer and the Boston to St. Louis trip would be over 24 hours. Trains would have sleeping berths and players would usually have their own section of a train – a few cars designated for their use. You could simply sleep aboard the train.

The travel of today is a private charter. All connections and luggage are handled by the traveling secretary so that burden does not exist. The schedule is now far more precise and demanding. The airliners used may be exquisite, but the travel is quicker with arrivals in the early morning for a night game not uncommon. Standard information tossed out on broadcasts.

The Red Sox have a history of being innovative and that may be advanced metrics to something as simple as a nap room. The Red Sox room is the product of a company called Bedgear and it is stuffed into an old closet. This certainly will not be confused with a suite at the Ritz, but the intent is not a luxury suite, but being utilitarian.

"“They do have such a long season, and it’s partly about that endurance,” “To stay at a peak level for all that time is really critical.” Bedgear executive Shana Rochleau"

Other teams have instituted the practice of a nap room and eventually, all teams will have them. The reasoning is quite simple – players and coaching staff have responded favorably and the data exists to show that the positives for such an innovation is excellent.

Next: Is Devers the answer at third base?

No longer will a player have to catch winks on a training table or a manager attempt to snooze in his office.