October 27, 2013

Early mornings are no friend to Red Sox fans

World Series games start at 8 p.m., forcing the faithful to sacrifice sleep for baseball.

By Eric Russell erussell@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

and Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Robert Gignac, the assistant meat manager at Hannaford supermarket in Falmouth, started off strong during Game 1 of the World Series, taking in stride the late nights expected of a Red Sox fan and the early wake-up required for the morning shift at work.

click image to enlarge

Robert Gignac, an assistant meat department manager at Hannaford’s Falmouth store, is tired but undeterred after dragging himself to work following World Series games.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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“It was Game 1. I had to stay up,” said Gignac, 31.

But by Game 2, the start times had begun to take their toll. Gignac, who handles sharp blades for a living, had to be to work at 5:15 a.m. on Thursday. He fell asleep in the seventh inning of Game 2 in front of the TV.

“I had a hard time keeping awake. I was dozing a lot,” he said Friday, standing at the meat counter at work with bleary eyes. “A lot of stuff, I did early in the morning, so I wouldn’t have to worry about it later when I got tired.”

This is the dilemma for Red Sox fans: Stay up late and pay the price at work the next day or get a good night’s rest and risk missing something historic.

The first pitch of each game is scheduled for after 8 p.m. Eastern time. Every game but one will be on a night before a traditional work day. And the Red Sox are no strangers to four-hour, tension-filled games, even if the first two games were relatively short.

For Gignac, the dilemma gets worse. He starts his new assignment at Hannaford’s Gorham store at 4 a.m. Sunday, just hours after the first of three back-to-back games in St. Louis on Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights.

“Oh boy, that’s going to be rough,” Gignac said.

For William Cashman, president of Glidden Roofing in Scarborough, the answer is easy, even though he’s due into work at 7 a.m. each day, just like his employees.

“Of course I’m going to stay up and watch,” Cashman said. “You just get an extra cup of coffee and grind it out.”

The last couple of times the Red Sox were in the World Series, in 2004 and 2007, Cashman was a little younger and could bounce back a little more quickly from lack of sleep.

“I’m 45 now, so I pay for it,” he said.

Might employers pay the price, too, if their workers stay up late to cheer on the hometown team?

The Chicago-based firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas often surveys productivity in the workplace, including the effects of major sporting events. The top two offenders are the Super Bowl and the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, better known as March Madness, but the Major League Baseball playoffs follow close behind.

“Games are mostly played in the evening, but often stretch into the wee hours due to the natural pace of the game and the tendency for competitive match-ups to extend to extra innings,” the research firm’s CEO, John Challenger, said. “Groggy fans, particularly in cities with playoff or World Series teams, may be less productive the day after these prolonged games.”

Game 1 on Wednesday night was played in 3 hours, 17 minutes, which means it ended before 11:30 p.m. Game 2 was even shorter, ending after 3 hours, 5 minutes. But those were atypically short games. In the Red Sox’ previous 10 playoff games, the average length was 3 hours, 45 minutes. The shortest was Game 2 of the American League Division Series against Tampa Bay, at 3 hours, 14 minutes. The longest games was Game 3 of that series – 4 hours, 19 minutes.

The last two times the Red Sox reached the World Series, though, the average length of playoff games was longer.

(Continued on page 2)

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