Nap quar­ters an ex­tra perk to stay perky

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THE SECOND PAGE - Com­piled by Tim Cooper

Day-night dou­ble­head­ers. Cross-coun­try travel. Rain de­lays and ex­tra in­nings.

A base­ball sched­ule can play havoc with sleep, but some ma­jor­league teams are try­ing to com­bat the grind of the long sea­son by giv­ing their play­ers a place to catch some shut-eye at the ball­park, away from their nois­ier team­mates or any ram­bunc­tious kids.

Some­times called “re­cov­ery rooms,” the ar­eas near the club­house are just quiet, dark rooms with beds, but play­ers and team of­fi­cials hope they can re­duce the fa­tigue caused by the long and of­ten ir­reg­u­lar hours of the sea­son.

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

Once a place for play­ers to change out of their uni­forms and maybe grab a ci­garette af­ter the game, base­ball club­houses are now a sec­ond home where work­ers of­ten spend more time than where they ac­tu­ally live. Teams have tried to make the long days at the ball­park pass more com­fort­ably with ameni­ties like Ping-Pong ta­bles (Roy­als), a bar­ber’s chair (Mar­lins) or cryother­apy and float pods (Cubs).

It’s not just about killing time: Com­fort­able, more alert play­ers can be more pro­duc­tive, and teams are hop­ing the rel­a­tively small amount of money in­vested in these ben­e­fits could re­sult in an ex­tra-base hit or shoestring catch on the field.

The Red Sox nap room was squeezed into the cen­tury-old Fen­way Park in a for­mer stor­age closet off the work­out room, up a flight of stairs from the home club­house. The team emp­tied it — al­most — of boxes and added some in­su­la­tion on the walls.

About 12-square feet, there are two full-sized, util­i­tar­ian bunk beds tucked un­der the air ducts run­ning across the ceil­ing.

“Just a re­lax­ing dark room, just to kind of re­lax and catch a blow, so to speak,” Red Sox out­fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. said. “It’s nice. It’s com­fort­able. It’s small. You don’t want it to be big, so it’s very com­fort­able.”

Danc­ing with a star

Gar­bine Mugu­ruza would like to cap her Wim­ble­don vic­tory Satur­day by danc­ing with Roger Fed­erer.

Mugu­ruza won her first ti­tle at the All Eng­land Club, and Fed­erer will play for his eighth to­day against Marin Cilic.

The men’s and women’s cham­pi­ons used to share a dance at the Wim­ble­don gala at the end of the tour­na­ment, though that tra­di­tion of­fi­cially ceased in 1977. Still, Mugu­ruza was asked her pref­er­ence for a dance part­ner at this year’s cham­pi­ons’ din­ner.

“Oh, come on,” Mugu­ruza re­sponded at first, try­ing to brush off the ques­tion.

But she quickly re­lented, smil­ing broadly and fi­nally giv­ing in.

“Roger,” Mugu­ruza said with a smile and gig­gle. “And I like Cilic, I have to say se­ri­ously.

“But,” Mugu­ruza con­tin­ued, shim­my­ing in her chair as if mov­ing to the mu­sic, “I want to see if he’s that el­e­gant also danc­ing.”

AP/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

Al­though it is no longer a tra­di­tion at Wim­ble­don, Gar­bine Mugu­ruza would like to share a cham­pi­ons dance with Roger Fed­erer.

Bradley

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