Monday, March 24, 2008

Opening Day-Night Singleheader

Much of the fuss over the Red Sox' trip to Japan escapes me. As globalization goes, it seems a pretty benign manifestation.

Jet lag is also a most overrated phenomenon. If jet leg seriously hampers athletic performance, how are we to account for the career of Roger Federer? Tennis pros have tax shelters instead of homes. Those guys and gals spend a significant part of their lives in the air, and perform in damn near all 24 time zones on Earth each year. Are ballplayers that much less hardy than Justine Henin? Don't answer that.

Yours truly traveled east on business once. After flying from San Francisco to Sydney, I put in a full day's work, then crashed. If a sedentary middle-aged sportswriter could stand the gaff, certainly young strong athletes can handle the Red Sox' schedule this March.

The idea the Japan trip could bother the Sox is due to the poor start the 2004 Yankees had after their sojourn to Tokyo. That poor start was attributable to an ancient baseball problem that has to do with climatic changes, not time changes. Older teams often struggle in April when forced to play in 40 degree temperatures up north instead of the 80-degree weather of spring training.

There's no denying, however, that the trip can disorient fans if not players. The calendar of events for 2008 is all messed up in sports and in the rest of life. Having Opening Day before the NCAA Final Four is as queasily disturbing as celebrating St. Patrick's Day and Easter in the same week.

And it's going to be weird, very weird, to hear the voice of Joe Castiglione on the car radio during tomorrow morning's commute.


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