Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Jet Lag

Finally, an answer to why the Braves were so bad for most of the time they spent in the NL West:
New research suggests that jet lag hampers the performances of continent-crossing pro baseball players but may boost the home field advantage of West Coast teams. An analysis of 10 years of pro baseball scores found that teams were more likely to lose games if they were severely jet-lagged . . .

. . . For the new study, Winter and his colleagues analyzed the scores of 24,133 baseball games with an eye toward how many time zones the teams had traveled through. It takes a day for a person's body to adjust to travel through a single time zone, he said.

Teams lost 60 percent of games in which they were at what the researchers called a three-hour disadvantage, meaning they needed three days for their bodies to catch up to their new location. They lost 52 percent of games in which they were at a one- or two-hour disadvantage.

That makes sense to me. Although this part seemed puzzling:
In a bit of a surprise, the researchers also found that teams traveling east to west suffered the most. Normally, people think west-to-east travel is most disruptive to their bodies.

As long as we're staying in the United States, I'm usually way more messed up on east-to-west travel. It's 10PM in San Diego and my brother is trying to get me to go to some sketchy club with him. My body, however, thinks it's 1AM, so I'm snoozin' on my feet. Substitute Ken Oberkfell for me and the first of a three game series against the Padres for the skeezy club, and you can see how it might affect his reflexes.

5 comments:

Drew said...

Perhaps they're talking about west to east for the sake of business travel. If you're working 9-to-5, then traveling east to west makes it feel like you're working 12-to-8, which are hours you're probably normally active anyway. If, however, you went west to east, you feel like you're working 6-to-2, and that can be a rough morning.

themarksmith said...

Going east to west, instead of playing at 7, you feel like you're playing at 10. Going west to east, instead of playing at 7, you feel like you're playing at 4. You feel more alert about playing at 4 instead of 10.

Mark Runsvold said...

So much for Hawaii getting a pro sports team anytime soon, eh?

themarksmith said...

At that point, we might as well let Japanese teams in.

Osmodious said...

Anecdotally, I can say that the Yankees have always seemed to have a hard time on their west coast trips...all of my friends dread it when the Yankees are playing the A's or Angels out there, and not just because we have to find other things to watch until 10pm (really screws up my Daily Show and Colbert Report viewing, as well as Baseball Tonight!).

Seriously, though, on many trips to Cali the Yanks have looked pretty flat, it's actually worse when the have a travel day (which these days is pretty rare, they have a ridiculous schedule this year). Oddly enough, Seattle never seems to be as much of an issue as the California stops...