Don’t Worry, Red Sox Fans Are Getting More Sleep Than In Previous Playoffs

A predictable Boston Globe feature about fan fatigue rings hollow when you recall the slog of 2004.

Yankees Red Sox Baseball

Associated Press

The Boston Globe ran a feature today headlined, “Late-night thrillers have Red Sox fans forgoing sleep.” It’s a bit ill-timed both because it comes the day after the Sox defeated the Cardinals in an uncommonly short 2 hours and 52 minutes and because the Globe writes some version of this story every time we make the playoffs, including years when it is more deserved.

“A World Series of taut, late-night thrillers is taking its toll on Bostonians. They nod off on the T, slack off at work, and, when night falls, they stumble back to the couch for yet another round of hardball joy-slash-punishment,” The Globe’s David Filipov and Michael Levenson write.  To their credit, Monday’s game ended early enough that they could add the sentence, “Even Monday night’s welcome 11 p.m. finish won’t go far in erasing the collective fatigue,” though they don’t really say why it won’t, especially when paired with tonight’s lack of a game. This writer is actually feeling pretty well rested, thanks!

The larger reason the story falls flat, though, is that the Boston Globe runs it every time we make the World Series, and in past years, there’s been comparatively more cause. “Who needs sleep? Loyal Sox fans pay later for joy of viewing,” the paper wrote in 2004. It made sense that Sox fans would be feeling under-slept that year, both because the tension was heightened by the potential to reverse a curse, and because, as The Atlantic Wire observed today, the games lasted much longer.  In 2004, the Sox came back to defeat the Yankees in the ALCS, a series that went seven games, including both a 12-inning and a 14-inning slog. The latter set a then-record at 5 hours and 49 minutes. On average, the ALCS games lasted 4 hours and 9 minutes. The World Series games averaged 3 hours and 23 minutes.

In 2007, The Globe wrote, “For Sox fans, field of sleep deprivation.” That year’s ALCS against the Indians featured an 11-inning game that ran five hours and 14 minutes. On average, both ALCS and World Series games lasted 3 hours and 45ish minutes, so already the premise was a bit thinner than it had been in 2004.

Now, “Red Sox Nation has become Zombie Nation,” apparently. To 2013’s credit, a six game ALCS and a seven game World Series mean that our playoff run is lasting longer than usual. But the games have been relatively short. None have stretched beyond four hours.  The ALCS games averaged 3 hours and 41 minutes. The World Series games, so far, are averaging just 3 hours and 20 minutes. So if in fact Red Sox Nation is feeling particularly fatigued, they should man up. And if they can’t, well, daylight savings will afford them an extra hour of sleep Saturday night. Look forward to that.