Wednesday, May 12, 2010

In defense of napping

No, the whole dust-up surrounding the report that Ken Griffey Jr. was asleep in the Seattle Mariners clubhouse when called on to pinch-hit over the weekend doesn't have anything to do with the Orioles — aside from the fact that said Mariners are currently in Baltimore for a three-game set, that is.

Hell, I'll take it. It's not like there's anything new to say about the O's, who are still booting balls and losing games and, in two-out RBI situations, looking about as comfortable as an Englishman on a nude beach.

So I hope you'll indulge me for a moment while I step up onto my soapbox ...

My feeling about Griffey slam-dancing with the Sandman mid-Mariners game is essentially this:


First of all, I don't think this would be a big deal even if it'd involved one of the game's lesser lights — like, say, a middle reliever from Kansas City or that sixth Molina brother or anyone batting sixth through ninth in the Baltimore lineup. (And if it'd been Manny Ramirez, you can bet your ass folks in Boston or L.A. or wherever he's currently making a mockery of our pastime would've already shrugged and chalked it up to — ugh — "Manny being Manny.")

But in the case of Ken Griffey Jr., dude's earned it.

Look at it my way. I'm an inveterate napper. I've been at my current job now for three and a half years, during which time I've proven myself more than adept at whatever work's come my way (which, breathe a sigh of relief, I won't bore you with the details of). I didn't sneak naps at first — probably not for the first two and a half years, even. But now I've got absolutely zero issue with ducking down for a quick Z at my desk. Don't even care when I wake and lift my woozy head only to find a full-force flooger extending from my lower lip down to the forearm on which it'd previously rested.

Point being, Mike Laws : his job  ::  Ken Griffey Jr. : professional baseball, and we're both allowed to nap if we're knackered and not busy and need to recharge our own personal Duracells.

But the bigger issue here is that baseball, let's face it, can be really, intensely, undeniably fucking boring. Anyone who's sat in a press box every day over a whole summer can tell you that — tell you how, despite their love of the sport, they'll still show up at the park each evening, arrange their notes, fill in their scorecards, open their laptops, then pray for a 1-0 pitchers' duel. Get this thing over ASAP. My guess is the players (who, after all, have shown up at the park far, far earlier than your typical newspaperman) don't feel much differently.

And let's not forget the alternative to catching a quick clubhouse nap. If you're going to mandate that your players be wide awake for each and every inning of all 162 games season in and season out — even the rarely called-on relievers, the bench players, that sixth outfielder who doesn't even bother with BP anymore — you can expect some pretty unsavory behavior. Remember the whole "greenies" issue? Remember how much it turned out ballplayers enjoyed a good line of the ol' Bolivian marching powder to ward off boredom and fatigue? You might prevent players' napping, but soon enough you'll be forced to listen to Felix Pie telling Craig Tatum all about snowflakes being the key to the fifth dimension.

So let's give Griffey a break. He was sleeping. Alone. And not in a room featuring portraits of himself as a centaur.


  1. You're napping on the job?!?!!!

  2. Not to go all Tipper Gore (or Anthony Comstock-- you may have to look that one up) on you here, but can you cut down on your use of the F word a little so I can print up these columns for your grandfather to read?