baseball – worth losing sleep over

A warm welcome to BFN, Rupert Lewis

Sleep is vital. According to the NHS it is “essential for a long and healthy life” and a consistent lack of sleep “puts you at risk of serious medical conditions, including obesity, (and) heart disease”. It will also disrupt your immune system, increase your risk of at home injuries and accidents, and if you don’t get enough of it, you’ll have “lower libidos and less of an interest in sex.”

So, as a UK-based fan I’ve now come to the sorry conclusion that baseball will make me ill, my girlfriend will leave me, I’ll gain weight, and then it will ultimately kill me. With the new season weeks away, a choice must now be made between my health and baseball, and to be honest, for some stupid reason I remain undecided… 

Many in the UK have come across baseball as a sleep remedy and a support mechanism for insomnia; an issue James from Farm Boy Brews eloquently wrote about in his recent ‘thank you’ to baseball posted on this blog. But the opposite could not be truer for me. 

I sleep on planes, on trains, through storms and even through a couple of fire alarms. But baseball, baseball is bloody brilliant. While some see it as sports equivalent of counting sheep, I became obsessed whilst working on a year-long assignment in New York. And upon returning to London, I stayed awake, often very late at night, to follow the Met’s failed push for the playoffs and I can’t wait for the new season with an undoubtedly doomed sense of optimism. 

Another season hearing the crack of Pete Alonso’s bat, the thud of Jacob DeGrom’s pitches curving into the catcher’s glove and Brandon Nimmo’s infectious smile is more than enough to keep anyone awake but is it worth it?

To make a proper assessment let’s look at the numbers, like all baseball nerds should. Currently the Mets have 47 games which start between 12:00 – 01:00am BST during working weeknights (Mon-Thu). With the average game taking three hours and my alarm going off at 6:00am, for much of the summer I could be living off three hours’ sleep. Not ideal to say the least.

I’m sure my GP would shake their head with dismay and any sensible advice would be to tell me how stupid I am. But we are talking about baseball, Alonso, DeGrom, Nimmo, the Mets, and they’re bound to make the playoffs this season, right? You gotta believe!  

So, baseball or my health…? Ultimately the NHS is (possibly, no definitely) right, and according to them a good night’s sleep will help maintain my health, my weight, my job and my girlfriend.   Dr Suess once wrote, “you know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” For James and other fans across the UK, baseball is a love that can be used to help them switch off and get through sleepless nights. As for me, I’ll have to lose some baseball over sleep, but I’ll be dreaming of a Mets win as I do and often wonder if I made the right choice… 

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