The New York Yankees are encouraging their players to sleep in during spring training, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Jared Diamond.
As a result of the findings of Stanford professor Scott Kutscher, New York begins its spring training workouts at 11:30 a.m., long after most other MLB teams.
“Go ask someone, ‘Why do you practice at 9 a.m.?’ The answer will be, ‘Because we just do,’” Kutscher said, according to the WSJ. “There’s no practical reason behind it. It’s certainly not based on any good sleep science.”
In his 2013 study, Kutscher found that players’ plate discipline typically diminishes throughout the season due to fatigue.
“These are still young men whose primary job is a nighttime job,” Kutscher added. “So you want to get in line with how their bodies are going to respond and how you want to perform.”
Since New York experimented with the delayed schedule in 2015 and experienced positive results, team higher-ups decided to try it again this year.
“I said, ‘We start at 11:30. Don’t think if I see you here at 7:30 that I’m going to be impressed,’” manager Joe Girardi said, according to the WSJ. “‘It’s not going to impress me. Sleep! I’m giving you an opportunity to sleep. Sleep!’ That was one of the first things I told them in camp.”
The Yankees face the Tigers on March 2 in the first game of their 2016 spring training schedule.