Ritter: Study shows jet lag can wipe out home-field advantage

From Malcolm Ritter at the Associated Press on January 23, 2017:

Researchers say they’ve documented an unseen drag on major league baseball players that can wipe out home field advantage, make pitchers give up more home runs, and take some punch out of a team’s bats.

The culprit: jet lag.

Travelers are well aware of the fatigue, poor sleep and other effects that can descend like a fog when their body clocks are out of sync with their surroundings. The new work adds to previous suggestions that professional athletes are no different.

Dr. Ravi Allada of Northwestern University said he and his colleagues wanted to study the effects of body clock disruptions on human performance. So they chose baseball, a game with plenty of performance measures gathered from hundreds of games a year, played by people who get little chance to settle in to new time zones when they travel.

They looked for jet lag’s effects by analyzing 20 years’ worth of Major League Baseball data. They found 4,919 instances of a team taking the field after crossing two or three time zones but without enough time to adjust. People generally need a day of adjustment for each time zone crossed.

Their analysis was released Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read the full article here: https://www.apnews.com/b33ee2e8db204e95bf0bc197d9d535ca/Caught-napping:-Baseball-hitting,-pitching-sapped-by-jet-lag

Originally published: January 23, 2017. Last Updated: January 23, 2017.