Light bulbs, not $US215 million pitcher Clayton Kershaw, may be the key to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ success in Australia.
The Dodgers have turned to “light therapy” to help prevent its squad of millionaire baseballers from being derailed by jet lag on the 15-hour flight to Sydney.
When the team’s charter plane takes off from the US on Monday AEDT it will be fitted with “Awake and Alert” LED lightbulbs with high blue spectrum light to keep players awake for the first four hours of the flight.
The lights will then be switched off, and the dark cabin will allow the players’ bodies to naturally prepare for sleep.
When the team arrives in Sydney on Tuesday morning AEDT and they check into their hotel rooms, the light therapy will continue.
“We had somebody who went down to Australia yesterday and they are changing out the lights within the hotel rooms the players are staying in,” Sean Tegart, vice president of Florida-based Lighting Science, hired by the Dodgers, told AAP.
Lighting Science has worked with NASA and Harvard University to refine its technology which, through manipulating LED light, has been found to create certain biological effects.
The Dodgers will play Team Australia in an exhibition game on March 20 and then take on the Arizona Diamondbacks on March 22 and 23 at the Sydney Cricket Ground to start the Major League Baseball season.
Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke raised eyebrows when he admitted he had “absolutely zero excitement” about flying to Australia, citing the disruption to preparations.
Injury ended up forcing Greinke out of the trip, but Kershaw, who recently signed a $US215 million, seven-year contract, will lead the Dodgers.
Lighting Science began its program with Dodger players three days ago as they played Spring Training games in Arizona.
They analysed each players’ sleeping patterns, finding out if they were “night owls, early risers or humming birds”.
A humming bird is a person who gives their peak performance around midday.
“If we can start to help individual players who may be early risers and peaking at 10am or 11am and instead help them peak at 7pm or 8pm when the game is on, can you imagine what a three or five per cent rise in batting average could do for these players?” Mr Tegart said.
The program will also be used when the Dodgers return to the US.