Upon Further Review: Sleepy Eastern time gets zoned out of all the fun

So Matt Cain threw a perfect game. This was all news to me.

I learned of this at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, when Herald co-worker Jason Recker alerted me on the baseball wonder that Cain wrapped up at about 12:40 in the morning. Recker had found out about 30 seconds earlier than I had. Just like, I presume, more than 145 million others like us.

Ah, yes, life in the Eastern time zone.

We’re in that awkward phase that we’ll never quite outgrow. Night baseball games on the West Coast may as well be lunar expeditions; something that we see footage and hear stories of, but never witness ourselves. Even things that are played on our turf, like the NBA Finals games in Miami with a 9 p.m. start on the weekdays, require a shot of espresso to make it through. They say nothing good happens after midnight, unless it’s Cain’s gem that some are lauding as one of the best perfect games ever scripted.

In all fairness, even if Cain had been pitching in Philadelphia instead of San Francisco that night, I still may have never known since I’ve been shunning ESPN to avoid its incessant Euro 2012 coverage that the network is treating like Game 7 of the World Series.

Either way, I’m like all of us suckers east of the Wabash River who are in the dark about anything that finishes in the dark.

I seem to be marooned even further. My morning routine includes no TV, since I wake up with time only to stagger around for something caffeinated before flying out the door. I could sign up for those fancy-pants news updates to be sent to my cellphone, but I’m — gasp — one of those people who use my phone pretty much only for calls and texts and as an alarm clock. (And playing Tetris to kill time before high school baseball games that start 40 minutes late. But that’s a whole other column.)

Usually, The Herald’s sports section is completed in the morning, which makes it no problem to include everything we missed while we slept. Many times, though, Saturday morning’s paper is finished in that Friday-night-early-Saturday window where we sometimes are waiting for the West Coast to hurry the hell up, please.

A few months back, Herald Sports Writer Joanne Norell had finished most of the Scoreboard page except for the straggler MLB games out west that weren’t finished. For a while, she stared at the live play-by-play, each “B,” “S” and “O,” of one of those games on the verge of finishing. (There are those of you who insist baseball is boring to watch. I disagree. But I will fully acknowledge that resorting to watch live online scoring of a baseball game is pretty much the worst thing ever.) There are times when we just can’t wait any longer, hence the murky Scoreboard-speak for that Padres-Rockies contest being the “late game.”

Plenty of times, I have succumbed to the allure of the late game.

March Madness gets me every time. Some of those games early in the tourney don’t tip off until past 10:30 and last beyond midnight, yet I stubbornly refuse to go to sleep before that Syracuse/Western Nebraska Tech game has expired to all zeroes. I’m a Purdue fan, and Boilermaker tourney games seem to be an exercise in endurance since it seems they are always shipped to the hinterlands to play the latest game possible in the Anchorage Regional. Sometimes, I lie on the floor to make it through the games (really). Other times, I wake up in the morning, TV still on, remote in hand.

In this year’s tournament, no team west of Texas was remaining in the Sweet 16. I was tempted to fire up some sort of petition to the NCAA and CBS, lobbying for earlier start times. No one on the other side of Allen Fieldhouse is watching basketball anyway — so why not spare us the heavy eyelids in Indiana, Kentucky and North Carolina, the sort of places where hoops matter?

Maybe I’m just living in the wrong place.

This became apparent once when I visited California in November. You wake up, and college football games are on starting at 9 in the morning. I may have shed a tear. And fighting yawns to watch Monday Night Football, the World Series or NBA Finals? That’s not now they roll out West.

For the 28 seconds that Dubois County was on Central Time a few years back, the ideal sports viewing window was among the best parts of that arrangement. Spencer County, I envy you sometimes. I’ll still take Eastern Time, where it’s not dark by noon in the winter, the sun doesn’t blare in your bedroom window at 5:15 a.m. in the summer, and you can take a twilight jog at 9:30 in June if you please.

So if something good happens again in the dead of night, please wake me.

Herald Sports Editor Brendan Perkins, who still has all sorts of questions about the carpool lanes in California, can be reached at bperkins@dcherald.com or 482-2626, ext. 111.

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