Padres pitcher Clayton Richard made sure the team had pajamas for its red-eye flight
If you've ever flown cross-country on a red-eye flight, you've probably tried to make yourself as comfortable as possible.
Professional baseball players are no different.
Following a 7:35 p.m. ET start time in Atlanta on Monday, the Padres likely won't return to San Diego until 3 a.m. PT Tuesday. Following a four-game set in the Eastern time zone, that's essentially 6 a.m. for their internal clocks. To make matters worse, the Padres are slated to play Tuesday night against the D-backs at 7:10 p.m. PT.
With the Padres in need of sleep on their cross-country trip, veteran left-hander Clayton Richard hatched a plan: pajamas for everyone.
First, he pitched the idea to Jered Weaver, who was on board. Then, he checked in with manager Andy Green, who gave his stamp of approval. Two days later, about 30 pairs of pajamas arrived in the Padres' clubhouse.
"Our power went out the other night, and it woke me up," Richard said. "My mind started wandering. I started thinking about the flight home and wanted to be comfortable on the flight home -- and wanted to sleep. ... I asked Andy if it would be all right. We figured out a way to get pajamas here. And we're going to rock them."
A few Padres pitchers even rocked them entering the park on Monday.
(Screenshot via @Padres)
The coaching staff passed, but Green was still in favor of the idea.
"It's a late flight," he said. "They're going to be comfy, maybe they get some sleep. Be ready to go tomorrow."
Schedule-wise, it's a brutal first month for the Padres, who have just one April off-day and play 18 of their 27 games on the road.
"Part of the game is working within the schedule, getting your work in and finding a way to recover," Richard said. "Everyone has to go through that. ... Things like this hopefully can take our mind off of that a little bit."
The pajamas aren't the first gift Richard has given his teammates this season. On Opening Day, he bought copies of the Dr. Seuss book "Oh the Places You'll Go" and placed them in front of every locker with a different message inscribed for each teammate.
Richard -- who spent parts of the past two seasons with the Cubs -- also comes from the Joe Maddon school of dressing up for flights.
"Having experienced that, seeing how guys react to it, it's something that unites everyone," Richard said. "We're all doing the same thing, we're enjoying something together. I think there's value in that."