Rox excited for 'quiet room' in new clubhouse
CarGo climbs club's career hits leaderboard; Black changes up lineup
SAN DIEGO -- Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez learned last year that poor sleep can lead to trouble. Now he and his teammates will have a place for it when they arrive at Coors Field on Friday for the home opener against the Braves.
A gargantuan, Rocky Mountain-shaped scoreboard is the most visible of the renovations at Coors Field. But it's possible that another new feature -- a "quiet room," added off from the home clubhouse on the right-field side -- could help the Rockies put more runs on the massive board.
Gonzalez's struggles last season were partly attributed to such poor sleep that he began consulting with a Richmond, Va., specialist. A room with controlled lighting, a couple beds and some recliners is a worthwhile -- and science-based -- innovation.
"Sometimes before, when you felt tired, you had to try to sleep in the locker room, but it's a little loud," Gonzalez said from the visiting clubhouse at Petco Park, with pregame music blaring. "You're going to hear music. Every light is going to be on. I think it's important to have a quiet place to at least close your eyes for half an hour and try to meditate or whatever.
"If you need to sleep, you sleep a little bit. You set your alarm, and then you're ready to go."
Some folks take nap time seriously.
Gonzalez noted that his issues were rooted partly in that all of the Rockies' road trips are outside the Mountain time zone. Current Indians pitcher Matt Belisle paid special attention to his sleep patterns, along with his eating, when he was with Colorado. During the offseason, Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado listed quality sleep as one of his goals for improving during the season.
Some don't think much about it. Manager Bud Black found a question about it so odd he broke up laughing before finishing an answer. Second baseman DJ LeMahieu said it's not an issue because he doesn't stay up all night playing video games.
But LeMahieu conceded that some teammates could have challenges at home that might drive them to a quiet room at the workplace.
"Honestly, I think it's good for guys that have kids," LeMahieu said. "They're probably waking up earlier than the rest of us."
Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said the room was in the plans long before Gonzalez struggled with sleep and with hitting last season. Bridich said the one at Coors will be different from a similar room that was included in the Cubs' recent clubhouse renovation at Wrigley Field, but the concept holds.
"It's not something new -- there are a lot of places in all different types of professional sports that have adopted this type of concept," Bridich said. "But when we made the commitment to start to renovate our home clubhouse, it was an easy inclusion just because of the realities of the baseball schedule and the baseball lifestyle.
"From late games to travel, which can be tough on guys, to each guy having a slightly different family situation, some guys do well or do better just how their body clock works to get a short nap in or even an extended nap during the day. This hopefully provides a real bricks-and-mortar place to get that needed rest."
Black roots for CarGo's climb
Gonzalez's two hits Tuesday night put him at 1,207 in his Rockies career, which is good for fourth most all-time ahead of Vinny Castilla. Third is Dante Bichette with 1,278.
Black is looking forward to Gonzalez pushing Bichette down on the chart.
"One of the farthest home runs I ever gave up was to Dante Bichette," Black recalled with a laugh. "It was in Cleveland, at the old stadium. He was an Angel. Low changeup, and he belted it, way over the Dawg Pound. It was a bomb."
It was a solo homer in the fourth inning on Sept. 23, 1989. But the Indians won, 4-3, and Black pitched 8 1/3 innings for the win.
Black had made just one starting lineup adjustment in the first four games, with Tony Wolters starting in place of catcher Chris Iannetta on Sunday. But Ryan McMahon started at first in place of Ian Desmond on Tuesday, and Black said it's likely infielder Pat Valaika will receive a start Wednesday against Padres lefty Clayton Richard. Monday's opener in San Diego started a string of 17 games in 17 days.