July 18, 2011
Let he who has not snuck some sleep while watching the Chicago Cubs play baseball cast the first stone.
That's all I have to say about this mini-hubbub that erupted over the weekend when Florida Marlins reliever Edward Mujica(notes) fell asleep during Saturday's game at Wrigley Field and was caught by the Cubs' television camera crew.
But though I'd venture to guess that most of us found Mujica's snoozing in the right-field bullpen harmless and hilarious (or at the very least, bemusing and benign), Cubs color analyst Bob Brenly was a bit more offended and said so:
"Boy, that is embarrassing," Brenly said. "Can you imagine any other job in the world where you show up at your desk or your workplace and, oh, take a little nap for the first hour or so of work there. Come on! Sleep at night."
A workplace where you show up and immediately go to sleep?
Is Brenly not familiar with the current state of big league umpiring? Hey-o!
If Mujica felt any shame for his nap — which occurred during the second inning of Florida's 13-3 win, way before he might have possibly been summoned — he wasn't going to admit it.
He would admit, however, that it wasn't his first time catching some Z's during a game.
"It wasn't even five minutes," Mujica said on Sunday before the Marlins' series finale with the Cubs. "I closed my eyes and I looked over and, 'That's it.' They got me right there."
A Venezuela native, Mujica caught up on some early-inning sleep during his years with San Diego. He said he would nap the first three innings before heading to the bullpen ...
If an intrusive camera locates him dozing off again, Mujica is now prepared. He made a sign that reads: "Cameraman, please do not disturb."
Look, this isn't Ken Griffey Jr.(notes) reportedly retiring to the clubhouse to sleep during a game and being unavailable for pinch-hit duty. The baseball season is 162 games long and it's impossible for anyone to pay attention to every single minute of action. If you ask me, Mujica's nap is no different than players taking five minutes to find something in the clubhouse, playing a prank on another teammate or locating pretty girls in the stands.
Plus, as Brenly and broadcast mate Len Kasper later acknowledged, other players who enjoy their "evenings-free" road trips to Chicago often have the same problem.
If Mujica had later entered the game and been blown away by the Cubs offense, maybe we'd have a problem. But he never even entered the game and his record in 2011 — a 3.07 ERA and 0.90 WHIP over 44 innings — suggests that he should keep his routine in place.
Do you think differently?