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Kids are up for watching Sox

On a baseball diamond without lights, a bunch of Squantum school kids played until the sunset glow had faded and night creeped into the batter's box Monday night. Then they went home and went to bed.

That won't necessarily be the case tonight when the World Series begins at the tardy first-pitch time of 8:35. Some of them are still upset about not having been able to stay up and watch the Red Sox clinch the pennant Sunday night.

Ryan Adduci, 9, shakes his head sadly.

"I can't watch 'em," he said, looking beyond the field to the Squantum Elementary School. "I've got to go to bed by 8:30."

But there is a little wiggle room on that, Adduci acknowledged.

"Well, the other night I went to bed at 10, the bottom of the third," he said. "My dad said, 'You have to go to bed and you can't watch the rest of the game.' I felt bad. I wanted to see [Jonathan] Papelbon dance. My dad told me about it in the morning."

Jack Adduci, a Boston police officer, said because it's the playoffs, he bends the rules on bedtime.

"I let them stay up for a little while," he said. "They should be a part of it and enjoy it as much as they can. What can we do? It's not every day the Red Sox are in the World Series."

Jack Adduci said there will be a price to be paid this week.

"I can see after a few days of consecutive games it will wear on him," he said.

Sleep researcher Amy Wolfson, an associate professor of psychology at Holy Cross, said sleep deprivation isn't good at any age. But it is an especially tough call for parents to decide whether to let their kids stay up for the World Series.

"It puts parents in a difficult situation because the kids have all the goodies, the T-shirts, and the hats, and they've been following the Red Sox since April and this is all incredibly exciting," she said. "When there is a special event, to let a kid stay up is such a difficult question. Are they being a bad parent? No, but be aware of the consequences. It's just going to be awful the next day. I worry what teachers are going to accomplish the next day in school. Probably nothing."

Wolfson said kids between the ages of 10 and 17 are recommended to get 9.2 hours of sleep per night.

"The reality is that a younger child in elementary school is going to have trouble staying up," she said.

Wolfson urges parents to "catch the moment" when a child looks tired and find clever ways to get them into bed. "Like tape the game and let them watch it later."

On the field, some parents joked about letting their kids stay home and trying to get a doctor's note from Red Sox vice president Dr. Charles Steinberg, a dentist turned master of ceremonies.

In the outfield, Mike Fehan, a coach and pastor at the Squantum Christian Fellowship, said his three boys - ages 5, 4, and 2 - love baseball but won't be watching any of the games.

"No, definitely," he said. "They can't watch a game. Way too late."

He said the late start is a problem for everyone in Red Sox Nation.

"It's disastrous," he said. "We're all walking around like zombies."

Hannah Will, mother of two, agreed.

"I'm exhausted, " she said. "I just talked to someone who came back from Hawaii and they were watching it at 1:30 in the afternoon. That's the way to watch baseball.

"This is really, really late. It's taken all my energy just to stay awake. The kids can't watch anything. They watch the first inning and the way the pitch count is going that could be a half-hour.

"Their bedtime is 8:30. I bend the rules a little and let them stay up till 10."

Lee Piatelli, who runs the Squantum Fall Ball league, remembers when all World Series games were day games.

"We were in school then, so I don't know how much better that was," he said. "They should stick to 7 o'clock starts. The great state of California should get tape-delayed for an hour or two hours later."

On the field, most kids said they watched at least some of the American League Championship Series win over the Cleveland Indians.

Lizzie Feenan, 15, the only girl on the ballfield and the oldest of the kids, stayed up as Sunday melted into Monday morning. She watched Big Papi show off the ALCS trophy to the Fenway faithful. For her, the alarm came early. Very early.

"I'm tired, very, very tired," she said. "Grumpy. I got up and literally fell out of my bed. I spilled my water on the floor and said, 'Oh, my gosh.' "

Feenan hates the 8:35 p.m. starts.

"They should make 'em earlier. They really should. [Television] just cares about making money."

Evan Aimola, 10, wears a Rockies shirt because it's his assigned team, but his heart is all Red Sox. He's angry with Fox.

"It makes me feel cheated," said Aimola. "I can't stay up late on a weekday. It's stupid. I can't believe they have it so late. They should start at 5:30."

Told that a bunch of 10-year-olds in Boston are up in arms, Fox Sports had some advice.

"A 10-year-old in Boston needs to know that they are on just one spot on the planet. There are other time zones," said Anita Bartlett, production administrator for Fox Sports.

Postseason game viewership actually went up 12 percent after 11 p.m. Eastern time, according to Fox Sports. Viewers 11 and under make up roughly 5 percent of the viewership.

Patrick Bronske, 9, wants to be one of those kids. He hustles on the field, but yawns on the bench. A sleep-deprivation hangover.

"I saw about five innings," he said of Sunday's clincher. "I just fell asleep on the couch. I woke up and my mom and my brother William told me at 7:30 a.m. they won. I felt excited."

Bronske said he's going to make a major plea to his parents tonight.

"I'm probably going to stay up for the World Series," he said.

But what about school?

"I don't care about that," he said as the other kids giggled. "I think the Red Sox are more important."

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