What Price Paternity?

ARLINGTON TX - OCTOBER 22: Colby Lewis #48 of the Texas Rangers celebrates in the locker room after the Rangers won 6-1 against the New York Yankees in Game Six of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22 2010 in Arlington Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Colby Lewis

Someone named Richie Whitt took some heat for writing this after the Rangers, Monday night, lost the first game of their series with the Angels:

In Game 2, Colby Lewis is scheduled to start after missing his last regular turn in the rotation because -- I'm not making this up -- his wife, Jenny, was giving birth in California. To the couple's second child.

Don't have kids of my own but I raised a step-son for eight years. I know all about sacrifice and love and how great children are.

But a pitcher missing one of maybe 30 starts? And it's all kosher because of Major League Baseball's new paternity leave rule?

You should have seen Twitter after Whitt's column made the rounds!

Here's just a taste. Last I checked, though, the opinions were unanimous: Richie Whitt is more un-American than public transportation, getting pushed around by the Kaiser, and subtitled movies with ambiguous endings. All rolled into one roiling mass of Red Communism.

This discussion reminds me -- as so many do -- of George Carlin's brief bit about driving (video here); essentially, anyone who drives slower than you is an idiot, while everyone who drives faster than you is a maniac.

What if we're talking about your favorite NFL team's quarterback? Do you want him skipping Sunday's big game to attend the birth of his third child? Yeah? What if it's the Super Bowl?

The answer's not so obvious now, huh?

I'm going to be honest here, as I have been since the first time this came up, some years ago (official paternity leave is new, but players taking a game off to attend childbirth is not) ... As a human being, I think this is fantastic. As a baseball fan, though? If my team's in the playoff hunt, I'm sorry, but I don't want one of my starting pitchers taking the night off. We're not talking about some guy who works on the assembly line for the Integrated Widget Corporation. We're talking about one of the most talented pitchers on the planet, not easily replaceable. What if your team finishes one game short of the playoffs? Was it really worth it?

Or as a sage philosopher once observed, The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

And last I checked, there were many fans of the Texas Rangers.

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