The Political and the Sportsical

Colby Lewis, you rock.

Until a couple days ago, I thought nothing about you other than briefly acknowledging that you were a pitcher for the Texas Rangers. I never thought about what pitches you threw or if you were even good.

But, thanks to an act of unprotected sex (or an oops, who knows) with your wife nine months ago, you have brought a political issue into the baseball world.

If there’s one thing I love as much as baseball, it’s a good political debate rife with passionate, ignorant opinions, and enough gray area to make the gray matter in the average human brain shrink to the point of incapacitation.

I particularly love you for playing in Texas, where some local columnists seem to think that a child being born led to Josh Hamilton’s broken leg and some issues with not winning. The Texas Rangers will never again reach the post season because you missed one start.  HOW DARE YOU?!

J/k. I think it’s awesome you were there for the birth of your child, even if it was your second child (let’s face it, everyone knows you’ll love the oldest the most). The best part about this is players typically take a day or two off for the birth of a child; you just happened to be the first to do it under MLB’s Paternity Leave policy. How does it feel to be a symbol for something thousands of players have done before you? Such the trailblazer, you are.

Remember when Sandy Koufax missed the first game of the World Series to observe Yom Kippur? And Hank Greenburg famously debated skipping an important game in the midst of a pennant race for Rosh Hashanah? I feel like Chaim Potok missed a great opportunity for a novel there.

I’ve long been fascinated by the juxtaposition of changes within baseball and changes within society. Symbolism and sociology and such intellectual nerdery things.

However, this also opens up an interesting debate about what exactly players owe to their teams and the fans.  They are paid alright money for the sacrifices they make in their personal lives. But there’s got to be a line somewhere and institutionalizing this policy draws a pretty clear line for MLB. The aforementioned Texas columnist certainly brings up some legitimate points, albeit in a terrible, terrible way (we call that link bait).

Say a vital pitcher for your team misses a nothing game for personal reasons and the team winds up missing the playoffs by one game.  That would be tough to swallow as a fan. But how much is too much to ask from the humans behind the players?

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