Criticism Surrounds Colby Lewis for Taking Paternity Leave for Birth of Daughter


An excerpt from a Dallas Observer blog post on Monday, which is the foundation of my post:

"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?"

He went on to say…

"Baseball players are paid millions to play baseball. If that means “scheduling” births so they occur in the off-season, then so be it. Of the 365 days in a year, starting pitchers “work” maybe 40 of them, counting spring training and playoffs.If it was a first child, maybe. But a second child causing a player to miss a game? Ludicrous."

While I can see the point of view of an obsessed Rangers’ fan – ultimately being the same one of Richie Whitt above – I can also very clearly see how he would want to attend the birth of his child. Second or not, it is his child and he has every reason to be there when his wife gives birth if he has the means to do so. In this case, he did because of the Paternity Leave rule and was placed on the Paternity Leave list.

The Paternity Leave rule is something new for the 2011 MLB season and allows a baseball player to take leave for the birth of a child for 24 to 72 hours. As a general rule, players have always taken time off to attend the birth of their child – there just was never an official “list” for it.

I realize that a game lost in April could be the one game that takes the team to the World Series; however, there is still plenty of time to make up for Lewis missing that one scheduled start. Sure, he was shaky when he came back on the mound Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels after his leave, but his last start had been on April 9 so it was nothing but expected. Further, do players that get injured get bashed because they are going on the DL when they are one of the best players on the team? No, and if they do, it isn’t like this.

I can honestly see both sides regarding this “controversy” but if I had to choose sides then I would ultimately have to choose Lewis taking the leave. It may be because I’m a woman and regardless if it’s child No. 2 or No. 6, if my professional baseball player husband could be there then I would want him there. However, if it were a game in the World Series that he would be giving the ball up for to be there with me then I would tell him to stay and play – pitch his team to victory.

I don’t care how much money Colby Lewis makes – I think he made the right decision by giving up his start and heading to California. Think about all the women out there that have to give birth to their child alone because the father of the child doesn’t want them, the body or anything to do with either of them. Again, this could just be because I’m a woman.

What are your thoughts on all this? Did the writer take it too far expressing his opinion saying that Lewis should have made his scheduled start or did Lewis have every right to take leave for the birth of his second child, a daughter whom they named Elizabeth Grace? Chime in below with your thoughts!