Making MLB Safe for Mr. Mom: The Paternity List

Baseball culture has been changing a great deal recently, particularly when it comes to valid reasons for players to miss playing time. Way back in the old days, teams used to go shorthanded a lot more often than they do now. As Bill James recently wrote, “When a player has a minor injury now, we move him to the minors and let him get healthy before we put him back in the lineup. Thirty years ago players would sit out a week — on the active roster — then play their way back into shape at the major league level.” As specialization increased, and each team began to carry six or seven relievers, teams simply couldn’t afford to lose a player for that length of time. In 2002, the only way a player could leave his team without leaving them a man short was to go on the 15-day or 60-day disabled list. Anything short of being disabled — including a concussion, a childbirth, or a death in the family — and the team would have to play with a 24-man roster. Players were forced to make a difficult choice — essentially, they had to chose between doing the best thing for their families or the best thing for their teammates.

Times have changed. In 2003, MLB instituted the “bereavement list.” Now also known as the “Family Medical Emergency List,” it allows players to take time off for family emergencies, including the death of a relative. And in 2011, MLB instituted both the seven-day DL for concussions and the “paternity leave list,” which allows players to leave their teams for the birth of a child. Colby Lewis was the first person to use the list to attend the birth of his child in mid-April, and seven more players have made use of it since then: Grant Balfour, David Purcey, Ian Desmond, Kurt Suzuki, Jason Bay, Ross Gload and most recently Ian Kinsler. For the most part, the paternity leave list has gone off without a hitch. It’s hardly controversial for a father to want to witness the birth of his child. Right?

The basic procedure for putting a player on the paternity list is simple: The club submits a written request to the commissioner’s office for a player whose child’s birth is imminent or has occurred within the previous 48 hours. Players can miss between one and three days. The bereavement list works in a similar way, and MLB spokesman Pat Courtney told me that its usage has not significantly changed over the years. Roughly 15 teams use the bereavement list every year, without too much variation. This suggests that, while players and teams are always looking for an edge, they don’t appear to be abusing the bereavement list, and it’s not too likely that they will abuse the paternity leave list, either.*

* The disabled list, of course, been subject to more fraud over the years. When a team can’t figure out what’s wrong with a player, or just want to get him out of the way, they may simply shove them onto the disabled list with the vaguest possible medical description. Famously, in 1998, the Braves disabled Mark Wohlers with perhaps the simplest diagnosis of all: “Inability to pitch.”

Most of the players who have made use of the paternity leave list this year have met either approval or silence for doing so. The brunt of the weak criticism was borne by the pioneer, Colby Lewis, who was greeted by a sarcastic blog post by Richie Whitt in the Dallas Observer:

A pitcher missing one of maybe 30 starts? And it’s all kosher because of Major League Baseball’s new paternity leave rule? …

If it was a first child, maybe. But a second child causing a player to miss a game? Ludicrous.

Rob Neyer half-heartedly agreed: “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.”

A year ago, before the inauguration of the paternity leave list, it was put even more harshly by Bill Simmons’s friend John O’Connor (“JackO”). He expressed his sentiments on a B.S. Report podcast last August, when Mark Teixeira missed two games for the birth of his son. O’Connor was clearly playing for laughs, but he also clearly agreed with Neyer:

He’s a professional athlete. In exchange for that $20,625,000, he’s expected to play in the games. It’s not his first kid. It’s his third kid.

It’s one thing if he has a 9-to-5 job and he’s making $60 grand. You wanna be Mr. Mom, and be there every day and give him a bath, that’s fine. You signed on to be a professional athlete to make more money in one year than most people will ever see in their lives. In exchange for that there are certain sacrifices that you have to make. Like not being there for the birth of your third kid when the Yankees are in the midst of a pennant race.

Women were quick to notice the irony. The Miami Herald’s Cindy Krischer Goodman wrote: “As a country, we’ve been quick to criticize the choices and sacrifices mothers have made. Now, it’s dads’ turn and I think that shows we’ve made progress.” The Hello Ladies blog added, “Whitt’s column, even if it was just intended to grab attention, makes it easier to understand why women, and mothers in particular, face discrimination at work.”

Clearly, though, baseball culture is changing, and as I said last week, that’s the most powerful kind of change. While the other major sports of football, basketball, and hockey each have an equivalent of the DL (usually called the Injured Reserve) to the best of my knowledge, none has an equivalent of the bereavement list or paternity leave list. Together with the seven-day DL for concussions, which have helped to reduce the stigma around concussions in baseball culture, the end result, in baseball, has been to create a more humane league, one in which players are permitted to engage in actions related to emotions that athletes do not always express: grief, worry, concern, and the joy of childbirth.

Last week, I discussed the political cover that Billy Beane gave Kurt Suzuki to attempt to avoid unnecessary injury in a play at the plate; the concussion DL, bereavement list, and paternity leave list each provide different types of protection for a player’s physical and emotional health. And, ultimately, because a happier player is a more productive player, utilizing these lists is not only a matter of principle, but also of strategy. Each of these weakens the double standards inherent in baseball’s traditional culture, double standards that demand that an athlete ignore and sacrifice his emotional and physical health by the justification of his salary.

So what are the next frontiers for this kinder, gentler MLB? Perhaps a disabled list for mental health or substance abuse treatment? An even more important step is one that no list can effectuate: the acceptance of an openly gay player. The more that baseball culture, baseball fans and baseball players get used to the idea that ballplayers can be whole emotional beings without shame or embarrassment, the closer that day will come.




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Alex is a writer for FanGraphs and The Hardball Times, and is a product manager for The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @alexremington.


102 Responses to “Making MLB Safe for Mr. Mom: The Paternity List”

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  1. Hunter says:

    If say, Roy Halladay takes paternity leave, and misses a start that goes to Kyle Kendrick instead, and Kendrick is predictably blowtorched, and the Phillies miss the playoffs by one game….

    I’m gonna be pissed.

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  2. soladoras says:

    Alex,

    Are you ever going to write another article that doesn’t deal with racism or sexism in society?

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  3. Hunter says:

    I think the concept of paternity leave puts the game into perspective. It might be the be-all and end-all to fans who live and die with their teams, but to a baseball player, just like to an accountant, or a customer service rep, or whatever, family should come first, and baseball is just a job.

    However…is that really the message baseball wants to send to their fan base? That baseball is just a job and individual games aren’t that important? That the baseball game(s) the star player missed in the middle of a pennant run are no biggie?

    Is that a desireable outlook for a fanbase to have, from MLB’s point of view?

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    • juan pierre's mustache says:

      i mean im looking forward to a player publicly not using the paternity leave option, being celebrated by the fans for playing when he could have taken time off, and then being divorced shortly thereafter

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      • Hunter says:

        There’s already players this year who have had kids who haven’t been put on paternity leave. It’s just not mentioned.

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      • juan pierre's mustache says:

        yeah i mean it would have to be a more important case…i imagine if it was halladay in a stretch run it’d be more of a big deal and it might be reported on that he chose not to, etc.

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    • not really, though says:

      is it just a job when you make 6-10 figures a year to play a game also played by toddlers?

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    • kick me in the GO NATS says:

      I think players can afford to have their pregnant wives travel with them. pop the baby out in a nearby hospital to the stadium. At which point the wet nurse takes over so the wife can start getting back into shape.

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  4. Mark says:

    Have these critics actually ever HAD children? The first child is easy; you have one kid. The mom can take care of her.

    If you have 3 kids, you need someone to take care of the other 2 while mom is tending to the newborn/recuperating.

    So to say that it’s OK for the first child but not the third seems pretty ignorant. I have 2 kids and I love them both. Both of their births were special experiences; neither was more special than the other.

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    • Hunter says:

      I guess the presumption is that even the poorest major leaguer is making half a million a year and can afford a nanny to watch the kids. It’s not like the rest of us schlubs who need one of the parents or a family member to do it.

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    • philkid3 says:

      I think Whitt’s only kid was through previous marriage.

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      • Elsewhere in the column, Whitt explains: “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.”

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  5. tdotsports1 says:

    What happened to the story about MLB teams signing midgets? Was it taken down?

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  6. World's first openly-gay SABRist says:

    Great piece.

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  7. Hunter says:

    The problem is that in baseball, every game really does matter if your team is in contention for the playoffs. There is no way to tell, ahead of time, what the margin of victory or defeat will be. So the three days a star player takes off to be with his family could very well be the margin between a team going to the playoffs or not.

    I mean, I guess that’s fine if you don’t consider baseball to be important and whomever makes the playoffs is no biggie. But I don’t think that’s really the target audience MLB is selling to.

    I can’t wait to see what happens when/if this does occur.

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    • juan pierre's mustache says:

      Don Mattingly encouraged Juan Uribe to take paternity leave when his dog had puppies. #emojuanuribe

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      • Ryan Bulliva says:

        I always get Juan Uribe and Juan Pierre mixed up.
        Same thing with George Foreman and Gary Coleman..

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  8. Guy says:

    Ugh. Here we go again…

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  9. Peter Campbell says:

    Alex,

    Thank you for another excellent post. As a teacher who frequently has several DI athletes in the classroom, I can say that being able to make connections between sport and important cultural discussions is an important part of responsible education today. I hope I will continue seeing your work on Fangraphs.

    Peter

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  10. CircleChange11 says:

    To me, a player being there during the birth is important when everything goes right.

    When something goes wrong, it’s paramount.

    If a player uses the paternity leave and his wife or newborn dies or has complications, is their any valid criticism?

    I can’t remember the name of the player, but the Giants used to have a middle infielder (Latin player) whose wife and newborn both died during the birthing process. I always wondered how he treated himself for not being there, let alone how he recovered from such a thing.

    I remember Willie Stargell talking about retirement and saying that he was excited because he was going to get to watch his son play baseball. His son was a senior in high school.

    I saw Jayson Werth at a travel tournament over the 2010 ASB, he was watching his son (Chatham, IL) play. I wanted to ask him about it, but ended up just saying “Hey”.

    These guys do pretty much give up their families and any active role as father to play baseball, as well as, give up the possibility of having a normal marriage. But, I don’t think that means (even with a big contract) that they should be expected to forego all responsibilities.

    Teammates may view it differently, as I heard Hershieser commenting on Lewis during a broadcast and he was not supportive.

    It’s an easy choice to me in regards to who to piss off … teammates & fans, or your wife.

    But aside from moral or professional viewpoints, there’s also medical situations to consider. There may be very difficult medical decisions to be made, and they might need to be made quickly, and those decisions, if mom is able to make them, are not ones that should occur without discussion with dad or at least him being there.

    There could be more involved than just dad being there to cut the chord, give butterfly kisses and pass out cigars.

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  11. barold says:

    MLB should mandate that players restrict their reproductive activities to the months of February, March and April, so that the player’s wives would only give birth during the offseason!

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    • hunterfan says:

      Well, that would actually make sense.

      I’m an accountant. I would never want to have children during tax season, and I planned it that way. Believe it or not, there are ways to greatly reduce your incidence of having children during times you don’t want them.

      But then I guess that would require people to take responsibility for their reproductive actions and not pretend that a little stork just left a baby under the cabbage.

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  12. Telo says:

    This is such a meaningful piece to me. I especially love the quote from the “Hello Ladies” blog. What a lovely niche of the internet those crazy ladies have carved out over there! I really do fancy their work.

    I have been pondering this piece over my afternoon tea and yoga, and I have come to the only conclusion a logical person could make:

    Alex Remington is a chick. Or close enough.

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  13. Telo says:

    In short, who gives a f@ck. A dude should have the right to take a day off from work to see his kids being born. If he’s in a pennant race and he’s important to the team… well, you’re a selfish prick – but it’s still your right.

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    • Actually, that right is granted to him under U.S. Law — the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, which the Collective Bargaining Agreement specifically stipulates that Major League Baseball will comply with. The Family and Medical Leave Act provides that an employee may take unpaid leave for a number of family-related situations including attending the birth of a child.

      The difference is, now a team can actually replace a player who wants to do so, rather than be forced to play short-handed.

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      • Telo says:

        I didn’t word my post very well – I meant I agree with the current setup that a team should not be penalized, and that it should be socially accepted if a player takes off to see his kid being born…unless you are direly needed by your teammates. In which case, you are a crap teammate. Who cares about your kid – go win games.

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    • MikeS says:

      And if a fan feels that his hobby is more important than that man’s family, well, he’s a selfish prick but that’s his right.

      They are playing a game. Maybe you enjoy watching but it’s still a game. Sure, every one here would trade places in a heartbeat but let’s not forget that these guys have to be away from there families for nearly half of every year. More if the families don’t live in the cities they play in. They miss years of their kids growing up. Yes, they get to play baseball and yes they are well payed but they do make some sacrifices so that you can have fun.

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    • kick me in the GO NATS says:

      I think unselfish players should just impregnate their wives during spring training so their babies can be born in the off season.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    saged and reported

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  15. BillWallace says:

    Since it’s the law that players can take time off for family medical, MLB should provide teams with an option to fill the roster spot.

    But JackO is right, for $400K+ per year, you give up certain freedoms… just like celebrities. They should be choosing not to take that option.

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  16. reillocity says:

    Let’s think bigger picture now…

    Can a player take paternity leave for a child born to someone who isn’t his wife? Say a live-in girfriend or, worse yet, a mistress?

    And isn’t there eventually going to be a female player in MLB? And would she go on the restricted list or disabled list due to pregnancy?

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    • jim says:

      did babe ruth ever take a day off to visit the birth of his kid? or walter johnson, cy young, ty cobb, honus wagner, etc?

      (not trolling, actually asking)

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  17. DIsgusted says:

    Baseball is a game. A freaking game.

    It is astounding to me that people believe it is wrong for a player to miss 1-2 games to see the birth of his child. Who cares how much money they make? Anyone who has had a child, and isn’t a terrible father like some of you seem to be, will agree that it is a momentous occasion like no other in life.

    So you team misses the playoffs by one game because one player missed one game. How about those other 24 players and those 161 other games? This isn’t the NFL, a player missing one game is hardly a reason to say “oh, we missed the playoffs this year because of THAT.” And if worse comes to worse, there is next season, and the next one, and the 50+ more after that until you die. That player, that man, may never have another child.

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    • Steve Bartman says:

      ‘So you team misses the playoffs by one game because one player missed one game. How about those other 24 players and those 161 other games? This isn’t the NFL, a player missing one game is hardly a reason to say “oh, we missed the playoffs this year because of THAT.” ‘

      Preach on, brother! I always told ‘em it wasn’t my fault….

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    • NBH says:

      Couldn’t agree more. I wonder if these people think it’s terrible for players to miss time when they have a death in the family or when a child or spouse or parent is having major surgery.

      Why is someone’s salary relevant as to whether or not they can miss time from work for a major life event?

      Players constantly miss games when they are healthy – it’s called a “day off.” They can’t have a “day off” when their wives give birth?

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  18. Antonio Bananas says:

    Does a paternity leave really make a pitcher miss much? when he comes back won’t he be plugged back in an earlier position than before? They don’t want him to get rusty so as soon as he’s back he probably pitches.

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    • As I said above, with the paternity leave list, “Players can miss between one and three days.”

      So a starting pitcher would not necessarily have to miss a start, if the team creatively scheduled its rotation — particularly by calling up a spot starter in place of the player that had been placed on the list.

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  19. Andy says:

    The most absurd criticism I’ve seen is “Well, it’s not your first child, it’s your third child, so why should that matter?” The child being born is still a person. In what way is the first child any more important than the third in any objective sense? Sure, some nostalgia might be had over your “first child,” but just because they were born first doesn’t make them any more important than your third, fifth, or even tenth child. It’s point blank ridiculous and anybody using it as reasoning should be ashamed.

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    • Rich says:

      Yeah, those critics seem to think that the point of being granted paternity leave is that the birth of a child is some kind of novelty, and after a player has done it once, he can’t get much more out of it. I guess they’re failing to consider a lot of things: how you can’t really make up for missing a birth, that it’s one of the most important moments in a couple’s life (first, third or whatever time), or how there might even be serious, life-changing complications during a birth.

      The fact that some people are looking at this in terms of team wins/losses is really telling. Every ball club should be able to move players around enough to compensate for one guy’s absence for 1-3 days. How well do you think a guy is going to play if all he can think about is how he’s not permitted to take a few days off to be present at the birth of his child? Or, for that matter, if something doesn’t go right and he couldn’t be there because he had to play a game? Let a guy deal with what needs to be dealt with, and he’ll come back ready to play.

      A lot of people need to get their priorities straight. Take any player’s salary, divide it by at least 164, and no matter how high that number, it still can’t make up for missing your kid being born. People take paternity leave from important jobs that really matter in the real world, and if you can’t understand why that’s a good thing, maybe you need to reexamine your values. The whole notion that because ballplayers make good money they should have to make pointless sacrifices reeks of petty jealousy and entitlement. “Sorry you couldn’t be there for your wife during the complicated and momentous process of childbirth, but you signed a contract, and you’re one of our top clutch hitters. Too bad you went 0 for 4 and made an error.”

      Seriously, people: no one is obliged to miss the birth of their son or daughter just so that a fan can have one more thing to clap for.

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  20. evo34 says:

    People understand that in most cases, having a child is a scheduled event, right? The chronology is not exactly a mystery. Hence, if you make $10 million spread out over ~150 discrete events, don’t schedule your pregnancy in to make you miss one (or three) of these events, thereby costing your employer (and ultimately fans) up to $200,000. For those bad at math, this means: don’t get your wife pregnant from July to February. No one is forcing anyone to take on the odd profession of being a pro athelete.

    John O’Connor said it best in the article, “You signed on to be a professional athlete to make more money in one year than most people will ever see in their lives. In exchange for that there are certain sacrifices that you have to make.”

    One of these sacrifices should be not starting a pregnancy any ol’ time of year, or if you choose to do so, recognize that you may not be able to attend the birth.

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    • WilsonC says:

      Considering one of those sacrifices of the career choice is that players often don’t get to spend much time with their families from March to September/October, it’s a bit unrealistic to expect players to avoid starting pregnancies during the months when they can spend the most time with their wives. And considering that managers typically give most players a day off here and there to stay fresh anyway, it really doesn’t take much additional effort to plan one of these days off to coincide with a paternity leave. To me it should be a non-issue.

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    • P. Cicero says:

      Unintended pregnancies do happen despite having taken proper precautions. And if this does occur, I suppose that evo34 and others would be upset if this player didn’t make “certain sacrifices” required to terminate that pregnancy.

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  21. evo34 says:

    Why has Fangraphs become an op-ed platform for Remington to spout opinion on marginally baseball-related topics? WordPress and Blogger.com are there for you, Alex. Use them.

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    • For what it’s worth, Fangraphs is actually built on a WordPress platform.

      But I don’t see how this is “marginally baseball-related.” This is a column about an innovation in Major League Baseball in 2011. Would you say that the Disabled List is “marginally baseball-related”? It’s part and parcel of team operations.

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  22. nota bene says:

    I’m appalled, but I guess not surprised, that this is even remotely controversial. I can’t fathom why someone could possibly be upset over a player missing a couple games to attend the birth of a child. I just don’t understand what’s to argue about. Family > baseball. This isn’t complicated.

    Why should Colby Lewis (or anyone else) give a flying fuck in a rolling donut what Joe Commenter has to say about him using the paternity list?

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  23. cs3 says:

    Shouldnt this post, and all your other social issue topics, go in Not Graphs, or on another site?

    Because it dosent seem statistic oriented in any way, shape, or form to me

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    • Ultimately, that’s my editors’ call, and I write my pieces where Dave Cameron and David Appelman think best. But Fangraphs isn’t a “stats” site. It’s a baseball sit. There are a lot of topics in the sport that can’t be described by statistics – and I believe they’re still worthy of discussion.

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      • Eric says:

        then why doesn’t Carson write long pieces here any longer?

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      • r says:

        it is a stat site: the header of the page “fangraphs.com” is “baseball statistics and analysis.”

        neither of which are you providing

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      • I’m analyzing the effect of the paternity leave list.

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      • Bron says:

        100% agree that you should not be posting on the main site. Your material does not fit at all with the other posters. The main site absolutely is a stats site. I don’t know how you could say otherwise.

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      • Fangraphs is a baseball site. Stats are analytic tools. They don’t replace analysis, they enhance it.

        The articles I write are analytic in nature, but I generally write about topics for which there are no easy statistics to parse. I give whatever numbers I can. But don’t confuse numbers with intelligent discourse. Stats are not a sine qua non for intelligent discussion. Intelligence is.

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      • Guy says:

        Alex,

        Get off your high horse. I’m not even referring to the content of this article as it’s generally excellent. It’s the “I’m a smart writer who writes about intelligent topics and therefore my work fits anywhere” attitude and the immediate snark filled shutdown of those who have a legitimate question about where your stuff would be best consumed.

        I happen to both like your articles and agree with the above posters. I think there’s a better place for your work than FG’s main site.

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      • I apologize if I come off as snarky; I don’t mean to be. I have asked my editors whether they would prefer my stuff on NotGraphs, and they’ve told me to stay where I am. It really, truly isn’t my decision.

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    • My echo and bunnymen says:

      I’ve never seen any on the internet who actively tries as hard as you Alex, cheers mate!

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  24. JimmyBallgame says:

    I think what most of people don’t realise is that ballplayers generally have some power over their fates, unlike the sad car salesman bragging about missing/delaying your children’s birth to sell that extra 1996 Fiat for $1,300.

    Maybe instead of a facelessly attacking baseball players you should try to improve your own lot? Or is that too much trouble?

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  25. cobradc23 says:

    Wouldn’t missing 1-3 games be virtually negligible in the grand scheme of things? We always talk about small sample sizes and such so if a player misses 2 games for the birth of his child, would it really make that much of a difference in the game’s outcome? Who is to say that the player wouldn’t be 0 for 8 during those 2 games while the player filling in for him goes 4 for 8. If the player were going to miss a few weeks, I could see where the concern would come in because of the larger sample of games played but two games is hardly enough to worry about.

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  26. bluejaysstatsgeek says:

    Thanks Alex. I didn’t realize there was a paternity list. I’m surprised the Jays didn’t use it when Jose Bautista’s little girl was born, April 4. He missed the Oakland series, April 5-7 and the Jays didn’t replace him.

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  27. P. Cicero says:

    This article and Alex’s other articles examining baseball and social issues absolutely are baseball analysis and add a lot to the site. The view that these articles should not appear on the site is frankly unsophisticated and disappointing to see among what are typically more developed thinkers on this site. You may disagree with a conclusion, or certain ideas expressed, but to object to being exposed to the topics and being asked to think about them, well that reveals more about the reader than anything else. Sports is an escape for many but it also is a reflection of society, as Alex has alluded to, and it is worthwhile to many Fangraphs readers to examine these issues.

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  28. Stuart says:

    Alex I appreciate this article too, I wasn’t aware of that change and I think it’s great. A whole new person coming into the world (and your family) is not something any father should have to miss, and it’s cool of MLB to decide to help teams not have to pressure players into missing a birth as much. A well written piece (and significant patience in the comments section), thank you.

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  29. My echo and bunnymen says:

    I cannot believe that honestly people don’t wish for players to leave their team to witness the birth of a child, he’s supposed to push through it and be a “man”. I’ve always thought a man was anyone who knew his desires and what he values most in life. Child births are important no matter what the number, and that is another thing apparently we no longer think of children as people but as numbers. They are people, who need a father more than a baseball player. Don’t care if they can afford a babysitter, it’s not a replacement.

    *stepping down from my soapbox

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    • My echo and bunnymen says:

      *stepping back up

      I also cannot believe people argue about the relevance of an article on a FREE website. Have we really nothing better to do than complain about another man’s hard work to give us analytic information from a different perspective all for the ability to look at baseball as both a sport and political battle ground. Whether you like politics or not, these baseball players have lives outside of baseball. I’m sorry the realization that someone who has knowledge on FIP, ERA+, FIP-, UZR, +/-, WAR, wOBA, and wFB/C, could possibly see life as more than a stat sheet but math should work jointly with humanity, not against. Find your souls.

      *walking away

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  30. jwb says:

    “Perhaps a disabled list for mental health”

    Zack Greinke and Dontrelle Willis have spent time on the DL for anxiety disorders.

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    • You’re absolutely right, and that’s essentially the same thing that landed Mark Wohlers on the DL with “inability to pitch.”

      But I believe that a specific DL for mental health, like the specific DL for concussions, would aid players in coming forward to deal with specific issues — to believe that mental health is as tangible and real as physical health, and that trying to deal with mental health issues is as necessary and blameless as trying to deal with physical health issues.

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      • jwb says:

        The reason for the separate 7 day concussion DL was that post-concussions syndrome effects sometimes clear up rather quickly. Mine always, Mine always, Mine always have. A shorter term DL for observation and testing would encourage a team to use it and not either play a man short for a few days if things go well or commit them to a 15 day DL stint.

        I don’t see the same benefits with a separate mental health DL. Do you really think that teams and/or players would favor a separate list and would be more likely to use it? It seems what they have now can work.

        Didn’t an Oakland pitcher also go on the DL with mental health issues a few years ago, too? I may be misremembering. Sometimes, late at night, I read “KC player. . .” and I think “A’s player”. Or maybe he also had a sore arm and the DL entry was “elbow inflammation”.

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      • You’re right. There may well be no need. I find the concept of a 7-day DL interesting, though, and the idea of a flexible-length DL might be helpful for a team trying to help a player through a specific mental health issue.

        But I’m not a doctor — I’m just trying to offer a few possibilities for directions MLB might take as they further refine their policy. They have clearly put a lot of effort into these lists in the last few years, and it’s very possible that will continue into the future.

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  31. Jeff says:

    Some of these replies are disgusting. I love baseball as much as the next poster, but it is entertainment. It doesn’t matter if you miss the playoffs because it is entertainment. Why would anyone push to take one of the most special things in life away from someone just because that fan is a greedy asshole?

    By the way, one start by a pitcher is worth on average .1 WAR. I think you can do without one start.

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  32. manuscript says:

    Interesting place to paste the ‘snarky’ label. Seems that alex has been addressing those criticisms that appear to be semi -valid (which is a severe minority of them) and you’re labeling him as smug? Fangraphs does not purport to be a hardline sabr-only resource, as pointed out before half of the tagline is ANALYSIS. This article brings to light changes in the game of baseball and it raises points and questions for analysis, which a majority of us are failing to appreciate.

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