Indians, WWW

Oh baby: While We’re Waiting

Happy Thursday, gang! I hope y’all have come down from that collective, patriotism-induced, ‘MERICA hangover. Two days removed from America’s annual celebration of independence and bald eagles, and I’m no longer sporting stars and stripes from head to toe… but I am still feeling that too-many-hotdogs-and-Bud-Lights bloat. (Just as our forefathers intended, I’m sure.)

Have you noticed the boom that’s sweeping through Cleveland? I’m not talking about dudes in cut-off jorts lighting oversized fire crackers that they swear are legal; I’m talking about the paternity boom that’s making its way through the Cleveland Indians’ clubhouse.

Seriously, have you noticed? Yesterday, the Tribe announced that first baseman Carlos Santana would be going on paternity leave for the birth of his third child. Santana would be out for Wednesday’s run-deprived loss the San Diego Padres, and could be out until Saturday at the latest.

That announcement came just two weeks after Tribe closer Cody Allen was placed on the team’s paternity list following the birth of his child. A week before that, outfielder/smooth operator Michael Brantley went on paternity leave, as well.

The timing is interesting, no? A quick glance at the calendar confirmed this rash of new Tribe-tots is no coincidence… the American League Championship Series was almost exactly nine months ago. Oh. So… we kind of know how Carlos, Cody and Michael (and their respective wives) celebrated the Indians’ American League championship. Turns out the clubhouse champagne showers were just the appetizer.

And then, I was reminded that two more Indians, Carlos Carrasco and Mike Clevinger, also went on paternity leave during the team’s 2017 spring training—about nine months after the Golden State Warriors blew a 3-1 lead and the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Finals.

Photo courtesy: Carlos Carrasco via Instagram

Tom Hamilton went on air Wednesday night to credit the team’s youthful exuberance with being the root of this not-so-coincidental flurry of babies, but it’s clear this is a team that likes to get down after major victories, and I am here for it. But this clubhouse baby boom got me thinking… What’s the deal with the MLB’s paternity-leave policy, anyway?

It turns out, the MLB didn’t institute its paternity leave policy until 2011. As a lifelong Tribe fan, I honestly don’t recall its inception. I also don’t remember it not existing. It just seems like the option to step away from the team for a few days should have always just been a thing, right?

Well it wasn’t, but it is now. So, how does it work? From Fangraphs:

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.

Three days doesn’t seem like a lot of time to bond with one’s wife and new baby, but I suppose it’s better than nothing. It’s up to each player (and probably more so his wife) to determine how many of the three available days he’ll take.

As someone who’s been to a lot of baby showers over the last five years, my thoughts then turned to gifts. What do you get for the new Tribe dad who (probably) has everything?

For Carlos Santana:

Photo courtesy of BABYBJÖRN

As a former catcher, Carlos should feel right at home in this baby carrier, right? Plus, he’s a dad of three now–he’ll probably need to be hands-free as much as he can. Also: Carlos.

For Cody Allen:

Photo courtesy of CraftsEverywhere

Like father, like son? This baby hat is equal parts adorable and awesome, and is available on Etsy.

For Michael Brantley:

My sources could not confirm whether Dr. Smooth assisted in the birth of his child, but this outfit would be a perfect gift either way.

Speaking of perfect, I hope your Thursday is just that, Cleveland. I’ll keep an eye on the Tribe’s baby count for now.

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  • nj0

    By “cultural” do you mean “union”? The players had to negotiate to get three days of paid paternity leave. No other professional sports league does the same.

  • mgbode

    Doesn’t the fact that the MLBPA negotiated to add that benefit make it indeed an important baseball cultural component?

  • Garry_Owen

    It isn’t what I meant, but it certainly falls within that. I much prefer parties contracting for benefits, whether individually or through organized approaches, than to have the state jump in and declare them to be entitlements. By “cultural,” I simply mean cultural. For example, my preference would be that my firm establishes a culture of providing men and women with the benefit of time off, recognizing that it actually provides a cultural and economic benefit to the business.

  • mgbode

    And there’s a reason that France is fighting to reduce their insane worker benefit laws. As always, it is about balance.

  • Garry_Owen

    And once something becomes a governmental entitlement, it becomes nearly impossible to remove it.

  • Garry_Owen

    Joking aside, there’s likely some truth to that! And not just sleep, but also general stress. There are points where being on the road is less stressful than being home (with “stress” not necessarily being tied to negative things).

  • mgbode

    Macron is battling. It is crazy to me that their labor force has to beg their labor leaders to let them work more.

    http://www.politico.eu/article/emmanuel-macron-dives-head-first-into-labor-reform-french-president-france-economy-unions/

  • RGB
  • nj0

    Understood, though I don’t see those kind of cultures emerging without influence from strong labor unions and public policy.

  • Garry_Owen

    Well, cultural changes always take time (and it’s happening, sometimes due to unions, sometimes not). Far better, from my perspective, than ham-fisted public policy that stretches beyond the reasonable objectives of government.

  • CBiscuit

    Yeah exactly. Our good friends in Sweden talk to us about their wonderful 18 month leave, and when we visit (and in Denmark), you can actually see it. Daytime, there are moms and dads pushing around kids and filling up playgrounds with more regularity than here.

    I asked, “ok but can you really do the 18 month or will people/employers judge you badly if you take the leave time?”
    Response: “Actually, they’ll probably judge you if you don’t.”

    It doesn’t even have to be extreme either. The US could start out with 4 weeks, 6 weeks, something. Selfishly (and I know we’re stubborn and short sighted), but investments in families and children pay dividends in so many long term ways for a country.

  • nj0

    Sure, you could call it part of the culture, but “culture” is such a vague term. I’d rather be specific and call it – “an issue that the members of the MLBPA felt about strongly enough to negotiate for it”.

    “Culture” can mean just about anything. Personally, I’d consider public policy an integral part of “culture”, though others seem to view it as some kind of unnatural intrusion.

  • CBiscuit

    Sure would be nice if things were just offered by the companies/employers as part of a “culture” but look around and see how that’s been working out. We all don’t want gov’t in our lives because we want the private person to do the charitable thing, which sounds good in theory–until it doesn’t happen.

    Case in point (and maybe because this is in my area of practice), we didn’t have the ADA until around 1990. The rights of the disabled–both in the public and in private sectors–was ummm, to be desired. We didn’t have FMLA until recently. It doesn’t actually cover as many people as you’d think–but still, some people only recently are protected from losing their jobs because they had a baby (and hustle your butt back in to work ASAP honey because it’s 12 weeks and it’s unpaid and you need to pay your bills!). I’ll stop. Man this country is depressing sometimes.

    Back to thinking happy thoughts about cute little Indians babies…

  • nj0

    Fair enough, but I was talking about well-reasoned public policy that will form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

  • mgbode

    I believe people view public policy as a part of culture, which is why they view it as an unnatural intrusion when it conflicts with their own beliefs on a particular issue.

  • Garry_Owen

    Again, it just goes to what we think are “rights” that should be preserved and protected by the government, and what we think are private benefits. ADA? Yes, I’d say that is an appropriate place for the government to step in and protect a basic (if not fundamental) right. But paternity leave? Debatable. I’ll debate that. I definitely don’t think it’s a “right,” and frankly don’t want the government establishing it as an entitlement.

  • tsm

    Fiss!

  • Garry_Owen

    Again, debatable whether establishing paternity leave as an entitlement falls within the Preamble. I’ll debate it.

  • tsm

    the “rabbit”?

  • RGB

    Nope. But, he’s about the size of a rabbit.

  • TimCleveland

    This in spades. The initial time that parents get to spend with their newborn child is priceless. My wife was able to negotiate 8 weeks with our first and in retrospect, while that seems like a lot, we really should have pressed for more time. That said, a minimum mandatory of around 6-8 weeks seems a reasonable starting point with individual employers deciding if they would like to offer more.

    Sidenote – the company I work for recently decided that they wanted to be a best in class company for offering maternal/paternal leave for its employees. They went from 12 weeks for maternal and 20 business days for paternal to 6 months for both. I plan on exercising this option when #2 is born. It will probably cost me in terms of promotions, salary, and bonus, but at the end of the day, my family will be there always while my job may not.

  • tsm

    I assume without pay.

  • nj0

    FMLA is a joke, though I guess it’s better than it not existing. Also, in many instances companies offer paid leave but employees never take it because they expect some kind of retribution once they get back.

  • Garry_Owen

    I think it’s self-evident that public policy is part of culture, but also self-evident that bad public policy is an intrusion that creates bad culture.

  • CBiscuit

    Well fair enough. The fact is that most businesses don’t see it as a “right” either which explains why they lack the cultural offering of leave time in your original point that you said you’d prefer over gov’t.

    Not to be pedantic, but I think if we narrowly look at entitlements in terms of “basic rights” it’s dangerous…and it’s very debateable as to what is a basic right for which entitlements should be given. The right to be disabled and cared for? Yes. The right to be old and have insurance? Yes. The right to have a baby and be able to care for it for a few weeks after it’s born? I suppose ok…as long as you’re the mom and you don’t get paid at all for this, and you’re hopefully not poor. And oh yeah, good luck paying for that kid’s health care and yours. It does come down to line drawing indeed and different views on rights.

  • mgbode

    In many instances, it is not nefariously expecting retribution but honoring your responsibility to your team. I have taken 2 weeks of vacation though my companies offer 3/4 pay for 6wks of paternity (I think 8 wks now). I wouldn’t do that to my team though as it would hurt others.

    Taking 12wks or 18 months as is also noted on this thread would be extremely detrimental to my group. No way I would do that.

    And, we are a homeschool family and I coach my kids sports, etc. We are strong on family time. I just don’t see a need to destroy life balance in order to do so.

  • Garry_Owen

    Well, the simple fact is that everyone has the right to have a baby and care for it for a few weeks after it’s born. That cannot be infringed. The question is whether we have the right to “be able to” care for it. If so, who is responsible for providing that ability? One’s employer? Every other taxpayer? If it’s “dangerous” to narrowly look at entitlements in terms of “basic rights,” it’s equally dangerous to equate ever-increasing burdens on some people as “rights” to some others and to send the government down the road of mandating private support for those perceived public rights.

    But I guess we’re again at the impasse of our different worldviews. Happy hour yet?

  • Garry_Owen

    Right. Shelley Duncan is only, and forever will be, a Cleveland Indian!

    So we have that going for us, which is nice.

  • CBiscuit

    I agree with you that 8 weeks is probably a good sweet spot. In California where I live, a couple of years ago, they introduced 6 week Paid Family Leave, so it’s a real thing here on a state level (and amazingly we’re all doing well here and nothing has imploded!).

    You’ll always want more, of course, but that’s a good number to get everyone back on their feet again (espec if c-section), get in the rhythms of baby care, get everyone going. Despite what people say–it’s really a two man job. I still feel badly about leaving my wife and having to go back to work after 2 days after baby #1. That’s rough. Anyway, congrats on baby #2 on the way it sounds?!

  • CBiscuit

    Hells yeah. Taco Tuesday at Paco’s….let’s do it. Or whatever day it is. I’m all screwed up time wise. Let’s just call in Friday and mail it in.

  • Garry_Owen

    I’m on my way. Just head generally west, right?

  • CBiscuit

    It’s a little place maybe twenty miles from Playa Azul and Mexico Highway 37. It’s a hundred miles north-east of Acapulco on the Pacific Ocean. I think you remember the name of the town, don’t you?

  • Garry_Owen
  • Harv

    Who says we can’t have nice things. Shelley Duncan, Dave Duncan, Dunkin’ Donuts – nice/nicer/nicest.

  • Natedawg86

    Santana did grab his calf last game he played before his paternal ….

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