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.