Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Paternity Leave Tweet

By. Mike Baxter

I was assaulted yesterday on Twitter for saying the following things regarding Nats' Catcher Wilson Ramos' paternity leave:

"Paternity leave for a guy who is making $2m+/year to play a game, is embarrassing. Its not like the are on the road either. My point is that his wife is here in DC, are on home stand. He doesn't really need 3 days off from that "rough and tough, $2m/year job" of playing baseball."

First things first, I do not have kids. And from my standpoint, this is not relevant to this particular opinion. Secondly, if the Nats had been on a road trip and/or Wilson Ramos' wife was not residing in the DC area with him, my opinion would be that he most certainly deserves the time off, and I would not make issue with him missing 3 games. Logistically, he would need to take the 3 games off to be there for his wife and child.

But that's not the case. The Nats are at home for 3 games against the Mets and his wife is here in the DC area as well. In fact, she had their baby daughter Monday morning.

The question is not whether or not Wilson Ramos deserves to be there for the birth of his first child; he does. The question is not whether or not Wilson Ramos should be there in the hours and days following the birth of his child, as he should be.

So let me address what I was saying, since most of the assaulters yesterday, are too concerned with getting offended first, screaming at me second, and then maybe taking two seconds out of their day to consider what I was actually saying, third.

@EricFingerhut on Twitter said to me, "So you believe paternity leave in general is embarrassing, or just for rich baseball players. Either way, you're wrong."

Actually, Eric, I am not wrong. And I don't think paternity leave in general is embarrassing. But I'm glad you brought up the money aspect of it and what he does for a living.

The fact that he makes $2M/year is a consideration. Its only about 20 times more than the typical American family makes in a year.  It affords Ramos and his family to have the best medical staff and help that's available in the country. So is the fact that he's a Major League Baseball player. Unlike you and me and the majority of the rest of the country, Wilson doesn't have to get up at the crack of dawn, fight traffic for an hour, and then grind away at his job for 8 hours or more. He plays baseball for a living. He probably gets to the ball park around 1:30 or 2pm for a 7:05pm start. Of a game...

I'm pretty sure, considering the circumstances of his wife being right here in DC and the Nats playing games right here in DC, that Wilson with the permission from the team- which he would most certainly get, that he could cut his pre-gaming down by a couple hours, maybe he gets to the ball park at 4:30 or 5 for Games 2 and 3, puts in the 4-5 hour day and then returns back home.

Is that asking too much?

Bottom-line, he is compensated handsomely to play a game. The team still pays him and has been there for him when he's injured. And in professional sports, unlike other jobs out there ERIC, your season is condensed into about a 6-7 month window, not a 12 month out of the year job like the rest of us working class slobs. And when that season is in full swing, and you're in a pennant race in early August, your team expects you to perform and you should do everything in your power to be there.

Anthony Harris, @Skull_Bonez on Twitter said to me, "If it was a woman, you'd feel different."

Well, no shit, Sherlock. I'll let the genius known as Anthony Harris, ponder this proposition for an hour (or maybe he needs more than an hour), to consider why I might feel different if we were talking about a woman athlete needing leave because of the impending birth of a child, much more so than a man would.

Interestingly enough, I had 16 different assaulters on my Twitter timeline following my comments yesterday. However, when I proposed the same statement/question, regarding how fans and people in general would feel if one of the Nats star players wanted to take paternity leave under the same circumstances, BUT it was a home World Series game, only 1 person replied.

My tweet and thought process wasn't an attempt to insult women or anyone for that matter. It wasn't an attempt to be insensitive, or to dismiss the importance of family or the need to be around for the birth of a child. It was simply a thought, based on the reasons I've presented both here and on Twitter, that would be logistically possible for Mr. Ramos to pull off. But instead, as is Twitter's modus operandi, it became a "let's all get offended and then piss and moan and whine" at the offender, as if he just ran over our dog or took our first born.

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