Jimmy Rollins Should Not Be Criticized for Taking Paternity Leave

By Carl Conrad

There has been a great deal of chatter regarding the fact that Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins left the club on Monday in order to be with his wife while she gave birth to their first child.  Thanks to baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement, players are allowed a maximum of 72 hours away from their team in such circumstances.

Both sides of this situation are understandable.  Of course Rollins has every right to be with his wife while she gives birth to their first child.  Many would argue that is a father’s responsibility.  On the other hand, as far as his professional life is concerned, the Phillies were already struggling mightily with Rollins playing.  His absence forced manager Charlie Manuel to adjust an already diluted lineup that included the likes of former San Francisco Giant Mike Fontenot.

Rollins is an individual that has the potential to change the game any time he steps on the field, whether it is with his bat, base running ability or in the field.  His absence lead to poorer than usual offensive exhibitions against a division rival.  It is impossible to determine if Rollins’ presence would have had an impact on the results of those games.  What is definite, however, is the fact that the Phillies were a much different team without him on the field.

I, personally, applaud Rollins for taking a brief leave from the team to be with his wife as his first child was brought into the world.  In a sports world where winning is everything, athletes and fans alike often lose sight of the big picture which results in priorities that are completely skewed.  It is refreshing to find an athlete of Rollins’ caliber who realizes that his job is not everything, regardless of what those on the outside think.

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