The Futility Infielder

A Baseball Journal by Jay Jaffe I'm a baseball fan living in New York City. In between long tirades about the New York Yankees and the national pastime in general, I'm a graphic designer.

Sunday, May 07, 2006



I'm wearing a black armband today. My grief is unshakeable. After some five years of on-and-off subscription, I've been thrown off of Lee Sinins' Around the Majors mailing list for taking issue with his complaint regarding the loopholes in MLB's bereavement list:
3) The Dodgers called up P Aaron Sele, placed P Odalis Perez on the we feel like getting an extra roster spot list and moved P Yhency Brazoban from the 15 to the 60 day DL.

Officially, Perez is on the "bereavement list." But, someone needs to buy MLB a dictionary, or at least tell them about Bereavement means mourning over death. In the past week, Blue Jays P Scott Downs mourned over the "death" of his daughter, who was merely sick, before her "dead body" must have come back to life. Now, Perez is "mourning" over the "dead body" of his mother, who is merely in the hospital.

There is a reason why there are different words for "dead child" and "sick child" and "dead mother" and "sick mother." Sometimes, there are different words because there are merely synonyms. But, it is often the case that there are different words because they are antonyms. This is clearly a case of the latter.

There is a very simple way to eliminate this mockery. Require actual mourning. Force the team to get a casket, put the "dead" child into it, put it into the middle of the clubhouse and force him/her to sleep in it for a full day while everyone else in the room acts as though it was a wake. Make it very clear--if you want your player to "bereave" then make him bereave and you'll instantly put an end to this.
Pretty tasteless, huh? I guess Sinins has never had to ask for time off from his job due to a death or serious illness in the family because it might affect his job performance. A couple of funerals for grandparents aside, neither have I, thankfully. But why shoot fish in that particular barrel? Does he really think that the hospitalization of Downs' infant daughter due to a respiratory virus was something that was worth making light of to his readership? Should we somehow have less sympathy for Perez because his mother hasn't seen fit to shuffle off this mortal coil yet? Does MLB need to amend the Basic Agreement to call the list "Bereavement and Family Leave" before Sinins is satisfied? Is this the dumbest thing I've ever blogged about (wow, that would take some doing)?

I sent Sinins an email to complain -- "Stick to baseball instead of your lame attempt at humorous social commentary, or unsubscribe me from the list, please," I wrote, managing to leave out four-letter words and ad hominem attacks -- and was rewarded with a very terse dismissal from his "list of meaningless crap" (his words, not mine). I've publicly taken issue with the way he's handled former player deaths in his daily and weekly reports before, so I'm really not surprised to be given the boot.

But WHATEVER. The Around the Majors list is dead to me. I'll probably survive, so please, no grieving.

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