Matt Wieters' day off

September 28, 2012

Congratulations to Maria and Matt Wieters on the birth of their new son, Maverick Luther, who arrived very early on Friday morning.

It is customary in this day and age for a player to take a day or two off to be with his wife and new baby, so backup catcher Taylor Teagarden is in the lineup for tonight’s series opener against the Boston Red Sox at Camden Yards. Wieters is expected to be back in the lineup for tomorrow’s game.

Wieters has been the hardest-working catcher in the American League this year, so getting two consecutive days off (with the offday Thursday) might be good for him at this late stage of the season, though it’s hard to imagine that the last day or so was very restful. The baby arrived at about 5 a.m, which means that everybody in the Wieters clan was up all night and probably still haven’t slept a wink.

He probably feels like he just played back-to-back extra-inning games and then flew coast-to-coast overnight to face the Red Sox. Oh, sorry, that was last week.

Of course, we haven’t always lived in such a family-friendly sports world. Prior to the 1990s, it was unusual for a player to leave his team for the birth of a child, and I was once present for a telling conversation on that subject with Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda in the early ‘80s.

It had just been reported to him that a key player on the other team had been scratched from the lineup so he could go home to be with his wife for the birth of a child, so somebody asked Lasorda if he would allow one of his players to leave the team under similar circumstances.

“On one condition … if he was an obstetrician,’’ Lasorda replied. “If he was going there to help deliver the baby, that’s fine. But if he’s just going to watch, I need him more here.”

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