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Colby Lewis succeeds because of family, not despite it

Apr 22, 2011, 2:59 AM EST

Spring Training -Texas Rangers - Colby Lewis

Craig has been all over the Richie Whitt-Colby Lewis story, rightly pointing out the absurdity of the whole thing.

If you’re unfamiliar with this story, the writer (Whitt) thinks that the Rangers pitcher (Lewis) should be ashamed of himself for missing a start to witness the birth of his child because …

(a) It’s Lewis’ second child, making it somehow less important.

(b) And Lewis for some reason owes the fans and his team more than he does his family.

I agree with everything Craig has written on the topic, but would also like to add a bit of insight I gained by sitting down with Lewis for an interview at spring training. I spoke to Lewis as part of a feature package I wrote on the difficulties of making it to the majors. Lewis talked at length of his own journey, including the injuries he endured along the way, and his two-year detour to professional baseball in Japan.

During our talk, he frequently sprinkled in references to his family, some of which did not make it into my story. He mentioned how in the spring of 2007, the Washington Nationals released him on the day his son was born. He said that was a blessing, however, because Oakland signed him a few days later and assigned him to Triple-A Sacramento, near his Bakersfield, Calif. home.

He also spoke about how lucky he was that his wife, Jenny, and son could accompany him to Japan, and how important it has been to have her support. And Lewis said this about how much family means to him:

“(It changes things) when you have a baby you have to support now. It’s something that clicked for me and took over my life. It’s a blessing. It kept me a lot more focused on the task of what I wanted to do.”

Richie Whitt says he doesn’t care if Lewis is a good dad, he just wants him to be a good pitcher. But those things don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Lewis not only understands that, he claims that having a family made him a better pitcher and made him happier.

That’s what should matter most.

You can follow Bob on Twitter, and get all your HBT updates here.

  1. adeedothatswho - Apr 22, 2011 at 3:33 AM

    What is especially stupid about this whole thing is Whitt’s assertion that because starters only have 30-odd starts a year, the one he missed is that much more important. Really? You’re telling me there is NO POSSIBLE WAY for him to make that start up? Rain? Travel day? Another starter injury? Whitt is a moron, no doubt. But we all know who he is for a few minutes now, so maybe he got what he wanted.

    • Old Gator - Apr 22, 2011 at 10:33 AM

      What is especially stupid is that so much ink (or pixel) has been wasted on the blithering of this bottom-feeding idiot Witt. Howsabout we just ignore the asshole from now on?

      • jimbo1949 - Apr 22, 2011 at 10:44 AM

        Who?

  2. Senor Cardgage - Apr 22, 2011 at 9:30 AM

    Missing time for the birth of a child was so common in the past that MLB instituted a paternity-leave list beginning this year (the Rangers were the first to take advantage of it). Ergo, the practice is officially sanctioned and part of the game. The timing of it all might be inconvenient, but such is life sometimes.

  3. Mark Armour - Apr 22, 2011 at 10:38 AM

    Even thinking about this as a selfish fan, it seems a guy like Lewis would not pitch well if he was distracted by not being home with his wife and new-born child.

  4. Bob Harkins - Apr 22, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    i promise im done. starting……. now

  5. IdahoMariner - Apr 22, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    In compliance with the aforementioned resolve to not mention the troglodyte with the impaired noggin, I will not mention more of his nonsense.

    However, I did want to say nice work on the article, Bob, and thanks for bringing out the information about the importance of his family to him as he does his work.

  6. Bob Harkins - Apr 22, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    thank you IdahoMariner. i just thought it was useful to share that Lewis thought being a father helped him become a better player. ok, now im done!

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