Weekend roundup: paternity leave, Social Media Night and Family Day photos

Matt Downs will miss the Washington Nationals series in order to be with his wife, Leah, as she gives birth to their first child, a son.

Downs is officially on “paternity leave,” which means the Astros are entitled to replace Downs on the roster for the three days he will be gone. They have taken advantage of the opportunity, calling up lefty Wesley Wright from Oklahoma City. Downs will be back with the Astros in Chicago on Friday, and Wright will head back to the RedHawks.

The paternity rule was instituted by Major League Baseball this year. It allows players to leave their teams for 24 to 72 hours due to the birth of their children.

Kudos for baseball for finally – FINALLY — implementing such a rule. In the past, players were allowed to leave the team for up to three days because of a birth of a child, but the teams were not permitted to replace them on the roster. In 2004, Mike Lamb missed Games 3, 4 and 5 of the NLCS because of the birth of his son, Andrew. The Astros had with 24 players on the roster for those three games (and, incidentally, won all three).

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Chris Johnsonwill meet fans and sign autographs at the Whataburger restaurant located at 4831 Wilson Rd., Humble, TX 77396 from 11 a.m. to noon on Tuesday (July 19).

The appearance, part of the Whataburger Ultimate “Whatafan” promotion, gives fans the chance to register to win the title of Ultimate “Whatafan.” The Ultimate “Whatafan” will win suite tickets, autographed jerseys and caps from the Astros, Oklahoma City RedHawks and Corpus Christi Hooks, an on-field batting practice visit, the chance to participate in a pregame ceremony and an opportunity to throw out a ceremonial pitch.

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We have two events to share in today’s photo album: one from Social Media Night on Saturday and one from Family Day Sunday. Social Media Night was another rousing success, not only because the Astros won (the Astros are 4-2 on Social Media Nights, dating back to last season). We handed out 12 baseballs, autographed by and presented to the winners by Downs, and two Michael Bourn bobbleheads. The next Social Media Night is Aug. 20 and the final one will take place Sept. 24. We will put the August tickets on sale early next month, at which time we will announce who will be guesting.

Family Day is always a hoot. In a nutshell, families of all Astros personnel — players, coaches, manager, front office — are invited onto the field for some wiffle ball and a run or two around the bases. The kids, of course, steal the show every year, and this time was no different. Every part of the field was taken up by little ones, running in all different directions, tackling Junction Jack, rolling around in the dirt…in other words, they were being kids.

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The kid population was considerably smaller this year than the last two years, which should come as no surprise — the Astros have shaved off more than four years of their average age since 2009, and when a team gets drastically younger, the amount of offspring it has is much lower as well. That brings me to my all-time favorite picture from Family Day, taken last year. Our two resident single guys, Johnson and Tommy Manzella, watched the chaos unfold from the comforts of the home dugout, and the expressions on their faces (especially CJ’s) is priceless. I keep it on my iphone and look at it whenever I need a laugh.

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8 Comments

Hmm the pictures aren’t loading.

Love the pics! Thanks for posting them ESPECIALLY the one of CJ & Tommy =D

they should be practicing instead of doing this for fun stuff…. They can worry about the fun part when they at least get to .500

Tommy Manzella, WHERE ARE YOU! CJ will get a chance to see what parent hood
is like someday, and THEN let’s see a picture of HIM! Jason Michaels son looks
JUST like him, and Q’s little girl is his CLONE! Cute pictures Alyson! Thanks! Becky:)

Non-related to this post (which I did enjoy as always my dear Allison)…. Wondering what your take is on the article that’s on MLB.com today about the reasons we should trade Pence. That’s such a tough call. No one plays the game with more passion and enthusiasm. But he’s a great player on a poor team. The stros have so many problems it’s hard to know which to fix first. One can make the argument that you shouldn’t trade your best player and Pence is definitely a veteran you would want to have young kids emulate and

Post got messed up. Finishing up my thoughts: Pence is the type of veteran that you would want to emulate and be around to learn from, plus he’s the man and is starting to prove himself to be more clutch, so… Again, tough call. We’ve got a few dead weights that I would love to see go first. Plus well undoubtedly have the #1 draft pick after this year, so there’s that.

It’ll be a tough call on Pence. He’s the one player for whom they can get a huge return, but ideally they’d like him to be the player they build around for the future. At this point they have to ask themselves how long it will take to get to where they need to be, and does it make more sense to keep Pence (and his rising salary) or use his value to get players who can speed up the process to respectability? My guess is he stays. That is only a guess however. I have no idea which way they’re leaning.

Alyson! First off, my sincerest apologies for misspelling your name! Fingers were typing what my brain was saying, my brain just forgot to spell. :)
I agree with you on Pence staying, for several reasons: 1) he’s the current face of the franchise, and he’s one if the few legitimate draws to the ticket buying crowd, besides seeing some visiting tram of interest. 2) yes, agree that he’s someone you would want to build your team around. Great work ethic, enthusiasm, doesn’t give up or give in. I’m so glad he was there as Biggio was exiting the stage and big had kinda taken him under his wing. What a great model for work ethic and accountability.
3) I think we would have to weigh this again this time next year though if we find ourselves in this same situation. Pence’s stock will continue to rise if he keeps this up. :)

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