Last night was the Yankees’ first game since reliever Joba Chamberlain left the team to be with his ailing father, Harlan, in Nebraska. (As you’d expect, the bullpen nearly blew the game, giving up five runs in a seventh inning that a rested Joba could have probably pitched.) But a sad footnote on an already sad story is this: Was it really necessary for the Yankees to place Joba on Major League Baseball’s Bereavement List, which allows players to be replaced on the active roster for between three and seven days?
Now, we’re not questioning the move by the Yankees; certainly they don’t want to be a man down, and minor-league call-up Jonathan Albaladejo’s been perfectly capable in limited use so far this year. What we mean is this: If players can be put on this list to care for ailing relatives, and not just to deal with ones who have died, shouldn’t the list have a different name? Consider poor Joba: By all accounts, he’s been holed up in the hospital, praying for his dad to take a turn for the better. Knowing he’s currently on something called a “Bereavement List” can’t exactly fill him with hope. Maybe we’re just pulling for Harlan, who seems to be as likable guy as we’ve ever seen. Or maybe we’re just concerned: With no Paternity-Leave List in existence, what insensitively named list will the Yankees have to put A-Rod on this month when his wife goes into labor? —Joe DeLessio