Blue Jays reliever reliever Aaron Loup had a family emergency that caused him to miss Game 4 of the ALCS yesterday and Game 5 today. That leaves the Jays one man short. Why? Because there is no bereavement leave in the playoffs.
As Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post explains, the Jays even petitioned the league to allow them to put Loup on the disabled list. They did this knowing that, if he was DL’d, he’d be lost for the World Series if the Jays get that far too. That rule makes sense in that it keeps teams from making phony DL designations.
The no bereavement rule, however, doesn’t make a lot of sense. Perhaps it’s there in order to prevent roster shenanigans as well, but this isn’t middle school and no one is going to lie about their grandmother dying or come back with a phony excuse note signed “Epstein’s Mother’s Doctor.” In this day and age such a thing would not be able to be kept a secret either, and any team which tried to game the bereavement list in the playoffs would have to deal with a huge fallout. It’s just not worth it and is pretty self-policing, one would think.
A team should be allowed to replace a player if real life intrudes and deprives them of his services. Here’s hoping Major League Baseball revisits this rule.