Todd E. Brady on the World Series and Players Putting Family Before Baseball

Todd E. Brady is vice president for university ministries at Union University in Jackson, Tenn.

Often seen as a guise for right-wing, political machinations, the term “family values” is easier to trumpet than it is to live. Society is well served when men live their family values in practical ways rather than merely advocating for family values in theoretical ways. The old adage is true: What you are doing speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you say.

Family values are often tested when the rubber meets the road. Daniel Hudson of the Washington Nationals recently decided not to step on the rubber of the pitching mound so he could be present for his daughter’s birth. For him, Family values had names — Sara, his wife; Briley (5) and Parker (3), his two daughters, and Millie, his soon-to-be born daughter.

For Hudson, the Nationals’ postseason bullpen anchor, being there and celebrating his third daughter’s birth with his wife and other daughters was a no-brainer. However, taking the day off (taking advantage of Major League Baseball’s paternity leave policy) meant missing Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. He missed the game, but Sean Doolittle served as the closer, and the Nationals won 2-0. In an ironic twist, the Nationals ended up taking care of the whole series. Hudson came back, the Nationals won the pennant, and they gained their first World Series berth in franchise history.

Whether it would have ended like it did or not, Hudson did the right thing. His decision to miss Game 1 and be with his family sparked the debate again around parenthood and sports. Where should athletes draw the line? Where should loyalties lie? Does family come first or does the team come first?

Having removed himself from social media a couple years ago (something that would benefit us all), Hudson was mostly able to tune out the toxic chatter that ensued. However, it seems that he couldn’t care less about the criticism he received from prioritizing family over baseball. He told ESPN, “My family is top priority for me. I heard someone say one time, ‘Baseball’s what I do, it’s not who I am.’ And kind of once you have kids, or once I had kids, it really resonated with me.”

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Source: Baptist Press