Top O' The Order: Your child's birth or the fight for the AL East?

Five quick links to start your day ...

1. When it comes to Jason Bay leaving the Red Sox on Tuesday for the birth of his second child, a few people have made wisecracks along the lines of "Why are you planning the birth of a child during September if you're a baseball player?"

I say, give the guy a break. He started the season in Pittsburgh and, really, any time during the season is OK to welcome a young'un into this world when you're a Pirate. Right?

Here's what I want to know from you, though: If the Red Sox and Rays were just battling for one playoff spot (ie: the wild card wasn't an option), do you think Bay would have left the Red Sox behind without the services of his bat? If you're a Red Sox fan, would you have been fine with him doing so? I wouldn't judge him either way, but I'm interested to see what others think. [Surviving Grady]

2. Despite poking plenty of fun at him here on the Stew, I've actually always liked Barry Zito. And after reading this excellent Pat Jordan piece on Zito's weird Zen-or-Tao-or-whatever-weirdo upbringing, I think I like him even more. Maybe it's the sympathetic side of me. [NYT Play Magazine]

3. Here's maybe the best story you'll read about Yankee Stadium all week: It's the tale of a blind woman, her seeing eye-dog and their shared love for heading to the Bronx for Yankees games. However, it doesn't say whether the dog likes to eat hot dogs while he's there. My dog sure would. [Star-Ledger]

4. What would attendance at The Trop be if they actually allowed everyone wearing "Boston Sucks" t-shirts into the place? [Rays Index]

5. That annoying batting stance impersonator guy does the impossible and gets a laugh out of Nomar. Maybe he's not so annoying after all. [YouTube]

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