Paul Jacob

The nurses and doctors at Children's Hospital, where father and son were rushed via ambulance, were not concerned about mistreatment. They drew blood and found nary a trace of alcohol in the little boy's system. The resident who examined Leo wrote on his chart, "Completely normal appearing. . . . He is cleared to go home."

A policewoman interviewed Ratte and his son at the hospital and was absolutely sympathetic as well. But her supervisor insisted the case be turned over to Michigan's Child Protective Services.

So CPS came to the hospital to take Leo from his father. And mother, too. So that this 7-year-old could top off his trip to the ballgame with three days in state custody.

Only then did a judge order the 7-year-old returned to his home, with his mother, over CPS's request to hold him until their investigation was complete. But as part of that order, Leo's father, Chris, was forced to leave the home. To stay at a hotel. It was five more days before the family could legally reunite.

It shouldn't matter, of course, but it might interest you to know that Mr. Ratte is a tenured professor of classical archeology at the University of Michigan. His wife is also a UM professor. Wonder what might have happened had he been a ditch-digger? Had he been a widower?

Leo might still be in foster care. Far from home.

Maybe life isn't baseball. Baseball makes more sense.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.