Unbelievably, radio sports talking heads seem to have an issue with New York Mets second baseman taking a couple of days off, wait for it, to be with his wife during the birth of his first child.
Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton, hosts of the radio show “Boomer & Carton,” took issue on air about Murphy taking the time off. They didn’t like it, and neither the importance of fatherhood or the facts mattered. Both pundits claimed Murphy has “a legal right” to take two weeks paternity leave. (Major League Baseball allows 3 days paternity for players.) Carton, who was doing a remarkable impression of SNL’s second hand news correspondent Anthony Crispino, repeatedly cited an unattributed newspaper article as gospel, while he and Esiason actually said that Mrs. Murphy should have undergone an elective C-section prior to the season starting.
Carton said: “Assuming everything goes right, Mom’s healthy, baby’s healthy, normally 24 hours after you give birth, worst case, 48, you’re home with the baby. Whattaya doin’? I got four of these little rugrats. There’s nothing to do.”
Murphy isn’t going to be home with his wife and infant son. He and his wife live in Florida. The Mets opening series is at home, at Citi Field, which at last check was still in Flushing, New York. Mr. Carton’s hands-off attitude towards child-rearing wouldn’t be endorsed by most major parenting magazines. “There’s nothing to do?” Feeding and changing diapers don’t count? Perhaps in Cartonland a man’s role ends after he brings home the mastodon meat. Esiason’s take seems to be that a father’s responsibilities are primarily financial. He should spend a morning in Family Court and listen to the number of sperm donors who vehemently debate that particular point.
WFAN commentator Mike Francesca was no less neanderthal. Quoted in the New York Daily News, Francesca said: “For a baseball player. You take a day, all right. Back in the lineup the next day! What are you doing?” he said. “I guarantee you are not sitting there holding your wife’s hand. . . . I had three kids. . . I was at the birth and was back to work the next day. I didn’t see any reason not to be working. Harrison (Francesa’s son) was born at nine in the morning. I worked that day. What was I gonna do, sit with my wife in the hospital?”
Yes, that might have actually been exactly the idea.
That these men (they don’t deserve to be called gentle) actually find it appropriate to criticize a young man for taking a short amount of time to be his wife and son at birth is little short of reprehensible. That they’re giving reproductive medical advice to women probably qualifies them to run for Congress. This writer finds it sufficient to pat Daniel Murphy on the head for not being stupid enough to go to his wife and say “Honey? Would you mind having unnecessary major surgery so I don’t miss a couple of games at the beginning of the season?”
The Mets, despite losing the first two games of the season, do not appear to have a problem with Murphy taking the paternity leave. A spokesman for the team said “The New York Mets completely support Daniel Murphy’s decision to take advantage of the paternity leave allowed him by Major League Baseball.” Daniel Murphy, by the way, played more games than anyone else on the team during the 2013 baseball season.