New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy is missing his team's first three games after the birth of his first child. Murphy's wife went into labor on opening day, so he went to Florida to be present for the birth. Murphy is now taking the full three days of paternity leave allowed for Major League Baseball players.
Does any of that sound out of line or horrible or a betrayal to his team and profession? It shouldn't. It's pretty standard practice when a new child is brought into the world.
However, Murphy is getting ripped on New York radio for not cutting short his paternity leave and returning to his team. Mike Francesa, the popular New York sports radio personality, spent about 20 minutes of his show Wednesday talking about Murphy and paternity leave. He was surprised that MLB players even take paternity leave, even though it's a fairly common practice.
Here are a few of the lowlights from Francesa's show:
"I don't know why you need three days off, I'm going to be honest. You see the birth and you get back. What do you do in the first couple days? Maybe you take care of the other kids. Well, you gotta have someone to do that if you're a Major League Baseball player. I'm sorry, but you do … Your wife doesn't need your help the first couple days, you know that."
Murphy's wife wouldn't need help with their first child the first couple days? Really? Maybe Francesa should have run that past a few mothers before it left his mouth. Here's another Francesa quote worthy of a facepalm:
"One day, I understand. Go see the baby be born and come back. You're a Major League Baseball player, you can hire a nurse to take care of the baby if your wife needs help ... What are you gonna do? Are you gonna sit there and look at your wife in the hospital bed for two days?"
"For a baseball player, you take a day. You're back in the lineup the next day. I guarantee you're not sitting there holding your wife's hand."
Much of Francesa's objection was rooted in back-in-my-day thinking, citing how he was present for the birth of each of his children, then he was back at work the next day. Of course, in Murphy's case, it's not like he can go back and forth from Florida to Citi Field every day.
Francesa wasn't alone in criticizing Murphy. Radio hosts Craig Carton and Boomer Esiason (yes, the former NFL quarterback) also chimed in with a similar refrain. Carton, specifically, didn't mince words:
"You get your ass back to your team and you play baseball … there's nothing you can do, you're not breastfeeding the kid."
Esiason, meanwhile, said if it were him, he would have told his wife to have a Caesarean section before the season to avoid any conflict with opening day. Esiason said baseball is what make Murphy's money and provides for his family, so it should be prioritized.
Murphy, 29, is making $5.7 million this season from the Mets. He played in 161 out of 162 games last season, the most of any player on the 2013 Mets by 40 games, and the most of any Mets player since 2008. But sure, New York radio hosts, go ahead and act like Murphy isn't committed to the team because he's missing three out of 162 games. In April.
Next time you need a good anecdote about sports people thinking sports is the more important than everything else in life, slip the clash of Daniel Murphy and New York into a conversation.
In other news, Philadelphia Philies shortstop Jimmy Rollins left his team Wednesday to be with his wife as she gives birth. Like we said, this is a fairly common thing.
Here's hoping Philly radio reacts with more class than New York radio.
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