By ratio, there are more asses in the sports media — asses and the accompanying crevices, I should add — than elsewhere in the American workplace. Some of them, regrettably, are paid to voice opinions over a live microphone. One in particular, Mike Francesa of WFAN Radio in New York, wasn’t impressed when Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy missed the season’s first two games so he could be with his wife in Florida for the birth of their first child.
Said Francesa, the father of three children: “You’re a major-league baseball player. You can hire a nurse. What are you gonna do, sit there and look at your wife in the hospital bed for two days? Your wife doesn’t need your help the first couple of days; you know that you’re not doing much the first couple days with the baby that was just born.”
He rambled on, and I won’t insult you by publishing more of his trash. Francesa’s beef was that Murphy — whose wife delivered son Noah around noon on Monday, an hour before the Mets’ opener against Washington — wasn’t back in time for the team’s next game Wednesday night. As a father, Francesa should know that the mother particularly needs support in the immediate days after the delivery, and that those are cherished hours for young parents. That is why Major League Baseball implemented a paternity-leave policy, allowing players as many as three days off. “The (policy) was introduced not just for the players’ benefit, but recognition by clubs in contemporary times that this is an appropriate time for parents to be together,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. “So I’ve got absolutely no problem whatsoever with Murph being away. I think the delivery was a little earlier than expected, but those things you don’t control. I’m happy he was able to be with his wife.’’
I suspect a ratings rat in the Francesa studio. Earlier in the day, WFAN morning host Boomer Esiason, also a father, initiated the Murphy criticism when he said his wife should have delivered the baby via a “C-section before the season starts” — never mind that the procedure is risky. When Esiason and partner Craig Carton made headlines nationally with their ignorant comments, did Francesa jump on the traction bandwagon so he could win his own headlines and numbers? Especially after he just launched his show nationally via simulcast on the ratings-ailing Fox Sports 1 cable network?
This is the business in which I work. I apologize for all the sick puppies.
Murphy, who was back with the team Thursday, brushed aside the critics. He can’t help it if he has a sound perspective on life and the creeps are askew. “I got a couple of text messages about it, so I’m not going to sit here and lie and say I didn’t hear about it,” Murphy said of the WFAN boys. “But that’s the awesome part about being blessed, about being a parent, is you get that choice. My wife and I discussed it, and we felt the best thing for our family was for me to try to stay an extra day — that being Wednesday — due to the fact that she can’t travel for two weeks. It’s going to be tough for her to get up to New York for a month. I can only speak from my experience — a father seeing his wife — she was completely finished. I mean, she was done. She had surgery and she was wiped. Having me there helped a lot, and vice versa, to take some of the load off.
“It felt, for us, like the right decision to make.”
It is the right decision, 1,000 out of 1,000 times. Every time an athlete leaves to help his wife in a maternity ward, some media person tries to make headlines with an insensitive opinion. I’d have been better off ignoring the hosts and not giving them what they want, but sometimes, I must draw attention to bad form. “I certainly feel it’s very unfair to criticize Dan Murphy,’’ Mets manager Terry Collins said. “”He missed two games. It’s not like he has missed 10. When you start attacking Dan Murphy’s credibility, you need to look in the mirror a little bit.”
I’m guessing Murphy will live a happy life. Better than being miserable like Francesa.