In the great game of baseball, the athletes who we admire the most are not only measured by the number of home runs hit, bases stolen or strikeouts caused, but also by the integrity that they carried themselves with both on and off the field. So when Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy took 3 days off to support his wife during the birth of their child, you wouldn’t think that it would make too many waves. However, because he missed the first two games of the season he was the recipient of a lot of negative backlash, most notably, from sports hosts Mike Francesa and Boomer Esiason:
I might be a little biased (okay, a lot biased), but I don’t get it. For me, being present for the birth of both of my children was arguably two of the greatest moments of my life. To this day, I get a lump in my throat when I regale my 4 year old with the story of his birth and how excited and overjoyed I was to welcome him into the world. I’m certain that Mr. Murphy’s experience with his family was just as special and the fact that he happens to be a baseball player does not in any shape or form diminish his right to be a part of those moments, especially if the terms of his MLB contract explicitly permits it.
It’s no secret that when it comes to parental leave, dads tend to get the short end of the stick. This, despite that fact that paternity leave is beneficial for the entire family, makes the disparaging comments made by Francesa and Esiason all the more disheartening.
Hopefully the media attention that this situation has garnered will put a spotlight on the importance of paternity leave and encourage guys to exercise their rights, no matter what their occupation. The outrage over the backlash has at the very least softened the heart of Esiason- he offered up what seemed to be a sincere apology days after his initial remarks.
At the end of the day, when the game of baseball is nothing but a memory and he’s long been retired, it will be his family who will still be there and will love him regardless of his stats. In their eyes, he's not just a ball player- he's a dad who has earned his place in their hall of fame for all time.