Striking Out On One Pitch

Daniel Murphy is a dad. A first-time dad. Let’s just start there.

I know how I felt as a first-time dad. I laughed, I cried, I was on a high that simply could not be duplicated. More importantly, I wanted to be around the tiny human I helped to create more than anything. I wanted to hold her, kiss her, feed her bottles, take her on walks around the neighborhood, and bond with her. That’s what any dad should do, right?

Mr. Murphy agrees with me, but here’s where we differ: he’s the starting second baseman for the NY Mets and I’m not. He plays ball in a city that is notoriously tough on its athletes for not performing on the field and unfortunately this young man is experiencing some backlash from some members of the media. So what did he do? Did he pull a “Bill Buckner” circa 1986? Is he in a batting slump? Is he doping his body with Human Growth Hormone? Nope, none of those things. The dude just wants to take three games off to bond with his baby and be present for his wife.

Doesn’t sound all that horrible to me.

Here are some enlightened and progressive thoughts offered by a few of nameless members of the NY media (you all know who they are).ddw

“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.” 

“You get your ass back to your team and you play baseball … there’s nothing you can do, you’re not breastfeeding the kid.”

“Quite frankly I would’ve said, ‘C-section before the season starts. I need to be at opening day. I’m sorry, this is what makes our money, this is how we’re going to live our life, this is going to give our child every opportunity to be a success in life. I’ll be able to afford any college I want to send my kid to because I’m a baseball player.’” 

These men aren’t just your garden variety meatheads (well, maybe they are), but they’re also dads. Yes, I have thoughts about all of this and I’ll share them with you now.

#1 – Get a grip. It’s three fucking games: Most people know this, but the Major League Baseball season is long. Really long. It starts when it’s cold outside and the World Series champion is crowned when it’s cold outside. It’s 162 games long (not including the postseason) and MLB allows dads three games off to bond with their babies (I could write a book about maternity/paternity leave and how the great US of A is behind every industrialized nation in that regard, but I’ll spare you). Does any reasonable person think that Mr. Murphy’s absence for those three games would ruin the season for the Mets? Isn’t that a complete slap in the face to his teammates to say that they can’t possibly win without him? Calm down, people.

#2 – I’ll tell you what a good dad does for the first couple of days when his first child is born: He changes diapers, he calms his baby’s meltdowns while said baby adjusts to life in this strange world, he supports his spouse in any and all ways she needs (that can range from preparing family meals to just holding her hand), and spends quality time with the baby he helped to create.

He holds his baby, stares at his baby, makes funny faces at his baby, sings to his baby, takes naps with his baby, wakes up in the middle of the night to care for his baby, and ensures his voice is the primary male voice that his baby hears. Nothing in the “good dad” job description requires turning double-play balls or hitting home runs.

#3 – A wife doesn’t need help the first couple of days?: Really? So “Sports Talk Guy,” what would happen if you were responsible for caring for your newborn baby without your wife’s help for the first few days? You’d grunt yourself into unconsciousness before 9:00 AM, and you know it. You’re right, though. Women don’t need your help. They step their games up. They have no choice when suffering through the misfortune of being partnered with Neanderthals like you.

What if she had a C-section? Do you think she has Wolverine-like healing abilities? The lady can’t just get up and act like nothing happened. She needs time to heal. Yes, these athletes have money to hire nurses, but what if these guys…you know, want to support the women they love who happened to successfully deliver their first child into the world? Would that be so out of the ordinary?

You know what else good dads do? They understand that parenting is a 50/50 endeavor with their spouses and refuse to leave them on an island to fend for themselves.

#4 – Major surgery is not a joke: I love how the one dude acted like scheduling a C-section was like scheduling a hair appointment. So let me get this straight: Mr. Murphy should demand that his wife have this surgery – an unnecessary procedure so delicate in nature that the mother or baby could experience serious complications or die from – just so he could play second base on Opening Day? I know, I know…how many people die from C-sections in this day and age, right? More than the amount of people who died from disappointment when Mr. Murphy didn’t play middle infield when the season started, that’s for damn sure.

I think if that guy had access to a time machine, he’d take that comment back. At least I hope he would – but if he’s dumb enough to say something like this, I probably should lower my expectations a bit.

#5 – Being a dad has nothing to do with your job or your bank account: The guys on the radio think because these athletes bring in millions of dollars of income to their families that it absolves them from their parenting duties. Check that – they believe bringing in the money is their parenting duty. We all know these dads. They are the ones who spend countless hours away from home doing “real work” while their wives are left at home to handle the “simple duties of raising kids between watching crappy daytime television.” They brag about how cool they are for going back to work the day their kid was born as if it is a badge of honor or something. They don’t change diapers, give baths, play dress up with their daughters, or help their sons with homework. That’s beneath them. And why should they? If it wasn’t for their bankroll, their wives and kids would be living on the street. Sadly, there are many dads who subscribe to this line of thinking – and to call them dads is a stretch when in reality they’re nothing more than walking, talking ATM machines.

Let’s keep it real for a minute. It doesn’t matter if you’re working in the mailroom, boardroom, or ballpark. If you’re an employee who doesn’t perform well, employers will simply find someone who will perform well. These Sports Talk guys think they’re the shit now, but as soon as their ratings go in the tank and sponsors leave them, will their stations unconditionally love them? Will these stations give these men a pass for all of their years of dedication and loyalty? Hell no. They’ll be replaced by the next shiny star before they knew what hit them. Then what? Will they go crawling back to the wives who silently resent them and the children they have no relationships with?

Family > Career.

Always.

#6 – Moms are obviously angry, but so are dads: Good dads hear this Captain Caveman foolishness from these radio personalities and they become enraged. They may not make millions of dollars playing a child’s game, but they work their asses off at their jobs. Most importantly, when they get home from a long day at the office, they’re jumping right into Daddy Mode without hesitation or complaint. They don’t expect their wives to do everything with the kids and quite frankly – they don’t want their wives to do everything with the kids.

A job is what they do, but being a dad is what they are. If it’s financially feasible for them to do so, they will be at home for as long as possible when their babies are born, and it angers them to hear others trying to put them down for taking their roles as fathers seriously.

#7- Mad props are given to Daniel Murphy, even though he probably doesn’t want them: A lot of people are going to put Mr. Murphy on a pedestal for being a real man. He will be called a great husband. He’ll be lauded as a hero. He’ll be hailed as a pioneer. He’ll be renowned as the man who stood up to the bullies in the NY media. Of course I don’t know the young man personally, but the early returns suggest he’s going to crush this daddy gig as well. When he’s alone with his thoughts, I bet he’s scratching his head wondering why people are losing their minds over this. The man just wants to bond with his expanding family. He’s not saving children from burning buildings. He’s not fighting in our military. He’s doing what thousands of dads are doing.

In other words, this shouldn’t be viewed as extraordinary behavior for a dad. It should be ordinary. Hopefully he’ll open up the doors for other professional athletes to follow his lead.

 

Final memo to the radio hosts: You’re in entertainment and your job is to create stories and buzz. Congrats, because you hit a home run in that regard. Unfortunately, when you create buzz by showing your ass to the world, you’ll get blown up and exposed for what you are. Whether you wanted it or not, your quotes illustrated that you believe parenting is not a man’s job. Your quotes showed how little you respect or understand women. And lastly, your quotes show that you value money/career over your family. If all of the aforementioned are true, I truly feel sorry for your spouses and children.

I’ve been wrong before, and dammit – I hope I’m wrong when it comes to you guys, but I don’t think I am. I know men like you. They think they’re tough, cool, and fresh – but in reality, they’re just weak-minded and scared. They’re scared to be sensitive with their kids, so they hide behind their careers. They can’t think on their own so they follow the antiquated fraternity boy/locker room mindset in order to fit in with the other mouth-breathers vibrating at a lower frequency. They’re simply lost little boys with loud, insecure voices.

If asked, I bet their spouses and children would trade in their husbands’/daddies’ hefty radio salaries for more love, presence, and support at home. Sadly, those women and children won’t be so lucky. Mr. Murphy’s family doesn’t need to worry about that. My family doesn’t have to worry about that. If you’re a man crushing it everyday for your spouse and kids, your family won’t have to worry about it either.

So what happens next, fellas? The entire planet knows what you’re about now, your listeners are embarrassed for you, and your sponsors are reevaluating their decisions to support you. You’re messing with something much bigger than sports, your silly radio shows, or even you. It’s about family – the people we are supposed to unconditionally love with everything we have. Why can’t you figure it out?

But hey, maybe your wives can just schedule a quick lobotomy and be done with it.

 

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Comments

  1. Cory says

    Completely lost all respect for Boomer after he made that comment. I knew Carton was a moron, but damn Boomer, you lost your shit!

  2. Heather-Lee says

    This entry is sheer awesomeness. It is DRIPPING with awesome sauce. And I also was happy to see Dads take to social media to boo, hiss, discount, and roundly reject this idea that this man should have prioritized a ball game over the chance to watch his first child come into the world. The inportance of a Dad’s voice should be one of the first a baby hears, to start imprinting on the voice that will be one of her primary role models and sources of safety, comfort, and love cannot be overstated. I am so glad that so many fathers are crying “foul” at this !

  3. Mark T says

    And it’s looking like you’re right about the sponsors too. Boomer Esiason apologized after being “re-educated” by the March of Dimes.

    “The other thing I do want to say is that my friends — our friends — over at the March of Dimes also reached out to me yesterday. And I immediately called them back and talked to them, and they kind of re-educated me on their mission statement.”

    source: http://tracking.si.com/2014/04/04/boomer-esiason-apologizes-daniel-murphy-paternity/

  4. says

    I just want to say, “thank you.” This really needs to be shared, and I appreciate you using your platform to call out the ridiculous standard that is so prevalent. My first child was born 2 months ago, and I was in the 3-month probation period of a new job (meaning I had no vacation time yet). When I was interviewing for the position, I said from the get-go that I would be taking two weeks of unpaid time for the birth. I reiterated this numerous times, and my employer respected that, offered me the position and granted me the time off (during a very busy season for the company). Here’s some added context: My wife and I were dropping down to one income for our family, and we live in the most overpriced market in the world (Vancouver, BC), so two weeks without pay was tough, but we planned for it ahead of time. We built up an emergency fund and lived very modestly. It was tight financially, but I wouldn’t trade those first two weeks for the world. Glad to hear that Mr. Murphy had the guts to take a stand for his family.
    Todd Foley recently posted..The first impulse comes from emotion.My Profile

    • Kristin Kalmbach says

      You rock Todd! And so do the countless other Dads out there and their partners who work hard to do the same thing! PS – I LOVE seeing comments from Dads/Men on this blog :-)

    • Matt says

      This kind of thing is negotiated into collective bargaining agreements in major league sports. It’s all part of being in a player’s union. 3 days was the max both sides, the owners and the players, could agree on which to be is just as ridiculous as the way he was treated by the New York media.

  5. JT says

    Aww man..I could shed so much light on this subject as I was once in that same situation..albeit some time ago..this happened to me and I experienced the same attitudes, same comments..blah, blah blah..took the time off anyway to just see my daughter for the first time…Mannn ..Can’t mention the the things that were said to me or what I said back..but hey..Made up my mind when she was conceived with my hand on my wifes stomach that I was gonna be a Daddy Doin work from the beginning…couldn’t go back…

  6. Anne Shaw says

    Well said! There needs to be more people advocating for parents who choose to participate in their children’s lives, from the first moments on, whenever and however they possibly can. Our children and future depend on it. Those moments are fleeting and will never be back, and baseball will go on regardless. Thank you for standing so firm and loudly on your support of this man’s loving decision for his family. It should be the norm, not the exception. And for the fools who think a C-section is a cosmetic and elective surgery, clearly they have never been faced with one that meant life or death for mother and child. Keep on keeping on.

  7. Annette Fairchild says

    I love this post. Thanks for writing it! I find it completely and utterly ridiculous that Daniel Murphy taking paternity leave is being talked about in a negative way.

  8. says

    You hit a home run. On the first pitch. But, to be honest, I didn’t have much respect for boomer before this. As to the others, I would hate to be your child. Did any of you realize you just said to your children, “I would much rather work than spend a day with YOU.” Really? I work to feed my children, not to avoid them. And seeing them at the end of the day is the best part of the day.

    As it was, I was covered by the FMLA, but my wife was not. I filed the paperwork and took a week for each child. I was the first non-nurse to change their diapers and if I had it to do over, I wouldn’t do it any different.
    Alan P. recently posted..More Rules for Word ProcessingMy Profile

  9. gina says

    So proud of you, Doyin! Getting this out there and keeping it moving! YOU are change and you are the BOMB!

  10. says

    One more for the know nothings of new york sports radio.

    Here in Baseball City (St. Louis, MO) we know what real father’s do. Ask Tony LaRussia. He home schooled his children. They went to school over the summers when dad had to work 18 hour days. That left them with winters free when dad had more free time.
    Alan P. recently posted..More Rules for Word ProcessingMy Profile

  11. Melissa says

    I have a feeling that you and Mr. Murphy will be married longer than the meathead media morons who said such dumb things. I also have a very strong feeling that when they grow up, your children, and Mr. Murphy’s, will list their father as one of their heroes and will actively do their best to spend time with you. Not something that the media morons will be able to experience. Good grief, after having a baby, I needed my husband like I need air. Our world was turned upside down and the only way to figure it out was by being together and pondering the mystery of that new little being.

  12. Melissa J. says

    SO MUCH LOVE for this, Doyin. I agreed with every word, and said most of them already (although I admit to using far more colorful metaphors to describe these boneheads). I would like for Boomer to undergo a surgery where his abdominal wall is sliced across 6-8 inches, then spread as wide as possible, then sewn back up. Then I want him to be up and at ‘em in 48 hours. And let’s see how many C-Sections he thinks should be scheduled around baseball season.

    I may be the most passionate baseball fan you will find. Yes, even being a female and going against that ridiculous stereotype that girls shouldn’t like sports, I am THAT fan who counts down the days until pitchers and catchers report. Despite this, I would never, EVER, E-V-E-R suggest that anyone should force an unnecessary surgery to make Opening Day, or the World Series, or any other major event. It comes down to this: Yes, Opening Day might be important, but neither Opening Day nor any fan, manager or player associated with it will one day pick your nursing home.

  13. Dona Yasser says

    Those of us who’ve been following Daniel Murphy for the past few years already adore him. The Mets and Mets fans are fully supportive of him. It’s only the radio meatheads who got nuts. You know whose sacrifice it is not to start on Opening Day? Murph’s! I haven’t listened to Francesa for years because he is an arrogant blowhard, but I’m disappointed in Boomer. Especially because he has a special needs child. Thankfully Ron Darling offered eloquent on-air support, and manager Terry Collins basically challenged all comers to a fistfight in his defense of Murphy.
    WFAN hosts have also made uneducated and mocking comments about mental illness, including depression and anxiety, when players have taken time off to seek help with such issues. Grow up, little boys.

  14. says

    I’m so glad you responded to the media morons . My son-in law is with the military and he also took paternity leave for his first child. Despite being teased, he insisted on that bonding time with his daughter. I think any man willing or insisting on taking such a small time off for the birth of a child…is darn awesome!!!

  15. David says

    As an OBGYN, I can assure that commentator that not only is a c-section a major abdominal surgery complete with possible complications and higher risks for future deliveries, but there is no medical indication for an elective delivery prior to 39 weeks (eg, prior to a week before the due date), so depending just when she delivered, it could be inappropriate to even offer her an induction of deliver let alone force her to have an induced labor.

    As you said, baseball is just a game. Parenthood is not a game.

  16. says

    It all seems so obvious, but I am glad you wrote this anyway. US paternity leave and maternity leave are among the worst in the world. According to the media maelstrom, men aren’t supposed to care about their families more than their jobs and women aren’t supposed to work. But they’re also not supposed to be stay-at-home moms. It’s all very puzzling and completely and totally unsustainable.
    Mom in Two Cultures recently posted..Let’s Take This Show on the RoadMy Profile

  17. lugasamom says

    Could Boomer be THAT ignorant and stupid? Maybe. I don’t know much about him but what little I do know, his comments have disturbed me immensely.

    I love this post and want to say, “Thank you!” on behalf of so many people who feel exactly the same way you do!

    Keep on saying what needs to be said!

  18. Kevin Graney says

    Thank you for this post. When I read this story, I just about lost my mind. My first thought was that they were doing this for ratings; after a few moments, I realized how much worse that was. I listened to every word they said and it made me madder and madder. After spending some time searching for their Emails to send a scathing message, my thoughts turned to DDW. I knew (and it was confirmed) that Doyin would write exactly how I feel and in an eloquent but pointed way. These “men” and others like them stand in the way of real progress in society. Thank you again from a DDW.

  19. says

    As a mom who has had to have two c-sections, I think Boomer is an idiot and needs to educate himself. I couldn’t even get out of bed for the first two days and after that it was very difficult. Even just to have my husband around to make dinner so I didn’t have to be on my feet was the best.
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  20. Mike says

    Right on…As the father of 7, don’t take crap from work if they give it. Family is important. You can get another job. My companies (I’ve been with a few when having kids) have always given me the flexibility I need to take care of things at home. And it doesn’t stop with birth. Sometimes you just need to take the afternoon off (or go in late) to take care of things at home and help restore the balance. It’s what we do. It’s part of being a man.

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