Only a Game

Two whole days and the world ends:

Recently New York Mets baseball player Daniel Murphy decided to take two days of paternity leave to be with his wife as she underwent a cesarean section, missing the first two games of the season. (He is allowed three days of leave under Major League Baseball rules.) Sports commentator Boomer Esiason criticized Murphy for making this decision, stating, “C-section before the season starts. I need to be at opening day. I’m sorry, this is what makes our money.” Esiason later apologized days after public outcry about his statement, but he was not alone in his sentiment. Another radio host, Mike Francesa, said of Murphy’s decision, “You are a Major League Baseball player. You can hire a nurse.”

First, Boomer Esiason can choke on a bag of dicks. I’m sorry, this is what makes assholes shut up.

Second, I took 6 whole weeks of paternity leave when my kid was born, because I was lucky to have a job with good benefits and enough stored-up sick leave to do it. I still remember those days. They were honestly some of the best in my life. If we really were a country committed to “family values”, every father would have an opportunity for paid leave to bond with their new baby, even if they had the most important and consequential job in the world, trying to hit and catch a little white ball.

Plus, he plays for the goddam Mets, which makes his time off even less consequential.






86 replies
  1. 1
    raven says:

    “I was not telling women what to do with their bodies. I would never do that. That’s their decision, that’s their life and they know their bodies better than I do,” Esiason said on the air. “And the other thing, too, that I really felt bad about is that Daniel Murphy and Tori Murphy were dragged into the conversation, and their whole life was exposed. And it shouldn’t have been.
    “And that is my fault,” Esiason said. “That is my fault for uttering the word ‘C-section’ on this radio station. And it all of a sudden put their lives under a spotlight, and for that I truly apologize.”

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/spo.....z2yIZovH2i

  2. 2
    aimai says:

    The whole “I’m sorry but this is what makes our money…” thing really skeeves me. It turns a high paying job into the moral equivalent of a coal miner going down into the mines to feed his starving family. It infantilizes the wife (she seems not to know anything about the economy or his job) and turns their joint project of choosing to have a baby together into some kind of frivolous, girlish, treat that he labors manfully to support. There’s so much embedded in it that reading it is like unpacking someone’s very dirty laundry.

  3. 3
    evolved beyond the fist mistermix says:

    @raven: Good, glad he groveled a bit.

  4. 4
    dedc79 says:

    It’s all the more puzzling given Esiason’s own situation with his son.

  5. 5

    Mike Francesa? A guy who hasnt seen his own dick for 20 years is now showing his ass. My, my, I am shocked.

  6. 6
    Athenae says:

    Not to mention which, a C-section is major surgery, and if she hasn’t had one before, nobody knows how she’ll react to the anesthesia, if there will be complications, etc. Plus, I mean, it’s two fucking days, not two months or two years. She won’t even be home from the hospital yet.

    But this has to be the Worst Thing Ever, because if playing sports is not a noble pursuit to be held above all other human functions, then what is commenting on it? Boomer needs to justify his existence.

    AND choke on a bag of dicks.

    A.

  7. 7
    JPL says:

    When Esiason’s son was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, he came close to walking away from the game of football. From everything that I have read, he has always been there for his family but he made an ass of himself on his radio station and an apology cannot erase what he said.
    I have a feeling his wife kicked him in the butt.

  8. 8
    Chyron HR says:

    Well, golly, doesn’t Daniel Murphy need to spend time with his son? Otherwise the boy will grow up to be a hip-hop gangsta thug, right?

    Also the boy’s mother is clearly a lazy parasite who needs to go out and work two jobs instead of expecting handouts from the Mets.

  9. 9
    MomSense says:

    @aimai:

    It doesn’t say a lot for how he views women’s bodies, either. Just schedule an early c-section, no big deal.

  10. 10
    dedc79 says:

    @The Ancient Randonneur: Sports talk radio is about 10% sports and 90% trolling. When the athletes aren’t doing anything interesting, the radio guys step in and say something provocative stupid to get the phone lines jumping. Francesca is without a doubt one of the worst.

  11. 11
    Punchy says:

    Murphy? Sounds Irish. I’m sure there’ll be time for him to be present at the births of his next 14 children.

  12. 12
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @JPL: I have a feeling his wife kicked him in the butt.

    I’d hope she kicked him in the nuts.

  13. 13
    Violet says:

    @raven: I heard that apology when it was played on some morning news show. I thought it was pretty good. It certainly wasn’t the usual, “I’m sorry if people were offended.”

  14. 14
    Woodrowfan says:

    I was listening to “Remember When” on the MLB radio last weekend, and the host was asking some old timer if he ever got time off when his kids were born. The host clearly was fishing for a “back in my day we didn’t do that namby-pamby nonsense!” response. But the old ball player didn’t play along. He said he missed the actual birth, but got there right after to go spend time with his wife in the hospital and to see his new kids. And his team mates were OK with him taking a couple days to be a Dad… Not the answer the host wanted to hear..

  15. 15
  16. 16
    khead says:

    @JPL:

    I’ll guess it was the folks at March of Dimes that gave him the kick.

  17. 17
    Baud says:

    I can almost see that attitude in football, where you only have a 16 game season. Two days in baseball ain’t nothin’.

  18. 18
    hoodie says:

    This criticism of Murphy didn’t make much sense from the get go because players often take games off for all kinds of personal reasons and opening day is really just another fucking game in a 162 game season. Esiason did make a pretty legit apology, even though he’s been an asshole on a regular basis (google Richard Sherman). They might have an argument if Murphy took off a month in the middle of a stretch drive for the pennant, but two days at the start of the season is not going to affect the team or his standing in the lineup. Obviously, this doesn’t happen all that often, because ballplayers and their wives probably try to plan pregnancies so that the delivery is in the off season, when it won’t affect their standing in competition for playing time.

  19. 19
    WaterGirl says:

    Dave Zirin had a good post on this situation, as well.

    @raven: I have to give him this: that was an actual apology. Thank god he wasn’t “sorry if anyone was offended”.

  20. 20
    NorthLeft12 says:

    I guess you have not heard, its all about the job/making money/serving your employer.
    We are having a little kerfuffle up here in Canada over employers bringing in foreign workers [Philipinos mainly] to do fast food jobs because Canadians are too lazy, shiftless, unreliable, not subservient enough to fill these jobs. Meanwhile unemployment hovers around 7% and the feds [Cons] and businesses and the media that serves them, are all raving about how great our economy is.

    The Cons have tried to get ahead of this issue by suspending some employers from the program [a McDonalds franchisee particularly] and promising more oversight and enforcement. This has been correctly interpreted as a pre-election show by pretty much everyone.
    The Cons were the ones who expanded the job classes and eased the justification for bringing in foreign workers. At the business class’s behest of course.

    Employers are just not interested in on the job training anymore or motivating and managing their workers. They are the lazy ones IMO.

  21. 21
    YellowJournalism says:

    Geez, why doesn’t he just take time off for drugs and violent offenses like everyone else?

    The cavalier attitude toward C-sections bothers me to no end, especially now that studies are shpwing how harmful optional early ones can be for the child.

  22. 22
    Eric says:

    You want family values buy the infant .22 and get back to work.

  23. 23
    c u n d gulag says:

    Not to spoil everyone’s 2-minute hate, but Boomer offered an apology – not that I’m any sort of a fan of his.

    A REAL one – not one of those, “I’m sorry if anyone took offense at yadda, yadda, yadda…”

    Here it is:
    http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/04/.....index.html

  24. 24
    rikyrah says:

    it’s a game. it’s early in the season. man wanted to be there with his child.

    Boomer is an ass.

  25. 25
    raven says:

    @WaterGirl: Yea but now that march madness is over it gives the sports haters something to whine and bitch about.

  26. 26
    raven says:

    @c u n d gulag: These people don’t care about that. When you have never fucked up it’s easy to judge.

  27. 27
    JPL says:

    @rikyrah: As several have mentioned, his apology was real. He can’t erase his words though. Boomer proves that you can be a good dad and an ass. IMO

  28. 28
    Baud says:

    @raven:

    When you have never fucked up it’s easy to judge.

    Don’t I know it. ;-)

  29. 29
    WaterGirl says:

    @raven: From your link:

    On Wednesday Francesa took Murphy to task for not “getting his ass back to the team.
    “One day I understand. And in the old days they didn’t do that. But one day, 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,” Francesa said.

    “What are you going to do? I mean you are going to sit there and look at your wife in a hospital bed for two days?” he mocked.

    “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.”

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/spo.....z2yIhdxReu

    Wow, it’s the birth of their child and this woman just went through major surgery. This makes me even more mad than the first guy! This asshole makes it sound like it’s just like hiring a pet sitter for your dog.

  30. 30
    JPL says:

    @raven: Did you see the first episode of Call the Midwife this season? I’m trying to avoid spoilers, but the comparison between the macho man and reality when dealing with a sick child was uncanny.

  31. 31
    WaterGirl says:

    @raven: Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for public humiliation for this guy, for as long as they want to go on about it!

    Edit: this is what they call a “teachable moment” and I’m all for using it. But I do feel it’s important to acknowledge the very real apology at the same time.

  32. 32
    raven says:

    @JPL: First and second. Love it.

  33. 33
    c u n d gulag says:

    @raven:
    Man, you ain’t kiddin’!

    The man said something fucking stupid and misogynistic.

    And then, he apologized. SINCERELY!!!!!!!!!

    What the fuck else can people expect?

    If he gave some typical bullshit apology, I’d also be on him.

    But the man realized he made an ass of himself.

    You know, I’m sorry to say, sometimes OUR liberal crowd IS as bad as the Reich-Wingers!

  34. 34
    raven says:

    @WaterGirl: Mike Francesa is a well known jackass.

  35. 35
    raven says:

    @c u n d gulag: I fucking hate intolerant people!

  36. 36
    Elizabelle says:

    This might be the beginning of change in attitudes about paternity leave. At least it’s under discussion. All to the good.

    It’s not like most ballplayers — or even your average American male — is Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.

  37. 37
    C.V. Danes says:

    Another radio host, Mike Francesa, said of Murphy’s decision, “You are a Major League Baseball player. You can hire a nurse.”

    You can also just shut the hell up and mind your own damn business.

  38. 38
    cmorenc says:

    PGA tour golfer Hunter Mahan was leading a strong field after three rounds of a big-money tournament in 2013 (I think the Canadian Open), but left the tournament because his wife was beginning to go into labor for birth of their first child. NO ONE from the PGA tour criticized him for doing so, and drivenly competitive a lot as pro golfers are, all the other players who spoke up supported Mahan’s decision out of genuine agreement that he made the right move. True, the tournament leader going into the final round making a purely elective decision to drop out does moderately benefit the rest of the field, especially those also in contention to possibly win on Sunday, but that’s not how PGA tour golfers roll. For class moves like that, I can almost forgive that a disproportionate percentage of them are probably Republicans, though most of them have the sense to keep their mouth shut about politics either way.

  39. 39
    c u n d gulag says:

    @raven:
    Ditto!

    I can build up to a righteous rage with the best of ’em – but I try to make sure my targets deserve it.

  40. 40
    MomSense says:

    @raven:

    I’m glad he apologized.

  41. 41
    Violet says:

    @c u n d gulag: It really is a heartfelt apology. Good for him.

    @Elizabelle: If it begins a discussion about paternity leave, then some good will come of it. It may also increase awareness that having a baby is a big thing and that C-sections are major surgery.

  42. 42
    Belafon says:

    Boomer made an ass of himself, and then apologized with what looks like a sincere apology. If you have time to hate on him even though it didn’t affect you, I’ve got some things around the house that need to get done.

  43. 43
    Suffern ACE says:

    Oddly, Mike, Daniel Murphy still got paid for those two days. That’s what paternity leave is and was covered in the CBA that his union negotiated. It’s how he makes his money and he didn’t need to hire a nurse.

  44. 44
    SFAW says:

    Plus, he plays for the goddam Mets, which makes his time off even less consequential.

    WTF do you mean by that? The Mets are going to win 105 games this season.

    Well, if ‘this season” is defined as “from now through October, 2015.”

    @Elizabelle:

    It’s not like most ballplayers — or even your average American male — is Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.

    No wonder he never had time to play while on tour. Too busy “gettin’ busy,” off-stage.

  45. 45
    RaflW says:

    It all goes back to not sending any message to men that it’s OK to miss work. Capitalism, a la America anyway, cannot tolerate empowered or autonomous workers, even at the star level, since baseball has a lot of average-joe fans.

    I’m being a bit extreme in that analysis, but I think it is at least a factor. It certainly plays a more significant part in why, in general, paternity leave is rare here.

  46. 46
    Tractarian says:

    Why must everything be turned into an excuse to bash the Mets?

    Haven’t we suffered enough?

    ETA: Esiason and Francesa are grade-A morons, but I don’t think it is a heinous crime to suggest that the C-section could have been scheduled a couple of days earlier. When my wife was scheduled for her induced delivery, we had a more than a week of dates to choose from which the OB-GYN said would be OK.

  47. 47
    Betty Cracker says:

    My hubby was a stay-at-home-dad until our kiddo went off to kindergarten. This totally made sense at the time because of our respective jobs back then. It gave us both a lot of insight into how narrowly some folks define gender roles.

  48. 48
    raven says:

    @Tractarian: Cub fans say you don’t know the meaning of the word!

  49. 49
    Burt Hutt says:

    Are they hypertensive? No? Then don’t spare the salt on that bag of dicks.

  50. 50
    Tractarian says:

    @raven: Pshaw. The Mets make a habit of coming close, then snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. At least the Cubs don’t even pretend to contend.

  51. 51
    ronin122 says:

    Not the same sport, but this year on the Chicago Blackhawks (hockey) one of our players took some time off for paternity leave and for what appeared to be an undisclosed complication from delivery, and I’d say his not being on the ice was far from inconsequential considering they were always playoff-bound. He was out for a few games as a result. I don’t recall anyone–except a few fans that got shot down pretty fast–making a big deal about it. Not that he’s our biggest star or anything but he’s one of our best players all the same. Some people just suck; doesn’t matter what you do for a living, family comes first.

  52. 52
    libarbarian says:

    When the fuck is the MSM going to stop hiding behind political correctness and address that FUCKED-UP pathologies of White sports-culture.

  53. 53
    WereBear says:

    To the 1% and those who kiss their behinds: the only worth is in our work.

    While modern Republicans have done their best to institutionalize psychopathology as the New Normal, I’m pleased that normal people can create an outcry about it.

    Reminds me of the long ago cold medicine commercial that had the actors state, “I can’t miss work,” this even though exertion while fighting off respiratory illness can strain the heart and delay recovery.

    Risking death for that report? Sure!

  54. 54
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @raven: I was disappointed when Boomer made the asinine comment (not surprised that Francesca was a dickweed), because Boomer seemed genuine about family dedication when he played for the Bengals. And I was impressed with the thoughtful sincerity of his apology. It’s so unlike the the more common weasel version of “oh, I’m sorry if I offended the hypersenstive, who should get the fuck over themselves already, but my PR team insists I apologize.”

    Boomer stepped on his dick, caught hell for it, and apologized. I’m certain he heard from both the March of Dimes and female family members.

  55. 55
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    “oh, I’m sorry if I offended the hypersenstive, who should get the fuck over themselves already, but my PR team insists I apologize.”

    OK, you’ve got Chris Christie bugged, don’t you?

  56. 56
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @WereBear:

    Reminds me of the long ago cold medicine commercial that had the actors state, “I can’t miss work,” this even though exertion while fighting off respiratory illness can strain the heart and delay recovery

    Not to mention spread your cold to your fellow workers, making matters even worse. One of the reasons for taking a sick day is to not create other sick days.

  57. 57
    Roger Moore says:

    @Tractarian:

    Haven’t we suffered enough?

    No. SATSQ.

  58. 58
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @libarbarian: I think the MSM will address the fucked up pathologies of white sports culture the same day that the deserting coward and the Dark Lord are locked away forever for war crimes.

  59. 59
    jackmac says:

    Minnesota Twins pitcher Brian Duensing took three days paternity leave last week and not a peep of protest. In fact, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire encouraged the time off: “We just want Deuce to go home and take care of his wife and the baby. It’s a beautiful thing for that. I know he wants to be here, but there are more important things than that. It’s an exciting moment, so we want him to be his wife.”

  60. 60
    WereBear says:

    Also, when you have a lousy home life, work looms even larger as a place where you can go.

    Don’t know if it’s chicken or egg, but I saw plenty of it on Long Island. Women only wanted to go out with the guy who worked all the time and had a fancy car, he’d be a “good provider.” But when the kids start coming, and he leaves the christening party early, and is never home? They whine.

    Hey, you picked him.

  61. 61
    Elizabelle says:

    @SFAW:

    Yeah. Wiki mentioned the number of SJHawkins kids might be up to 75. Who knows?

    [And this was before assisted reproduction.]

    Love “I Put a Spell on You” though. Timeless.

  62. 62
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Busted. But I swear I thought NJ is a one party state.

  63. 63
    Roger Moore says:

    @Woodrowfan:

    He said he missed the actual birth, but got there right after to go spend time with his wife in the hospital and to see his new kids. And his team mates were OK with him taking a couple days to be a Dad… Not the answer the host wanted to hear..

    I can think of a couple of good reasons for his teammates to feel that way:

    1) They were mostly either fathers themselves or likely to become fathers while they were still playing. They wanted to make sure they got the same kind of treatment when it was their turn.

    2) A new dad who wants to take time off to be with his kids isn’t going to have his head and heart in the game anyway. You’re better off with a backup who’s ready to play than a starter whose thoughts are elsewhere.

    Baseball also has bereavement leave, so players can easily take time off when there’s a death or severe illness in the family. That’s also good for the teams, since having an organized list like that means they can replace a player on paternity or bereavement leave and don’t have to play with a short roster.

  64. 64
    burnspbesq says:

    Plus, he plays for the goddam Mets, which makes his time off even less consequential.

    Fuck off.

  65. 65
    burnspbesq says:

    As a Mets fan, I wish Murphy had taken 180 days of paternity leave. He’s a miserable excuse for a major league second baseman.

  66. 66
    BBA says:

    @SFAW:

    The Mets are going to win 105 games this season.

    Well, if ‘this season” is defined as “from now through October, 2015.”

    as a Mets fan, I appreciate your unrealistic optimism.

  67. 67
    SFAW says:

    @Tractarian:

    Haven’t we suffered enough?

    It’s all part of FSM’s plan.

    But, as Roger Moore said: No.

    On the plus side, I hear they’re bringing back Omar Minaya as co-GM. He’ll share the job with Dan Duquette.

    @raven:

    Cub fans say you don’t know the meaning of the word!

    Using Cubs fans as a reference point for anything is like using Billy Kristol as reference point for intelligent political insight in the last 15 years.

    (I have no idea what the preceding sentence means. I just wanted to bust the stones of Cubs fans.)

  68. 68
    SFAW says:

    @BBA:

    as a Mets fan, I appreciate your unrealistic optimism.

    Thanks. What with the Jets, Nets, Knicks, Islanders, Rangers, and Devils, it’s hard out there for a New York fan.

    I miss Tom Seaver. And Bud Harrelson. And Donn Clendenon. And Gil Hodges. And Cleon.

    Dick Stuart, not so much.

  69. 69
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @SFAW:

    using Billy Kristol as reference point for intelligent political insight in the last 15 years.

    You mean the neocon dickhead, right, not the actor?

    Just want to be clear about that…

  70. 70
    SFAW says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    You mean the neocon dickhead, right, not the actor?

    I’m a little insulted that you even asked the question.

    If I had written “Little Billy Kristol” instead, would that have obviated the question?

  71. 71
    Wally Ballou says:

    If you’ve never heard it before, check out the great Vin Scully calling Aaron’s 715th for the visiting Dodgers (and ruminating beautifully on the socio-historical context of the event) forty years ago tonight:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvfYg_kNtTk

  72. 72
    Roger Moore says:

    @SFAW:

    On the plus side, I hear they’re bringing back Omar Minaya as co-GM. He’ll share the job with Dan Duquette.

    Because the one thing a badly run organization needs is more people giving conflicting orders.

  73. 73
    Roger Moore says:

    @Wally Ballou:

    If you’ve never heard it him before, check out the great Vin Scully calling Aaron’s 715th for the visiting Dodgers (and ruminating beautifully on the socio-historical context of the event) forty years ago tonight anything:

    FTFY.

  74. 74
    WaterGirl says:

    @SFAW: I thought the question was Bill Kristol (neocon dickhead) vs. Billy Crystal (the actor), where one might not know how the name was spelled.

  75. 75
    c u n d gulag says:

    @Roger Moore:
    Standing O!!!!!!!!!!!

  76. 76
    SFAW says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Because the one thing a badly run organization needs is more people giving conflicting orders.

    Especially when the two GMs-in-waiting are so gosh-darned-awesome.

    @WaterGirl:

    I thought the question was Bill Kristol (neocon dickhead) vs. Billy Crystal (the actor), where one might not know how the name was spelled.

    This is Balloon Juice, right? I had to check the top of the screen, ’cause I thought I might have stumbled into the “Highlights” website by mistake.

  77. 77
    WaterGirl says:

    @Wally Ballou: Never heard it before. Nowadays the talking head-on radio would never have allowed all that time to just listen to the crowd. Then the rest of the clip was worth waiting for; I got a little misty eyed listening to it.

  78. 78
    SFAW says:

    @Wally Ballou:

    Wally! How are Biff Burns and Steve Bosco these days?

  79. 79
    Capri says:

    @raven:

    Excuse me, but March madness isn’t over till after tonight’s game. Another example of women getting little respect in the manly world of sport.

  80. 80
  81. 81
    SFAW says:

    @Capri:
    Truth.

    Go Huskettes?

  82. 82
    kd bart says:

    Mike Francesa also believes that Saturday night is for the wife but Friday night is for the girlfriend.

  83. 83
    Biff Burns says:

    @SFAW: This is Biff Burns saying this is Biff Burns saying good afternoon and thank you for the kind regards.

  84. 84
    dr. luba says:

    @Tractarian:

    Esiason and Francesa are grade-A morons, but I don’t think it is a heinous crime to suggest that the C-section could have been scheduled a couple of days earlier. When my wife was scheduled for her induced delivery, we had a more than a week of dates to choose from which the OB-GYN said would be OK.

    Unless they were privy to Mrs. Murphy’s private medical history and are prescient then yes, it was stupid of them to suggest what they did. She did not have a scheduled cesarian section; she ended up with one for obstetric reasons, despite laboring.

    Cesarian sections and inductions, unless there are strong medical reasons to do so otherwise (preeclampsia, growth restriction, oligohydramnios, etc.), are not scheduled before 39 weeks, to ensure the maturity of the baby. And inductions are best scheduled after the cervix ripens.

    Cesarians are not to be undertaken lightly, either; they are major abdominal surgery. Like other surgeries, if necessary, they should be done, but if not, the risks may outweigh the possible benefits.

  85. 85
    Paul in KY says:

    @cmorenc: I’m fine with the baseball gentleman taking off, etc. but PGA golf is an individual sport. That man taking off in the tourney only helped out his fellow competitors, so it’s understandable that they would all support it.

  86. 86
    JaneE says:

    Esiason may be a better athlete or ballplayer, but Murphy is a far better husband, father, and human being. I feel sorry for a child who knows he is less important to his father than a ball game.

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