April 3, 2014 at 9:01 AM ET
New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy missed the season's first two games to be with his wife during the birth of their first child earlier this week. Murphy's wife went into labor on opening day Monday, so he went to Florida to be with her for the birth of son Noah, then decided to take the three full days' paternity leave allowed by Major League Baseball.
Seems reasonable, right? Not to some sports radio announcers, including former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason.
"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,'" Esiason said Wednesday on his daily morning radio show, "Boomer and Carton."
Co-host Craig Carton weighed in, too.
"To me, and this is just my sensibility, assuming the birth went well, assuming your wife is fine, assuming the baby is fine — 24 hours, you stay there, baby is good, you have a good support system for the mom and the baby, you get your ass back to your team and you play baseball," Carton said.
Esiason did acknowledge it was Murphy's legal right to take the paternity leave afforded to him by the league, to meet his first son, Noah.
Boomer and Carton weren't the only New York radio hosts with an opinion on the Mets' decision. Radio host Mike Francesa shared a similar sentiment on his show Wednesday.
"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," Francesa said.
Murphy, 29, missed just one game last season — fewer than any other player on the team.
His team is supportive. "He had our blessing to be with his wife," said Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz.
The TODAY anchors were clearly on Team Murphy. He "did the right thing," Tamron Hall said. About the talk-radio reaction, she said, "Things don't often shock me in life but this one is a doozy."
And Matt Lauer pointed out that a C-section is major abdominal surgery, which carries added risks for both mom and baby.
TODAY Moms Facebook fans were pretty flabbergasted by the controversy. "This is a good starting point to what is wrong with America," Kelly Lengel wrote. "I'm all for sports, but the man hits a baseball for a living. period. He's not ending war or curing cancer and hell even if he was he deserves to be there when his child is born. Suggesting major surgery for pure convenience of a schedule is flat out ridiculous. #weshouldnotevenbetalkingaboutthis #FAMILYFIRST"
The MLB released the following statement in the wake of Murphy's decision:
"MLB and the Players Association began the paternity list in 2011 so that players could be with their families for an extraordinary time in their lives. Our Clubs recognize that it is entirely appropriate for players to receive that opportunity. MLB believes that the paternity list, which is an option that gives players flexibility based on their preferences, has facilitated our approach to these circumstances very effectively."
Esiason, the other sports pundits and baseball fans have made their opinions known, but we want to hear from you. Do you think Daniel Murphy deserved a three-day leave to be with his wife and newborn? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter using #OrangeRoom.