One wonders why this was even a news story. New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy took a brief paternity leave, missing the first two games of the regular season so he could be with his wife who was about to undergo a C-section. This would be their first child.
Suddenly, all those armchair major leaguers criticized Murphy’s decision to be with his wife instead of on the ballfield.
Hooray for Murphy. Boo to his detractors.
“My wife and I discussed it, and we felt the best thing for our family was for me to try to stay for an extra day — that being Wednesday — due to the fact that she can’t travel for two weeks,” Murphy said.
How refreshing. He didn’t ask his teammates or manager or those sports-radio wannabes what he should do. He and his wife talked and made the decision.
Some guys give jocks and “jockdom” a bad name — and many jocks already have an image problem. Murphy did what a dad should do; he remained true to his priorities. He realized how important his support and presence were to his wife and family. He didn’t hesitate. His role as man, husband and father-to-be was far and away more important than missing two of 162 games in a season.
Some have countered that Murphy makes his living playing baseball. He gets paid to show up for every game, and his generous salary will sustain his family for years to come. His loyalty should be to the game that gives him that ability. We have no argument against a person being faithful to his or her job.
On the other hand, what dollar value can we attach to a man who puts his role as a husband and father beyond what he does to collect a paycheck? Murphy’s willingness and courage to put everything else aside in order to be there when his child was brought into the world speaks volumes as to the kind of dad he will be in the years to come. It is a window to his character.
There is an old-school mentality that places the family in an inferior position, giving way to money, title and position. We justify this by saying that, with these accessories of life, we will be able to take care of our family. Sure, who doesn’t believe that family is No. 1, at least in theory? However, many of us produce evidence that it is just a theory by substituting wealth and position for presence and involvement.
Murphy’s role as a husband and dad is evident from the choice he made. His family will have a dad who will be there for them no matter what, come hell, high water or baseball.
And he’ll probably take them to a few games.
Tom Tozer and Bill Black are authors of the new book “Dads2Dads: Tools for Raising Teenagers.” Got to their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter at Dads2Dadsllc. Contact them at tomandbill@Dads2Dadsllc.com.