An Open Letter to New York Met Daniel Murphy

Joe DeProspero has two sons, a wife, and is complimentary birth control for anyone who sits near him in a restaurant. His writing has been described as “outrageous,” “painfully real,” and “downright humiliating.” Author of the dark comedy fiction novel “The Boy in the Wrinkled Shirt,” Joe is working on releasing a parenting humor book. He currently lives in New Jersey and can be found on Facebook or followed on Twitter @JoeDeProspero.

To give the necessary back-story for those who need it, New York Mets infielder Daniel Murphy was recently criticized by former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason and radio host Mike Francesa for spending (what they considered) an excessive amount of time with his wife after the birth of their child.

Dear Mr. Murphy,

First of all, I’m about as far from your “world” as is possible. Frankly, I’m no athlete. I’m practically never traveling, I work a 9-5, and the closest I get to sports is running a fantasy football league. But at our core, we’re likely not very different. We’re both men in the early stages of starting a family, and we’re both often torn between the demands of our career and those of our home. And unfortunately, no matter how strong our resolve is, there will be some jerk who thinks he/she knows better.

Your decision to be by your wife’s side for the birth of your son and (gasp) the day after should have served as a powerful reminder to those in your community about the paramount importance of the family. But some tried to tear you down. The comments made by both Boomer Esiason and Mike Francesa were as short-sighted as they were childish. Sadly, in a male-dominated line of work, there is an undercurrent of “Suck it up and just play ball!” As you’re aware, life isn’t that simple when you’re a family man.

I had a situation arise in my own job recently where I had a decision to make: Stay in the office and disappoint my children or go home and potentially disappoint my co-workers. I chose to disappoint my co-workers, and here’s why. For one, my involvement at work that particular day would not have cured cancer. While causing a minor inconvenience for my boss, the work got done and the people who needed to be happy were happy. And also, I asked myself two questions. At the end of my life, would I regret the decision to be present for my son’s Halloween parade? Or would I regret the decision to miss it? This was as “no-brainer” as it gets. That was all the confirmation I needed that I was doing the right thing. The fact that your decision to potentially disappoint your co-workers had public ramifications makes your decision that much bolder.

When I read the headline about those who criticized you, I couldn’t help but empathize. You took two days of paternity leave. Surely, there will be and are people who say, “You chose the life of a professional athlete. Part of the lifestyle is sacrificing time with your family.” But my opinion? You’re already spending enough time away from your baby. Being there for the milestones (when possible) is key. When your son is 21 and looks back at his baby pictures with you in them, I can guarantee you the satisfaction he derives from that will be worth far more than any petty, uninformed opinion of a sports analyst. “Hiring a nurse,” as Mr. Francesa so callously suggested, assumes you have no heart. I’d say it’s abundantly clear that you do.

Congratulations on not only becoming a father, but for proving you’re a man. Considering Mets history, you should be commended for only choosing to miss two games.

Respectfully,

Joe DeProspero

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m aware that Boomer Esiason issued an apology to Murphy after he was essentially given no choice but to make one after public ridicule. That’s all fine and good. Doesn’t change the fact that his and Francesa’s original comments reflect an unsettling position toward a new father who was clearly making the decision that any decent human being (and husband) should make.

Cheap plug for Parents.com Executive Editor Michael Kress, who wrote a poignant article on this very topic, moments before taking his own paternity leave. Check it out here.

*Mets photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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