Sports Yakkers: Daniel Murphy’s wife should’ve had a C-section so he could “get his ass back to work”

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The stuff yesterday in which folks reacted negatively to Mets’ second baseman Daniel Murphy going on paternity leave has hit the sports yakkers. Today Craig Carton and Boomer Esiason took on the subject. Their take: in Esiason’s words, Murphy should “get his ass back to work.” Boomer also says that Murphy’s wife should’ve had a C-section before the season started so Murphy didn’t miss any time:

 

For his part, Mike Francesa called paternity leave “a scam-and-a-half” and started ranting about the very concept of paternity leave, saying that Murphy is rich enough to where he should hire a nurse to look after his wife and child.

For their part, the Mets have been nothing but supportive of Murphy. Here’s Terry Collins:

“He missed two games,” the manager said. “It’s not like he has missed ten. When you start attacking Dan Murphy’s credibility, you need to look in the mirror a little bit . . . The man had his first child. He is allowed to be there. The rules state that he can be there, so he went. There is nothing against it. There’s nothing wrong with it.”

Murphy himself took a more diplomatic approach, but made it clear where his priorities stand:

“I can only speak for my experience,” Murphy said. “She was completely finished. She was done. She had had surgery, and she was wiped. So having me there, I think, helped a lot, and vice versa.”

Not that he should have to defend himself. Paternity leave has been shown to have a number of huge benefits, including but not limited to helping forge stronger family bonds and benefiting women who desire to go back into the workforce following the birth of their children. At least one study has shown that the lack of paternal involvement in infant care is significantly associated with the intensity of maternal postpartum depression.

Maybe a rich professional athlete’s partner has financial and personal resources great enough to where the father’s absence can be made up for in part, thereby limiting the necessity of paternity leave compared to that of normal people. But mocking an athlete for taking paternity leave like this is to mock the very concept of paternity leave altogether and to make it seem that much more unacceptable for men to do the right thing and be there for their child and its mother at the most critical of times.

While it’s ridiculous that anyone listens to these yakkers and takes anything approaching an example from them, the fact is that many do. Shame on these neanderthals for mocking paternity leave in general and Daniel Murphy specifically.

Derek Jeter calls Bryant Gumbel “mentally weak”

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Derek Jeter has not covered himself in glory since taking over the Miami Marlins. His reign atop the team’s baseball operations department has been characterized by the slashing of payroll in order to help his new ownership group make more money amid some pretty crushing debt service by virtue of what was, in effect, the leveraged buyout of the club. A club which is now 5-16 and seems destined for five months more and change of some pretty miserable baseball.

Jeter has nonetheless cast the moves the Marlins have made as good for fans in the long run. And, yes, I suppose it’s likely that things will be better in the long run, if for no other reason than they cannot be much worse. Still, such reasoning, while often accepted when a lesser light like, say, White Sox GM Rick Hahn employs it, isn’t accepted as easily when a guy who has been defined by his hand full of championship rings offers it. How can Derek Jeter, of all people, accept losing?

That’s the question HBO’s Bryant Gumbel asked of Jeter in an interview that aired over the weekend (see the video at the end of the post). How can he accept — and why should fans accept — a subpar baseball product which is not intended to win? Jeter’s response? To claim that the 2018 Marlins are totally expected to win and that Gumbel himself is “mentally weak” for not understanding it:

JETER: “We’re trying to win ball games every day.”

GUMBEL: “If you trade your best players in exchange for prospects it’s unlikely you’re going to win more games in the immediate future–”

JETER: “When you take the field, you have an opportunity to win each and every day. Each and every day. You never tell your team that they’re expected to lose. Never.”

GUMBEL: “Not in so–”

JETER: “Now, you can think — now– now, I can’t tell you how you think. Like, I see your mind. I see that’s how you think. I don’t think like that. That’s your mind working like that.”

. . .

DEREK JETER: “You don’t. We have two different mi– I can’t wait to get you on the golf course, man. We got– I mean, I can’t wait for this one.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “No, I mean–”

DEREK JETER: “You’re mentally weak.”

I sort of get what Jeter was trying to do here. He was trying to take this out the realm of second guessing among people who know some stuff about sports and subtly make it an appeal to authority, implying that he was an athlete and that only he, unlike Gumbel, can understand that mindset and competitiveness of the athlete. That’s what the “get you on the golf course” jazz was about. Probably worth noting at this point that that tack has never worked for Michael Jordan as a basketball executive, even if his singular competitiveness made him the legend he was on the court. An executive makes decisions which can and should be second-guessed, and it seems Jeter cannot handle that.

That being said, Gumbel did sort of open the door for Jeter to do that. Suggesting that baseball players on the 2018 Marlins don’t expect to win is not the best angle for him here because, I am certain, if you ask those players, they would say much the same thing Jeter said. That’s what makes them athletes.

No, what Gumbel should have asked Jeter was “of COURSE you tell your players to win and of COURSE they try their hardest and think they can win every night. My question to you is this: did YOU try YOUR hardest to get the BEST players? And if not, why not?”

Question him like you’d question Rick Hahn. Not like you’d question Future Hall of Fame Shortstop, Derek Jeter.