The hosts of WFAN’s morning and afternoon shows rarely see eye to eye but on Wednesday both weighed in with similar takes on the subject of Daniel Murphy’s paternity leave from the Mets.
Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton began the discussion in the morning, with Esiason offering a particularly blunt opinion that took the matter a big step beyond the others.
“That’s not me,’’ he said. “I wouldn’t do that. Quite frankly, I would have 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 my 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 . . . No complications – get your ass back to work.’’
Carton agreed, saying that assuming the mother and baby are healthy, “You get your ass back to your team and you play baseball. That’s my take on it. There’s nothing you can do anyway. You’re not breastfeeding the kid.
“What are you doing? I’ve got four of these little rugrats. There’s nothing to do.’’
Said Esiason: “We don’t have the plumbing to take care of what needs to be taken care of.’’
Later in the day Mike Francesa said, “I have no problem with being there [in the delivery room]. I don’t know why you need three days off. You see the birth and you get back.
“What are you doing the first couple of days? Maybe you are taking care of the other kids, but you have to have someone do that if you’re a major league baseball player. I’m sorry, you do . . . Your wife doesn’t need your help the first couple of days, you know that.’’
Francesa said he was present for the births of his three children but did not miss work days.
“Harrison was born at 9 in the morning, and I worked that day,’’ he said. “I didn’t have anything to do. I’m being honest. What was I going to do? . . . One day, I understand. Go see the baby and come back. You’re a major league baseball player. You can hire a nurse.’’
Francesa was even more exasperated when he learned his own company’s policy is to give 10 days off for new fathers, days that do not have to be taken consecutively. He called the policy a “scam-and-a-half.’’
Regarding pro athletes, he said, “I’d rather go out and get a couple of hits if I was a player. That’s the best thing I can do. Go play. Go make some money; you just had a kid.’’
Like the morning hosts, Francesa emphasized he only was talking about situations with no medical complications.
“When you have a unique job like Daniel Murphy has and I have, you get back,’’ he said. “You have a unique job that you need to be present at that someone else can’t do, then you go back to work.’’
Esiason and Carton returned early Thursday to the subject, addressing criticism of their initial take Wednesday from assorted corners of social media and beyond.
They did not back off their initial opinion that assuming no medical complications for the mother or baby, Murphy and other professional athletes should return to work after about 24 hours.
"Neither one of us are changing our take on it," Carton said.
But Esiason raised the most eyebrows with Francesa's suggestion that if it were him he would have had his wife deliver the baby by Caesarian section before the season opener to avoid him missing time.
"People are up in arms about it," Carton said. "God forbid anybody has an opinion that goes against the group out there . . . There is a very vocal minority, these organized groups that want to attack everybody because you have an opinion against them."
Carton called some critics of their take "knuckleheads."
"Be there for the birth and if everything goes well then you go back and play for the team that affords you the opportunity to make a lot of money and to have four months off every year," Carton said. "What is so objectionable about that?"
Esiason called the subject "a very personal, private thing that people have certain feelings about," but he reiterated his essential opinion from Wednesday's show.
He said that professional athletes get several months off every offseason, making it that much more important for them to be at work as quickly as possible after a baby's birth.
"It’s not a two-week vacation they get," he said. "It’s a four-month vacation we were off as athletes . . . For you and I, for me, it’s always going back to work assuming everything is OK."
Carton ended the discussion by saying, "Everyone’s got some crazy notion on it and if you’re one of the dopey organized groups with nothing better to do, focus your attention on something else, would you?"
What's my take on all of this matter, which seems to come up every couple of years in the sports world?
As Boomer said this morning: It's a personal, private thing that only should be of interest to the father, the mother and the father's employer. The rest of us should just stay out of it.