NEW YORK (AP) — Daniel Murphy is proud he put fatherhood ahead of baseball, and New York Mets manager Terry Collins thinks criticism his second baseman received for taking paternity leave this week was unfair.
Murphy made his season debut in Thursday's 8-2 loss to Washington, three days after the birth of son Noah. He called staying in Florida an extra day "the right decision to make" following wife Victoria's cesarean section and said "we felt the best thing for our family was for me to stay."
He learned Sunday that his wife's water broke, then traveled to Florida and missed Monday's 9-7 opening loss to Washington and Wednesday night's 5-1 defeat. He said his son was born at 12:02 p.m. Monday.
Major league rules allow up to three days of paternity leave, and WFAN broadcaster Mike Francesa said on the air Wednesday that Murphy should not have skipped the second game.
"One day I understand. And in the old days they didn't do that," Francesa said. "But one day, go see the baby be born and come back. You're a Major League Baseball player. You can hire a nurse to take care of the baby if your wife needs help."
Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason also was critical during his show on WFAN.
"Quite frankly, I would have said C-section before the season starts. I need to be at opening day, I'm sorry," he said. "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."
A day later, Collins bristled after learning of the comments.
"If you're accusing Dan Murphy of not wanting to play — this guy played 161 games last year, wore himself out, played through all sorts of discomfort," he said. "You know, the man had his first child. He's allowed to be there. The rules state that he can be there, so he went. There's nothing against it. There's nothing wrong with it. You know, he missed two games. It's not like he's missed 10. You know, when you start attacking Dan Murphy's credibility, you need to look in the mirror a little bit."