It's depressing when people act like caricatures of themselves.
Take Sports radio blowhard Mike Francesa, for example. This week his head exploded when he learned that New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy had taken the three days of paternity leave he was allowed to monitor his wife and child after she gave birth.
Three days. It was an outrage. Murphy had to miss his team's first three games, even if in the process he showed New York what a compassionate father looks like.
That's where the caricature part comes in. Francesa could not understand – at all – why Murphy didn't cut short his paternity leave and returning to his team.
In fact Francesa was so perplexed he spent fully 20 minutes of his show on Wednesday discussing Murphy and the sheer absurdity of male paternity leave.
'I frankly don't get it, to be honest with you, I don't get it,' Francesa opined. 'I don't know where it started, to be honest with you. I guess it started with natural childbirth.
'In the old days guys (meaning men) weren't present, you know? They were in the waiting room when they (meaning women) had birth. Then they went to this natural childbirth stuff, so the guys were part of it.
I don't know why you need three days off. You see the birth and you get back. What do you do in the first couple of days?'
Murphy's wife went into labor on the team’s opening day, so Murphy reportedly flew to Florida to be present for the birth. Major League Baseball players are permitted a maximum of three days leave for just this purpose.
But Francesa apparently saw it as an unspeakable betrayal of Murphy's team and possibly even the male sex. Certainly he saw it as a betrayal of the entire sporting world. In fact he sounded astonished that MLB players are even granted three days paternity leave.
'Your wife doesn't need your help the first couple days, you know that,' Francesa thundered. Of course he declined to say how he knew or anyone knew that. Perhaps he was talking from personal experience.
Still he kept digging.
'One day, I understand. 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... What are you gonna do? Are you gonna sit there and look at your wife in the hospital bed for two days?'
Then came more how it used to be in the olden days reminiscing. In this he was joined by other (male, natch) radio hosts like Craig Carton and Boomer Esiason. (Esiason has since apologized)
'You get your ass back to your team and you play baseball…there's nothing you can do, you're not breastfeeding the kid,' scoffed Carton, who couldn't understand why a father needed to be present at the birth of his child at all.
Esiason said he would have told his own wife to have a Caesarean section before the baseball season started to avoid any conflict with opening day. Because, priorities. Murphy makes his money playing baseball, and baseball provides for his wife and kids, so he should have prioritized it Esiason said.
The sanctity of marriage has to take a back seat to the sanctity of machismo and baseball, apparently.
Murphy, 29, is reportedly making $5.7 million this season from the Mets. He played in 161 out of 162 games last season, the most of any player on the 2013 Mets by 40 games, and the most of any Mets player since 2008.
But that’s not enough for New York’s radio hosts, who blasted Murphy for what they called his lack of commitment to the team because at the start of the season he's missing just three out of 162 games.
Perhaps the wives of these armchair opinion makers could remind them about the other enduring commitment they’re belittling. It looks like they could use a refresher lesson.
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