Speed Reads

Burning questions

Should MLB players take paternity leave?

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The Mets dropped their second straight game to the Washington Nationals last night — a fact made more notable by virtue of their having played only two games this season. Absent for both games was Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy who, thanks to a collective bargaining agreement, was on paternity leave with his wife and newborn baby.

While some may applaud this display of family values, in the macho world of sports (where playing hurt is a badge of honor), Murphy is taking a beating in the press. Boomer Esiason and Mike Francesa, for example, have both ripped him for missing the games.

Now, as a dad, I would sacrifice anything to be with my wife and children — if they needed me. So if there were complications, for example, I wouldn't care if it were game seven of the World Series — I'd be with my family. It's also important to put things in context. The MLB season lasts 162 games, and (so far) Murphy has missed just two. In the NFL, two games would constitute a much more significant percentage of the 16-game season. In baseball, however, Murphy has another 160 games to redeem himself (if you think that's something he now needs to do).

On the other hand, MLB players already take at least four months a year off — and are paid quite handsomely. To be a professional ball player is an honor, and an implicit part of being a well-paid professional is to make some personal sacrifices — for your team and teammates. Is it asking too much for him to, you know, show up?