Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Ghost of Ozzie Nelson

"How could you be so obtuse?
Is it deliberate?"
-Andy Dufresne

The question Andy Dufresne directed to Warden Norton of Shawshank Prison burst into the forefront of my mind the other evening, upon learning that New York Mets 2B Daniel Murphy was under attack from certain quarters in the New York media.  Murphy's sin?  He missed the first two games of the 2014 season to be with his wife as she gave birth to the couple's first child.  At this point, I am constrained to point out that Murphy and his fellow members of the MLBPA have the right to take paternity leave.  It is a right, among others, for which they collectively bargained.

From the moment the station's antenna went up through the 2013 season, WFAN in New York City served as the radio home of the Mets.  However, in this off-season WFAN became the Yankees' new radio station and the Mets shuffled off to another spot on the dial (WOR I believe).  Earlier this week however the Mets  - Murphy at least - were Topic #1 on FAN's afternoon drive program, hosted by Mike Francesca, and its morning drive program, hosted by Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton.  Both shows are simulcast on television - although I am uncertain as to which cable network airs which show - so that the views and opinions of the hosts can be heard far beyond the New York market.

In a nutshell, on both the Esiason/Carton show Wednesday morning and the Francesca program Wednesday afternoon, Murphy was called out by the hosts for his decision to miss the season's first two games to be home with his wife as she delivered their first child - who turned out to be a little boy.   While anyone will tell you that Adam is a fine name for a child, the Murphys named their son "Noah".  Little dude should be happy that "Divergent" was not last week's top-grossing film at the box office huh?  I am kidding.  The Murphys named their son after the original Noah and not the Russell Crowe iteration.

But I digress.

Carton slammed Murphy for his decision.  Later that same day - on his program - Francesca did likewise (it is worth listening to for his dissertation on the evolution of childbirth  However, Esiason took it a step further.  He actually criticized Murphy - and more pointedly his wife - for not having planned better in terms of her pregnancy to ensure that she gave birth during the off-season.  No shit.

Francesca is Francesca.  Once he actually thought he was wrong about something.  It turned out he was mistaken.  His position is one he shall cling to forever - in spite of the best efforts of Tom in the Bronx to point out its hypocrisy (  There is as much likelihood that he shall change his mind as there is that he shall voluntarily surrender the last box of Fiddle Faddle.  

Carton is a boor.  He is the same prince who a number of years ago, while he was on 101.5 FM here in the State of Concrete Gardens, took a shot at the wife of then-Governor Richard Codey's wife over a mental health issue:  For his troubles he received an invitation to an ass-kicking from the Governor.  To the surprise of no one - especially those of us with fully-descended testicles - Carton declined.       

But Esiason knows better.  This is a man, after all, who has raised millions of dollars to assist families of those afflicted with cystic fibrosis through his Boomer Esiason Foundation (, a Foundation whose roots are found within the four walls of Esiason's home.  In 1993, Esiason's son Gunnar was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.  Gunnar's disease and the Esiason family's struggle to deal with it and to fight through it served as the impetus of an organization that has done good for countless others for years.  Finally, yesterday after getting lambasted by a number of his fellow media members Esiason issued a mea culpa.  Better late than never Norm.  Not much to be sure but acceptance of responsibility counts for something.  Always has.  I hope it always shall.

Kudos to the Mets for defending Murphy's right to do what he did.  And kudos to young Mr. Murphy as well.  He played in their game on Thursday afternoon, which they lost, and while explaining why he did what he did - as if he really needed to - he refused to take a shot at those who had criticized him.  There were two roads to take. 

He took the high one.



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