Fatherhood, Patriarchy, and Baseball

in Blog,Men & Masculinities

Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets took paternity leave after the birth of his child. He missed ONE game. Boomer Esiaison said they should have scheduled a C-section (has since completely and sincerely apologized). Mike Francesa stated, “You’re a Major League Baseball player. You can hire a nurse.” The following thoughts were instigated by my friend Adam and nudged further through a conversation with my partner Jamie.

1. Fatherhood is not a home project that you hire a free agent for, even if you have the cap room. As my friend Adam shared, “it is a calling.”

2. A C-section is major surgery, not something you schedule in the rotation for convenience. Arguing to put someone’s life at risk so that the Mets have a better chance at winning a baseball game demonstrates that you have lost your damn mind.

3. Hiring a nurse doesn’t allow a father to bond and connect with what is likely one of the most important people in his life, if not the most important. It also doesn’t allow for the child to start the bonding process with Dad either.

4. He’s a baseball player and even though you root for him, you don’t own him. He is not your property. Neither is his wife/partner/mother of the child.

5. Hiring a nurse to assist the mother of your child assumes she is a medical patient needing treatment not a human being one loves and cares for and wants to experience the first few days of parenthood with together.

6. It also doesn’t say much about marriage as a partnership and reaffirms this archaic notion that mothers are caregivers(only) and fathers are providers (only). –Jamie Jackson

7. Ask any retired baseball player if he would miss a single baseball game to be with his newborn child or not. Let’s remember that baseball players scratch games in the middle of the season just to have a recovery day. Yasiel Puig was scratched for a game yesterday for being 45 minutes late. That’s seen as a legitimate consequence, but missing ONE game for the birth of your child is criticized.

8. I’m glad Boomer Esiason apologized. I believe it was genuine and sincere. Perhaps he was reminded of the power of fatherhood by this touching video of a father talking about how proud he is of his son.

Patriarchy is systemic sexism that serves to oppress women, places some men above other men, and limits all men. This nonsense is a great example of how patriarchal systems and traditional definitions of masculinity limit men and diminish men’s humanity. And let’s not forget how objectifying this has been for the mother involved as well.

  • Jamie Jackson

    I’ll also add: he probably would play better with additional time off. It isn’t our business about how long the birth process took, but you remember how tired you were after Kara was born. 2 days off is not something to brag about. Fathers deserve better leave.

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