New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy told a White House audience on Monday that he will be proud to explain to his son one day about his biggest accomplishment on the first day of the 2014 Major League Baseball season.
Murphy skipped Opening Day against the Washington Nationals to be present for the March 31 birth of his son, which occurred about an hour before the season's first pitch.
"When Noah asks me one day, 'What happened? What was it like when I was born?' I could have answered 'Well, Stephen Strasburg hung me a breaking ball that day, son, and I slammed it into the right-field corner,' " Murphy said. "But I think it's going to go so much further in that I'm the one who cut his umbilical cord. And long after they tell me that I'm not good enough to play professional baseball anymore, I'll be a father. And I'll be a husband. So that was a reason on the front end that I wanted to be there for my wife and for my son."
Murphy received flak from talk-radio hosts for missing the first two games of the season to take paternity leave and be present for the birth. That stance, and Murphy's high-profile job, earned the second baseman a trip to the White House on Monday to speak at the Working Families Summit about being a working father and parental rights.
"The support I got from my teammates and the coaches was just unbelievable," Murphy said at the summit. "Our manager, Terry Collins, came out after the hoopla had come from our decision as a family, and he really stuck behind me -- told me that I'd played 161 ballgames the year before, knew I was a guy who came to work and played ball every day.
"Just to get that support from him, from our owners wishing us congratulations, the players on the team just really congratulating us -- it was a level of support that you hope you don't need that affirmation when you make a decision like this, but to get it from my teammates and the organization was awesome."