retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Got a lot of nice reaction yesterday to my "Birth Order" FaceTime commentary, which lambasted a couple of New York sportscasters (Boomer Esiason and Mike Francesa) for suggesting that NY Mets second baseman should not have taken three days of paternity leave, missing two games, when his first child was born.

MNB reader Eddie Owens wrote:

Having been there for my daughter's birth (almost 33 years ago now), I can still say it was the greatest experience of my life. And now that she's the proud mom of a 3 1/2 year-old redhead of her own, my appreciation is stronger now than ever (has it really been 33 years??).

Neanderthal is the perfect word -- apologies ring so hollow after the world has circled the stupidity with a big red marker.

From another reader:

I am a woman who happens to listen to sports radio quite a bit.  I am usually shaking my head at the dumb commentary from Boomer, but this time I nearly drove off the road! I could not believe the things he was actually saying and that it was even allowed to be broadcast.  I did not hear his apology, but that is not something he should have been “given credit” for. Those are taped spots, he was not just speaking live off the cuff and happened to let something stupid slip.  This was something that he scripted and recorded for future play, so there was plenty of time for him to think about what he was saying if he really didn’t mean it. There is no excuse for his backward thinking.

I hope the people who support his broadcasts realize that a Neanderthal like that shouldn’t be someone they should be supporting, and also that women listen to sports radio too.

And another:

What woman in her right mind would marry either of these guys and have children with them?  Neanderthals is the kindest description I can offer to describe them.

And still another:

This one really sticks in my craw.   It would be an understatement to say that I have lost any respect that I would have ever had for Boomer Esiason.   My wife and I married very young and it took me ten years into our marriage to choose to become a father because I wanted to have the time and the resources to be an effective parent.

I worked in the grocery business for 24 years and 20 of them were spent with a large Midwestern retailer.   For the last four of those years, I worked as a store director under a blockhead who resented the fact that my wife was a medical professional and thought that I spent too much time with my family, despite working 60 to 70 hour weeks.   I really set him off when I took an entire week off to spend at home after the birth of our younger son.   (My wife delivered on her due date with no complications and I just took a week of vacation that had been scheduled well in advance.)   After months of pressure on me to resign, my boss finally fabricated an excuse to relieve me of my duties with the expectation that I would go back to the bottom rung of their corporate ladder and (maybe) work my way back up again.

I went home that night to explain to my wife what had happened to me, expecting to have the world come to an end.  Her immediate response was, “I’ve followed you around for the past 14 years; I’ll go find a job that I like and you can take your time looking for something else to do.”  Within seven days she found a new job and we sold our home……I left the retail world to stay home full-time with two boys who were 1 ½ and 4 years old.   I then spent the next year providing care for the boys and handling all of the cooking, cleaning, and child-rearing duties----some of the toughest work I have ever done.   It allowed me to take my time looking for a new career and gave me invaluable time to spend with my kids.  Looking back,  I wouldn’t have done it any differently.   While my wife and I had always helped each other with our respective familial responsibilities, this experience showed us that we were (almost) interchangeable in our roles.  By far, the most emotionally charged decision I had to make during that time was finding a daycare facility for the boys to attend when I finally went back to work.  The true measure of the effect that my year at home had on our sons’ lives was demonstrated one night when one of the boys woke up sick in the middle of the night and called out for “Dad”.

There will never be a doubt in my mind that the experience left an indelible mark on all four of us and made us a better family.    In the years to come, I hope to see the positive effects on our sons as adults and the long-term relationships they will have with others.

MNB reader Denise Mullen chimed in:

Boy,  I agree with you 100%.  You can never turn back the clock on the birth of your child.  I always epitaph will not say... she was a "great worker"....It will say "Mother/Wife". Some people have their priorities in order and others DO NOT.  We regret the things we DID NOT DO.....we never regret the things WE DID DO!!!

From MNB reader Mike Franklin:

Kevin…right on…my son is 35 and I still carry a picture of him in my arms minutes after he was born…and the memories and emotions are as strong today as they were then. However, we must remember, talking heads are paid for ratings not content…ratings come from controversy…those yahoos were just trying to get their audience fired up…but they are still yahoos for picking this particular issue to increase their ratings.

MNB reader Mark Boyer wrote:

Whatever us Boomers might think or say about Millennials, I would be willing to bet a whole lot more of them are going to get the “family thing” right. Like many Boomers, I missed a whole lot of games, parent-teacher conferences, school plays, and other moments I wish now I could have back.

And from another reader:

Doesn’t Esiason realize that a C-section may be hazardous to the mother and the child? Thank goodness this man wasn’t my husband since he would have been the bed next to me at the hospital with several contusions…

And another, though with some caveats:

As a father of four I agree with the majority of what you are saying, but in some circumstances, I do not think his decision is the best option.  For example, I would not want to be on a plane ready for take off and have the pilot announce that his wife is going into labor and he will have to leave; "please reschedule your flight and have a nice day".

In the case of baseball, or any sport, there is a strong probability that many people have bet money on the outcome of the game.  They bet on known statistics and probable conditions.  OK, if someone breaks a leg, that a chance you take.  But for a player to take himself out of the game for personal reasons, that may change the conditions and outcome of the game, and cost people money.  Now I had not followed this particular player, and if he had announced a few weeks ago that his wife was due and he may have to miss the opening games, then I would have no problem with it.  I would have known the potential conditions of the game and if I wanted to make a bet, that is a risk I would be willing to take.

I'm not sure you have anything to worry about with pilots. I'm pretty sure that, like most of us, they try not to be traveling on and around the dates when their spouses are scheduled to give birth.

As for gamblers … the day that professional players decide not to be there for their families, or that teams don't allow them to be there for their families, because it might affect the gambling odds, will be the day that I stop watching professional sports.
KC's View: