There's a reason why New York Daily News sports media columnist Bob Raissman refers to sports talk radio and its attendant audience as "The Valley of the Stupid". The perception being that listeners---and sometimes the hosts themselves---are ill-informed on certain topics, and when the hosts pass off their personal opinions as, well, gospel, to the audience, then things tend to spiral out of control.
Case in point: New York Mets infielder Daniel Murphy missed the first two games of the season to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. Considering that about nine months ago, then-teammate John Buck had taken paternity leave and wasn't a target of a media firestorm, you wonder why Murphy was singled out for choosing family over team now.
The simple answer: He missed Opening Day. To the talk radio types, that's on a par with an unpardonable sin, but in truth, it isn't.
It happens to be an unpleasant coincidence that the criticism comes from the team's former radio home, WFAN, which now carries the Yankees (Mets games are on WOR-AM radio, which is ironic considering that WWOR, the Mets' former TV home, is now home to the Yankees' non-cable telecasts). And it doesn't help that two WFAN talk shows are airing on cable.
Morning hosts Boomer Esiason (The NFL Today) and Craig (My face isn't worthy of a milk) Carton (Raissman calls him "Cartoon" because he's a buffoonish comedian) ripped into Murphy as if he'd deserted his team in a time of need, but in truth, he had the blessing of Mets management. Esaison & Carton's show is broadcast on CBS Sports Network, meaning that their pathetic attempt at a bully pulpit was heard nationwide. Ditto for afternoon host Mike Francesa, the biggest egomaniac WFAN has, whose simulcast was moved to Fox Sports 1 a few weeks back after the Yankees' network got tired of his act. In Francesa's case, he acts and thinks like he knows everything, but is routinely ripped for being the biggest fraud in talk radio. To his guests & listeners, his is the only opinion that should matter, and he wants everyone to respect that. Yeah, just what we don't need. A sports talk clone of Rush Limbaugh.
And, so, Murphy and manager Terry Collins were put on the defensive needlessly. Didn't help that the Mets were swept by Washington, with Murphy making his season debut on Thursday, committing 2 errors while going 1-3 at the plate. The way the radio yappers were carrying on, you'd think Murphy's absence on Monday & Wednesday, and not the continuing injury curse at Citi Field or the plight of a revamped bullpen, was the cause of the Mets' losing those two games. I'm sorry, but they're just looking for a scapegoat when there is none to be had.
Consider also the fact that the Mets are no longer on WFAN. Could it be that their yappers were getting instructions from management? We don't know that, but we are handing out Weasel ears to Esiason, Carton, & Francesa. They take the heat, and if they end up handing up their superiors, we can send some extra ears along.