Cleveland Indians’ David Murphy swings and knocks fatherhood and baseball out of the park.
Being a professional baseball player is an aspiration most little boys strive for. The newest addition to the Cleveland Indians, right fielder David Murphy, was no different.
This father of three has made his dream happen, and while he views this as a blessing, he also admits it can be a struggle when raising kids.
Murphy came to the Cleveland Indians this year as a free agent. He previously played for the Texas Rangers and two World Series for that team. He was signed during the off-season for a $12 million, two-year deal.
“Honestly, it was an answer to a prayer,” Murphy says about the team change. “It was an obvious decision. The Indians showed a lot of interest in the beginning. (Cleveland) sounded like a great city from a family standpoint.”
Like any husband and father, he spread the good news to his wife, Andrea, and then to their daughters Madison, 6, and Faith, 5, and son Cole, 3.
He didn’t realize that the family meeting about moving to Cleveland would have an interesting aftermath.
The couple’s daughter Faith happened to be studying pilgrims and Indians at her preschool during that time, as it was around the Thanksgiving holiday, when she told her class, “Daddy is going to play for the Indians.”
The announcement leaked outside of the school and then spilled onto social media channels. Murphy says it was a good lesson on how quickly things spread on social media.
It’s also another moment in fatherhood as their children begin to understand what their father does for a living.
For Murphy, being a professional baseball player was a dream since age 5. He said his father coached and managed teams he was on.
“He was there every bit of the way,” Murphy says. “He instilled a great work ethic to help me get to where I am, and commitment.”
He added, noting some are not fortunate to have their parents around to coach them, “I was able to share that with my dad and spend that time with him. He would sacrifice plenty of time off work. He knew I had a gift and so he nurtured it.”
Knowing what being a professional baseball player entails, Murphy was asked what he thinks about his kids becoming athletes.
“I am definitely going to encourage my kids to play sports,” he says. “But, I see how much pressure is at this level, I don’t want my kids to think just because I do this for a living, that this is something they have to do. I want them to do what they enjoy and if they want to play sports, that’s great. If they pursued it and they really don’t enjoy it, I don’t think there’s any reason to put any pressure on them to continue.”
Murphy says the kids are starting to understand that their father being a Major Leaguer means it’s a little bit different from the average lifestyle.
During the baseball season, while things are hectic, he works to help his wife as much as he can.
“I will try to let (my wife) sleep in, since she doesn’t get to do that when I am on the road,” he says. “During the home stand, I will spend a whole lot of time with the kids in the morning and in the early afternoon before I go to the ballpark.”
He uses technology such as Skype and Facetime to connect with his family during away games.
“It’s definitely hard to be away,” he says. “The positive is with the technology advancing the way it has, I can see them while on the road.”
During the four- to five-month off-season, the Murphys have a sense of normalcy as the whole family is together.
“It’s refreshing,” Murphy says. “During the off-season I really try to make up for lost time. I really try to spend quality time with them.”
He says, like most couples, he and his wife balance priorities, such as taking the kids back and forth to activities and school.
“Basically, family is priority,” he says about off-season life.
The family has moved to Westlake, and he says he really loves the idea of living in the city. “It’s an ideal area for my family and me,” adding that the Cleveland Indians have been helpful with the family’s transition from Texas to Northeast Ohio.
The Cleveland Indians are rich with families as many players have children. “Eighteen players in that group (the team roster) have children,” according to an Indians official. “It includes starting pitchers Justin Masterson, whose wife, Meryl, had twins in the off-season, and Corey Kluber, whose wife, Amanda, gave birth in January. Yan Gomes’ wife, Jenna, had their first child during the first months of the season.”
Lonnie Chisenhall spoke with an Indians official on the team’s website in March about the challenges of being away from family while out on the road. “It’s challenging at times, especially on her,” he says about his wife Meredith. “You leave for extended periods of time.” The couple has a 2-year-old son, Cutter, and also recently had a second child, Cannon.
“Hat’s off to all the wives and moms who stay home,” Chisenhall said. “Meredith has a 2-year-old boy who is … active. Sometimes he’s great, sometimes he’s a handful.”
“This (Cleveland Indians) organization definitely shows they care from top down,” Murphy says. “There are so many people involved with the organization to help answer questions (such as best places for child care or health care).”
He says, like everything, it’s still a transition and it will take time to get used to being in a new city.
“As a family we were overall excited about this new adventure in our lives,” Murphy says. “Not everyone gets to do what I do, and not every family gets to do what our family is doing. On one hand, it’s a struggle, as they are not used to being away from the friends and church they were going to. All the same, they get to experience so many cool things and travel to so many cool places. More than anything, we want them to understand, that as long as we are together as a family, that’s the most important thing.”