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Thursday, August 4, 2011

• Murphy, The Celtic Conundrum •

Daniel Murphy is special. At the plate he is special in the gifted, advanced placement kind of way. And in the field and when running the bases, he is special in the little, yellow short bus kind of way. 

Mets Blob once heard a story about Murphy from his college baseball days at Jacksonville University that sums up Murphy's mental baseball make up. The story is a simple one that illustrates the conundrum that is Daniel Murphy as a ball player. The players at Jacksonville were once asked to introduce themselves. They were to state their name and position. For example, a player would say, "I'm John Smith, and I play right field." When it was Murphy's turn to introduce himself he said, "I'm Daniel Murphy, and I bat 3rd."
What is his true position? Not even Murphy himself knows. The Mets organization has been on a quest for sometime now to find the positional answer to a very puzzling baseball question. Where do you put Murphy in the field so you can keep his very valuable bat in the lineup? Since the All-Star break, Daniel Murphy is batting .377 with 29 hits, 12 RBI, 1 HR, 9 2Bs, and has only K'd twice. At .319 for the season, Murphy currently has the 4th highest batting average in the National League, just 3 slots behind NL leader and NY Met, Jose Reyes. Murphy is also among the league leaders in doubles with 28.
But beyond his time in the batter's box Murphy is an energetic mess. He is no doubt a boundless ball of baseball fury, but a loose cannon for sure. On the base paths he is simply put, a well meaning train wreck. In the field he is like a house cat erratically chasing a laser pointer. Confused and ready to pounce on anything ball-like. His foot work at first base is more akin to someone trying to stomp out a flaming bag of poop left on their doorstep than a professional athlete.

It is truly remarkable that the Little League basics of the game have somehow eluded Murphy from childhood all the way up to the Majors. For the longest time, Mets Blob could not understand how we were told by the media that Murphy was such a hard worker, and yet when the Blob watched him play the field or run the bases, it was clear none of this "hard work" ever seemed to pay off. So, how hard could Murphy be working?
But now the Blob understands Daniel Murphy. Murphy is like an inbred Irish Setter. No matter how much you try to train that pup, he will still run through the screen door to greet you when you come home from work. The door is trashed, and you are pissed. The Setter, baffled for a split second, untangles himself from the remains of the door and continues to bound and charge to greet you. You want to scream and yell at the dog but you realize he meant well, is really happy to see you, and has already long forgotten what just happened to the screen door. This we now know is Murphy.

Daniel means well and tries super hard to please you, but has already forgotten when he is and isn't supposed to cut off on a throw from the outfield, how rundowns work, and that it's not always best to throw the ball no matter what. Keep mashing Danny boy and we'll try to love your fielding and base running unconditionally. Mets Blob says it will try, because according to our system of Blobbermetrics, Murphy's fielding gaffs and base running blunders even out his sweet .319 batting average to .280.  

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