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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Shipping Up to Somewhere Else

This is a job for Daniel Murphy. Daniel Murphy took on all kinds of jobs in a New York Mets uniform: left fielder, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, playoff hero, World Series less than hero (to put it kindly)…but the one that fascinated me most was credit deflector. Any time — any time — a reporter asked him to analyze something he did well to help the Mets win a game, Murph deflected the credit.

Daniel was hitting the ball because David was in front of him and Ces was behind him and who wouldn’t see good pitches with that kind of protection? Daniel was transformed into a slugger thanks to the countless hours in the cage Kev put in with him. Daniel’s home run contributed to a win because the pitching made the win possible, from Matty or Jake or Noah starting to Addy and Clip in middle relief to Jeurys, who was absolutely lights out. Daniel made that occasional great play in the field because Teuf had worked with him on positioning and Lucas can scoop the ball like nobody else and the only reason the play mattered was because of that tag Travvy made the inning before, and how about that throw from Grandy two innings before that?

Daniel Murphy painted himself an innocent bystander in his own success. He was present and accounted for by his reckoning when something went wrong, but if you wanted acknowledgement that Daniel Murphy was at all a factor in bringing a pennant to Flushing, you’d have to ask somebody else.

Ideally, you’d convince Daniel Murphy that Daniel Murphy was a teammate of himself and then maybe he’d file a proper review.

Like Daniel Murphy lifted if not a carried a team through two rounds of a jubilant postseason.

Like Daniel Murphy put team first always, consenting without any visible objection to playing wherever need dictated.

Like Daniel Murphy might not have been graceful or ultimately effective as a defender, but dang he tried.

Like Daniel Murphy could hit like Daniel Murphy could praise others.

The imperfect ballplayer with the unbeatable attitude gave us seven seasons in a Met uniform (plus one that got sidetracked in the minors). There were nights you wanted nobody else in there for you. There were nights you wished somebody else was in there for him. They were occasionally the same night. But never did he leave you thinking he left anything on the field, save for ego.

Friday, though, he left a qualifying offer of $15.8 million for 2016 on the table, opting to pursue free agency, as ballplayers tend to do when the option arises. This means Murph and the Mets have all but completely parted ways. Historically, that figures. The last NLCS MVP the Mets had, Mike Hampton, didn’t stick around for the flag-raising the following April. Same for the last Met World Series MVP, Ray Knight. The first drafts of internal histories are inevitably edited by forward progress. That guy who was as responsible as anybody for getting us as far we did? Go easy on his highlights, maybe crop him out of the special section in the yearbook. We’re not in the business of marketing him anymore.

We who are not responsible for selling the personalities that constitute the next version of the New York Mets will tell our own story. We’ll long tell of how Murph led our Mets above and beyond where we could have reasonably pictured them, how he slew one Cy Young winner after another in the one month when great pitching is purported to stop good hitting. No Daniel ever excelled in any lion’s den as Murphy did.

And then, when Daniel Murphy lifted the 2015 Mets as high as he could, he let their chances slip through his grasp. Baseball’s den is a capricious place and none of us who’d been with Daniel since 2008 could have been surprised that he’d miss a crucial ball in a crucial inning in the most crucial of World Series contests. It was why, when he went from Murphy to muffy and allowed the Royals to tie Game Four and facilitate the disappointing end of an otherwise uproarious adventure, I had to laugh at the reaction of the woman sitting directly in front of me in Promenade. There’s Eric Hosmer’s grounder, there’s Daniel Murphy not picking it cleanly, there’s the shock of the moment setting in and then there’s the woman — who had been as supportive of our team as possible since first pitch — wailing what each and every one of us had to be thinking:


This reaction transcended mere fickleness or frustration. It was a family reaction. We all intrinsically understood that this was Murph as much as the Sports Illustrated cover boy/toast of October was Murph. The horrible error didn’t negate what he did in the two series prior. It was all part of the package we signed for from the time he delivered as a rookie in a race. We witnessed him spraying line drives or shifting positions or oozing determination just as we watched him running the wrong way or throwing to the wrong base or hesitating at the wrong instant or just being Murph.

Thing is, through all the missteps — of all the Daniel Murphys, he was the Daniel Murphyest — we never didn’t want to embrace him. He was family. He was ours. He was gonna help us win sometimes, he was gonna help the other team win sometimes. He was human that way. He was a Met that way.

Whatever his next uniform, he’ll always be a Met that way.

29 comments to Shipping Up to Somewhere Else

  • Daniel Hall

    My heart is filled with sadness …..

  • Alicia

    I can’t say this didn’t bring a couple of tears to my eyes.

    Thanks and good luck to Murphy wherever he goes. His was the first T-shirt I picked out for myself on my first trip to a Major League baseball game (at the tender age of 29, same as Murphy at the time).

  • I wish him well and will add this one sentence that was said and written so much the past eight years.

    Murph being Murph.

  • David Block

    I have said for a while that Murphy reminds me more of Ron Swoboda than any Met since Rocky left.

    If you remember Rocky hitting 2 Homers to win the game in which Carlton struck out 19 (including Swoboda twice), his ridiculously incredible catch in the Series, his hitting ,455 in the Series, knocking in the winning run in the deciding game, then you also remember how he never came close to matching the 19 Homers he hit in his rookie year, though he was strong enough to hit 30, and how, on the field, they didn’t call him “Rocky” for nothing.

    Murph was like that: improbable, incredibly frustrating at times, and, sometimes, unexpectedly brilliant.

    And, as you write, a great teammate.

    I will miss him as a Met.

  • Dave

    We’ve always known that Murph’s best position would be DH, and perhaps now he enters that phase of his career when the Murph being Murph stuff doesn’t show up nearly as often (baserunning of course, can be a Murph sideshow sometimes as well).

    This is why my Mets (and Jets) apparel is never a player jersey…they come, they go, as Jerry Seinfeld says, we root for the shirt, because the guys wearing the shirts keep changing, sometimes shockingly. Ask any Rangers fan old enough to remember Derek Sanderson, who as a Bruin we pretty much wanted dead, suddenly on our side. But should Murph decide that the next phase of his career continue somewhere other than Flushing, many of us will certainly have a new favorite ex-Met.

  • eric1973

    Don’t forget about Jesus, and I don’t mean Alou. He always gave the man top billing.

    We’ll miss ya, Murph.

  • Rob E.

    Murph is a complete conundrum. He’s not as good as some think, and he’s not as bad as others think. And we got to see both those Murphys even in the same game sometimes. He’s not a player who makes a bad team good as we saw for six years, but he IS a player who makes a good team better, as we saw THIS year. Of course, being the Mets, the time when the marriage makes the most sense is the exact time the split comes.

    I can’t blame the Mets for letting him walk, and I can’t blame Murphy for walking. Both sides are doing the right thing to further their own respective goals. Unfortunately, for that to happen, they have to part ways. In the end, I can’t wish Murph anything but good things wherever he ends up — he’s earned that — and I appreciate everything he gave us both on and off the field.

  • Dennis

    A true professional who did his job (whatever position that might have been) and never complained. Took a lot of unnecessary shit when his wife as having their child and he left to be with them. He will always be a Met wherever he ends up. Wish him nothing but the best.

  • 9th string catcher

    The Murph giveth and the Murph taketh away. Often in the same game. Sometimes on the same play. Outstanding clutch batter. Adventure in the field or makes a brilliant diving stab. Horrific on the basepaths, taking a base when a teammate is already there, yet the first person I’ve ever seen go 1st to 3rd on a walk. His clutch hit can tie up the game, and his glove can give it right back. This team will be less intriguing without him on it, but I do believe my blood pressure will now normalize.

  • Mettle

    Yowzers, I’m gonna miss most of that guy!

  • joenunz

    Fare thee well, Murph. I “pray” that you are able to secure millions from a team that “approves of your lifestyle”.

  • Lenny65

    It’s a little sad how his great post-season ended in a puff of disappointment, but for a while there Daniel Murphy was the greatest baseball player who ever lived. And he did it as a Met. Plus he was something of a stalwart presence during some pretty weird and awful seasons too. He will be missed and never forgotten. And I guarantee you he’ll end up haunting us at some point, you can just sense it.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Great tribute to one of the most (THE most?) confounding Mets ever. Thanks.

    It was the right time for him though. His value will never be as high as it is right now. Some team who has only really been aware of him since about a month ago will wildy overpay, and then over the next seven years see what we have seen over the last seven years. I don’t think he’s the type who will lose his Mojo much over the course of his new contract, but he will always be Murph.

  • Lenny65

    I do hope he gets to visit Citi Field in 2016, he deserves a hearty round of applause. Ditto Cespedes too. And El Barto, if he leaves that is.

  • open the gates

    I’ll miss Murph – he was the perfect Met. Ron Swoboda is a bit before my time, but he’s the perfect Met the way Mookie Wilson and Benny Agbayani were perfect Mets. Quirky, streaky players with obvious holes on their game, but a flair for the dramatic and endearing personalities. And etching their Met legacies in a few sterling moments. That’s Daniel Murphy.

    However much we’ll miss him, Plan A was always for Murph to keep the seat warm for Dilson Herrera. Thanks to injuries to Herrera and others, we got to keep Murph a bit longer than expected. Which, his final excruciating play notwithstanding, turned out to be a really good thing.

    Godspeed, Mr. Murphy. Now let’s see if young Dilson can fill your cleats. We’re told he’s got a pretty big upside.

  • Dave

    The former Met I’ve always compared Murph to is Howard Johnson. Not that he’s a 30/30 guy (he’s more of a 12/12 type), but like Hojo, he busted his gut every day, had his obvious flaws (particularly with a glove on his left hand) and played where he was asked and never ever complained about it. Those of you youngsters who think Murph’s out of position displays were brave but cringeworthy should have seen Hojo at shortstop or in CF. But both players were ultimate team-first guys, and I hope there’s always room for those on the Mets.

  • Eric

    I miss him already. No Met, including Wright, more represented this past era of the team than Murphy. Ever since he was hot down the stretch in his rookie year in 2008, I wanted to see him in the play-offs. I suspected he would rise to the occasion and he did, until he didn’t. As much as it hurt that he Murph’d in the WS, we won’t forget that the Mets don’t have the 2015 LCS and WS without Murphy’s epic performance in DS game 5.

    The magical 2015 Mets season isn’t washed out of me, either. The feeling is more muted now, but I still want game 6 – with Murphy at 2B.

  • Michael

    Beautiful column. You got all of it, Greg.

  • Dave R.

    I know there’s a tendency to compare, but I don’t think the Mets have had anyone like Murphy. HoJo didn’t have a strike zone. Swoboda wasn’t nearly as good a hitter. Yes, Murphy’s error was awful. I still say Duda’s non-error was much worse. I wouldn’t trade those seven homers for no error, no way. Isn’t Murphy exactly the kind of player every fan wants to root for? I’m sad that he’s leaving.

    • Eric

      Murphy’s Murph or Duda’s choke. Punch in the solar plexus or kick in the balls.

      Nope, still not over either one.

      • Dave R.

        You forgot the Alex Gordon homer, although I’m sure you haven’t. We can talk all we want about heartbreaking Mets moments, but has any one series contained anything close to: 1.) Alex Gordon home run; 2.) Murphy error; 3.) Duda throw? The only thing that comes close is the double blown save in Game 6 of the 1999 NLCS.

        I’ve heard that there are other sports going on right now, but I haven’t cared to confirm it.

        • Eric

          The Gordon HR couldn’t have been a ringing double off the wall, right? No, it had to be a steroid-era all-star HR derby shot.

          I rationalized with the Gordon HR that Familia had thrown the same mistake pitch to Utley in DS game 5, and Utley’s contact had looked like a HR off the bat but petered out to a routine fly ball to Granderson. I figured the Gordon HR was the baseball gods collecting on the debt, and better the HR happened in WS game 1 than in the DS elimination game with the villain Utley.

          • Nick

            God, those were awful — three gut punches in one Series! And so it looks like we rolled over, 4 games to 1. Has any 5 game series ever been closer or more agonizing to the loser? (Even the Yankee series in 2000 wasn’t this bad.) I agree that the Duda throw has been much-too-quickly overlooked. Assuming he makes an almost-bad throw or better – as opposed to ungodly awful – we win that game and have a Game Six, with Jake and Thor rested. Incredible choke.

            Not even close to over it. Three weeks and counting…

  • Mikey

    great piece Greg…, you really nailed it as usual. This is my favorite line:

    “There were nights you wanted nobody else in there for you. There were nights you wished somebody else was in there for him. They were occasionally the same night.”

    on a related note….I have never had baseball withdrawal like I do right now. and I’m a bigger football fan than baseball. that’s how great the last few months were…it was so final when it ended, and not just because we lost, but because it was suddenly time to baseball hibernate.

  • wooferson

    Not only will Humble Murph always be a Met, I have a very hard time beleving he’s going anywhere. Call me delusional. I look forward to seeing him wearing the same laundry next year at Citi Field.

  • JerseyJack

    Assuming he does move on, perhaps he will return as a pinch-hitter extrordinaire , ala Rusty Staub back in the 80s…

  • Gadhzilla

    The only thing Murph booted more than routine grounders were gays.

  • This is a great piece. Captures all my feelings about Murph. I’m really gonna miss Daniel.

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