Anyone who watches baseball—or even anyone who’s close with someone who watches baseball—can tell you Daniel Murphy has had a blistering post-season.
The Mets second baseman has carried his team’s offense through the playoffs, and is the clear MVP. He’s hitting .320 with four home runs, and In the win over Chicago tonight, he homered for his third-straight game. Murphy has also played some excellent defense, and—against the Dodgers—made the key baserunning move of Game 5. Truly, he’s been nothing short of fantastic.
Which is why, as it all comes closer and closer to the end, he increasingly reminds me of Larry Brown.
For those who don’t remember, Brown served as a solid Dallas Cowboys cornerback in the early-to-mid 1990s. The team picked him in the 12th round of the 1991 Draft, and he started for five-straight seasons. He had OK speed, OK hands, OK instincts. If you were an opposing quarterback, and Deion Sanders and Kevin Smith were the other corners, you generally threw toward Brown. Sometimes it succeeded, sometimes it didn’t. He was that guy.
In Super Bowl XXX, though, he was the guy, picking off two Neil O’Donnell passes and being named MVP in the Cowboys’ 27-17 victory over Pittsburgh. So what if one of the throws was, literally, aimed at Brown’s chest? He made the plays, he earned the goodies. It was his time.
A few months later, the Oakland Raiders signed Brown to a five-year, $12-million contract with $3.5 million guaranteed. And, well, he stunk, lasting 12 games with the team before fading away. In short, Al Davis fell in love with Brown’s post-season magic. He was wooed by the spell.
Now, it’ll soon be Daniel Murphy’s turn. Anyone who has watched the Met through the years is pretty aware of the true scouting report—very professional gap hitter, awful baserunner, even worse defensive skills. In short, Murphy is a somewhat above average Major Leaguer without a real position. He’s a less-skilled, better-attituded Gregg Jefferies; an answer to the trivia question: What would a disappointing offensive season from George Brett look like?
That said, he’s a looming free agent and he’s gonna get paid. It’s a guarantee. Some team with money to burn and fans to placate (ahem, Dodgers anyone?) will look at Murphy’s postseason and say, “Ah ha! This is the guy we need!” So they’ll wine him, dine him, offer a stadium tour, assure him uniform No. 28, make big promises of prospects on the way—then pay Daniel Murphy way too much money. The press conference will be exciting; spring training abuzz. He’ll have two hits and two RBI on Opening Day, and maybe go five for his first 15. And then …
He’ll be Daniel Murphy. You know. .288, 13 homers, 75 RBI, a whole bunch of unreachable balls. Which isn’t so bad, and isn’t so good. It simply … is.
Just like Larry Brown.