While shooting photographs at yesterday’s game, I was paying close attention to Daniel Murphy and how he interacts with his teammates during the game.
Murphy is a very vocal person. He also genuinely believes in this team’s ability to win and make the postseason, and that’s important for the chemistry of this team no matter what happens this year. But in watching him and listening to him in-game, he comes across as a future leader of this team.
For instance, when Kirk Nieuwenhuis came up for the second time Saturday, Murphy was the team’s loudest cheerleader, complimenting his patience by saying, “Atta boy, Butch,” and yelling, “Look for something to drive up the middle!” When Nieuwenhuis beat out his infield hit, Murphy was cheering as loud as he could, yelling to the field, “There you go, bud! Atta boy!” For someone who is still looking to establish himself in the big leagues, he is very veteran-like. He did the same thing for Lucas Duda, and after each of his two home runs Murphy was once again the stand-out cheerleader and seemingly the biggest fan in the dugout.
I don’t know what the future has in store for Murphy. He is a very good hitter and a valuable component of the lineup. He is – and probably will always be – a work-in-progress in the field. However, his work ethic is unquestioned in his quest to improve his entire game and his personality can have nothing but a positive impact on how he ultimately defines himself on the field, as well as anyone he ultimately plays with. Murphy may not be the perfect all-around player, but there is tremendous value in this kind of individual for a winning ball club.