This October belongs to Daniel Murphy.
That he has an Irish name means nothing to me, a lifelong Mets fanatic right now. I wouldn't care what sort of name he has so long as he keeps doing what he's doing, but his name and his occasional nods to his Irish heritage probably helped nudge me into his corner when other fans wanted him gone.
He comes to bat at Citi Field to the sounds of "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" by the Dropkick Murphys. Yes, the name works for Daniel, but so does the song, which he described as being 'from the Irish-influenced movie "The Departed."
Back in March of this year Murphy talked about teaching his 1-year-old son about his Irish heritage after receiving a gift of an Irish-themed children's book about a character called Silly McGilly .
“Silly sounds like the first book for our son’s Noah’s library,” the Mets All-Star second baseman told The Rumble. “He will be celebrating his first birthday on March 31 and this will be the perfect way to learn about his Irish heritage.”
Eileen Coffey-Cowley and her two sisters created Silly McGilly a year ago.
“Noah Murphy’s gonna have the time of his life — [Silly McGilly] comes back every year,” she said. “Don’t worry when he goes back to Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day — he’ll be back next year. They’re gonna have a ball.”
And, back in 2009 he designed an Irish-themed Mets jersey that the team sold for a limited time and that they would do well to reissue – pronto.
So he may not exactly be "all in" on the Irish thing, but he's open to it, which to my mind is all that matters.
To be honest, though, the Irish thing wouldn't do it for me on its own. What I've always liked about Murphy is his attitude: he works hard to get better, he shuns praise, and he really, really wants to win.
It is probably impossible to believe if you are only a casual baseball fan, but many die-hard NY Mets fans would have been happy to have seen the back of Daniel Murphy at just about any time over the past three or more years. Today, they can hardly believe their luck that the hottest baseball player on the planet happens to be the self same Murphy.
Florida-born Daniel Murphy, 30, is playing playoff baseball for the first time in his career and he is thriving. No, that doesn't quite capture it. He's playing out of his skin, in an otherworldly sort of way. He has hit home-runs in five straight games and three of those were off possibly the three best pitchers in baseball.
On top of that, his fielding – never a strong suit – has been tremendous and even his base-running – often a source of head-scratching – was responsible for a key run that helped beat the Dodgers in the first round of the Playoffs.
For some fans that's not enough. Many have wanted the Mets to trade him, bench him, whatever, just get him off the field. Some of the abuse Murphy gets on Twitter led to one particularly ardent supporter to create and promote the hashtag #ImWith28. All Met fans are "with 28 (Murphy's number)" now.
It's true that Murphy does sometimes seem to be, as the Irish would say, "away with the fairies." It's as if he inhabits his own world, which sometimes leads him to do things that nobody else would do and that generally ends up badly.
Earlier this year teammate and Mets captain David Wright, when asked about a particularly bone-headed base-running move by Murphy, said, "Sometimes he thinks he's invisible." He wasn't joking either. That's exactly the kind of player Murphy is.
Still, those things always make me raise my eyes to heaven, but not want to get rid of him. I always think about how he has been jerked around from position to position by the Mets, how he always plays hard and is fully committed to winning, and how he is always focused on the team, not himself.
Now he's become a national star and anyone watching the post-game interviews with Murphy will have seen how he's always keen to deflect praise onto his teammates when the media wants him to talk about himself. Who wouldn't want to be his teammate?
His smile and facial expressions light up the game when he plays and now, thanks to his hitting and fielding and running, he is the least invisible member of the NY Mets. Murphy's contract is up after the season and there is no doubt after everything he has done this month he will find his pot of gold, probably in some other city.
In the meantime, Met fans just want 'Murphtober' to finish with a parade on Broadway with Daniel Murphy at the head of the line.