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John Rhodes/Star-Telegram
By  Jamie Kelly

The mere mention of David Murphy's name strikes deep within the hearts and minds of Rangers fans. His character is universally respected; his results are a polarizing at best. No, he’s not the guy who’s going to make a big splash and give you a sexy sound byte. He’s not the guy who will lead the league, or even the team, in jersey sales. Fans appreciate David Murphy because he represents the perfect balance of talent, consistency and wholesomeness.
 

Talent. There is no doubt that the kid has talent. Since becoming a regular part of the Rangers’  lineup in 2008, his batting average is a healthy .273, with an average OBP of .334. Many fans and baseball experts alike believe that Murphy is having a down year, and his season-to-date numbers easily validate that claim. However, a standout performance Thursday night against the Diamondbacks (3-4, 1 HR)
may be all he needs to bounce back in the second half, as has been his tendency
in recent years. As for his fielding, David’s presence in the outfield represents a comfort zone for fans. He isn’t the fastest guy, nor does he have the biggest arm. But you know his fielding likely isn’t going to be the reason the Rangers give up the go-ahead run, lose a critical game or bobble away a pennant on a catchable ball.


Consistency. Across the span of seasons from 2008-2012, David’s consistency at the plate is remarkable (batting average .275, .269, .291, .275, .304, respectively). This pattern of consistency is part of the reason why many feel he is currently in a
slump; as of games played through July 30, his batting average for 2013 is .233,
ranking him 10th on the team among players who have appeared in at least half of the team’s games. Nonetheless, David reliably rings up double-digit home runs, never hitting for less than 11 in a season. His OBP across this time is also consistent (.321, .338, .358, .328, .380, respectively), as is his regular presence in the lineup. Fans have come to expect the unexpected during the Ron Washington era. Lineups change frequently. Seeing Murphy in the starting 9 is reassuring to the fans. They know what they’re going to get with Murphy.


Wholesomeness. Ah, yes, the intangible component. Ask any Rangers’ player which teammate is least likely to utter even the tiniest of curse words, and the overwhelming response is David Murphy. During television broadcasts, the cameras always seem to find their way to Murphy during “God Bless America.” What viewers see is a man who appears to truly believe every word. When a parent chooses a shirt or a jersey for a child, Murphy is a safe choice. He’s one of the good guys. Parents don’t have to worry about having the eventual “talk” with their children about why
they can’t wear his jersey anymore. Simply put, to Rangers fans, he is the Anti-Josh. This component, this completely subjective and intangible component,  may be the strongest of them all.


David Murphy exudes a magnetism that can be explained by the most simple of reasons: for the love of the game. Not the stats of the game, or the revenue of the game, but for love.
 

Jamie Kelly is a Staff Writer for ShutDownInning.com. She can be reached
at
Jamie.Kelly@shutdowninning.com or on Twitter @JamieSportsTalk
 


Comments

08/02/2013 7:22pm

UG !! He stinks so far this year, I like him, but we need a bat.

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Brenda
08/02/2013 7:35pm

Welcome to SDI. I like your writing style. A good read on a guy that no one can dispute is a good guy!

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Doby
08/02/2013 8:52pm

Great argument for why so many fans like David! Backed it with stats and also delved into the heart of intangibles. Peter (not taking a shot at you Peter) shows us why your article is spot on - many fans don't like his stats this year, and still like him - but why? Very Well answered above by Jamie Achille.

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Lynn
08/03/2013 3:07am

Great article about a very worthy guy! Wonder if Wash left David in more often he could build that consistency Wash always says our team needs??? Kind of like the consistency of the every changing lineup. Get one that works...CHANGE it!!! Murph deserves a chance.

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Marktown
08/03/2013 3:53am

If batting anywhere from .269-.304 is consistent, then I will have to disagree. I don't want him on my favorite team because he can't be relied upon. Your three points extolling the virtues of him I think are way off. 1) everyone in the majors has talent, or else they wouldn't be in the majors. So comparing Murphy with the rest of the league makes this a wash. 2) I already said I disagree with your definition of consistency. 3) he's wholesome. Ok. Great. Cussing or not cussing doesn't really matter to me and I really don't believe it has anything to do with what goes on on the field. That's great he's a nice guy, but I'm looking forward to the offseason when he'll be gone. I think articles like this make excuses for him because they like that he's a nice guy. He's not very good. Last year was an aberration. Go Rangers.

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DIane
08/03/2013 1:57pm

Marktown, you missed the point of the article. Everything you wrote is what is wrong with sports today. You are looking for the super star all about me "Show" Baseball is a team sport. It is America's game and should show What America is about. Hard work, ethics and pride. That is what the article was about.

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Marktown
08/04/2013 11:45pm

Stop it. The point of the article was a love letter about Murphy and I added a dose of realism to it. I didn't say anything that was mean spirited or even untrue, yet my response is what is wrong with sports today? Baseball should show what America is about? Baseball is a game, a pastime, nothing more. A game that I want my favorite team to win, and Murphy doesn't help my team do that, so I don't want him on my favorite team. Take a deep breath. Just because someone doesn't like Murphy it doesn't mean they are communists.

Lynn Davis
08/05/2013 11:24am

Love letter???? Wow! Recently FSSW did a Twitter Poll during the game asking the fans who their favorite player is. Murph came in 3rd. I admit I was shocked! But this outcome supports Ms.Achilli's topic: The Magnetism of Murphy. No, he is not our superstar, but he has something that has drawn fans to support him. That's a fact...not a love letter.

Diane
08/03/2013 1:58pm

Interesting article. Well researched and enjoyable to read! Looking forward to more of your articles.

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Ron Reno
08/03/2013 3:54pm

I am very excited about your new gig! You write with the eloquence with which you speak. This is going to be good!

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Keystone Heavy
08/03/2013 5:37pm

2 issues I see with Murphy

1. From 2008-2012 he never BABIPd less than .295. He is BABIPing .230 this year. Batted ball data does scream out that anything drastic has changed, but maybe he is doing something that doesn't help his cause.

2. Last His walk% is the lowest its been since 2008. Its a full 4% lower than it was last year! Maybe he should be more willing to just take what the pitchers give him?

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