Up from 'homophobia': Amazin' Met Murphy, part deux
Baseball is a constantly surprising sport, but New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy’s turnaround is still extraordinary. In March, Mets management treated him like dog germs, announcing he “will no longer address his religious beliefs and will stick to baseball.” Now, in October, the Grantland sports website is calling Murphy “an exploding supernova, dropped into the heart of an erupting volcano.”
As Grantland’s Jonah Keri summarized the fireworks show, Murphy is setting playoff records, “cracking homers in four straight playoff games, as well as five in the first seven postseason games of his career. … [T]he Mets are two wins away from their first trip to the World Series in 15 years because a pretty good player is suddenly hitting like peak Barry Bonds.” (The Mets enter tonight’s Game 3 of the National League Championship Series with a 2-0 game lead over the Chicago Cubs in the best-of-seven series.)
Keri exuded more awe concerning Murphy’s “borderline impossible” playoff performance so far:
“[Mets manager] Terry Collins bats him cleanup in Game 1 of the NLDS when all the data in the world says to do otherwise … and Murphy goes yard off [Los Angeles Dodgers super pitcher Clayton] Kershaw. Murphy rates as an average baserunner … and pulls off one of the boldest and most influential foot feats in playoff history. Murphy ranks as one of the worst glovemen at second base … and he makes a beautiful diving stop to seal a Mets win. … Murphy gets an opposing manager so freaked out he walks him intentionally.”
Unmentioned in the Grantland article: The silencing that took place on March 3, when Murphy—a Fellowship of Christian Athletes regular—forthrightly answered a reporter’s question about a spring training visit by gay ex-player Billy Bean, baseball’s official “ambassador of inclusion.” Murphy said, “I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. That doesn’t mean I can’t still invest in him and get to know him … but I do disagree with the lifestyle, 100 percent.”
That’s when Mets management told Murphy to shut up. The chilling effect of that incident was evident throughout the baseball season, as no other active major leaguer to my knowledge said anything about homosexuality. To his credit, Murphy, after the key game in the Mets’ divisional series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, was not silent about Christ. “There was a lot of prayer going on out there,” he said, “just asking for peace and just talking to Jesus and asking for peace those last three or four innings.”
I’m not proposing a baseball version of the prosperity gospel, where courageous Christian players can expect to hit better. Asked why he has played so well in the postseason, Murphy said, “I don’t know. Sometimes the blessings come. Jesus is good. …” Nevertheless, Logo TV’s NewNowNext blog, which covers pop culture from an LGBT perspective, grumpily reported, “Murphy is being hailed as the team’s savior in the postseason, but his words about the LGBT community are less than angelic.”
The blog added that comments about Murphy’s “homophobic response have resurfaced on Twitter:
— Dan Bernstein (@dan_bernstein) October 19, 2015
It seems noted homophobic bigot Daniel Murphy is having a good baseball postseason.
— Timothy (@yourpaltim) October 19, 2015
Daniel Murphy has officially surpassed Kim Davis as America's most beloved bigot. Way to go, Murph!
— Ken Schultz (@kenthinguy) October 18, 2015
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