New York is a hard-nosed place. Play well in New York and you become a legend. Play poorly in New York and you become a disgrace. Play for a rival of New York? You become the villain. The greatest example of this is Daniel Murphy.
A once beloved, if underappreciated, Met with a knack for hitting the ball. This knack placed Murphy at eighth, third and ninth on the Mets career batting average, doubles and extra-base-hits leaderboards, respectively.
Murphy was never much of a star in New York until he became the Mets lone all-star in 2014. Then, in 2015, he became a legend. For some, looking back on Murphy’s historic playoff run that year brings back fond memories and for some, heartache. Six consecutive games with a home run spanning the end of the NLDS and the entire NLCS put Murphy on top of the world.
With an all-star appearance and one of the greatest performances in baseball history under his belt, Murphy was forced to pack his bags for Washington after not receiving a contract offer in free agency from the only organization he’d ever known.
After a lengthy, deserved and thunderous ovation in his first game back at Citi Field with the rival Nationals, Mets fans have understandably proceeded to boo him tirelessly in his every at-bat since. New York is, in fact, a hard-nosed place but one that respects its greats.
Murphy and deGrom have gone toe-to-toe on several occasions since the switch and while Murphy has come to be known as a notorious Met-killer, deGrom has been able to keep him at bay. In their 19 battles, Murphy has three singles, one triple, no walks, and four strikeouts. With Murphy signing with the Rockies in free-agency this offseason, there will still be plenty of opportunities for Jake to subdue this villain.
If Daniel Murphy is the villain, Chase Utley is the devil. There are few players in the history of this great sport that Mets fans dislike more than Utley aka The Silver Fox aka The Guy That Broke Ruben Tejada‘s Leg. Being a Philly great and career Mets-fan-dream-crusher, Utley earned himself an exclusive spot on the Mets faithful’s hit-list. After he broke Ruben Tejada‘s leg, Utley skyrocketed up that list and became public enemy numero-uno. All this aside, I’m sure he’s a swell guy.
As for his performance against the Mets ace, a bit more humbling for Utley. With five total bases in twenty-five plate-appearances, the clear advantage goes to deGrom. One of those plate-appearances came on October 9th, 2015 in game one of the NLDS.
deGrom pitched seven brilliant shutout innings with thirteen strikeouts to outduel Clayton Kershaw and secure the Mets first playoff victory since 2006. The next day, game 2, was the game Utley secured his spot in Mets infamy.