the Washington Nationals and Mets will clash at Citi Field in their first meeting of the season. Presumably Daniel Murphy will be batting in the middle of the Nats batting order. Murphy, a long time Met and key cog in the Mets 2015 pennant season, received a thunderous ovation in 2016 when he returned for the first time.
In that game, in fact all of last year against the Mets, Murphy was a hit machine. His 2016 slash line against the Mets was an incredible .413/.444/.773 with seven homers. Murphy played all 19 games against the Mets in 2016, and in every one of those 19 games he got a hit, usually more than one. How should the Met fans greet him this Friday?
Obviously he won’t be received as well as he was on his return last year, nor should he be. Polite, respectful but not overly loud applause would be a good way to greet Murphy this year. Loud, raucous booing would not be a good way and would reflect poorly on Met fans.
Certain players should expect to booed when visiting, such as a Chase Utley. He famously used an airborne slide into Rueben Tejada, sadly fracturing the then Met shortstop’s leg. Back in the day a John Rocker would have been justifiably booed for some of the insults he threw around. But if an opposition player does particularly well against his old team, that does not justify extensive booing, in my opinion.
By all accounts Murphy was a well liked teammate during his time with the Mets, and he certainly proved to be a clutch hitter especially in the 2015 NLDS and NLCS. Particularly memorable was the deciding game against the Dodgers in which he had a hand in all the Met runs in the 3-2 win. He drove in the first run with a hit, then later stole the most important base in Met history when the Dodgers shifted on Lucas Duda while Murphy was on first base. Duda drew a walk, and Murphy alertly kept on going when he noticed the Dodger infielder was slow in returning from the shift, and Murphy motored into third, where he soon scored on a sac fly. He then hit a homer later in the game, sending the Mets on to the next round on their journey to the World Series.
Murphy wanted to stay with the Mets after 2015, but management refused to offer a multi-year contract, so Murphy ended up signing with Washington. I think its fair to say that was a big mistake by the Met front office. Murphy finished second in MVP voting last year and is off to a fine start this year.
This should be a great series between excellent ball clubs, and I hope its not marred by targeted booing against Murphy.