Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Do you remember the 80's? I know I do. I remember staying up past my bed time to watch "Dallas" with my parents when I was younger and J.R. was one of my dad's favorite characters, if not the favorite. Years later, I have my own favorite "J.R." as many Yankee fans have come to know him as throughout the years. Make no mistake though, he has grown into his own big name in the Bronx. Oh and, he likes to go called John Ryan Murphy, no abbreviations please.

As much as I think I know about our kids on the farm, I am often amazed at how much I learn about them even a few years down the road. I must admit, as much as I have liked John Ryan Murphy, I think I had blinders on. There is something very special about this kid, and he is really showing that to the baseball world. You ever heard the saying "It's the quiet ones you have to watch out for?" Well, in this case I think it is fitting. The Yankees have been so stacked with catching depth over the years, and I know I was always rattling off other names before Murphy came to mind. He was always in the list, but he wasn't at the top. Now looking back at everything I think he should have been.

Like many, for years I was so focused on Jesus Montero and Austin Romine. They always had center stage because they were older and I heard people saying things like Montero could have a potent bat like Jorge Posada but Romine would have the impressive defensive skills. They were the ones getting compared to all of these former legendary catchers or current hot names. I get it....but Murphy's consistency was lost in the mix.

Not to forget the high energy Francisco Cervelli, too. I mean, how can you not be drawn to him? Just watching him get all amped on television gives me an energy charge. His energy is contagious, and he just wants to go out there and make a difference. He is like the life of the party, except he may be the life on the bench sometimes. His energy just spreads and bounces to everyone on the team, and that's a good thing but that hasn't transitioned to a healthy and consistent year.

Then of course there is the phenomenon we are all hearing about named Gary Sanchez. He is hyped to be the next big thing for us. He could have a solid gold bat and an arm like a cannon, but he's just not ready yet. He could be the next great Yankee catcher, everything I have read seems to tell some version of this story, but again....where is Murphy?

I can tell you where Murphy has been, he has been grinding it out and working hard and making sacrifices to get to where he is now. Did you know that Murphy chose to go to IMG Sports Academy in Florida instead of a traditional high school? Can you imagine spending your mornings trying to be a normal teenager and cramming like we all did but then spending your afternoon practicing sports non-stop? It's a sacrifice. It's hours of choosing to work towards your future instead of living in the present and being young and spirited. I can't imagine that, but Murphy DID that and now he is here.

It's paid off. When Cervelli went on the disabled list with his hamstring issue the Yankees could have easily called up Austin Romine over him. Murphy was hitting below .200 but the Yankees called him up instead. Maybe it was the last moments from 2013 that set him apart also. He was the one the Yankees called up to help the team when injuries hit us like the black plague. He is the one that caught Mariano Rivera's last pitches. He has been the one the Yankees have leaned on when they needed help.

That being said, he has opened up a lot of eyes. Not only is Yankeeland impressed with him, but so are those other 29 teams. This is where my "you have to protect the kids" anthem kicks in. If you know me, you know that was going to come. I know I pledge this anthem constantly, but I do it because it is worth mentioning. In this case, the Yankees have entrusted a 22 year old kid over someone who is more experienced like Romine and he has delivered.

Even Joe Girardi is giving high praise and that's a huge compliment because Girardi was a great catcher. Read what Girardi has to say about Murphy HERE. All of the positive press is giving other teams something to think about and remember later in the season. What happens if the Yankees need an extra arm down the line? With Ivan Nova out for the rest of the season and Michael Pineda out for several weeks our pitching has taken a hit. If the guys we have healthy now don't perform then if push comes to shove the Yankees could deal him for the right arm. Could that happen to any player? Of course, but honestly, right now there are teams out there that need a catcher and there isn't a lot out there to choose from. Murphy is ready to be a big league catcher, he has the instincts and skills for it....but he won't be one here for awhile.

I hope Murphy does stick around. I never want to hold someone back just to keep them in pinstripes, but I think after everything we have seen from Murphy he IS a Yankee. He has the drive, and the skill to really help this team. I'm sorry I didn't pay more attention to him before, but Murphy certainly has shown all of us that we should work hard and reach for the stars because dreams do come true.

OH and....JR belongs in the Bronx, not Dallas.....sorry dad!

 --Jeana Bellezza, BYB Senior Writer and Editor
Twitter: @NyPrincessJ


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