Dale Murphy gets it. He’s not a bitter old ballplayer, or a one-dimensional, milk-drinking Mormon. Follow him on Twitter — he’s got good taste and measured opinions. He’s a cool guy.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that he has a refreshing take on the old school vs. new school debate.
Dale Murphy was the very essence of 1980s baseball. He was the center fielder on mediocre-to-terrible Atlanta Braves teams that Ted Turner dared call “America’s Team.” He was America’s Center Fielder. Nobody loved the game more. Nobody respected the game more. Nobody played harder. Nobody represented the time better.
And so when you talk to Dale Murphy, you might expect who lot of Gossage, a whole lot of Schmidt, a whole lot of “These kids today with their rock and roll music …” But, um, you actually get the exact opposite.
“I hear what Bryce Harper is saying,” Murphy says. “He’s not talking about bat flips and hair and those specific things. He’s saying the players don’t want all these unwritten rules from the past. They don’t want to play the game that way. They want to inject their personality into the game. They want to show their emotions. They want to express themselves.
“And I hear guys from my time — I get it, I understand — talking about when we played. Well, when we played was when we played. We’re not playing. They’re playing. Let them have their fun. Let them mold the game into what they believe it should be. It’s their game. Heck, maybe they’ll get more young people watching.”
Murphy laughs. “There are enough old people watching baseball. We need some younger fans.”
And we need Murph in baseball, in some capacity. He gets it.