It was at the end of a workout with the New York Yankees in Tampa last Saturday when Damon Oppenheimer, the team’s scouting director, asked John Ryan Murphy to name his favorite major league baseball team.
“Well,” Murphy said, “I’m not sure I can answer that around here.”
That’s because Murphy became a member of Red Sox Nation when he was 8 and met former Boston Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra at IMG Academy.
Since then it has been Nomar this and Manny that at the Murphy household, where Red Sox signs and Red Sox pennants cover the walls.
You’ll even find a picture of Curt Schilling and his bloody sock.
“We have all sorts of stuff,” Murphy said.
A scout for the Red Sox sat in the living room a few weeks ago and felt as if he were in Brookline, not Bradenton.
The Murphy vacation plans this summer? A trip to Fenway Park.
“We’ve been wanting to do that for a while,” Murphy said.
So, wouldn’t you know it? The hated Yankees take Murphy on Tuesday during the second round of the baseball draft.
“Awesome,” Murphy said.
A guy can change his stripes even if it means wearing pinstripes.
“The whole side of my mom’s family has been Yankee fans forever,” said Murphy, a catcher for The IMG Academy School.
So there you go. Someone in the family is happy.
Actually, everyone in the family is happy, especially when you consider if Murphy passes on his scholarship to the University of Miami and signs with the Yankees, he will begin his pro career in Tampa.
“Everything is lining up,” Murphy said.
He’s been to Yankee Stadium twice. When he was 10 he visited Monument Park and sat in the first row of the upper deck.
“That was awesome,” Murphy said.
He went to a Red Sox-Yankees game two years ago and sat eight rows behind the Yankees’ on-deck circle.
“That was awesome,” he said.
Every kid dreams of playing for their favorite team, but when you’re a top prospect, any team that’s willing to spend a draft pick on you instantly becomes your favorite team. Besides, Murphy was very impressed with those he met within the Yankee organization.
“First class,” he called them.
The Yankees have a new stadium, and some day there might be a kid from Bradenton crouching behind home plate, hoping to continue the tradition of Yankee catchers. It wouldn’t hurt if Murphy’s right-handed swing could send line drives into the jet stream that blows out to right field.
“Yeah,” Murphy said. “I heard about that.”