Oct. 12 Daniel Murphy/Jon Niese pregame interview
THE MODERATOR: Thanks for being here you guys. Two players who date back to the last year at Shea Stadium, and now it's of the first playoff game here at Citi Field. Daniel Murphy and Jon Niese. First question
Q. Just for both of you guys, just with everything that you've been through through the years here, what have you thought about as far as this journey and getting here, and what are sort of the thoughts that have gone through your head as you prepared for it this afternoon?
JON NIESE: It's a lot of fun for me, you know, past seven years hasn't been -- it's been fun, but it's been long, you know, not being able to win, get to the postseason. And you know, going through all the work that we've done this year, being able to get to the postseason and win, it's a lot of fun.
DANIEL MURPHY: Yeah, along those same lines. You know, the organization has since I've been here has been through a lot. It's nice to see the fruits of the labor from top to bottom, I think from ownership all the way down to the players in Spring Training. This was the goal in Spring Training to put ourselves in this position. There's a great group of guys in that clubhouse. I think we've all jelled really well. It's been a great deal of fun. I think we sincerely pull for each other, and it's made this season exciting.
Q. For both of you guys, with Chase Utley possibly playing tonight -- well, first of all, how do you feel about the whole situation, what happened with Ruben? And Chase could possibly play tonight because the hearing was not held. Your thoughts from both of you?
DANIEL MURPHY: You want me to do that since I play infield?
JON NIESE: Yeah, go ahead.
DANIEL MURPHY: I'd say along those lines, you know, I just actually got done talking with Kevin Slowey from The Players Association. I think that Major League Baseball and the Players Association will come together to try to come to some sort of agreement with this. I think, you know, Major League Baseball, the people they have working for them are far superior in knowledge than I am. So I have the utmost luxury tonight to just go out there and play baseball.
Q. On that same line here, the 48 hours between these games, do you think that that has helped pacify the situation or inflame it in your mind?
JON NIESE: I don't think it inflames it at all, but you know, we're not going to forget what happened. It just -- it's a shame. You know, I think for me personally, I think there should be -- you should be able to review that play. I think in the NFL they're able to review targeting, same with college. You know, I think you should be able to review a play like that and get it right. So that's just my opinion.
Q. Listening to sports talk radio, Daniel Murphy has been known to slide hard into second base and he plays the hard-nosed kind of thing. I'm just wondering and they obviously make comparison to your counterpart in Los Angeles. I'm just wondering what your reaction to sliding hard. I'm just wondering if you see that as a compliment or comparison is kind of "rankling"?
DANIEL MURPHY: I don't know what "rankling" means?
DANIEL MURPHY: Touche. (Laughs). Definitely, Chase has been in the Big Leagues for a long time. You know, guys play hard. I think that Major League Baseball is in the process right now of determining the line between hard and possibly reckless for all of us, not just for Chase, and I think the situation on both ends of it has brought up a great conversation.
You know, I think about player safety. And so like I said, Players Association, Major League Baseball, you know, owners as well because they have a huge stake in this, are going to come together and see if we can find the best resolution going forward for the integrity of the game.
Q. What can you tell us about Matt Reynolds? You played with him in Spring Training, and if he got into the game tonight, how confident are you that he would be fine with that?
DANIEL MURPHY: Yeah, I talked to Matty today. He's been working in St. Lucie. I remember in Spring Training he really, really had good at-bats. And then, I mean this as the utmost compliment to him, he was better at shortstop than I thought. I didn't think he was bad, but he was very good at the routine plays. He made some plays in Spring Training that actually surprised me, not that I could have made them myself.
But I'm excited that he's here. I'm sure he's nervous and excited. You know, what a way to make your debut, Game 3 of the National League Division Series. But we're excited to have him, and I thought he handled himself very well in Spring Training in the games that he played in.
Q. Both of you have played with Justin Turner in the past. Do you talk to him throughout the year? And do you think it's just a matter of him getting everyday kind of at-bats for him to perform like he did this season?
JON NIESE: Yeah. I've texted him a couple of times throughout the year. You know, one of the texts after I gave it up to him, and when I had my baby boy. You know, great guy. I couldn't be happier for him. You know, when he was with us, I knew he was good. But yeah, now that he got that everyday role over in LA, you can see how really good he is.
Q. Jon, as a fellow lefty starter, what are your impressions of Matz, his makeup, his stuff that you feel that you're confident he's ready to give you a big game tomorrow?
JON NIESE: Yeah, I watched him in Spring Training this year, and from the first bullpen that I had seen him throw, I knew he was going to be really good. His stuff is electric. And then coming up into the Big Leagues, you know, being a rookie starting and having the success he has, it's not easy. You know, I remember in 2008 when I came up, it didn't go well for me. And for him to have the success he's having, being able to stay composed the way he has, it's pretty impressive.
Q. Daniel, you mentioned a conversation with Kevin Slowey. The Union's job is to defend the players. In this case they're protecting a player in a particular play. There's a policy that the League and the Union and everyone is discussing right now. Did you talk to him about the conflict in this situation about defending a guy who ultimately, you know, is going to have some part in the policy change?
DANIEL MURPHY: I think we did discuss it a little bit. I only talked to him for briefly right before I came in here.
I think it goes back to almost like -- and I'll probably butcher this as far as the legal system goes, but a level of due process. So while, you know, whatever your thoughts are on Chase's slide may be, this still needs to go through the process and let Major League Baseball handle it. I think what's at discussion now along with the slide is the manner and the timely fashion at which that may be done. Could it be done quicker, because this is a short series, I think is being discussed as well. So hopefully that answers your question.
I wasn't able to discuss it with him quite at length, but we did discuss that, you know, you do have Chase and Ruben within the same union, but kind of what may be on opposite ends of this. But I think what it's going to allow everyone to do is bring up a discussion about probably eliminating as much as we can the gray area that exists in baseball. Even though it'll always be there, is this an opportunity to try to narrow that a little bit more.
Q. Daniel, you said other people deal with it, but having played second base yourself, you obviously have an interest in how this goes beyond this series, beyond this year. What would you like to see? And have you felt in the past at any times that the rules weren't protecting you?
DANIEL MURPHY: Hmm. Interesting question. You know, I've actually, I've been injured at second on a double-play ball before. I think that the level of safety is always more or less -- not always, but a great deal going to come down to the runner, which is something you don't control.
So I think that if you're able to put language in there going forward that, again, like I said, eliminates the gray matter, that makes it definitive, like if this is what you do, then here's the consequences. Whether it's a change to what the rules are now or if it's a continuation of the rule, I think that's what the discussion is now. But as a second baseman, a lot of times, you know, your safety isn't necessarily dictated on what you do. You try to put yourself in the best position to safely turn a double play and get out of there. But you know, sometimes it's out of your hands.
Q. But it could be dictated by the rules. Certainly.
DANIEL MURPHY: Well, to a certain extent, but I think even Jon alluded to earlier a targeting penalty in the National Football League is a penalty, but some people still get lambasted.
THE MODERATOR: Other questions? Nothing else? All right. Jon, Daniel, thank you guys both very much.