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Recently, Seattle Sports Union had the opportunity to talk with Kyler Murphy who is a senior catcher for the Seattle University Redhawks.
He currently leads the team in hitting with a .330 average and an on base percentage of .454, quite impressive stats for the senior catcher who splits time with Justin Mazzone at his position. When Kyler isn’t catching, he usually will play RF or DH when needed unless he is getting a well-deserved day off. Kyler Murphy is the definition of what a catcher should be. He calls a great game, knows how to block his pitches, has a great arm to nail those base-runners trying to steal off him. Kyler has the respect of his pitching staff. They know that they will get a good game from Kyler every time he trots out there. Other teams are aware of Kyler’s abilities which is a sign of true respect when we rarely see them trying to steal off Kyler. They know better than to try and run him. Kyler Murphy is a true leader on and off the field. The enthusiasm he brings daily alone defines the meaning of a great catcher and leader. With the season slowly coming to an end I was able to have a one-on-one interview with the man his teammates call “Murph Dog”.
Kyler grew up in the state of Arizona, coming from his hometown Peoria, Arizona. Kyler started baseball at the age of 3 and has always loved the game of baseball. Kyler’s Father Kevin and his older brother Kevin Jr. were his influences growing up, those who taught him the game. When he was ten, his father helped him settle on playing the position of catcher full-time, a position that Kyler has thoroughly loved and enjoyed his entire career. They figured with his mechanics and the fact that he batted left-handed, this was the way to go if he wanted to play pro ball (Obviously they made the right choice).
Kyler went to Liberty High School in Peoria, Arizona. He played all 4 years and helped lead his team to the playoffs all 4 years. Liberty won the state title his senior year where he hit .460 and Kyler made the all-state team, quite an accomplishment. He was also the team “Defensive Player of the year”. When I asked Kyler how he ended up at Seattle University when I’m sure he had many options, he told me “they came to Arizona to recruit me. I loved what they had to offer, plus the fact that my friend was going to there to on a scholarship”. He later told me that his friend ended up going to Kansas instead, but no big deal to Kyler. He chose where he wanted to go and was going to stick with it.
Kyler headed to Seattle and has made it his second home. Kyler loves it here and hopes to come back one day as a non-athlete and enjoy it as humanly possible. Kyler has been to the old “Safeco Field” and other hot spots in Seattle and would like to visit more of the area one day. Kyler is majoring in Forensic Sciences at Seattle University. I asked him what he would like to do with that degree once his professional baseball career is over, he said “I haven’t really decided just yet but probably a police officer or a lawyer perhaps”. Whatever he decides, someone will be getting a great young man on their team who will do good for our society. Best of luck Kyler in your decision.
The season is nearly over with 7 games left of the docket (barring a miracle where they overcome a few teams to make the WAC conference tournament). In perhaps his finest offensive season and with the Major League Baseball draft coming up in June, I asked Kyler what his plans were. “I haven’t decided just yet. My younger brother Chandler, who lives and goes to school in Arizona, is a star in the making and has a chance to be drafted. I might fly down to Arizona or I might just stay here and hang out with fellow teammate Jake Prizina and see what happens. Scouts have been in contact with Kyler, so the opportunity is still there for him. I told Kyler that “I feel that you will be drafted. They would be making a mistake if they didn’t”.
Before Kyler left for the evening, after a game where his team won and he went 2-4 with 2 walks and another quality performance behind the plate, I asked him a few more questions about his college career which he generously answered.
SSU: Do you have a favorite pitcher that you have caught over your career here?
KM: I do in fact. Everyone knows my guy is Jake Prizina. We have been here together our entire college career. We do everything together except take the same classes or go to sleep at night. He is the greatest guy and friend I could ask for. After our careers are over, we hope to come back to Seattle and explore it more. We love it here and hate to leave.
SSU: Do you have a favorite stadium that you have played in over your college career?
KM: That’s a great question and a tough question. There are a lot of great stadiums but probably two of them stand out. We played at Oregon State which was outstanding. My favorite though is probably Grand Canyon University. Being able to play in the state of Arizona where I grew up and to look across the field and see all my friends here to watch me play is an incredible feeling.
SSU: Do you have a favorite memory on the ball field?
KM: Though there are many, probably my sophomore year when I hit a home-run off one of my friends.
SSU: Are Seattle teams your favorite now? Are you a Seahawk fan?
KM: Hahaha. No. I am loyal to my state of Arizona. I love my Diamondbacks. They are my favorite team and so are the Arizona Cardinals!
SSU: Is there a MLB player you model your game after?
KM: Buster Posey is someone I model my game after and is one of my favorites. We have a lot of similarities in our game.
SSU: How is your relationship with your manager?
KM: Donny Harrel is amazing. He has made me into a better person on and off the ball field. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for him. I am so thankful in not only the ballplayer I have become but the person I have become. Donny Harrel thank you so much!
SSU: I have one more question for you 😊. What is your favorite baseball movie of all time?
KM: The one with Kevin Costner in it. (We both couldn’t think of the name at that moment and had a good laugh). For Love of the Game was his favorite baseball movie of all time. Kevin Costner was phenomenal (Kyler quoted one of his lines while we were figuring it out).
Kyler was very thankful for the interview as we said our goodbyes for the evening. I mentioned to Kyler how infectious he was by just talking to him. (He was so positive and easy-going during the interview. I can see why he has such a good rapport with his teammates). Thank you, Kyler, for taking the time to talk with Seattle Sports Union. Best of luck to you in your professional career. We know you will make a mark with whatever organization you end up with. Redhawk Nation was blessed to be a part of your college career.
Together We Soar!