Former Met Daniel Murphy will return to the team as...

Former Met Daniel Murphy will return to the team as an SNY analyst for a pair of spring training games in 2024. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Daniel Murphy said he “loved Long Island” during his time playing for the Ducks last spring in an attempted comeback.

He also learned a lot about Suffolk County, including the fact that in some ways it is much different from when he played in Queens as a Met, and in other ways not.

“I had never taken in my baseball in that part of the country,” he told Newsday. “It’s New York, but they take it in a little differently than in the city. There’s a bit more space out there on Long Island.

“And there are a lot of Mets fans out there. I didn’t know that, either. Not at all.”

So Murphy, who grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, and still lives there, now has a more well-rounded understanding of New York-area baseball.

Perfect timing!

That is because later this month, he will return to Mets World as he works two spring training games as an analyst for SNY.

They will be Feb. 27 against the Marlins and Feb. 28 against the Cardinals, both with Gary Cohen on play-by-play and the first with Ron Darling sharing analyst duties.

SNY announced its spring training schedule on Monday, with its first game on Feb. 24 when the Mets host the Cardinals.

Murphy, who played for the Mets from 2008-15 and was named the 2015 NLCS MVP after hitting four home runs against the Cubs, said he did not think about a career in broadcasting when he was a player and is not necessarily looking for one now. But he is happy to be getting a taste of it.

Jay Horwitz, who oversees alumni relations for the Mets, encouraged him to give it a try, as did Murphy’s wife, Tori.

“She’s much the adventure-taker in our family, and she encouraged me to do it and I’m really humbled and excited to do it,” he said. “It’s sandlot season now. Everybody’s getting ready, and I‘m just going to get ready in a different way.”

Murphy, 38, had hoped to be getting ready as a player again, but it did not work out.

After not playing in the major leagues since 2020 with the Rockies, he sought to come back last spring.

Most affiliated minor-league clubs were set with rosters by then, so he opted for the Ducks and produced, batting .331 with two home runs and 19 RBIs in 37 games.

In June, he left for the Angels’ system, joining the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees. But he retired again in August after hitting .295 with one home run and 25 RBIs.

Murphy always could hit. His lifetime average in 12 big-league seasons was .296, and he batted .347 in finishing second in the NL MVP voting as a National in 2016.

But his relative lack of speed did him in.

“I couldn’t touch second base from home plate, offensively,” he said, referring to his station-to-station running ability. “If I can’t touch second from home plate, this game’s just not for me. They’re moving too fast for me.”

And with school restarting, he knew he was needed back home in a busy household with four children ages 9 to 1.

“I couldn’t tell [my wife] as we discussed it, ‘Sweetie, just give me another week. I think I may be able to really start driving the ball and maybe get ourselves into a pennant race,’ ” he said.

A full-time job in coaching or media likely will wait until his children are older. For now, he keeps busy with them, makes appearances on a local sports talk radio show and now has added that side trip to Port St. Lucie.

Murphy has fond recollections of the 2015 postseason, when the Mets swept the Cubs to win the pennant. He hit a home run in six consecutive playoff games.

“When I think of 2015,” he said, “I can’t do it without thinking of 2006 when the Mets gave me an opportunity to be in their organization, so it kind of all comes together.”

Naturally, beating the Royals in the World Series would have been even better, but he wishes he had appreciated winning the pennant more.

As a student of baseball lore, he now better understands the history. He recently read Christy Mathewson’s 1912 book, “Pitching in a Pinch,” and became intrigued by the famed 1908 pennant race between the Giants and Cubs, which brought him back to that 2015 clincher at Wrigley Field.

When Murphy joined the Ducks after retooling his swing, then-manager Wally Backman said, “I think he’s on a mission . . . He’s going to go from the Ducks to the big leagues.”

He did not, but he seems to have no regrets about the adventure, including his stay in Central Islip.

“It was wonderful,” he said. “That is a great sandlot. I cannot speak highly enough of the Long Island Ducks, [owner Frank] Boulton and the opportunity that they afforded me and my family.

“Wally gave me an opportunity in their organization . . . I loved Long Island. I couldn’t ask for a better reception at all. Even when I played poorly and deserved to be jeered for my performance, they were gracious. I was humbled.”

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