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Nyjer Morgan's long week and thoughts on the brawl

To recap, here was Nyjer Morgan's week:

  • On Aug. 25, Morgan learned he had been suspended for seven games by Major League Baseball for an exchange with one fan and hitting another with a ball in Philadelphia. One fan on the scene in the center field stands defended him, but the league learned about the incident after getting word from security at Citizens Bank Ballpark. Morgan is appealing the suspension, with a hearing scheduled for Sept. 7.
  • On Saturday, he was dropped to eighth in the lineup. Late in the game he ran into St. Louis Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson at home plate despite the lack of a throw home, missing home plate and costing the Nationals a run in the process.
  • On Sunday, he was benched and Riggleman called his play "unprofessional."
  • On Monday, he expressed displeasure in how Riggleman publicly categorized his play.
  • On Tuesday, he bowled over Brett Hayes, who separated his shoulder on the play.
  • On Wednesday, Chris Volstad hit him with a pitch and he stole two bases with his team down 11 runs. Volstad threw a pitch behind him in his next at-bat, and Morgan charged the mound and ignited a brawl that eventually led to the ejection of six people.

So, all in all, a pretty eventful week. "There's bit a little bit of controversy surrounding the kid lately," Morgan said.

With that, here's Dan Steinberg's take with tremendous video. And here's Morgan on what went down Wednesday night.

Getting hit first time?
We police it. It was a hard play yesterday. I understand they had to get me back a little bit. It's part of the game. I'm hard player. I'm going out there and just playing the game. I guess they took it the wrong way. He hit me the first time, so be it. But he hit two other of our guys? Alright, cool. But then he whips another one behind me, we got to go. I'm just sticking up for myself and just defending my teammates. I'm just going out there and doing what I have to do.

Them hitting you again?
That was garbage. That's just bad baseball. It's only the fourth inning. If they're going to hold me on, I'm going to roll out. The circumstances were kind of out of whack, but the game was too early. It was only the fourth inning. If it happened again, I'd do it again. It's one of those things where I'm a hard-nosed player. I'm grimey. And I just wanted to go out there and try to protect myself. I didn't want to get outside the box. There's bit a little bit of controversy surrounding the kid lately. But it's just one of things. I'm a solid, hard-nosed player. When I'm out there between the lines, I'm out there to win and I'm out there to play hard, and play hard for this organization.

Worried about how people lump this week together?
People are going to have their own opinions. I know what kind of player I am. I'm going out there balls out. I'm not going to go out there and take anything for granted. I'm going to show that I'm a hard-nosed ballplayer and that's the way it is.

Think you'd get hit a second time?
No. I thought it was over after that. Once I saw the ball go behind me, it's to go. Once is good enough. Twice, it's time to go.

Will it bring the team closer?
It just shows that we've got good team camaraderie here. Everybody is going to stick up for each other. With events like that, sometimes a team needs that to build up a little team camaraderie. Hopefully, we can take this and run with it for this final month.

Were you stealing bases to get revenge?
Just playing the game.

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 2, 2010; 12:49 AM ET
 
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Comments

Nyjer probably needs to go to rehab, but I'm not sure what kind it would be. Is there some kind of knuckehead clinic out there for him? I gotta admit his antics can be entertaining at times, but the two home plate encounters were not that cool; they cost his team runs.

Posted by: justmike | September 2, 2010 1:10 AM | Report abuse

This just might rally the team for the final month. I'd love to see a committed team playing great ball the rest of the way.

Posted by: big_game_lannan | September 2, 2010 1:15 AM | Report abuse

Sorry guys but Nyjer has some rule anger problems. This can't happen in Baseball because it's getting worst by the day. First it was MLB suspending him for the problems in Philly, then the problems with the Cards, then Riggelman dropping him in the order and now this.

Sorry but Nyjer is his worst enemy and he is giving the Nats a really bad name. I can't go spend money to take my kids to watch this guy, he is not only a thug but not a team player. He is a hot dog that is out to prove how great he is.

Sorry but the Nats have been enjoying to watch even with their bad record because they had nice players that was a good example for my kids, Nyjer isn't.

Sorry Mr. Rizzo, as a season ticket holder (which is become a scare commodity these days) I refuse to pay $9,300 for season tickets to watch thugs duke it out, you got rid of Dukes last March you can get rid of Nyjer Morgan.

Posted by: Golfersal | September 2, 2010 1:17 AM | Report abuse

I don't have a problem with what Nyjer Morgan did. I don't necessarily buy his line that he's just playing the game--stealing those 2 bases was pretty much a big, flapping F-U to the Marlins for hitting him, but I don't think those steals violated any unwritten rule of baseball.

I say this as someone who read "The Baseball Codes" earlier this summer, which is all about (surprise) the unwritten rules of baseball. The rule against stealing bases in a blowout only seems to apply to the team that's ahead, not the team that's behind, so the Marlins were the ones who took this too far, not Nyjer. It was fine to hit him once, but throwing behind him a second time, that was over the top. Plus they had already hit two other Nats . . .

So, in short, F' the Fish.

Posted by: bucky_katt | September 2, 2010 1:58 AM | Report abuse

What NMorgan did tonight its fine its Baseball. That's just BSh**t what the fins did hitting three of our Nats. Go Nyjer.
And that firstbase man Gabby you cheap shot wuss.

Posted by: probking | September 2, 2010 2:09 AM | Report abuse

Yeah I don't think the team that's winning a blowout can complain about the other team continuing to play.

Posted by: 202character | September 2, 2010 2:10 AM | Report abuse

My biggest problem is with last night is why wait until the 4th inning to throw at Morgan? Riggs put him out there first to have him get hit. Everyone knew it was coming so why the Fish waited till they had a big lead i don't understand.

Posted by: junkbucket | September 2, 2010 4:15 AM | Report abuse

So...internally, this is now handled with a Code Red? Protect the rest of the roster from the consequences of the misdeeds of one by correcting the behavior with pillowcases and bars of soap at the hotel where they next make camp? Then take turns on overnight watch so he doesn't go "Full Metal Jacket" on his comrades?

Or do they just let MLB HQ handle the personnel matter with a suspension or two?

Posted by: Ted_Striker | September 2, 2010 4:24 AM | Report abuse

I don't think Morgan's either very smart or very mature. I believe in his talent, but it seems like he's always finding new ways to squander it.

Posted by: louie5 | September 2, 2010 4:32 AM | Report abuse

Actually, I am rather proud that the Nats did not roll over and die as a team. If the Marlins have a problem with Nyjer stealing two bases after getting hit, then basically they can go talk to their catcher and Volstaad, who allowed that to happen. Nyjer's team mates have stuck up for him on so many occasions this year. It is justified for the coaches and players to have his back, they can not be the ones exacting justice on him. Kasten and Rizzo have to make the decision regarding Nyjer's fate (unless MLB preempts them).

The Marlins have basically owned us and have made a habit of embarrassing us. For them to say that Nyjer is forbidden to steal after being hit by the pitcher is just crap. If Nyjer goes down as a lightning rod for the team then perhaps this is his best accomplishment for 2010.

Posted by: driley | September 2, 2010 6:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm definitely conflicted on this one. One the one hand, Nyjer's actions last night did not reflect well on himself, or the team (Brent Boone ripped Morgan on Baseball Tonight). On the other hand, it was great to see SOMEBODY finally get ticked off and show some heart. I have never seen the Nats stand up for themselves like they did last night. It was good to see some fight in the home team.

Whether right or wrong, I know I got kind of fired up (just sitting in my living room) while watching the brawl. Nyjer is definitely a wild card, and I not sure if I like it or not.

Posted by: MEssex | September 2, 2010 6:36 AM | Report abuse

Golfersal says Nyjer is "a thug." Hmmm. Seems like a trend on this board for some commenters to be calling Nyjer a "thug" for his actions but defending pale white Dibble for his actions. I wonder why.

My 70-something mother, whose never sat down and watched a full baseball game in her life but is now watching almost every game with my dad this season because she likes the chemistry of the team, has this analysis of Nyjer:

Something must have happened in Nyjer's life -- personal family issues or perhaps undiagnosed psychiatric problems -- to lead to his poor throws from the outfield, tantrum in the outfield, getting picked off so many times at first base.

I agree because it's not the same T. Plush we grew to love before he got injured in '09.

Having said that, there was absolutely nothing wrong w/ Nyjer going after Volstad last night after getting thrown at for the second time. Don't like to see Nats fans on this board piling on Nyjer for the brawl when there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. And there was nothing w/ Nyjer stealing the two bases earlier in the game.

Nyjer has had a terrible year performance-wise, but to be honest, I'm going to miss his enthusiasm, speed, the Elvis wig, etc. if he doesn't come back next year.

Posted by: HonestBroker1 | September 2, 2010 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Gonna try and not cloud up the real issue.

Forget the events of this past week.

Nyjer is supposed to be our leadoff hitter and he carries a .317 OBP.
Nyjer is dead last in OPS among all qualifying MLB outfielders in all of MLB.
Absolutely dead last.

He runs poor routes to fly balls and worse, he has a very weak arm by MLB standards. For too weak to play CF.

He leads all of MLB in Caught Stealing.

He throws to the wrong base far too often. He makes more baserunning blunders than should be tolerated. He showed last week that he did not even know the rules of baserunning in that a live runner can not be touched by a teammate or coach.

Attitude and character aside, he is, by MLB standards, a lousy baseball player.

Look at every other team in MLB and ask yourself "If Nyjer were on this teams roster, would be be the everyday CF? Would be bat leadoff for this team?"

If you find a single other team where you think the answer is "yes", please let me know.

Posted by: Sunderland | September 2, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

I totally agree with HonestBroker1 (pretty cool screenname), especially about the "thug" part. That label is thrown around much too loosely nowadays. Nyjer has some issues, but he is not a thug.

Posted by: justmike | September 2, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Sunderland, great synopsis - thanks. You've recapped what's really important if we want to see this team progress NOW and in the future. It's time to part ways with him; I can't understand why he starts in CF day in and day out.

Posted by: natsfan7 | September 2, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Sunderland, great synopsis - thanks. You've recapped what's really important if we want to see this team progress NOW and in the future. It's time to part ways with him; I can't understand why he starts in CF day in and day out.

Posted by: natsfan7 | September 2, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

You could make the argument that Nyjer's actions are waking up a lethargic team but I'm not buying it. Nats were taking 2nd of 3rd game from Cards, beating them handily and playing well, when Nyjer took the cheap shot at their catcher. Rigs defused the situation the next morning and Nats went on to take the 3rd of 4 games. Nats took the 1st game of the Fish series and were locked in a great game the next night when Nyj is thrown out at the plate and a fired-up Marlins win in the bottom of the inning. Now it's become the Nyjer Morgan show, and, hidden behind the fireworks, we've just lost another series on the road. (OF course, Olsen deserves most of the credit for last night's loss--very disappointing performance).

I want September to be about playing the younger guys and figuring out who's going to be part of the 2011 club. I really don't want it to be the Nyjer Morgan Psychodrama and Traveling Road Show. But, hey, if you promote it right you can sell more tickets and boost those MASN ratings. Is that what you want, Stan?

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | September 2, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

OK, Morgan is doing too much lately that goes beyond, as he puts it, just playing the game.

But regardless of the motivation, stealing bases is playing the game, and complaining about that is nonsense. Had Morgan responded by hitting two homeruns, would the Marlins have complained and thrown at him?

Posted by: KenNat | September 2, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Sunderland nailed the performance aspect of Morgan's game. It sucks. I don't get why he is on the 25 man roster. And better not be next year. They gave him another chance this year and it didn't work out. Now he have 3 outfielders that are better than him. If we go wtih Hammer, Bernie, Morse in the OF, I'd be very happy to try that for a few months.

As for last night. Lots of guilt to go around. Morgan made two bad plays on catchers and deserved to get hit. He's going to get hit again the next time he plays the Cards by the way. The fish were lame for hitting three guys. And they were thuggish for throwing at a guy twice after he was trying to get his team back in the game. He had to steal those bases, that's his job. AND, even though he got himself in this mess, he HAD to charge the mound after that totally un-called for 2nd beaning. But ultimately he brought the whole thing on himself with two stupid, thuggish plays on the catchers.

Now let's get him off the roster so this stops happening and we can play ball again.

Posted by: Avar | September 2, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

"He showed last week that he did not even know the rules of baserunning in that a live runner can not be touched by a teammate or coach."

I guess I missed the part where Nyjer asked Pudge to grab him. Nyjer has a lot to answer for this week, including missing home plate in the first place, but Pudge is the one on the hook for that particular incident.

And "you're not allowed to steal after a payback HBP" is a new one on me, too. The steals set him up to score on a play he wouldn't have from first. Until MLB adopts a mercy rule, you're supposed to keep playing all the way until the end.

Posted by: zimbar | September 2, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Nobody who is a Nats fan should have any problem with what Morgan did last night. First off, Morgan doesn't get hit in his first at-bat so the Marlins thought they could steal an out on him because he would be looking to get hit. Bush league. Second, it was the fourth inning and the Nats just scored 14 runs against the Cards the other night. Why would they just roll over at that point. And it's not like the Marlins let him steal on defensive indifference, the catcher still made the throw to second base to try and get him and he was just flat out safe. Then, Volstad didn't hold him at second so he took third. If you're the pitcher in that situation you've got to at least give him a look. Finally, if you're gonna throw behind a guy after already hitting him in the game, you have to expect that's going to happen.

I think that everyone needs to understand baseball a bit here. On my first look at Morgan running over the Marlins catcher live on TV, I thought he should have slid, but the video over on the Sports Bog shows if you pause it at one point that the catcher had both feet on either side of the plate leaving Morgan nowhere to slide. That's 100% the catchers fault. As a catcher you're supposed to leave the runner the back tip of the plate to slide at and he didn't do that so he got run over. Unfortunately he just happened to get hurt.

But if you purposefully throw at somebody 2 times in one game, that is totally inexcusable. Volstad and Edwin Rodriguez should be suspended longer than Morgan for last night because if Morgan wouldn't have charged the mound then the Nationals would have thrown at their hitters the next inning and it would have gone back and forth until somebody charged the mound. At least Morgan ended it right there.

Posted by: RT99 | September 2, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

What's wrong with you people? This team needed fire, and Nyjer is providing it. You can make (very legitimate) arguments about Nyjer's lack of talent, and he has made some dumb decisions in the past (e.g., in St. Louis last week), but he's been nothing but a spark since then.

Volstad deserved a charge for throwing at him the second time. And I don't know who thinks Volstad got the better of the fight. You weren't watching what I saw. It takes guts to charge a guy who has you by about 12 inches and 100 pounds.

Posted by: Good2bOK | September 2, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

If the catcher doesn't want to take a hit: GET OFF THE BASE PATH; period.

Posted by: BT23 | September 2, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

2 separate but related issues:
1. Nyjer gets plinked. Unwritten rule - he hurt their catcher he gets hit. stealing bases - not the usual way to make up a huge deficit, but okay. If that angers the Fish - their problem. But two other Nats get plinked? And then they throw at Nyjer again?? WRONG. Good for you Nats - unwritten rule - you protect your teammates. Marlins are now on most hated list.
2. Nyjer is an idiot with a baseball IQ of zero. It should have been 1 - 1 at bottom of tenth the other night. But NO, Nyger the out of control lunatic just has to prove how tough he is -- after his ludicrous running into the catcher two nights earlier and costing his team a run then. We won that game. We lost 1 - 0 to Marlins because of Morgan. Get rid of this man-CHILD

Posted by: humbleandfree | September 2, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Don't stand on the tracks when the train is coming through.

Posted by: RT99 | September 2, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

If the catcher doesn't want to take a hit: GET OFF THE BASE PATH; period.

Posted by: BT23 | September 2, 2010 9:30 AM
--------------------------
The samething I was thinking. The Marlins were basically mad for Nyjer did to the Cardinals catcher, then for what he did to their catcher Tuesday night. Since when does a team get even for another team in the league? The catcher has on the most gear out on the field and he has to know that getting ran over is apart of the game in baseball. Nyjer is maybe 200 lbs soaking wet, but the Marlins acted like he was Adam Dunn. I wish it was Adam Dunn who hit the catcher Tuesday, because that catcher would just be coming back to Earth today.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | September 2, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

My prediction: Nyjer will get a huge suspension and Volstad and Edwin Rodriguez will get nothing, not even a slap on the wrist. This in spite of MLB's supposed rules against intentionally throwing at batters. Call it the last place double standard.

Posted by: guest1 | September 2, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I keep hearing that stealing 2 bases should not have been a reason to throw at a guy. But if you were really watching the game, didn't you know what would happen when Morgan got up again? I thought it was pretty obvious. Riggleman and all of the others that commented on what took place are protecting their own, which they should, but I've got a hard time believing that all of those guys didn't want to slap Morgan upside his head. They had to protect him, and they did, but Nyjer is going to get a vacation and the team is going to be better off for it. Too many antics and just dumb baseball.

Posted by: Jurgensen9 | September 2, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

The propositions that (a) The Marlins were wrong to throw at Morgan a second time, and (b) that he is an idiot and a mediocre-at-best ballplayer are not mutually exclusive.

Posted by: Meridian1 | September 2, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I'm not a big follower of baseball so someone help me out here....

I get that there are unwritten rules. Not plowing over a catcher when no throw is coming makes sense. Being beaned with a pitch as payback and accepting it im fine with. I can see that maybe the marlins took the base stealing as him not "accepting" his punishment. is that it? I guess that makes sense too but thats not what it seems like. the quotes make it seem like the marlins were pissed about the base stealing because of the score... how is that?!?? THEY were the ones up ten runs not the other way around correct?

And then they throw at him again. He already got hit and two other nats had been hit. I'm all for Morgan sticking up for himself and his teammates at this point. Maybe he deserved the first one. Maybe he should not have stolen bases (though im not sure there) but is he (and his team) supposed to just roll over and take it after that? I know he used to play hockey and it think he brought that out. Its a sport. COMPETE be TOUGH stick up for yourself and your mates and take it when you know you deserve it. As a non fan, I think its something baseball needs more of in my opinion.

If you can enlighten me with legitimate points and not just call me names for "bashing" your game (which is not what im doing - I'm asking to be informed) then please reply.

Posted by: rihardy | September 2, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

@HonestBroker1

I was happy to see your comment and know that I wasn't alone in my reaction. I read Golfersal's "coded" response this morning and had to stop myself from responding angrily (always good to count to 10 before posting/firing off an email). Nyjer may be a lot of things, but he's no thug. Any comparison to Elijah Dukes (multiple arrests for battery, one for assault, and a history of domestic violence) is just outrageous. The only thing Morgan and Dukes have in common is that they check the same "race" box on their U.S. Census forms. Sadly, that seems to be enough for some people.

Sounds like Golfersal's kids have enough bad examples in their lives without worrying about Nyjer Morgan...

Posted by: HenryStin | September 2, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

The best part is that almost no Nationals came to that idiot's defense. I was hoping the Marlins would break every bone in his chest-thumping, brain-dead body.

It's clear why he chose baseball to hockey, he's too stupid to play hockey (he probably can't even keep score).

Dumbest, most embarrassing ball player I've seen in the 40+ years I've been watching baseball.

Apparently, everyone (including almost all Nationals fans) hates him.

Posted by: bflorhodes | September 2, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I've been following baseball closely since 1971. And I've never heard of an unwritten rule against stealing when you're way BEHIND. Or of a rule against stealing after you've been hit by a pitch in retaliation.

Nyjer has done some questionable things lately. But I don't see how stealing second and third was one of them.

Posted by: BPupp | September 2, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Hey rihardy, I'm in the same boat with you. I don't watch the games and I'll briefly check the Washington Post to see how the Nationals are doing. However I'm absolutely puzzled by why the Marlins would be "pissed" that Morgan would try to steal two bases even though the Nationals were far behind at that point. In high school and college, I always played hard even if we were getting our butts kicked.

Posted by: humen8r | September 2, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

So let me get this straight. The Nationals should have quit playing when the game had an eleven run deficit. Didn't two teams come back from 9 run deficits last week? You can hate on Morgan all you want, but to say that stealing bases when your team is down is a problem?? You are just showing that you have no heart Brett Boone or Harold Reynolds. When did not trying to come back from being down, become a unwritten rule of base ball???

People hate Morgan for so they are talking out of there backsides because I have never heard that when you are losing you quit playing.

Maybe they should make it little league and call the game when you are down 10 after 3.......

Way to go Nyjer!!!!

Posted by: punchdaclock | September 2, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

@rihardy:

I think you ask good questions. Last night was about as nuanced a baseball situation as you can have, to my mind (and as unsubtle as the outcomes appeared to be).

It is precisely because most the "rules" involved are unwritten ones, based on tradition/past practices and outcomes/whatever, that you have people who know the game - and played or play it - disagreeing about this today.

Morgan may or may not have deserved a beaning; the Marlins believed he did. Fine. Hit him once. Everyone appears to have understood that. Morgan took his walk like a man.

Buuuuut waiting until a later at-bat is a little odd; that the Marlins had a big lead compounded that. (Did this violate one of the "second-level" unwritten rules, similar to what some people are saying about the steals? Maybe. And now you've got a "who did what to whom first" argument.)

But the punishment ends at the beaning - all bets are off from there on (as Riggleman said, the other team does not dictate when you run). THAT is where I differ with the Marlins and some commenters/players. Add in the fact that he was hit in a later at-bat, with the Marlins up big . . .

(The "don't steal after being hit" rule in this case was linked to the "don't steal when you are down big" rule, which is super-old-school, to me. It's actually a "rule" even apart from the payback HBP. You don't steal when you are up big or down big. I just happen to disagree with the "down big" part of that. It's not 1919. We don't give up playing - especially in the 4th inning - just because the opponent has supposedly proved that he is better than you "on the day" anymore. And the game was close-ish in the end. In the latter stages of the game, same big score, I might feel differently about that, but in the 4th, I've no problem with Morgan stealing. And neither did Riggleman, at least publicly.)

If the Nats are the ones up big, running is an obvious no-no.

Throwing behind a guy is the same as throwing at a guy.

Morgan acting the heel outside the lines, also a no-no. I've got no problem with what he did between the lines, but do it as impassively as you can. Tough thing to do, but my take. Leave the field in the same manner you took the walk to first after the first HBP.

And going at the mound after being thrown at a second time - whether it lands or not - is automatic. Have to do it.

WAY too long, apologies.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | September 2, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Humen8r I'm with you. Play hard. play with heart. Especially if it's your job and you're getting paid unreasonable amounts to do so.

Stevie,

Thanks. I think I'm on the same page as you and I learned some things about baseball from this Nyjer Morgan Week. It should be an annual thing. Have him get himself into odd scenarios to educated about the game.

One last question to you (or anyone). I've seen it written a few places today about Morgan, but what is "on the heel"?

Posted by: rihardy | September 2, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Two points of clarification:

Throwing behind is the same as throwing at, IN THIS SITUATION. Not always.

If the game/situation is "reset," if you will, after Morgan reaches first after the HBP, as I've argued, why is visiting the mound after the throw-behind automatic? On that point I've got no logical defense.

It just is.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | September 2, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I think you mean, playing the heel, ri. Like in pro wrestling, acting the bad guy, purposefully, to rile people up.

I don't happen to think Morgan is acting, but he does seem pretty calm after the games, in interviews.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | September 2, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

He needs anger management therapy, alright.

Of course what I mean by this is he'll learn next time NOT to drop the bat, but bring it with him as he stampedes towards the mound. You won't see him get clothes lined then, will you? And the pitcher won't be tossing balls behind him either, anymore. Manage the anger - psychopathically.

Posted by: JimGoldbloomVA | September 2, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Nyjer is one of my favorites on the team. True he pushes too far sometimes, but he keeps it exciting and has the opponents never sure what might happen.

Posted by: blankspace | September 2, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Let me see if I have this right; Morgan runs into the cather, blocking the plate, on a play at the plate. Even though the catcher has at least 30-40 pounds on Morgan and is wearing pads, he gets hurt. The next night, Rather than hitting Morgan in his 1st at bat, as would be expected in retaliation for their fragile catcher, they take advantage to get a early stikes and an easy out. In the 2nd, once they've gotten a lead, the "protect" damaged catcher by hitting, not Morgan, but another player. Inexplicably, not ejection of the pitcher and not even a warning. IN the 3rd, another Nationals player is hit by a pitch. Once again, inexplicably, no warning or ejection for the second intentionally hit batter. In the 4th, they finally get around to "protecting" their injured catcher again, by hitting Morgan. Once again, inexplicably, no warning or ejection for the third intentionally hit batter. Morgan takes his base, then steals 2nd and 3rd and scores on pop-up to 2nd, thus cutting into the lead. Apparently this makes the Marlins angry because intentionally hittiong batters is OK, but stealing bases is not, or perhaps the because they are to lame to throw out a runner who has one of the worst success rates of any basestealer in baseball. So int the 6th Volstad throws at Morgan again, this time missing. Unable to protect himselve from a man half his size, Volstad is "proptected" by his first baseman, who blindsides a man he aouweighs by at least 50 pounds (again, no ejection). the only problem with all this is the Nat's reaction to the cheap-shot 1st baseman when he came up (Again, inexplicably not ejected. He would have been tossed if this was a hockey game!) the pitch that hit him should have been in his ear. As for the Marlins, what a bunch of wimps.

Posted by: mcstowy | September 2, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

What Nyger Morgan did to the Marlin's catcher can only be described as a cheap shot. The catcher was not blocking the plate. His actions and reactions are hurting the team, and he should be removed from the lineup, and suspended from the team. I don't buy the argument that if it provides a spark to the team, then it was a positve thing. He brought this all on himself and deserves any punitive action that the team or league levies on him.

Posted by: chalkranger | September 2, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

It's time for the Nats to unload this idiot. He's a marginal outfielder, lousy base runner, not much of a bat, can't consistently get on base as the leadoff guy, so what's his benefit to the team? Besides that the bozo is a head case. Send him packing.

Posted by: POPS1 | September 2, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Can't anyone come up with a better word than "thug?" It's such a constant on these forums I've begun to believe it's a way for people to avoid bringing race into the discussion. The overuse of "thug" has rendered the word basically meaningless.

Posted by: jjhare | September 2, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only one that doesn't think Morgan charging the pitcher was out of line?

If you take away his poor play, take away the Philadelphia fan incident, and take away him running into the Cardinals catcher (since these are all separate incidents), and keep him running into the Marlins catcher (perfectly legal) and charging the mound, one will see that he did what every other player in MLB would do. The Pitcher threw at him twice and TWO other batters. That is inexcusable. Pissed off that he stole those two bases? Why? Are we trying to curl up and take a beating like a bad team would? Give me a break. Good Hard Baseball

Posted by: mharman1 | September 2, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

What's he doing? He knows those guys he yelled at are friends of ours. What's the matter with him? Making all this mess!
Go out there and tell him to handle things a little better. -- Remo Gaggi

Posted by: poncedeleroy | September 2, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Golfersal

You act as if he is the first guy to get into it with someone in baseball. And as far as your kids, I bet you are a caps fan as well and they do this kind of stuff all the time and you allow your kids to watch hockey and cheer on that kind of behavior from NHL players. Wonder what is the difference?

Posted by: ged0386 | September 2, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Want to see thug behavior, watch any NHL game. I guess white guys acting violent in sports is OK with some of you. Its just when the black guys fight then its a problem. Then its thug behavior that cant be tolerated. When you do it in hockey your an enforcer when you do it in baseball and your black, your a thug. Yes I am playing the race card. what??

Posted by: ged0386 | September 2, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I don't blame Nyjer. Probably would've done the same thing, he's got to watch those side swipes man, he got clocked outta nowhere, but probably gave as good as he got.

Posted by: UnknownHenson | September 2, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Hit him for bowling over and hurting your catcher, fine. Although the catcher was standing right in front of the plate. But any ballplayer that thinks Morgan stealing second and third when he's 11 runs down - to me isn't really a ballplayer. I'm not sure what they expected him to do. Just sit there on first base? That's just a stupid reason to hit somebody. He IS just playing the game at that point.

Posted by: AsstGM | September 2, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Make him piss in a cup, then test it.

Posted by: mlombre69 | September 2, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Here's a solution: Root for the Orioles. Even though they're just as lousy--they don't have headcase's like these. Send Morgan packing to NY so they can throw batteries at him.

Alot of Nats "fans" are converted O's fans--so it shouldn't be that hard to go back.

P.S.- Hopefully baseball will improve once Selig retires...

Posted by: kypreos9 | September 2, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

There have been many hockey players described as "Thugs" = Dave Schultz, Bob Kelly, Tiger Williams, Steve Durbano, John Ferguson among others. Last time I checked they were white and there was no racial connotation. Why, suddenly, does "Thug" have a racial undertone? For my money, Sanchez acted the "thug" last night. Nyjer has nothing to apologize for last night. That being said, he does need to go for all the baseball reasons listed previously. Oh, and real Thugs were a sect of Indian stranglers who practiced "Thugee" which ended in the 19th century. For a look at real "Thugs", I recommend watching Gunga Din (1939). I saw no one who reminded me of Nyjer.

Posted by: Natstoyou | September 2, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Geez, Kilgore, way to list all those incidents without any context. Talk about throwing a guy under the bus!

The incident in Philly is a complete joke. If every player that threw a ball into the stands got a 7-game suspension, they'd have to use guys from rookie league by the all-star break. Even Philly fans are defending him.

The first play at the plate, where Morgan missed home plate to hit the catcher was bad. But it was not worth more than a mention at the time. The game was all but locked-up at the time. So the lost run did not cost the team at all. The contact he made with the Cardinals catcher was incidental -- at best. The catcher didn't even react at the time.

The second play at the plate in Florida was great. I wish more players would understand how to play the game correctly. If they did, we would see a collision like that at least once a week. That was good, hard baseball. Sorry their catcher got hurt. But that wasn't Nyjer's fault.

When the Marlins threw at Morgan the first time, Nyjer accepted it as part of the game. Again, he understands how the game is played. That should have ended the problem. The fact the Nyjer stole two bases -- on the next two pitches -- seems to be some sort of controversial act. But does anyone recall that Nyjer then scored on a sacrifice-fly? So what are we talking about here? Was he not supposed to try to score? Is that some sort of unwritten rule? "If the other team is mad at you, do not attempt -- in any way -- to take actions that may help your team win the game." Really?

And once the Marlins threw at Morgan the second time, there is no way any player would take that without retaliating. Any player who doesn't understand that is not a player I want on my team.

Any fan who doesn't understand that should go watch soccer.

Kevin Olson
Manassas, VA

Posted by: noslok | September 2, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Garbage move by the Marlins...sure its not great to steal bases in a blow-out, but that's if you are the team that is winning. If you are losing, why shouldn't you have the right to steal bases and try and score runs to get back in the game.

Posted by: jro1 | September 2, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

This is a vanilla team, with vanilla players. Our biggest "enforcer", the big donkey is about the nicest guy in baseball. Our best player (Ryan Zimmerman) hasn't sinned once in his whole life. Our leadership is suspect because this is a young team at the end of the day. Strasmas came in and starred a couple guys down and added a bit of fire to our guys, but other than that we really are simply a vanilla team. You give me ONE vanilla team that has won a world series?!?!

This is a violent game people. You throw with violence, you run with violence, you violently sacrifice your body to catch a ball. You slide violently when you are trying to steal a base or score. This is the game. It's always been this way, in fact it's only gotten tamer if you look at the history of the game.

So I have a HUGE issue with people getting on the ONE guy on this team with some gumph. You PLAY TO WIN THE GAME! He's got some fire in him. It's about time someone charged home to score. Perhaps the Cards game was a bit foolish, but anyone that watched the game on Monday with out bias knows that in the heat of a moment, you make a split decision, and in that moment Nyjer probably felt his best option to score was to barrel a catcher over. Did he do it intentionally? If he did, WHO CARES?! It's a part of baseball. Subsequently, he takes a pitch in the ribs and walks it off. He then sees TWO of his teammates get pegged (mind you the Marlins are trying to fight at this point), and he then gets thrown at a second time. Ray Knight argued that it was classless to steal bases after getting hit. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! You are trying to win a baseball game. Are you telling me that it's classy to simply give up? To lose? Not in this country bubba. This is America, we fight to the end and we WIN at the end.

Nyjer Morgan is about as American as it gets right now. This guy is scrappy, he sticks up for his teammates, he talks back when harassed, he barrel's over guys twice his size and he will punch you in the mouth if you cross the line. So he's not the most sophisticated guy on the ball club. So he's a bit irritable. If you want to get on Nyjer, get on him because of his less than accurate arm, or because he doesn't hit the cut off man, or because he missed a call. Don't get on him for scrapping, for showing effort, for trying to score, and for being the only guy on the team willing to do what it takes.

I can assure you that Nyjers actions this past week will wake this team up. These guys will be more united and willing to stick up for each other. These guys will be a better team.

Here's a thought, the Nats team colors are Red, White and Blue. Hopefully they can remember that and look a little less vanilla. If you want vanilla, go north on 95 and watch cheer for a cellar team for the next two decades. Not in this town. This is NATS town and today Nyjers town!

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | September 2, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Playing angry just doesn't work if you don't excel at the game and Nyjer isn't. He has repeatedly made fundamental errors that have hurt the club and now it looks like he is trying to injure opposing players. Throw in the jawboning and gesturing to opposing fans and a pattern is developing. This whole thing looks like a case of misplaced aggression that needs to be addressed before he does something really stupid like go into the stands.

Posted by: Natmeister | September 2, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

@ged0368

I'm the one who wrote saying im not a big baseball fan. What i did not say is I am a huge NHL fan, so your post sparked some interest. Thing is I fully support what Nyjer did (speaking specifically about last night). He played hard and he stuck up for himself and his teammates and he respected (as far as I can tell) the tradition of the game and the "unwritten rules". I see it as no different than fighting in hockey, which you call thuggish. This is where your argument gets lost on me. It has NOTHING to do with race and everything to with sport.

Fighting is not supposed to be in baseball so baseball fans act appalled and outraged when it does. It is an integral part of the game in hockey (agree with it or not - that's a separate issue) so hockey fans support it as part of the competition (with is own unwritten rules/code). Your particular analogy fails because that scenario is the baseball culture vs. the hockey culture... not blacks vs whites.

Besides I was unaware that the NHL was an all white league and the MLB was an all black league. I think its pretty weak how easily the race card gets played in these types of situations. It's irrelevant here so put it away. Better yet get rid of it. Jumping to conclusions only perpetuates the problem - especially when it comes to racism/reverse racism (and there is such a thing)

Posted by: rihardy | September 2, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Nyjer Morgan needs to grow up, but he was not the worst culprit on the field last night. Stealing two bases was simply good hustle on his part.

Chris Volstad deserves the longest of the suspensions that will be handed out for last night's brawl.

Posted by: austinrl | September 2, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

talking about baseball, the game and the way it's played. i think most of the ball players understand the unwritten rules of the game. they've been playing since they were kids probably. morgan may have been the instigator of the whole thing, but the marlin's need someone to teach them the unwritten rules. they can't look them up on wikipedia because they are, unwritten. every time a team steps out on the field, they should be trying to win. morgan stealing those bases is what he is supposed to do. any other debate as to what happened before that, or after that can be debated forever, because there are no specific "written" rules. based on the ones that are not written, morgan acted as any MLB player would have......maybe he could have walked off the field without all the chest thumping....but then again, in the heat of the moment......whatever.

Posted by: joerutgens72 | September 2, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

If every fan, player, and broadcaster at the game expected Nyjer to be plunked the first time, the umps knew it too. Failing to warn both teams in the fourth, makes them partly responsible for the brawl in the sixth. Had both teams been warned, the throw behind the batter gets the pitcher Volstad and his manager ejected immediately. Say Nyjer doesn't charge the mound. Would Volstad and his manager have been ejected or suspended? I doubt it.

Posted by: HondoHomers | September 2, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

WATCH OUT Nyjer...St E's is just across the river....and they'll be watching you very closely....Kudos to Sanchez for clothes lining that Knucklehead Psycho.....That clusterxxxx when he missed home plate and didn't even score the run when Pudge touched him (interference with live base runner was called)...should have gotten him suspended by the gutless and clueless Riggleman ...where he should not have even been in uniform in So Fla.

Posted by: FletcherChristian1 | September 2, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

What the F is anyone talking about? Is stealing a base a suspendable offense in MLB? Is throwing deliberately at a batter a suspendable offense? I don't care if the score is 100 to 0, as a fan I want my team to play baseball until the last out. How dare the Marlins assume the game is over in the 4th inning. Why not have a 10 run rule and call the game? Any baseball fan should be pissed that the Marlins are throwing at a batter for stealing bases! Where is integrity in the game in that idea? I was not a fan of Morgan for the other things he did, but after this incident I would back him to the moon and back! He is my full time center fielder. I wish the rest of the Nationals have as much balls. Stammen is my man, because I understand he is the only Nat that got in a good punch. What did Dunn and Zimmerman do?

Posted by: bobilly2 | September 2, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

My question is: 'What is the rule about the third base coach shaking the hand of a home run hitter when he rounds third base?' Is that any less of interference with a base runner than when Pudge redirected Nyjer back to home base?

Posted by: crimsonmac | September 2, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THE NATS ARE A LAST PLACE TEAM THIS YEAR.

MORGAN MAY NOT KNOW THE RULES BUT NO ONE CAN QUESTION HIS PLAY EVEN IF IT MAYBE OUT OF CONTROL SOMETIMES. PERIOD.

THE GUY IS STILL PLAYING BASEBALL! AS BASEBALL FAN OF ITS LOCAL LAST PLACE TEAM IM GLAD HE IS NOT GOING OUT LIKE A SUCKER!

KEEP PLAYING NYJER HOPEFULLY SOME OF THE OTHERS WILL PICK UP THEIR PLAY AND WE FINISH UP THE SEASON ON A STRONG NOTE!

Posted by: nivla | September 2, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

The new coach up Beltway 95 stood by his "Last in the League" players and they promptly win 8 out of his first 10 games and 16 out of 26 games so far. Buck even wanted his players to go toe to toe with Boston and they responded with an impressive 5-2 win. Riggleman was just terrible in criticizing Nyjer in public, and his non-aggressive management style is getting tiring to watch.

Posted by: JohnWWW | September 2, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Dump the chump. We've got enough problems without him.

Posted by: 21stCenturyCaveman | September 2, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

So our kid has ADHD? What are we gonna do?

Posted by: McLobo | September 2, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse


So...internally, this is now handled with a Code Red? Protect the rest of the roster from the consequences of the misdeeds of one by correcting the behavior with pillowcases and bars of soap at the hotel where they next make camp? Then take turns on overnight watch so he doesn't go "Full Metal Jacket" on his comrades?

Or do they just let MLB HQ handle the personnel matter witn peoph a suspension or two?

Posted by: Ted_Striker | September 2, 2010 4:24 AM | Report abuse


I can say, with a good deal of certainty, that Ted_Striker has NEVER been part of a team (military, sports, etc.) that would use "code red"s.

So many Washington "fans" LOVE to talk tough from behind their keyboards.

NEWSFLASH: Morgan is tough. YOU are a puss. Let's see you go after a guy a ft. taller and 50 lbs heavier than you.

Such F-ing cowards commenting on these articles, and on the internet, in general.

Posted by: jboogie1 | September 2, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

I want Nyjer Morgan on my team. He may be a little crazy and emotionally challenge but he plays the game hard and wants to win. He does what he needs to do to win. Pete Rose ran over a catcher in the all star game and no one gives him crap for it. He got thrown at twice in one game. Once is understandable, twice is over line. I like him defending himself and the fact he knows how to take a hit. I also like the way Pat Listach went in to protect him and the way Michael Morse ran to the middle of the pile to help him. Play the game hard. He needs anger managment training in the offseason but i want him on my team. He plays the game hard like it should be played.

Posted by: geai | September 2, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

I want Nyjer Morgan on my team. He may be a little crazy and emotionally challenge but he plays the game hard and wants to win. He does what he needs to do to win. Pete Rose ran over a catcher in the all star game and no one gives him crap for it. He got thrown at twice in one game. Once is understandable, twice is over line. I like him defending himself and the fact he knows how to take a hit. I also like the way Pat Listach went in to protect him and the way Michael Morse ran to the middle of the pile to help him. Play the game hard. He needs anger managment training in the offseason but i want him on my team. He plays the game hard like it should be played.

Posted by: geai | September 2, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

I want Nyjer Morgan on my team. He may be a little crazy and emotionally challenge but he plays the game hard and wants to win. He does what he needs to do to win. Pete Rose ran over a catcher in the all star game and no one gives him crap for it. He got thrown at twice in one game. Once is understandable, twice is over line. I like him defending himself and the fact he knows how to take a hit. I also like the way Pat Listach went in to protect him and the way Michael Morse ran to the middle of the pile to help him. Play the game hard. He needs anger managment training in the offseason but i want him on my team. He plays the game hard like it should be played. And to call the play on the margins catcher thuggish is dead wrong.

Posted by: geai | September 2, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

While I did not have the good fortune to see either game live, I did have the good fortune to be able to catch EPSN's coverage of the brawl the next morning. That is indeed a rare occurrence here, north of the 49th parallel.
In the replays that ESPN used were included some wider angles and close-ups which I had not seen to that point.

I was able to see Pujols fake the throw from first to home just prior to the first catcher collision. Even though I'd read accounts of the play and had seen replays on sports broadcasts, that wider view put that play in a new light for me.

I also saw a tight close-up of the play at the plate in Florida from a previously(by me) unseen angle.

After freshly viewing the collision against the Marlins, I must say that I think the home plate ump missed the call. Sure the catcher held onto the ball after big, bad, 160lb Nyjer bowled him over, but, Nyjer's foot touched the plate before the collision and hence before the tag. That would make him safe and run scored, would it not?

Posted by: shygaard | September 3, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

For the record, yes, that is not interference, because he is not assisting him. Pudge was trying, unsuccessfully, to help Morgan score.
http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/official_rules/runner_7.jsp
Rule 7.09 g,

****************
My question is: 'What is the rule about the third base coach shaking the hand of a home run hitter when he rounds third base?' Is that any less of interference with a base runner than when Pudge redirected Nyjer back to home base?
Posted by: crimsonmac

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 3, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

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