Judge And Nyjer…eeeee

Here’s the least likely sentence I’ve ever written: Nyjer Morgan has truly damaged the great tradition of The Washington Nationals franchise.

Seriously, MLB has to step in – and quickly – on what you can smell from a thousand miles away is a serious and blossoming anger management issue. The Washington outfielder has, in less than a fortnight, thrown a ball into the stands (apparently at a fan), collided brutally with two catchers on two occasions when he should have slid, slid too aggressively into basemen at second and third, precipitated a bench-clearing brawl after a message pitch that didn’t come close to him, and then shouted obscenities at the Florida crowd in full view of the television cameras. And we’re not even bringing up what happened last May, when he threw not a fit nor a ball, but a glove when he mistook a ball in play for an outside-the-park homer.
That Morgan was pleasant and even nonchalant in interviews afterwards suggests the dimensions of his disconnect. The ex-junior hockey player described himself as simply playing hard, and his supporters suggested it was just ‘the hockey coming out in him.’ In hockey, if you did all this in a week or two, they’d have sent you back to Medicine Hat.
Most disturbingly, perhaps, is that his manager Jim Riggleman seemed to address only Morgan’s pair of steals in tonight’s disaster in Florida. Rig was right: the steals were fine. Nothing else about Morgan is, at the moment, and the Nationals or MLB might be doing him a favor by suspending him for the balance of the season and getting him some help. 
Freddie Freeman is the marquee name and it certainly was a surprise to see him and not Derrek Lee starting against the Mets on September 1st, but I don’t really know how much work he’ll get in Atlanta as the Braves go all out to wrap up Bob Cox’s career with a winner.
The premium player among the immediate recalls – at least in terms of opportunity – would seem to be Brandon Allen of the Diamondbacks. Arizona hasn’t had a leftfielder all year and the converted first baseman seemed to take to the position neatly in his seasonal debut (and added the grand slam). Brian Bogusevic of Houston, Yonder Alonso of Cincinnati, and Mat Gamel of Milwaukee were immediately summoned but seem to have little to do. Of all possible rotation inserts only the Mets have made a move, bringing back Jenrry Mejia and putting him right in against the Cubs at Wrigley on Saturday.
Oh and this Chapman guy might be of some use. Somebody around here picked the Reds to win the NL Central, as I recall.


  1. nealdraznin@gmail.com

    A bit off topic, but have you noticed Cardinals are 0-5 since LaRussa and Pujols appeared at St. Glen of Beck’s event on Saturday. This curse may be stronger than a billy goat.

  2. baltimore.caudills@comcast.net


    I couldn’t agree more about the Morgan blow-up. I love hardnosed baseball as much as the next person but when it comes to trying to intentionally hurt someone it’s time to take action. If you want to act like a football player, go put on some pads and if you have the right hair I hear Head & Shoulders will get it insured just in case it falls out or maybe in Morgan’s case, get’s ripped out.

  3. sbarko

    For Freeman to have any real contribution he needed to be called up before September 1st.
    My favorite August 31st Callups;
    2. Astros 1997 Richard Hidalgo and Bob Abreu
    1. Braves 1995 Andruw Jones

    1st comment on your blog. Its interesting.

  4. mgianella@juno.com

    Agree on Morgan and Riggleman, Keith, but most disturbing was Nationals coach running in and attacking Florida’s pitcher. The coaches should be trying to keep the peace, not throw punches. Let’s hope Major League Baseball hands down a pretty severe suspension for Listach.

  5. jhouck99@gmail.com

    I’ve never had much respect for Jim Riggleman as a manager, going back to when he was with the Cubs. I couldn’t imagine a player like Nyjer Morgan acting like that for very long under a manager like Bobby Cox.

  6. mantlewasarockstar

    Morgan’s anger management issues need to be dealt with. Absolutely. But it would be grossly unfair to dismiss being pitched behind after having been previously plunked just because the protagonist has a nasty temper. I don’t condone the marching towards the mound but feel it was justified. And why was Gaby Sanchez left in the game when he CLEARLY attacked Morgan? Is that part of the deal, now? The deplorable actions of others involved do not matter as much if Morgan is also involved? Let’s be fair and unlike the homers in the Marlins booth last night. Morgan’s demeanor must be addressed but let’s not sweep under the rug the faults of others in the process.

  7. jeterandiborn62674

    I don’t have a problem with what Nyjer did, charging the mound anyway. If you’re going to throw at a guy– or behind him– you should be ready for him to come after you. I also don’t have a problem with Gaby Sanchez clotheslining Morgan in order to defend his pitcher– if you’re going to charge the mound you should be ready for the pitcher’s teammates to come after you. From a fan’s perspective, this is fun, not a disgrace. As for someone potentially getting hurt, guys can’t seem to celebrate a win without being injured. And as for Nyjer’s previous behavior, I think commentators have tried wagging their fingers before at other “headcases” and it didn’t do any good. It’s up to his teammates and organization to determine if his contributions are worth his problems.

  8. sfgbduncan

    As a 10u and 12u Dixie Youth Baseball coach, I think any player taking one step toward the mound should be ejected and suspended. On the same hand intentional hitting the batter should be cause for ejection (at umpire’s discretion)of the pitcher.
    The actions of Nyjer SHOULD call for ejection from MLB.
    You guys seem to forget that you are role models for the baseball youth of America. They imitate what they see on MLB. I also disagree with sliding in hard at second to injure someone to break up a double play.
    Intent to injure someone should be taken out of the game.
    Avoid contact with the fielder should be the rule.
    The actions of Mr. Morgan should not be tolerated.
    KIDS CAN READ LIPS they are not dumb.
    You guys make more money per week than most do in a lifetime, then act professional.
    Make these unprofessional attitudes pay for it.
    If you wanna be a pro then act like a pro.

  9. mantlewasarockstar

    I don’t condone violent, obnoxious or unprofessional behavior, but professional athletes are not supposed to be role models. That they can be and often are, is a wonderful thing. “Role model” is in the job description for Mom, Dad, etc. not Johnny Ballplayer.

  10. dkw208@nyu.edu

    You know what’s really ridiculous? That the Marlins waited until Morgan’s third AB to hit him. They could have hit him in the first. they didn’t. They could have hit him in the second. they didn’t. They waited until they had an eleven run lead. That’s weak. You think a guy like Roy Oswalt would have waited three innings to drill a guy? No, he would have drilled him at the start and got it out of the way. If I was Nyjer I would have been annoyed too. Regarding the slide on Hayes – Nyjer should have slid, but he didn’t have a teammate telling him to do so. Shouldn’t the guy who’s on deck be directing traffic in that situation? I mean seriously, look at what you’re suggesting. You really think he would have rather been tagged out in that situation just so he could hurt another player? That’s preposterous. He didn’t slide because he had no idea where the ball was. If he knew where it was, he would have slide, scored the run, and avoided the collision. But the guy who was in deck didn’t do so. How’d you work for ESPN Keith? You don’t seem to know a lot about baseball.

  11. borzoi06

    Disagree. I could understand a short suspension, but taking drastic measures to shut him down and force anger management is a bit overblown. Just about every circumstance described came out of reasonable circumstances. Guys slide hard into bases all the time. Every catcher should expect to get trucked. He wasn’t interfering in any play by the defense in any of the aforementioned situations. The outrageous part is that Florida expected Nyjer and the rest of the team to lay down and take the beating. Baseball doesn’t have a mercy rule, and nine innings is the length of play, whether you’re down by one or 11. The Marlins, and others, seem to be more upset with charismatic play from an unlikely source.

    Everyone on the field knew what was going on and what the outcome would be. The speculation going into the game was that the Nats knew the Marlins were going to exact their price when they left Nyjer in the lead-off spot. And if you watch the brawl footage close enough you’ll notice that the home plate umpire was in the motion of ejecting the pitcher as soon as that pitch was scooped up. It seems no one was surprised about the outcome except the fans (and commentators).

  12. fredbellemore@usa.net

    Wes Helms: “Morgan was really irritating us…Running around stealing bases like that.”

    Wes Helms?…Wes…Helms….This is isn’t the biggest news to come out of this brawl?

    To paraphase Earl Weaver, Wes Helms is lucky he has a job in baseball…Wes Helms needs to shut HFM and say thank you when he gets a paycheck…He stands around all year batting .230, waiting for a starter to get injured, so he can excite fans with his riveting at bats….And he gets to decide when another team should be running or not?…

    Weren’t Robert Fick, Sean Berry, and Mike Blowers available for comment?

  13. mantlewasarockstar

    It’s baffling to hear Marlins players say something along the lines of ‘he disrespected us by stealing 2nd and 3rd base, despite his team losing by a 10+ run margin‘, ’cause not only was that none of their concern but they come across QUITE STUPID while they’re at it.

  14. jwin214

    Oh my. You just couldn’t resist that last sentence, huh? Heehee. Okay, I have a question. Whom did that “somebody around here” pick to win the NL West? And to come in dead last in the same? Oh my goodness, I’m suddenly drawing a blank. Ahem. Okay, it’s not October yet. We shall see, my friend.

    Go Giants!

  15. mrlyngreen

    Nijer Morgan is a punk and he got off easy.

    I didn’t watch the Marlins game, but I did watch the Cardinals game. Not only was there no play at the plate, Bryan had stepped completely out of the base path. Morgan missed the plate because he went out of his way to shove Bryan. The cheapest of cheap shots. MLB discipline is a joke.

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