Nyjer Morgan goes all “Tony Plush” on Giants fans

During the seventh inning of the Brewers-Giants game in San Francisco on Friday night, flamboyant Milwaukee outfielder Nyjer Morgan ran down a potential hit off the bat of Nate Schierholtz and then turned to fans in centerfield to politely remind them that there were two outs.

Oh I’m sorry, did I say Nyjer Morgan was involved? No yeah, he was being an ass.

Some San Francisco fans have, of course, taken offense to the gesture and some Milwaukee fans have, of course, downplayed the issue. Morgan has flashed his “Tony Plush T” before, so fans in Milwaukee are accustomed to the gesture. But I could see why some Giant fans are ticked off because it looks like he’s giving them a gesture to F-off.

Whatever. I’m sure those Giant fans sitting in centerfield weren’t sharing recipes for homemade clam chowder with Morgan. That doesn’t mean that Morgan should act like a clown after he makes a nice play, but we didn’t hear what those fans were saying to him. Plus, and I cannot overstate this fact: it’s Nyjer Morgan. He has two sides: an entertaining side and a side where he wants to purposely blow up catchers and mix it up with fans. That’s just him. Personally, I’ll take Tony Gwynn and Ozzie Smith any day. They respected the game, their opponents, their teammates and yes, fans in all cities. They were professional at all times and exuded class. But we live in a different day and age now. An age where showing up fans or opponents is deemed as “not a big deal.” It’s now chic to say Morgan was “just having fun.”

What was nice about the days of yore in baseball is that the league used to police itself. It still does to some extent, but not like it used to. MLB has really cracked down on players retaliating and maybe that’s a good thing. I don’t want to see anyone get hurt, but back in the day if you disrespected the game or an opponent you were guaranteed to get a high, hard one in your next AB. It was a different game back then.

There has been some bad blood between the Brewers and Giants before, specifically after Milwaukee’s “bowling ball routine” following a Prince Fielder walk off in 2009. It’ll be interesting to see if emotions boil over again this weekend after Morgan’s performance on Friday night.

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Nyjer Morgan takes pot shots at Nationals

Washington Nationals baserunner Nyjer Morgan (R) argues after being called out at home plate against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning of their MLB baseball game in Washington, August 28, 2010. Home plate umpire Dan Bellino makes the call at left. Morgan was assisted by a teammate after scoring on the play and then called out. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

You knew it was only a matter of time before Nyjer Morgan sounded off about the Nationals. The guy can’t not say something. (Sorry for the double-negative but damn it, it works.)

Now that Morgan is becoming somewhat relevant again in baseball (he’s on the verge of earning more playing time with the Brewers thanks to his solid play), he decided to take a few pot shots at the Nationals on ESPN Milwaukee radio recently.

On why he was traded to Milwaukee (from the Washington Post):

“Basically, the process was the Nats wanted to get rid of me,” he said, when asked how he wound up in Milwaukee. “And basically, you know, I figure one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, in my eyes. And, basically, it feels good to be in a baseball city, [with] people who understand my game and love just the aggressiveness and the hard work and the hard play I bring.”

On why things went south in D.C.:

“I think just some stuff that happened last year, I guess,” Morgan responded. “I’m not sure, just the way I play, I guess it wasn’t ready for D.C., in my eyes.”

After the host explained that people in Milwaukee don’t really follow the Nationals closely enough to understand his comments:

“I don’t follow them neither,” Morgan said, with his trademarked Tony Plush cackle. “I’ll just plead the Fifth on it. I’m glad to be in Milwaukee now, I’ll tell you that.”

When asked about being in Milwaukee:

“Just the team camaraderie is unbelievable,” Morgan said. “For me, it’s fun again. And I haven’t been on what, a three-game winning streak for about two years now, so this actually feels unbelievable.”

As Post writer Dan Steinberg points out, the Nationals actually had eight winning streaks of three games or more in 2010, although something tells me Morgan isn’t sweating the details at the moment.

Why can’t players just let it go and move on? I mean, if the dude is happy in Milwaukee, why take pot shots at his former team? Morgan had two incidents last year of lowering his shoulder into a catcher and while some people defended his actions by saying he was “just playing the game hard,” the fact of the matter is that both plays were unnecessary. He was trying to lower the boom on both catchers (the Marlins’ Brett Hayes and the Cardinals’ Bryan Anderson) so that he could draw attention to himself. Catchers have gear on, but it’s not like those chest protectors are shoulder pads. Both incidents could have been avoided.

And now he’s in Milwaukee and spouting off about the Nationals? Please. I like Morgan – I think he’s funny and personable. But again, he does some things to draw attention to himself and it’s just not necessary. Plus, tell me how the Nationals did him wrong outside of trading him. Did they torment him? Did they withhold his pay? Did they make his girlfriend sit in the nosebleeds? Did they call his mother names and make him eat all his meals with his hands? What?

I’m sure he’s well-liked in Milwaukee now, so all of his attention should be on the Brewers. The Nationals are closed chapter in his life.

Nyjer Morgan gets close lined by Gabby Sanchez [video]

Nyjer Morgan probably expected the Marlins to seek revenge on him after he bowled over their catcher Brett Hayes on Tuesday night and separated his shoulder.

So what does he do? Well, go apesh*t of course.

Here’s the scene from last night’s Marlins-Nationals brawl, which is making national headlines:

Only a marginal leadoff hitter on a last place team like Nyjer Morgan could garner this much attention.

The ironic thing is, Morgan also took out Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson last Saturday night on a similar play and had this to say following the game:

“You go out there and play hard and don’t try to hurt somebody. It happened to maybe look like that. I don’t want to be perceived as a dirty player. It was just an intense play. From what I saw, I saw [Albert] Pujols threw a nice little pump fake. I was going full-speed around third. It was just what I saw. I thought maybe the ball was coming. I saw the catcher maybe tense up. I could have took the kid out if I wanted to, but I kind of grazed him. It wasn’t, in my eyes, intentional. From what I saw, I guess have should have slid. Next time, I’ll slide.”

Only next time he once again decided to take the catcher out instead of sliding. And had he slide on Tuesday night, he would have scored and the Nationals may have won instead of dropping the game, 1-0.

The shot he took from Sanchez was well deserved and like the announcer from the broadcast said, baseball needs to do something about Morgan (a suspension that lasts the rest of the season should do the trick) because obviously the guy doesn’t get it. Collisions at home plate happen, but guys can’t be looking to deck unprotected players – I don’t care if the catchers do have gear on. If you come full steam at somebody that’s not looking, you’re going to cause more damage than he is. Plus, the main point is that Morgan didn’t have to go into home that way. He could have slide both times, despite his claims that he could have gotten hurt when he bashed into Anderson.

It’s too bad, because if Morgan stopped doing stupid things he’d probably be a popular player. Dude is actually pretty funny…

Watch Nyjer Morgan get mad

Maybe you could think of a better title, but really, this is what’s funny. And I’m not laughing at Nyjer Morgan’s expense — I just admire this temper tantrum because it’s something I would do. Knowing he’s on television, and knowing he’ll look hilarious throwing his glove down in a fit of anger, he does so in theatrical fashion. Morgan is a gamer, so his frustration was probably greater after realizing the ball didn’t actually clear the fence.

Note: This video will probably get taken down quickly, so enjoy it while it lasts.

Pirates send Morgan to Nats in four-player trade

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pirates have agreed to trade speedy outfielder Nyjer Morgan and pitcher Sean Burnett to the Nationals for outfielder Lastings Milledge and right-hander Joel Hanrahan.

While Burnett and Hanrahan are decent relievers, the two outfielders will determine which club gets the better of this deal in the end. Morgan has been a pleasant surprise this year for Pittsburgh (he’s batting .277 with 39 runs scored and 18 stolen bases), but he turns 30 in a couple of days and doesn’t have a ton of upside.

At just 24-years old, Milledge does have long-term upside, but he’s yet to fully cash in on his raw talent. He’s a better all-around athlete than Morgan is, but he underwent surgery to repair a broken finger in mid-May and continues to be sidelined because of it. He has top-of-the-order potential, but he’s been slowed by injuries and when given the opportunity to be the Nats’ leadoff hitter at the start of the season, he stumbled to a .167 average and had no extra base hits in 24 at bats. He was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse on April 15 and hasn’t seen major league action since.

What’s interesting is that even though they’re currently 17.5 games back in the NL East and have zero hope of competing this season, Washington still decided to trade for a player in Morgan who doesn’t have as much long-term upside as Milledge. That should tell you that the club didn’t think too highly of Milledge’s potential and decided to get a productive player for him while they still could. Milledge is worth taking a flier on if you’re the Pirates, however, because he could still wind up developing in the future.

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