September 08, 2011
Despite being entertaining and talented, Nyjer Morgan(notes) plays baseball like a hockey player who takes dumb penalties. With the Milwaukee Brewers on the cusp of the playoffs, it's easy to see how this might play out in the NLDS.
Exactly how it did Wednesday night in St. Louis.
Morgan apparently got angry over being sworn at in the ninth by Carpenter (though Carpenter vaguely denied saying anything). So, Morgan yelled obscenities back — and also chucked the wad of tobacco he had been chewing in Carpenter's general direction. Albert Pujols(notes) saw it go down from his position at first base and came running in, dramatically, not unlike Gaby Sanchez(notes) did during the Marlins' big fracas with Morgan a season ago.
Only, Pujols pulled up and didn't clothesline anyone. But benches briefly cleared and Nyjer had to be restrained by teammates.
It was like a scene Vince McMahon might have written for pro wrestling, or if Terry Gilliam directed a movie about Muhammad Ali.
After tossing the chaw, Morgan got tossed from the game by umpires and the Cardinals won, 2-0, with Carpenter finishing them off with a four-hitter.
Later, on Twitter — one of Nyjer's favorite Tony Plush hangouts — he was still chatting:
Alberta couldn't see Plush if she had her gloves on!!! Wat was she thinking running afta Plush!!! She never been n tha ring!!!
By referring to "Alberta," was Morgan referring to his pro hockey roots in Canada? No, he was making an unfunny joke about "Albert" Pujols lacking masculine qualities.
UPDATE: The Brewers plan on disciplining Morgan.
If screaming at people unnecessarily isn't going over the line, and if throwing your disgusting tobacco at them isn't going over the line, then calling a man "she" and "her" — as if female equals weak — certainly is. (At least he didn't play the gay card.)
Although he's not the best player on the team, Morgan has been an important reason they're in first place. He has a 116 adjusted OPS, fifth-best in a good lineup. He certainly brings a spark to the mundane day-to-day baseball life. He's darn funny at times, if nonsensical. He also can play baseball, and even the Cardinals — even Tony La Russa and Carpenter — said as much after the game. Pujols even said he liked Morgan.
But he won't help the Brewers by getting run from a playoff game, or suspended from one, or inciting a brawl in one. Morgan has to be the most obvious Achilles' heal in the playoffs.
Can he stay out of the penalty box?