Nyjer, Tony – whatever he's answering to today – had won.
He'd escaped Pittsburgh, where a generation of losing has the mascot wishing it had two eye patches.
He'd been cast from Washington, no place for a 31-year-old man who'd rather win today.
Nyjer Morgan(notes) instead found love and playing time in Milwaukee. He'd hooked up with an alternate personality. Together, they lit up right-handed pitching, charmed a community, ran away with the NL Central, maybe even learned a little something about composure.
It was beautiful.
Morgan, above all, had a great time. He wasn't afraid to be real in a league of paint-by-number personalities and dull eyes.
So he was flighty. So he was slightly combustible. He also was his own man. His own two men, actually. Good for him.
So, about Wednesday night …
Punk move, T-Plush.
From the Copenhagen dip fling to the Twitter dump, punk move.
Forget about what the St. Louis Cardinals must think, or the predisposed haters, or the league office, for that matter. Forget about the rep for half-cocked meltdowns, and what this does for that.
The Brewers – the other 24 – didn't need this.
Eight-and-a-half games up, 18 to play, four coming against the Phillies and Cole Hamels(notes), Roy Halladay(notes), Cliff Lee(notes) and Vance Worley(notes), the Brewers only lose this if they first lose their self-control.
Their season unravels only if their heads go first.
And on a night in St. Louis when the damage was otherwise minimal, a game the Brewers could spare, a series they could have walked away from, a thread may have come free.
All while Morgan was being escorted into the dugout tunnel, where he wouldn't stay long. That was the other 24 cleaning up after him.
You think the Cardinals have anything to lose in this? They don't.
Tony La Russa's club only wins this thing if the Brewers collapse, and the Brewers only collapse if their psyches go sideways.
Calling Pujols "Alberta" and "she" counts as sideways. Calling the Cardinals "crying birds" that will "injoy watching tha Crew in tha Playoffs" is listing in that direction, too, amusing as it may be.
Dragging a personal issue with Carpenter into the final days of the division race, whipping a dip bomb across the infield, and caring one iota about what Carpenter thinks or says or does from 8½ games back, that's sideways.
Those guys in the clubhouse who love T-Plush and love Nyjer Morgan more, it's maybe a good time to think of them. They haven't come this far to blow an Achilles' trying to keep Alberta Pujols from tearing off their center fielder's limbs.
The best part of the Morgan story – from high school dropout to junior hockey player to the long slog of professional baseball – is how difficult and solitary the journey must have been. He was in A-ball at 25 and still a minor leaguer at 27. He didn't get a real, everyday big league job until he was almost 30.
Then, going on 31, he found meaningful baseball, the kind that makes a decade of effort worthwhile.
They do adore Morgan in Milwaukee, where he's recognized as a good ballplayer, and more a good man. They wear T-Plush jerseys, and chase his good-natured antics on Twitter, and scream back, "Ahhhhhh!"
It's all very cool.
But Morgan isn't alone anymore. He has a franchise to consider. He has teammates who need him, as much as he needs them. He has a season to play out and a World Series championship to play for.
This other stuff?
Don't let them get to you, Nyjer.
Because you've already won.
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