Sunday, July 24, 2011

I Gotta Go: A Nyjer Morgan Introspective

Friday night in San Francisco the Giants fans made a big deal about something outfielders do everyday, he threw up the horns to signify two outs. But, as Tony Plush is want to do, he threw an extra underhanded slam to the fans in the stands which was misunderstood as a rude gesture. Cascades of boos fell on deaf ears as both Brewers players and staff saw nothing unusual going on. Morgan does this sort of thing, he riles people up, he plays at a high level of energy, and he doesn't hide his emotions. Should a guy be faulted for having a non-stop motor, I don't think so, but incontinent umpire Joe West disagreed and made his way to the Brewers dugout to talk to Roenicke about it. My question is do teams hate Morgan for his attitude or his play?

We all know there are bad boys in baseball. There are guys who make it their mission, Milton Bradley, to be the center of attention for the wrong reasons, and that I don't agree with. Now granted Morgan has had his share of on field incidents. Last year he cussed out some Marlins fans and took on Chris Volstad, which is a feat unto itself considering the Height/Weight difference of 8"/56 lbs. But, what he brings to the table when given the chance he has always produced. Since 2007 when he came up with the Pirates he hasn't posted a average lower than .294. Morgan also has two MLB seasons in which he stole 42 and 34 bases, which makes him all the more valuable these days after Carlos "Flash" Gomez went down with a broken clavicle. With Braun also still coming back from injury I am sure Nyjer will get his shots to run the rest of the way, much to the chagrin of the rest of the NL.

I mentioned this on episode 21 of the podcast, but the Brewers have also done something with Morgan that other teams didn't try, they embraced him. The city of Milwaukee took him in and made him our own. When you are allowed to be yourself it will take pressures off of you that are recorded on the stat sheets, but not always understood. But, the results are showing so far with Roenicke's approach and Morgan is putting up career numbers at the plate. T-Plush is putting together a nice slash line of .326/.359/.472 for a guy that wasn't even a thought until two weeks before the season started. Morgan seems a perfect fit to be in the lead off spot, however with a 2.3 BB%, and his sometimes scary bunting ability, the two hole should be a productive spot for him, and most likely his home for the remainder of 2011. Morgan also has a career high .145 ISO, and his 2.2 WAR is better than every player in the starting lineup, aside from Fielder (3.4) and Braun (4.1).

So, I pose this question to you readers. Do you think that Morgan does things to blatantly antagonize other teams, or do other teams/fans/league react negatively to his actions because he is not hiding his excitement? I always say that it's not cocky if you can back it up, and Morgan has done just that so far for the Brewers, and I will continue to defend his actions until I see otherwise. The guy is having fun in a game that may have lost some of that at times. He brings an energy to the field that Milwaukee hasn't seen in a long time, and he is a clubhouse boost not cancer for the Crew yet still gets labeled as such by outside franchises and broadcasters. Don't be upset that your teams fail at Plushdamentals, not everyone can play like a gentleman. I gotta go!


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