(Nyjer Morgan opted for a body check, rather than a slide, in the 10th inning. Screengrab of MASN/TV by Nationals Enquirer staff.)
Nyjer Morgan strikes again!
"I don't want to be perceived as a dirty player. It was just an intense play. I kinda grazed [Anderson], which wasn't in my eyes intentional. I guess I should have slid, next time I'll slide."
(Nyjer Morgan, via Nationals.com, 8/30/2010)
So, those comments were made by Nyjer Morgan on Monday, talking about his boneheaded play at the plate on Saturday when he crashed into Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson and forgot to touch home plate. On Tuesday night, Nyjer Morgan forgot he said he'd slide next time.
"I got to hit him there. I think if I try to slide there, I probably hurt myself. It's just a hard a play. Just baseball."
(Nyjer Morgan, via Washington Post, 9/1/2010)
Just baseball? Or just another reckless play by Nyjer Morgan hurting the Nationals? Had Morgan opted to slide in the 10th inning on that close play at the plate, he probably would have been safe. Instead, he decided to show what a tough guy he was and take out Marlins catcher Brett Hayes. Morgan was out. Hayes hurt his shoulder. But at least Nyjer Morgan's reputation is still intact; remember, he said on Monday he doesn't want to be perceived as a dirty player. But the horses might have already left the barn on that one:
"Obviously, his track record doesn't help himself. Somebody who does that is looking to hurt somebody. But, you know, it's baseball."
(Brett Hayes, via Marlins.com, 9/1/2010)
"I would say it was clean if I hadn't seen what he had done earlier in the week. I think he would have had a better chance to be safe if he was sliding. It fires you up when you see the way he's been playing the last week or so."
(Chad Tracy, via Washington Post, 9/1/2010)
More from Tracy:
"Anytime one of your players get hurt and it comes at the expense of the other team, it fires you up. We were upset. You saw Hayes on the ground hurting. This is a guy you come to work with every day and bust your butt with every day."
(Chad Tracy, via Miami Herald, 9/1/2010)
And here's Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez:
"If he would have slid at home plate, he would have been safe. Hayes was more on the right side of the plate."
(Edwin Rodriguez, via Marlins.com, 9/1/2010)
...but at least Jim Riggleman has Nyjer Morgan's back, agrees with his decision not-to-slide. Or does he?
"When I saw it live, I don't know. And even as I watch it there, I don't know. Hindsight's 20-20. I don't know if he should've slid or not. As it happened live, I didn't know how much the catcher's blocking the plate. As Nyjer's going in there and as he's making his decision, he doesn't know that maybe the ball's going to be up a little bit. He doesn't know that. He's got to make his decision before that. So I don't have any problem with his decision."
(Jim Riggleman, via Nats Insider, 9/1/2010)
Enough. Memo to Mike Rizzo: Time to call an end to the TonyPlush/Nyjer Morgan Era in Washington. Can you just leave him behind in Florida after tonight's game -- after he takes the fastball to the ribs that's coming his way?