Last night was another night of controversy for Nyjer Morgan, the Nationals' much beleaguered center fielder. On Tuesday night, Morgan decided to instigate a collision with Marlins' catcher Brett Hayes rather than slide under the throw.
The end result? Morgan was out and Hayes was injured. Both Hayes and Marlins third base coach Chad Tracy were none to pleased with Morgan's decision. Tracy did not go as far as to call Morgan a dirty player, but suggested that Morgan's style of play constituted a pattern
Via Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post:
"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."
Surprisingly, Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman defended Morgan's decision, or at least his decision making ability:
"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.
I don't want to jump on the bandwagon that wants to drive Morgan out of town. He is a passionate player, and players with just as much passion (coughOvenchkincough) get a lot more leeway in this town for rough stuff, probably because they are better at their profession. However, Morgan has obviously reached the point where both his play and decision making is about to become seriously unglued, and it might be best for the front office if they decide to take a break with the Tony Plush experiment.