It had been a little while since we'd seen the eccentric side of Nyjer Morgan — aka Tony Plush — but it was on display Wednesday afternoon in Cincinnati, as the Milwaukee Brewers outfielder tussled with a fan over a foul ball during his squad's 8-4 victory over the Reds.
The incident happened during the ninth inning as Morgan chased the ball ticketed for the first row of seats along the right-field line. As Morgan arrived at the padded wall, he reached over and made contact with a male Reds fans who was also trying to make a play on the ball. This led to the two men's arms becoming tangled and Morgan extending his glove hand to the fan's face to kind of shove him away.
Afterwards, Morgan seemed to have a few choice words for the fan until first base umpire Marty Foster intervened and ushered him back to his position.
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"It's just one of those things where we were tangled up; I could have made a play on the ball," Morgan said. "I just gave him a little, 'Get off me,' because he was all on my arm and everything. Nothing major, but everybody might blow it up a little differently."
I think that's a pretty safe bet, Nyjer.
I will grant him that the contact itself was gentle and obviously caused no injury to the fan involved. I've even heard it described as more of a soft slap. So yes, it certainly could have been a much uglier situation all things considered, but the problem for Morgan is that he made completely unnecessary contact with a paying customer that was well within his rights as a fan. And he did so with pretty clear intent.
Had the fan reached over the wall to disrupt the play, you might be able to find some justification in Morgan's actions. Had the fan clearly grabbed Morgan, yes, gain separation by any means necessary. But Morgan knew where he was. He even understands what the fan was doing.
"That's what the home fans are supposed to do, try to take the ball from the opposing team when the ball is in the stands," Morgan said. "It's fair game once the ball is in the stands."
Yet for that short period of time, he again allowed that anger he possesses to get the better of him.
And that's the other problem for Nyjer Morgan. He has a laundry list of volatile actions on his file in the commissioner's office. Given that history, yes, this will be blown up and blown up quite largely.
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What that means in terms of a fine or a possible suspension I'm not sure, but there's no doubt a phone call will be coming, and there should be some sort of reprimand attached to it.
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