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Morgan upset at Riggleman

Aug 30, 2010, 10:47 PM EDT

MIAMI — Nyjer Morgan is back in the Nationals’ lineup tonight, back hitting eighth again, just as he was Saturday night when he was involved in a controversial play at the plate that landed him on the bench the next day.

But try as the Nationals might to move past that incident, Morgan appears to still take issue with the way manager Jim Riggleman handled things over the weekend.

Riggleman benched Morgan for yesterday’s game against the Cardinals because he believed the center fielder would get plunked in retaliation for running into catcher Bryan Anderson the previous night when there was no play at the plate. Morgan insists the play wasn’t dirty, but he seems more upset that his manager criticized him publicly without ever raising the issue directly with him.

“He just basically did a Cardinal sin,” Morgan said before tonight’s game against the Marlins. “You don’t blast your player out in the paper. But it’s all right.”

For the <a href="http://www.csnwashington.com/08/30/10/Zuckerman-Morgan-Upset-at-Riggleman/landing_v3.html?blockID=300763&feedID=5685&quot; target="
_blank”>full story, with more quotes from Morgan and Riggleman, go to CSNwashington.com.

  1. BQ - Aug 30, 2010 at 11:01 PM

    Riggleman should have talked to his player first but Morgan should not be talking in public either. I hope the 7 game suspension stands and we are free of Morgan for some time. He is really being just a distraction lately.

  2. Princess Jazzy - Aug 30, 2010 at 11:16 PM

    "Cardinal" sin? Pun intended?

  3. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 11:21 PM

    Ha! Riggleman has been defending Morgan this whole season for a whole host of errors and unprofessional behavior, even going so far as to excuse it as "emotional" play. Now Riggleman gets to remove those sharpened daggers from his back. Morgan may find himself all alone and in bad company!

  4. twDC - Aug 30, 2010 at 11:29 PM

    Please non-tender Morgan. He is playing baseball in streetball style. This is Major League, not a street court.

  5. Doc - Aug 30, 2010 at 11:39 PM

    Smacking into the catcher was dumb baseball. But Morgan should have be benched on Sunday for not sliding–it cost his team a run!We used to hear BS from Riggleman that Morgan started playing pro-baseball late, and he needs time to get the basics. Hey Jimbo, he's 31 years old, and has been playing ball for some 10 years!! Soon he'll be the only 'over-the-hill' ML player who is still working on the basics!

  6. Ernie - Aug 30, 2010 at 11:40 PM

    Is this just a staged conflict to make us like Riggs more? It's working for me.

  7. Atlee - Aug 30, 2010 at 11:46 PM

    I never would have thought a year ago that Morgan would turn out to be such a headcase.

  8. Dave - Aug 31, 2010 at 12:17 AM

    Big disappointment. I actually bought a Morgan T-shirt last summer, which I have not worn a single time in 2010. Last July seems like a long time ago.

  9. Anonymous8 - Aug 31, 2010 at 12:20 AM

    Nyjer Morgan could frustrate an angel. He reminds me of my ex-wife—-sickening sweet most of the time but every once in a while, the real person comes out.Nyjer is just not a great person. He has had more incidents as a Nat then Elijah Dukes!Bernadina is an upgrade in CF so Nyjer is lucky to still have a starting role.

  10. Anonymous - Aug 31, 2010 at 12:30 AM

    Nyjer is part of a much larger pattern. Rich, arrogant, punk athletes who put themselves above their game and above their team.Flash question: who can imagine Rod Carew running outside the baseline to take a dirty blind-side shot at a catcher. And let's be very honest: it was a dirty shot.Nyjer Morgan took a run off the board so he could hit a man in the back, possibly injuring him.He is not worthy to wear the same Nationals uniform as men like Frank Robinson, Livan Hernandez, Ryan Zimmerman, and, yes, Jim Riggleman.Morgan is a dirty player. The sooner he leaves, the better.

  11. Richard - Aug 31, 2010 at 12:41 AM

    Although I think Nyjer made another mistake on Saturday running into Anderson, I don't think it's too much for Nyjer or any player to ask for his manager to talk to him first, before the manager goes public criticizing the player. I don't know all that went down between Morgan and Riggleman after the game on Saturday night, but it looks like Riggleman didn't bother talking to Morgan, that he was more concerned about offending his buddy Tony La Russa than he was offending Nyjer — or, as he says, protecting Nyjer! His buddy Tony is the guy who protested Adam's homer on Saturday and kept everyone including especially Storen waiting, probably intentionally, on Sunday while takes his sweet time with Joe West. I can't believe Riggleman really thinks St. Louis would throw at Morgan for the action at the plate, which resulted in Morgan being called out and Anderson not be hurt. It sounds like a lame excuse for not doing what he should have done, that is, talk to Morgan after the game and bench him for not touching the plate and not sliding. Period. Tony La Russa or any opposing manager doesn't need the Nats manager asking forgiveness. Play hard and don't apologize, IMO.

  12. John R. - Aug 31, 2010 at 12:50 AM

    Good for Nyjer! I'm glad he's standing up for himself. The guy just wants to play all out and he made a mistake the other day. I love his passion and he is the most exciting player the Nats have right now. As ESPN's Tim Kirchen said today on AM 980, Nyjer is a rarity — a surfer and a hockey player. I worry that the Nats (and Nats fans) keep chasing away our few African-American players, (Milledge, Dukes, maybe Morgan?).

  13. rogieshan - Aug 31, 2010 at 12:56 AM

    I am soooooo tired of Nyjer Morgan.

  14. Knoxville Nat - Aug 31, 2010 at 1:07 AM

    Nyger has the right to think that Riggleman should have spoken to him first before going public with his explanation as to why he wasn't playing. However I am willing to bet that Riggleman and staff have spoken to him more than once this season about his careless style of play. Perhaps this is their way of sending him a message as to what is expected from him and/or what will not be accepted by them.

  15. HHover - Aug 31, 2010 at 1:23 AM

    Knoxville Nat – Yes. In fact, as Mark's story at CSNWashington says, Riggs had just spoken to Morgan about his bone-headed PO on Friday–which Morgan then followed up with an even more bone-headed play on Sat. Seems to me Riggs had good reason to doubt the efficacy of talking to Nyjer, and reason to think he didn't even really deserve the courtesy of it.

  16. Richard - Aug 31, 2010 at 1:58 AM

    There's an article on Nationals Journal quoting Riggleman as follows: "I think our ball club is best if he's hitting leadoff," Riggleman said. "As we build the club for the future, that's what we want him to do. It's got to get to a point where we're getting more in the .340, .350, .360 on-base percentage for him to really nail that spot down for us. I think that he will get back to where he was last year in the bigger picture. Our ball club will fare better with him at the top of the lineup. Right now, it's just not happening." Does that sound like Riggleman doesn't even think Nyjer "really deserves the courtesy of" a talk?

  17. Dave - Aug 31, 2010 at 2:02 AM

    Sometimes the adults need to be in charge. Riggleman isn't going to win manager of the year this year, but the last few days he's been the adult in charge. I think he's handled Nyjer's rather childish behavior in a very adult and professional manner, and continues to do so.

  18. HHover - Aug 31, 2010 at 2:27 AM

    Richard – I think you're missing Riggs' point–sandwiched in between some encouraging words he's sending Morgan a pretty harsh message:"It's got to get to a point where we're getting more in the .340, .350, .360 on-base percentage for him to really nail that spot down for us."Morgan's OBP is .316 on the season.Translation: Nyjer is a long ways from nailing down the lead-off spot, and he's not going to get any closer by running his mouth–or running into catchers.

  19. Anonymous - Aug 31, 2010 at 2:42 AM

    Hopefully this means the end of the road for the Nyjer experiment, I would love to see Rog in CF everyday.

  20. jeanne b - Aug 31, 2010 at 2:57 AM

    Just last week I said to a friend that Nyjer can sometimes act like a thug (the reaction to calls at the plate, the reaction at the wall when he missed catching the ball, etc) but that he's got a lot of smarts and enthusiasm for the game. I'm not so sure now. Is he really all about himself as these increasing incidents imply? Is he really just Clinton Portis in stirrups? Good test of Riggleman and Rizzo to see what they do.

  21. Anonymous - Aug 31, 2010 at 7:27 AM

    Based on some experience with members of my own family, I wonder whether Nyjer has attention deficit disorder — it sure seems that way. Just listen to him talk: it's all unfocused, stream of consciousness rambling. He seems to lack focus and discipline on the field, as well.ADD is not a joke — it's a serious disability. But the good news is that it can be treated successfully with medication. If the Nats haven't looked into this, they really should. If my suspicion is right, the right drug could turn Nyjer into a much better player — and make a huge difference in his life, overall.

  22. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 31, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    I was done with Morgan in Spring Training when I observed first hand his "I'm a star ball player and you're a lowly fan" attitude. I then observed his inability to properly track fly balls, his unbelievably weak throwing arm and his penchant for NEVER hitting the cut off man.He has now become a distraction in the locker room. He's got to go ASAP!

  23. Anonymous - Aug 31, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    Please let's not have Morgan of the roster in 2011. His antics and age are not worth investing more time in him.

  24. Jimmy - Aug 31, 2010 at 12:54 PM

    Now we know why Pittsburgh traded him to us, Lastings Milledge looks better everyday. He's out hitting Morgan and with him in LF, we would have Bernadina in CF.

  25. N. Cognito - Aug 31, 2010 at 2:15 PM

    Jimmy said… "Now we know why Pittsburgh traded him to us, Lastings Milledge looks better everyday. He's out hitting Morgan and with him in LF, we would have Bernadina in CF."That's not enough of an improvement to matter. Yes, Milledge is 25, but a .328 OBP and .378 SLG is nothing to write home about.John R. said… "I worry that the Nats (and Nats fans) keep chasing away our few African-American players, (Milledge, Dukes, maybe Morgan?)."Please tell that this is just a concern and you're not turning this into a racial thing.

  26. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 31, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    Jim Bowden got run for his transgressions. So did Milledge, and Dukes.

  27. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 31, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    And Dibble may be next.

  28. Sec3MySofa - Aug 31, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    I think he's hoping, out loud, that it *is not* a racism thing. I don't think we have the ability in here to make it one, if it isn't. But if it were a matter of perception, only, then it's a fair question.————- John R. said… "I worry that the Nats (and Nats fans) keep chasing away our few African-American players, (Milledge, Dukes, maybe Morgan?)."———————- Please tell that this is just a concern and you're not turning this into a racial thing. August 31, 2010 10:15 AM

  29. Anonymous - Aug 31, 2010 at 5:07 PM

    Put Bernadina in CF, I was excited about Morgan last year, now just a pain in the ass

  30. Anonymous - Aug 31, 2010 at 8:42 PM

    I'm over him too. But, jeanne b, the word "thug" is misplaced.

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