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Reaction from Nats clubhouse

Sep 2, 2010, 3:59 AM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Benches and bullpens emptied after Chris Volstad threw behind Nyjer Morgan.

MIAMI โ€” There was obviously plenty of reaction from the Nationals clubhouse after tonight's bench-clearing brawl. I'll present a full account with my thoughts in a little bit, but there's so much material that probably won't make it in, I wanted to present it all for everyone to read and digest.

Here's a wide sampling of what was said afterward…

NYJER MORGAN
What was your reaction to getting hit the first time?
"We police it. It was a hard play yesterday. I understand they had to get me back a little bit. It's part of the game. I'm hard player. I'm going out there and just playing the game. I guess they took it the wrong way. He hit me the first time, so be it. But he hit two other of our guys? Alright, cool. But then he whips another one behind me, we got to go. I'm just sticking up for myself and just defending my teammates. I'm just going out there and doing what I have to do."

What did you think when he threw at you the second time?
"That was garbage. That's just bad baseball. It's only the fourth inning. If they're going to hold me on, I'm going to roll out. The circumstances were kind of out of whack, but the game was too early.Read more ยป

  1. Sam - Sep 2, 2010 at 4:22 AM

    Seems like Zimm didn't want to say anything that would incriminate himself in the clubhouse (i.e. what happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse), but I agree with him. He is very professional. He managed to say that he supports Morgan while still having talked with him. Solid leader and solid professional. I sincerely hope that he sticks around for a long, long time.

  2. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me - Sep 2, 2010 at 4:31 AM

    Great reporting, as usual, Mark. The more I think about this, the more I think the national media (ESPN, Harold Reynolds on MLB, the usual suspects) are just jumping on Nyjer a bit heavy here. Riggs and Zimm are right. Once was expected, even acceptable. Twice was over the top. If nothing else, it makes the upcoming Marlins series next week a little more interesting. I hope we give the ball to Bally Star for a couple of those games. These Marlins punks will be diving for cover.

  3. swang - Sep 2, 2010 at 4:31 AM

    I think I blame the issue on the Umps. Volstad hit 2 people BEFORE he hit Nyjer the first time. If you watch the replays it was obvious what Volstad was doing. In fact, the ump tossed him even before Nyjer charged.I don't see the SBs as "bush league" or "unprofessional" Even if you talk about the unwritten book of Baseball etiquette, the two SBs is payback for the other 2 HBPs, which were totally unecessary.Volstad should have been tossed after the second HBP. All the HBPs today looked intentional.

  4. Anonymous - Sep 2, 2010 at 4:32 AM

    As a Nats and Expos fan, we've been walked over by the marlins over the past few years so many times, there's no way I will defend them. I don't understand how anybody here should side with them

  5. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me - Sep 2, 2010 at 4:47 AM

    Anonymous 12:32 is right. This Marlins bunch just eats us, and has for five years. Even worthless Bonifacio mauls us. That's what makes Jesus's injury so depressing. I was so looking forward to Jesus breaking the Marlins bats six times a year. Now, we are subjected to watching Olsen never get out of the second inning. The worm is going to turn with these guys, and I'm going to thoroughly enjoy the Nats going 16-and-3 against these bums some year.

  6. Anonymous - Sep 2, 2010 at 4:50 AM

    In every sport you need a guy who pushes the boundries, plays hard, will give a hard foul, will do stuff to piss the other team off and get to their heads and will enforce things because you can't let the opposition just walk all over you.

  7. JMW IV - Sep 2, 2010 at 4:51 AM

    I don't care what anyone says. If you are down, you try to score any way you can. There is absolutely nothing wrong with stealing the bases if they are going to give them to you.The Nats are not obligated to lie down and die just because the other team goes up big early.beyond that, Nyjer has turned into a complete headcase and it is hurting the team. he needs to go until the Nyjer Morgan from last season shows up.

  8. natsone_va - Sep 2, 2010 at 4:54 AM

    I've been waiting for someone to light some fire under this team for a while now. And maybe Nyjer has done that now. The only thing he did wrong on Wednesday was getting into it with the crowd. Other than that I also defend Nyj just like Riggs and Co. are doing. A few guys that earned some respect from me during that game were Riggs for his solid support and Slaten for throwing at that punk Sanchez. I will be there on Monday to cheer for Nyjer and the Nats and also when the stinking Fish come to town next week to boo their behinds. GO NATS!!!

  9. natsone_va - Sep 2, 2010 at 4:59 AM

    I'm with you Anon 12:47. We've been needing someone like that for a while.NYJER MORGAN, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP!!!NYJER MORGAN, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP!!!NYJER MORGAN, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP!!!

  10. THE PIBBSTER - Sep 2, 2010 at 5:10 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. natsone_va - Sep 2, 2010 at 5:19 AM

    Pibbs:1) It wasn't Monlina (it's Molina btw), it was the back-up Anderson.2) It's Nyjer, not Nyger.And again, can't fault the man for starting some fire on this team. We badly need that.

  12. Section 222 - Sep 2, 2010 at 5:22 AM

    I've commented way too much on this tonight, but I can't believe anyone would say that Nyjer stealing two bases was a legitimate reason to throw at him. Was it smart baseball for Nyjer to steal — no. Was it reason to be beaned — definitely not. There are some amazing quotes in here, and I wouldn't be surprised if some of them come back to haunt the speakers as MLB reviews the incident. With the reaction this is getting, I expect some long suspensions are in our future.Finally, Zim was very diplomatic and is a good team leader. But how long does someone have to play in the majors before his teammates stop making excuses for him. "Nyjer's still learning the game." I mean really Zim. That is lame. This is not a young team and Nyjer is not still learning the game. He's just a bad player.

  13. JaneB - Sep 2, 2010 at 5:24 AM

    I only could listen to parts of the game on MLB because I'm out of town on business, so I'm reeeeeeeeally grateful for Marks analysis and these interviews. I agree with JMW IV that you get runs back how you can. And Nyjer manufactures runs by staking bases. That aggressiveness is why we have him. Insert nation vas cheer here.Swang hit it on the head when she or he wrote that the Umps bear some blame here. They let it be Nats hunting season tonight, sounds like. To wham two of our guys, instead of Nyjer, should have been punished. But this free passes lead to everything else.I'm still gonna wear my Nyjer shirt to the park this weekend.Go Nats!I'm glad the clubhouse is standing by him. I always try to be positive.

  14. Let Teddy Win - Sep 2, 2010 at 5:29 AM

    Great recap as usual, Mark. It seemed a couple of hours ago like we'd seen the last of Nyjer Morgan in a Nationals uniform. I did not listen to the press conference and have just caught myself up through your coverage. It's very interesting to hear the Nats' perspective and Jim's defense of him. I just love love love this:"Do we throw at them? I got some of my veteran players together. I said it's your ballclub. If you want somebody getting thrown at, I'll order it right now. And everybody said, 'Nah, it's over. It's over. They threw at him, and it's over.' That being the case, when they threw at him the second time, then it's not over."That's priceless. There's no question it's personal. What I didn't realize was that it's personal for a lot more people than just Nyjer. Maybe they'll continue to have his back after all.

  15. Anonymous - Sep 2, 2010 at 5:32 AM

    The thing I think a lot of you commenters are not appreciating is that no matter how we (the hardcore Nats fans) may feel about this particular night, most people in baseball, including the powerful ones, are only going to think about this in the context of all the other ridiculous things Nyjer has done this season. This is NOT how the Nats should be getting attention, and it may well lead to Morgan's suspension for the rest of the year. Add that to the fact that Nyjer isn't actually a good player, and I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't come back to the Nats next year (at least not as a starter).

  16. JaneB - Sep 2, 2010 at 5:33 AM

    Auto-spell messed me up. I meant "insert natsone va's cheer here."People who say Nyjer should have taken the slide in last night are missing the FACT that he didn't have time to slide; neither he nor the base coach who sent him in realized they were making the play at home base till it was too late. Pile on about the Cards situation, if you want. But please stop acting like the marlins situation was identical. It wasn't.

  17. THE PIBBSTER - Sep 2, 2010 at 5:37 AM

    "natsone_va" … thanks for the correction, my bad.

  18. Dan - Sep 2, 2010 at 5:49 AM

    The descriptions of Morgan as a "thug" or as playing "street" baseball make me uneasy. Such terms are not necessarily intentionally loaded racially, but in a Nationals context, they have typically been used in reference to African-American players, most obviously Morgan, Milledge and Dukes.I do think, however, that the Marlins response in this instance is fully understandable. Morgan is a marginal player who does not seem to appreciate that he is even at his best an important role player. He seems to have little ability to keep himself within limits, which during the course of this season has again and again exposed his potential liabilities.His hit on the St. Louis catcher was uncalled for. Last night's collision was more ambiguous and I, for one, cannot demand that all players must have Hanley Ramirez's instincts. But the plate was not blocked and I can understand why Marlin players might have considered Morgan's play a dirty one.Whether the baseball code is a logical one is again open to question. But baseball is Morgan's profession, and his decision to steal two bases in a blow-out represents a clear lack of understanding of his guild's guidelines.

  19. THE PIBBSTER - Sep 2, 2010 at 5:59 AM

    I doubt if anyone is going to question Nyjer's desire to play the game but how it plays the game in somewhat of a reckless manner is not Nats baseball.If Nyjer would of slid into home Tuesday night, the Nats win, but he did not and the result was being out again hurting the Nats chances to win a baseball game.Did he not take a cheap shot on the Cardinals Anderson the other day as well … and what was the result? He missed homeplate and the players pushed him back to touch the plate which resulted in automatic out.The more that I see Nyjer play, he has rabbit ears and is more worried about having not so positive dialog with the fans who heckle him.If the Dibble is gone for speaking his opinion and keeping it real in the booth, then how much longer are the Nats going to tolerate Nyjer's reckless play? AND … From what I've been seeing of late, some unnecessary physical contact with the catchers and one resulted in a season ending injury which should of never happened.If Nyjer just played the game to his ability, then he could be a positive contributor on a daily basis but he has not shown that yet in my opinion.Maybe Nyjer has the little man complex?Respectfully,The Pibbster

  20. Nattydread - Sep 2, 2010 at 6:02 AM

    Let Teddy Win captures the heart of the matter well. Riggleman — and the team — stand behind Nyjer. That's a plus. Nice to see that, and its obvious that Nyjer isn't one of the "veterans" that Riggs confides in.Nyjer has lost focus. He's made a few bad decisions, he's jawing with the fans, he's making bonehead plays on the base path. He does not have natural ballplayer skills. That's hurting the team.Is he a headcase who needs to go? Not so sure about that. Nyjer is a 4th outfielder ex-hockey player playing above himself in the MLB, his cinderella run is over and he's frustrated with his situation. What the Nats need is to add pieces. Morgan will not be starting CF for a competitive team.

  21. THE PIBBSTER - Sep 2, 2010 at 6:06 AM

    That NATS future for the outfield … CF – Bernadina RF – MorseLF – MaxwellTime to run with it already!

  22. Dryw - Sep 2, 2010 at 9:30 AM

    Until Zim is willing to PUBLICLY call out Nyjer, or even hint that he wants to, I will TRY to give him the benefit of the doubt.And can I take a moment to comment on how much I love Espinosa's responses? He wants to be here, he didn't let the craziness of the night ruin his debut, and he's already committed to the team. This is the kind of player we want to have around!

  23. HHover - Sep 2, 2010 at 11:59 AM

    Those of you claiming that Morgan's 2 SBs were nothing but him trying to win the game–not him being a jerk or trying to show the other team up–need to take it up with Riggs, who called the 2 SBs "revenge" and "payback" (and thanks to Mark there for giving us the extended version of comments from him and other players).

  24. Anonymous8 - Sep 2, 2010 at 12:31 PM

    The Pibbster is replacing Morgan in the outfield and putting in JMax. Yah, Morgan will serve 2 consecutive suspensions and need to be replaced but JMAX? JMAX?The guy gets 2 hits. Amazing what happens when he shortens his swing and isn't trying to hit it 500 feet.

  25. Anonymous - Sep 2, 2010 at 1:08 PM

    Loria turned a great Expos team into garbage for 15 years. Nyjer could have gone out there with a tank and I would have been fine with it. JT in Lincoln

  26. A DC Wonk - Sep 2, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    JMax, two hits? Hey — his average is up to .134 now!JaneB — I completely agree with your analysis on Nyjer's non-slide (I wrote the same thing in a thread that night)Let Teddy Win — I also thought Riggs quote was an all-time classic. Let's roll the videotape and hear in one more time!"Do we throw at them? I got some of my veteran players together. I said it's your ballclub. If you want somebody getting thrown at, I'll order it right now. And everybody said, 'Nah, it's over. It's over. They threw at him, and it's over.' That being the case, when they threw at him the second time, then it's not over."Yeah . . . maybe (hopefully) this has lit a fire under the Nats.

  27. mike - Sep 2, 2010 at 1:53 PM

    @Nattdread …. you nailed it. He has lost focus. Even when Nyjer Morgan IS focused, he still makes inexplicably bad decisions on the field. I disagree about natural baseball skills, however. Nyjer has all the physical talent you would want in a leadoff hitter, if not the great arm of a centerfielder. But he doesn't seem to have the mental aspects of the game down: he takes bad routes, throws to the wrong bag, bunts every at bat…. the list goes on. Moreover, a look at his stats for the last two years (an admittedly small sample) reveals that he only seems to show up with the bat in the second half of the season. Apparently we can add to all of this some serious frustration and anger issues.MLB will probably see the last couple weeks as a whole, and suspend Nyjer for the year. To me, this is a good thing… management seems married to this guy, maybe a little intervention will help us move on.

  28. Caps Nut - Sep 2, 2010 at 2:23 PM

    Well, I'm glad somebody said it…First of all, Volstad hit not one, but TWO Nats before plunking Morgan in retaliation.Secondly, Volstad waited for Morgan's third trip to the plate to extract his pound of flesh for the previous evening.Third, Volstad had an 11 run lead before he gave up the base to Morgan. As noted above, he could have given up first base to Morgan with the score much, much closer, but instead waited until he had an 11 run cushion.Finally, yes I get that the Nats were down 11 runs, but they still had 17 outs to play with and still could have won the game. The easiest way to do that is to chip away at the lead instead of going for a big inning. As others here have noted, just because the Nats were down big doesn't mean they should have rolled over played dead. To get upset that they didn't is bush league.

  29. THE PIBBSTER - Sep 2, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    Sorry, forgot about Willingham being out, so probably not Maxwell at this time.

  30. Evan S - Sep 2, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    I love the fight. Morgan had every right to stand up for himself. The idea that "he isn't allowed to run" because they are down by ten runs is ridiculous. The fight was entertaining and I suppose justified. The suspensions will come down, the team will dance around the fire a little, and that will be the end of it.

  31. CrimsonMac - Sep 2, 2010 at 6:39 PM

    I don't think Nyjer "had a right to stand up for himself". If Volstad had wanted to hit him, why did he throw 3 feet behind him? Volstad is good enough a pitcher to hit a man if he wanted to do so. I have no problem with Nyjer stealing those bases. That is part of his game. But it should not be part of his game to purposely injure another player. I have seen the re-run many times. Nyjer could have slid and scored. Home plate was not blocked. His play was predetermined and intended to hurt the catcher. MLB cannot condone such behavior from anyone.Come on "Dan said'. Why do you think it necessary to throw in the race card. Grow up.

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