Major League Baseball reports that Washington Nationals outfielder Nyjer Morgan has received an eight-game suspension for his participation in a bench-clearing brawl on Sept. 1, 2010, against the Florida Marlins. Other players received suspensions, but Morgan’s is the second in less than a month, according to Yahoo! Sports. Morgan was involved in a bat-throwing incident in Philadelphia for which Major League Baseball suspended him seven games. Morgan is appealing the suspension.
The latest incident in which Morgan got involved had a lead up to it. The night before, he was called out at the plate when he was tagged out by Marlins catcher Brett Hayes, who ended up injured after the play. In retribution, it was believed that Marlins pitcher Chris Volstad threw behind Morgan in an attempt to hit him intentionally.
The Case of Darryl Strawberry
Nyjer Morgan is certainly not the first Major League player to be in constant trouble with suspensions. Darryl Strawberry is probably the most infamous case when he received multiple suspensions in the 1990s for breaking the substance abuse policy in Major League Baseball.
CNN’s timeline of his career states that Strawberry’s off-field abuse of alcohol and cocaine led to suspensions of 60 days, 120 days, and then a full year for his repeated substance abuse problems. He spent much of the 1990s in and out of jail and rehab, stemming from incidents of assault, drugs, and adultery.
Darryl Strawberry could have been a candidate for the Hall of Fame for his prowess at the plate. From 1983 until 1991, he hit no fewer than 26 home runs per season and no worse than 63 RBIs. From 1991 until his last season in 1999, Strawberry pretty much didn’t do anything despite his attempts to come back and play. He was even voted Rookie of the Year in 1983.
Morgan’s troubles could be just like Strawberry’s, and run deeper than just simply getting into arguments with fans or being a rough baseball player. Hopefully he can turn it around before he becomes a club house problem and no team will want him. The Marlins still have a chance to make the playoffs if they play well for the last month of the season, but distractions such as Morgan’s may not lend to the team’s solidarity.
If Morgan’s attitude doesn’t improve, look for him to be traded at the end of the season. No team is bigger than one player with a chip on his shoulder. Morgan doesn’t even have much to crow about, as he hasn’t hit any home runs this year, with only 52 RBIs; hopefully he wants to improve his game. The Nationals should let him go, the sooner the better.
Major League Baseball, Yahoo! Sports, CNN, and the Baseball Reference all supplied information for this article.