Aug 29, 2010, 10:30 AM EDT
It hasn’t drawn much media coverage, but there was a troubling incident at the end of Saturday’s game between the Cardinals and Nationals involving outfielder Nyjer Morgan, who is currently appealing a suspension for a mistake he made one week ago in Philadelphia…
The Nats hammered St. Louis starter Kyle Lohse for eight earned runs and 11 hits and were well on their way to locking up a decisive victory against the heavily-favored Cardinals by the bottom of the eighth inning. Adam Dunn walked to open the frame, Mike Morse hit a single, Ivan Rodriguez netted an RBI base hit, then Morgan reached on a bunt.
Seconds later, pinch-hitter Willie Harris drilled a double to right field that had all runners moving and would have allowed Morgan to score easily from first base. Morgan would have been the 13th run in an eventual 14-5 victory.
Instead of scoring, though, Morgan ran straight toward Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson, who had stepped a foot or two in front of the plate, and lowered his shoulder for an odd hockey-like check. Anderson was caught off guard and stumbled to the side while Morgan was called out.
Because it happened so fast and the game was completely out of hand, the Cardinals simply went on with their business. But if Morgan is in the starting lineup on Sunday afternoon, you can bet his backside is going to meet an aimed fastball.
The motivation behind the hit remains unclear. Maybe Brandon Phillips was right, and everyone really does dislike the Cardinals. Or maybe Morgan really, really, really hates Glenn Beck and was taking a jab at Cards manager Tony La Russa via his backup catcher. Any conspiracy theory will work for such an odd and seemingly misguided display of aggression.
Anderson, who was filling in for a banged-up Yadier Molina, spoke to reporters after the game. Via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
“It’s going to take a little bit bigger of a guy than that to take me down… so I guess it wasn’t that big of a deal. I mean, it was, because it was a cheap shot, but not really, I guess.”
Shall we do a tale of the tape? Why not. Anderson, 23, stands 6-foot-1 and is listed at 200 lbs. Morgan, 30, is 6-foot-0 and listed at 170 lbs., but is a former high-level hockey player. Perhaps the two will drop the gloves on Sunday afternoon in the nation’s capital.
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