For all the energy and enthusiasm Nyjer Morgan adds to the team, he brings something else as well. The fun-loving outfielder has a big heart and he wants to do his part to be a positive influence on the African American community, especially in the nation’s capital.
Morgan was involved with Kidney Foundation awareness events and fundraising throughout the winter. The speedster hopes to start another campaign to donate money for each of stolen bases this season, but it’s still in the works.
Kidney disease disproportionately affects African Americans and it’s become an issue very close to Morgan’s heart. Morgan wanted to step up and raise awareness about the symptoms and treatment options, especially in the African American community. On Monday, Morgan will meet one of his heroes -- one that has also touched that community in an historic way.
“With him being the first African American president, it’s basically over-gratifying just being able to meet this man,” Morgan said. “I’m very excited.”
Morgan just hopes Obama doesn’t touch the pitching rubber. He’s worried about the team’s record when presidents throw from the top of the mound.
“You’ve gotta stay on the dirt. He can’t step on the rubber,” Morgan continued. “Something is going on, like past things, when somebody steps on the mound. I think the team is like 2-0 when they don’t step on the bump.”
Though the team notes didn’t mention this superstition, they did provide a whole host of presidential first pitch trivia. For example, the Senators and Nationals hold a 25-23 record during Opening Day games when the President throws the first pitch.
Since the Nationals arrived in Washington, they’ve won both of their home openers with George W. Bush’s presidential pitches. Democrats have the higher win percentage (11-13) to Republicans (14-10), so maybe that will work in Obama’s favor.
The Nationals were 3-2 during games attended by George W. Bush. Monday will be President Obama’s first Nationals game.
“He can definitely shoot a basketball. I’d like to see that left hand throw a nice strike,” Morgan continued.