Nyjer Morgan's hearing regarding his potential 15-game suspension is Friday morning. I'm guessing he'll end up with less than that, perhaps half that many or less. He's gotten a lot of support from Phillies' fans regarding the ball-tossing incident. Heck, the guy who was hit by the ball now says he regrets being bullied into filing a complaint. The whole incident seems, in retrospect, much ado about nothing.
The brawl in South Florida is another story. When Chris Volstad threw behind Nyjer, thereby instigating the brawl, Marlins' skipper Edwin Rodriguez was likely the most surprised guy at Sun Life Stadium. Like everyone else, he probably assumed that the situation had been dealt with earlier when Volstad plunked Nyjer during his previous at-bat. Nyjer, you'll recall, instead of being chastened by the plunking, proceeded to steal second, and then third base, with the Nats down by 11 runs. He also scored what became an earned run, and in Volstad's mind, that was just too much. So, on his own, he decided to go after Morgan just one more time.
I'm not oblivious to the fact that Nyjer ran over Florida catcher Brett Hayes, dislocating Hayes' shoulder and ending his season prematurely. It was a play that reminded many, myself included, of the play that ended the 1970 All-Star Game when Pete Rose ran over Ray Fosse and scored the winning run. Had Morgan been safe at the plate, maybe none of this would have happened. We'll never know.
The Morgan adventure that puzzles me most was his decision to run past home, missing the plate entirely, and hit Cardinals' catcher Bryan Anderson, who didn't have the baseball. Had he hit Anderson and then sprawled out unconscious on the ground, it could have been chalked up to a blackout, or some physical issue. That didn't happen, but in having to be pushed back toward the plate by Pudge Rodriguez - he was called out for the contact with I-Rod - seemed to show that he was content to head for the dugout at that point.
There was a book that came out about 25 years ago called "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" by Dr. Oliver Sacks. In the book, Sacks, a neurologist, describes his book as a recounting of case histories of patients "... who are no longer able to recognize people and common objects," among other disorders.
I don't believe that Nyjer mistook Anderson for home plate - or has any neurological disorder - but in the absence of any other explanation, I'm at a loss to rationalize why he did that. I do believe, however, that the eight-game total handed to Morgan for the brawl includes some degree of punishment for the Anderson hit.
I like Nyjer Morgan. He's an extremely compelling personality capable of some amazing feats on the field, and I hope this is just a bump in the road. We'll see how big a bump in the next 24 hours.