Remembering Nyjer Morgan
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After an unforgettable 2011 Brewers season that found Nyjer Morgan becoming a household name, the outfielder chased his banner year with a paltry 16 RBI, as well as career lows in batting average (.239) and on-base percentage (.302). By season’s end, Morgan found himself buried deep behind Carlos Gomez, Nori Aoki, and touted farmhand Logan Schafer on the depth chart, while simultaneously seeing his role reduced from that of clutch fan-favorite to pine-riding dugout camera-hog. Combining his underwhelming play with his approaching 33rd birthday and a 2013 salary projected to reach at least $2.2M in arbitration, Morgan’s stock has now plummeted to the point where many fans—and the Brewers front office—are left thinking, “AHHHHHHHH!!! He’s gotta go!”
Last Thursday, the Brewers outrighted outfielder/sideshow Morgan off the team’s 40-man roster. A day later, Morgan refused the demotion to triple-A Nashville, instead electing free agency, which essentially numbers his days (as well as the days of his various alter-egos) in Milwaukee. Since the Brewers re-signing the polarizing outfielder seems unlikely, The A.V. Club is choosing to remember Morgan for the myriad of things he did in his short time in Milwaukee, and not the things he didn't do—i.e. hit or play much in 2012.
Flew a kite on his off day, documented it
Just a few months after the disgruntled Nationals player was traded for Cutter Dykstra in 2011, Morgan endeared himself to Wisconsin and the Twitterverse in general when he took a follower’s suggestion for an off-day activity and flew a kite on Milwaukee’s lakefront. Fortunately for the world, Morgan provided photographic proof, ensuring fans the ability to access the image long after his Brewers tenure is officially up.
Had a game-winning hit, didn’t realize it
Though he’d already shown he was adept to comedic performance throughout his career, Morgan proved he also had a flare for the dramatic when he clubbed a game-winning double in extra innings of a June 9, 2011 game against the New York Mets. Somehow more amazing than the victory was Morgan’s post-game interview, in which he admitted he hadn’t realized he’d won the game until his teammates began to mob him. Still very much caught up in the excitement he’d unwittingly caused, Morgan berthed his trademark, “AHHH!!! I gotta go!” before running away.
He echoed that with a game-winner against Arizona the following month. That was the first of two dramatic game-winners Morgan had against the Diamondbacks, as his ninth-inning single in game 5 of the NLDS advanced Milwaukee to the franchise’s first NLCS. Plush’s also-infamous playoff post-game comments of “FUCK YEAH! FUCK YEAH!” on TBS’ live feed were slightly less marketable than his other tagline, but still fitting of the network’s “Very funny” slogan.
Trolled Cardinals players on the field and online
In many ways, Morgan cleaned up his previously shaky image while in Milwaukee. Up until 2011, his reputation was marked by a series of unsavory fan interactions, an affinity for charging the mound, and (allegedly) pooping in a Gatorade bottle at hockey camp. But even the new and improved Nyjer drifted back to his former self from time to time. And thank God he did. During an especially heated game with the hated Cardinals, Morgan swore at Cards pitcher Chris Carpenter and threw chewing tobacco in his direction. After the game, he continued his kvetching on Twitter, calling Albert Pujols “Alberta,” among other things.
Showed his softer side
It wasn’t all fighting, yelling, and using created characters to serve as vessels to Morgan’s distinct brand of affable insanity during his stint in a Brewers uniform. He also wasn’t afraid to let fans see his kinder, more innocent—while still weird—side as a proponent of pet adoption in a chat with PETA. After his unparalleled 2011 campaign, the sudden star also used his semi-celebrity to stroll the red carpet during the premiere of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn last offseason, at which point he (of course) photobombed Taylor Lautner and undoubtedly changed many allegiances to Team Plush in the process.
Told us Sh*t Black Guys Do
Playing in one of the most blatantly segregated cities in one of the most predominantly white states in the nation, Morgan was kind enough to take part in a Sh*t Black Guys Do video, wherein he spoke of black guys’ love of ice hockey, Twilight, fishing, and daydreaming of fishing while fishing. It spoke to Morgan’s acting ability, as well as his rare skill of making one of those “Shit (plural nouns) do” videos actually seem watchable.
Even with his diminished playing time, his lackluster stats, and his T. Plush character seeming more like T. Hush last season, Nyjer Morgan will always be remembered in Milwaukee as one of the most exciting pieces of one of the best Brewers teams to ever take the field. Best of luck to Morgan in the next chapter of the profanity-laced, Mad Lib-style, Choose-Your-Own-Adventure story that is his career.