Posted on: September 8, 2011 6:14 pm
I met this Tony Plush dude in another life.
And I'm here to give the Brewers plenty of advance warning: If he's not fenced in, and soon, this is a guy who will sabotage all the great things happening in Milwaukee this summer.
Know where I got that idea?
From Tony Plush himself.
Yeah, I met Nyjer Morgan's alter ego, sort of, this spring when he was with the Washington Nationals. Back then, Morgan was going to be an important piece of the puzzle for the Nationals. Then-manager Jim Riggleman even said Morgan had been "outstanding" so far in the spring after a disappointing and controversial 2010.
Now, here's what Morgan told me in early March:
"I want to prove to myself and to the organization that the player in '09 is who they're going to get in '11, instead of the immature player from '10. I left Tony Plush behind."
That was my introduction to T-Plush.
"Tony Plush," Morgan told me, grinning. "That's from back in the day. Me and my friend. It's like Jekyll and Hyde.
"It got to the point where it was time to grow up. It's time to turn into a true professional. It's time to kick some ass."
And in Milwaukee, he has been kicking butt. He's hitting .313 with a .360 on-base percentage. He's stolen 12 bags in 15 attempts. He's sparked the Brewers.
But as we saw Wednesday night in St. Louis, Morgan has regressed badly in the professionalism department.
The uncalled for showdown with Chris Carpenter was bad enough. But referring to Albert Pujols as "Alberta" on Twitter later that night? Come on.
Clearly, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin does not plan to tolerate the antics. He said as much during a radio interview Thursday, noting that manager Ron Roenicke would talk with Morgan.
That conversation apparently has happened: MLB.com's Adam McCalvy spoke with Morgan on Thursday afternoon and tweeted that Morgan told him, "I'm Tony Hush today."
The guy is smart and clever (Morgan, not McCalvy, though Adam has his moments, too). He's a wonderful talent and great fun to watch.
But by his own admission to me in March, he needed to mature and he vowed he had "left Tony Plush behind."
Next thing we know, Tony Plush is back, and raging.
Both the Brewers and Morgan need to figure this out and get a handle on it pronto. Because this could be the most special season in Brewers' history.
Or, the man Melvin smartly acquired in late March -- just 3 1/2 weeks after Morgan promised me it was time to grow up -- could torch it all by himself.
Or, all by himselves.
Likes: Stephen Strasburg back in action. ... Texas-Angels, still close (hey, we've got to have at least one good race, don't we?). ... Ian Kennedy flourishing in Arizona. ... The way Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain have continued to pitch lights out and not uttered a word about the criminal lack of run support they've received in San Francisco this year. ... Always look forward to Michigan-Notre Dame. ... Looking for my guys at Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central to earn another W this Friday night, over Grosse Ile, and run that record to 2-1. ... Bob Seger back out on the road this fall.
Dislikes: Tim Wakefield's got to get his 200th win one of these starts, doesn't he? Poor guy is 0 for 7 in trying to get No. 200. ... Eddie Murphy hosting the Oscars. What's next, the Yankees starting a game at 11 p.m.? ... Finally catching up to this season's Entourage, which I thought jumped the shark last summer. Through the first couple of shows and it's lackluster enough I may not even finish this season.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"It seems that all my bridges have been burned
"But you say, 'That's exactly how this grace thing works'
"It's not the long walk home that will change this heart
"But the welcome I receive with every start"
-- Mumford & Sons, Roll Away Your Stone
Posted on: July 14, 2009 7:46 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2009 8:00 pm
The one thing they had in common: Each was equally wide-eyed.
"The red carpet ride was a blast," said Bailey, 25, who rode in a truck with Cleveland's Victor Martinez and his family. "It's something I'll never forget. Hearing fans shout your name, it was very surreal."
Wakefield loved the red carpet parade, too.
"I think my kids had more fun than I did," said Wakefield, whose son Trevor, 5, and daughter Brianna, 3, were in charge of tossing out goodies from the bag provided as treats for the fans, items ranging from baseball cards to soft baseballs. "
Wakefield called these few days at the All-Star Game the "coolest thing ever." Though he isn't scheduled to pitch unless the game goes into extra innings, he wasn't necessarily pulling for extras.
"I'm just pulling for us to win," he said.
Bailey came bearing advice from his more experienced Athletics teammates.
"Guys on the A's told me to make sure I carry the bullpen bag down to the pen," he said.
That's generally the rookie's job on every big league club, hauling the bag filled with gum, water, sunflower seeds, candy, Gatorade and a medical kit to the pen. You'd think, perhaps, that Bailey could shed that job after being named Oakland's only All-Star, but he doesn't seem to mind.
Maybe one reason he doesn't is, unlike some clubs which tease the rookies further by providing a Dora the Explorer bag or a hot pink Barbie bag, the A's simply make him carry a camouflage bag.
"It hides it so the fans can't see it," Bailey quipped.
Posted on: August 27, 2008 4:57 pm
Kotsay is 32 with the back of a 42-year-old (or worse), but he's playing and he's good to go for now. He was hitting .289 with six homers and 37 RBI in 88 games for Atlanta. With Drew's status dicey for the rest of the season, Kotsay is the perfect complement to Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Bay and Coco Crisp: An experienced hand who is battle-tested, having playoff experience with Oakland in 2006.
The Red Sox have been in the market for an outfielder since the Manny Ramirez fiasco, before Drew's back began acting up. San Diego's Brian Giles declined a trade to the Red Sox earlier this month for family reasons and because the Red Sox couldn't promise him anything more than an extra outfielder's role at the time. Giles wanted to play every day.
What's changed since then -- and increased the urgency for the Red Sox to acquire another outfielder -- is Drew's injury. Fortunately for the Red Sox, they didn't grant Crisp's desire to be traded this spring. Think how thin they'd be in the outfield if they had.
Not only does Kotsay know his way around the outfield, he's a solid guy to have in the clubhouse for a stretch run. Professional, committed, intelligent and no-nonsense (no Manny comments here, please).
So consider this another test passed for Boston as the Red Sox gallop toward another October. This isn't to grant them a playoff spot yet -- there are still many challenges ahead.
But the Red Sox are better today with Kotsay on their roster than they were yesterday. And thanks to Minnesota's four-game losing streak, the Red Sox have some breathing room (a 2 1/2-game lead) in the AL wild-card race.
This isn't a team that has given up on first place -- they trail Tampa Bay by only 3 1/2 games, and they still play Joe Maddon's club six times in September (three home, three away). A lot still can change.
But the way things are shaping up, the Red Sox have two chances to make the playoffs. And the percentages are rising. Minnesota should have won three of four over the weekend in Anaheim and could have swept the Angels. But the Twins lost the final two games of that series and the first two in Seattle this week.
Not a good way to begin a 14-game trip, and even more disheartening for the Twins after they started 2-0. Being that Ron Gardenhire's club has begun a stretch in which they play 24 of 30 on the road, as Yogi says, it's beginning to get late early.
Meantime, Boston has won five of seven, nine of 13 and life without Manny isn't looking as daunting as maybe it once did.
Likes: Colorado has won four in a row and has pulled to within six games of first-place Arizona in the NL West. You don't think the Rockies will stage another September miracle, do you? … Instant replay on boundary calls are fine, but if baseball officials ever look to expand replay, it'll be time to dig in and fight it. … Watching Randy Johnson pitch. … My Weber grill. … Gates barbecue sauce from Kansas City, right in my fridge and then on the chicken on the Weber grill.
Dislikes: Well, I was just saying yesterday how fun the Mets are to watch lately. Not so much after they blew a 7-0 lead to Philadelphia on Tuesday night while falling with a thud into second place in the NL East. … Florida's Hanley Ramirez with a glove. … Sure, I write a feature piece on Arizona this week and the Diamondbacks promptly go into the tank in San Diego. I hate it when teams don't cooperate. … Come on, Tropical Storm Gustav, let's skip right over New Orleans this time.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"When I think back on all the crap
-- Paul Simon, Kodachrome