Just before the Brewers recorded the final out in their victory over the Reds Wednesday, Nyjer Morgan drifted up against the right-field stands in Cincinnati, in an attempt to haul in a foul ball. What happened after that would garner a suspension, if I were in charge of such things.
Here's the video, courtesy of MLB.com:
Fox Sports Cincinnati showed a camera angle more from the center of the field, and it was very clear that Morgan slapped the fan in the face with his glove intentionally. For anyone who saw that replay, there is no arguing this point. I'll reiterate: Morgan hit a fan in the face on purpose.
Now, if the fan was reaching over into the field or he struck Morgan first, I'd have no problem with a reaction. In this case, however, Morgan was reaching over the rail into the stands. The field is the players' domain, but Morgan was clearly reaching over into the domain of the fans. The fan in question did absolutely nothing but raise his hands toward the ball. And for that, he gets struck in the face and a "get back!" from Morgan. I don't care for the childish posturing afterward from Morgan either, but that's harmless.
Now, in and of itself, the physical contact from Morgan could be spun as relatively harmless. The fan did not appear harmed physically and a slap of the glove is not nearly as severe as, say, a punch with a closed fist. But that's not what this is about. Players cannot be allowed to strike the fans in any shape or form. The fans are the lifeblood of Major League Baseball. The players are only paid because fans pay to watch them play, whether by buying a ticket or by subscribing to television channels that air the games.
If Morgan is suspended, Major League Baseball sends a message to its players that physically contacting fans -- especially those who have done nothing wrong -- will not be tolerated.
If a fan reaches out onto the field and strikes a player, he faces ejection from the ballpark, an arrest and probably a lifetime ban from the ballpark. This has to be a two-way street. Nyjer Morgan crossed into the domain of the fan and struck a fan unjustifiably.
The office of the commissioner owes Morgan a suspension and hefty fine. Your move, Commissioner Selig.