What do baseball and hockey have in common?
Nyjer Morgan of the Washington Nationals, that’s what, and organizations like USA Today are blaming hockey for Morgan’s recent bad behavior on the field.
In recent weeks he caught grief for tossing a ball at a Phillies fan, and running over two catchers and, of course, starting a big bench clearing brawl on Wednesday against the Florida Marlins.
The fight started after Chris Volstad hit him with a pitch and then threw one behind him a couple of innings later – which was in response to a play from the night before where Morgan ran over Florida catcher Brett Hayes while attempting to score, separating his shoulder.
Believe it or not, a few American media outlets are saying that Morgan’s time playing junior in BC and his brief stint with the WHL’s Regina Pats are the reason he started that big fight. Yes, the seven games he played for the Pats turned Morgan into a crazy fighter. His hockey career was so insignificant that The Hockey Database, one of the best resources for hockey stats out there, doesn’t even spell his name right!
In the USA Today blog post about Morgan’s hockey ties, they cite an article from something called Phanatic Magazine, trying to explain why a six-foot tall, 175-pound guy would charge the mound of a guy who stands six-foot-eight and weighs 55-pounds more than him. It’s not that he’s just a guy that doesn’t take any mess…it must be hockey’s fault.
The best part of the Phanatic excerpt is that Bob Herpen is apparently the magazine’s hockey editor…and has no idea what the WHL is.
“He didn't make the team, but bounced around several other clubs in the low Canadian minors until hooking on with the Regina Pats of the famed Western Canadian Hockey League in 1999. Even now, the WCHL carries with it a reputation of making the tough players tougher and weeding out the rest.”
So never mind that he didn’t actually make the team – but according to Herpen, Morgan had to “fend off culture shock and prejudice” in Regina, “a bastion of lily-whiteness in the most lily-white of Canadian regions: the Prairies.”
I’d love to hear what Morgan has to say about all of this, I’m sure it would be a good laugh to get his opinion on whether or not hockey turned him into a “goon.”
Either way, isn’t American ignorance a wonderful thing?
(Hat tip to my pal BoDo for pointing this story out to me)