Nyjer Morgan of the Milwaukee Brewers reaches into the seats to battle for a foul ball with a fan during a game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Brewers won 8-4. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Players can reach into the stands to try to catch foul balls. What they can't do is what Nyjer Morgan did on Wednesday when trying to make such a play.
Nyjer Morgan of the Brewers has been involved in a number of incidents during his major-league career, both with the Washington Nationals and in his time in Milwaukee. But the one on Wednesday in Cincinnati deserves review from you, dear Baseball Nation reader, and from Major League Baseball.
Let's set the scene. It's the bottom of the ninth inning of a game between the Brewers and Reds. Milwaukee is leading 8-4. Ryan Ludwick led off the inning with a home run and Todd Frazier struck out. Devin Mesoraco is facing new Brewers reliever Livan Hernandez, and he skies a foul ball down the right-field line. Morgan gives chase, and then ...
The ball is clearly in the seats. It's perfectly legal for a fielder to reach into the seats, if he can, to catch a foul ball, but once it's in the seats, it's fair game. A fan can't reach on to the field to try to catch a ball; that's fan interference. Clearly, there's no interference involved in this play.
What there is, however, is a clear push and shove that Morgan gives to the fan.
That's so wrong I can't even begin to say how wrong it is. This play wasn't going to make a difference in the game (as Mesoraco eventually struck out). The Brewers were ahead comfortably and wound up winning 8-4.
The man shoved by Morgan is someone who, by paying the price of a ticket, helps support the business that is MLB. To take that sort of abuse -- even though he didn't appear injured -- is something Major League Baseball should not tolerate. The player and umpire ran away from the scene while the fan raised his arms as if to say, "Hey, I just got shoved by a ballplayer, aren't you going to do anything about it?"
MLB should do something about it. A suspension, even for a game, would show that MLB is serious about curbing bad behavior on the field by its players. Further, Morgan should have to deliver an in-person apology to the fan involved.
It's bad enough when players shove each other on the field. They can't start shoving the paying customers.