MILWAUKEE — Nyjer Morgan is making a name - or two - for himself.
Milwaukee’s eccentric center fielder has spawned no less than four alter egos this season from Tony Plush to Tony Hush, and they’re all helping to keep the Brewers’ loose as they take a 2-0 lead in their NL division series to Arizona for Game 3 on Tuesday.
“It’s good when you have a lot of different personalities on your team. They all draw from each other. They don’t feel like the spotlight’s just on one guy. I think it’s really healthy,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “It’s an awful boring team if you have guys with no personalities.”
Morgan insists he’s Plush when he steps on the field because he’s an entertainer, and all entertainers need stage identities. Out of Plush’s persona have come characters like Tony Tombstone, Tony Gumble and Tony Hush.
Morgan’s antics have mostly helped the Brewers. Stars Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun let their play do the talking.
Morgan handles everything else.
While Braun and Fielder have started this NLDS a combined 9-of-16 with two homers and six RBI, Morgan is making a mark, too.
In Game 1, he initially couldn’t see a drive by Lyle Overbay in the seventh with sunlight filtering through Miller Park’s windows, but caught it at the warning track and crashed hard into the wall of Milwaukee’s 4-1 win. In the Brewers’ five-run rally in the sixth inning of Game 2, Morgan lashed the first pitch he saw for a two-run single in a 9-4 victory that puts Milwaukee on the cusp of its first postseason series victory since 1982.
“It’s huge with the home-field advantage in our park,” said Morgan,, who played with the Washington Nationals in 2009 and 2010. “But we’ve got to go there and take care of business and try to come home on Tuesday.”
Morgan hit .304 and scored 61 runs in 119 regular-season games, hitting in front of Braun and Fielder in his role as the left-handed hitter in a center field platoon. He has also played exceptional defense.
Trying to explain Morgan’s mind is harder.
The 31-year-old has enough personalities for an entire team. While he’s carried the moniker “Tony Plush” for a dozen years as a joke among friends in the San Francisco Bay area, Milwaukee fans have made him their own.
“This is who I am. I’m going to be out there, I’m going to go out and have fun,” Morgan said. “I might get under people’s skin a little bit. But as long as it’s for the right things and I’m out there hustling, doing what I am supposed to do to win for my organization, then I’m going to be me.”
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