By Curt Hogg
Milwaukee- Before 2011, all Milwaukee Brewers fans knew Nyjer Morgan for was a spotted history that included charging the mound and altercations with fans. Three weeks into the season, Brewers fans knew him for running over the catcher and adding a spark to the team.
Not only did Milwaukee embrace Morgan immediately, but soon did the same with his alter ego Tony Plush. At moments notice, Morgan instantly turns into Tony Plush, a likeable, all-out baseball player with a knack for TV interviews.
As for General Manager Doug Melvin, he had no idea that he acquired two players in the Spring Training trade for Morgan.
“I wanted Nyjer Morgan,” Melvin said. “I didn’t know I was getting two people for one. I got Nyjer Morgan and an alter ego to be named later.”
The alter ego of Tony Plush, or T-Plush, had swept through Brewer Nation, or Crew Nation as Morgan refers to it. The specially designed Tony Plush shirt is a top seller in the Brewers team store at Miller Park. His Twitter account has nearly 22,000 followers, nearly double of the total when the season started.
His play, antics, and personality have won over a frenzied Brewers fanbase. Whenever “Wanna Be Startin Something” by Michael Jackson is played over the PA at Miller Park and T. Plush walks up to the plate, “Crew Nation” jumps to their feet at gives the timeout ‘T’ signal. Morgan calls this “Chuckin up tha T’s!”, and it has swept Miller Park to the point that even the youngest fans have bought in.
Nyjer was the featured correspondent earlier in August for the ESPN show “Jim Rome is Burning”, providing viewers with an insight on the Tony Plush life.
Tony Plush has drawn the love of Brewers fans with many of his antics and plays this season. Early in the season, he ran over the Braves Brian McCann and the Pirates Ryan Doumit, jarring the ball loose and scoring on both occasions. His walk-off double against the Mets in June may have been the calling point of attention to his alter ego on the field. In his hometown of San Francisco, after making a phenomenal catch, he orchestrated the Giants fans’ boos, using his glove as a band director’s wand. His multiple post game interviews have also drawn attention to T. Plush. The list goes on and on.
The namesake of this very blog, Morgan calls the fundamentals of his play Plushdamentals. Stealing bases, bunting runners over, driving runners in, and hitting triples are all under the category of Plushdamentals.
The question among many Brewers fans is as to where Nyjer’s alter ego came from. About ten years ago, Morgan and some friends created secondary names for themselves and, thus, Tony Plush was created.
Not only has he caught on with Brewers fans, but the players have embraces both Nyjer and Tony.
“That’s why we love him. It’s not fake. It really is his personality. That’s what makes it special. It might not be his real name, but T-Plush is really him. That’s what makes it not corny. Sometimes when guys try to have fun like that, it’s forced. With Nyjer, it’s not forced. It’s him being himself,” said Prince Fielder.
When a high school state baseball champion team was being honored during pre-game ceremonies, Morgan kept popping up behind each of the players when they were put on camera, startling them, much to the delight of the sellout crowd.
Being on a winning team obviously has a positive impact on Morgan. Previously, he has played for the lowly Pirates and Nationals before bringing his alter ego with him to Milwaukee. His play has been a spark plug for this closely knit Brewers team.
Nyjer Morgan has taken over Milwaukee, and is attempting to bring Playoff baseball back to the city. But now it’s game time and he has to turn into Tony Plush, so…
AHHHH! GOTTA GO!