June 26, 2011; Chicago, IL, USA; Washington Nationals first baseman Michael Morse (38) celebrates the final out in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field. The Nationals defeated the White Sox 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
We knew the announcement of the signing of Adam LaRoche by the Nats to a two year deal spelled the end of Michael Morse’s time with the Nats. Those of us who are fans of the Beast are going to be very disappointed not to be able to watch him crush home runs on a regular basis at Nats Park and at our road opponents stadiums.
Here’s what we will miss: The fans singing “Take On Me” before Morse’s third at bat. No more watching him pick up the Gatorade container unaided to spill it over the teammate being interviewed after the game. No more goofy, lively interviews. No more Beast Mode.
Morse became the odd man out with the signing of Denard Span and LaRoche. There was nowhere for Morse to play in the field. A player of Morse’s caliber can’t ride the bench and never has been an effective pinch hitter. Morse has always needed to be involved in the game to hit well.
I enjoyed watching Morse play first base during the Major League players tour of Taiwan during the 2011 offseason. It was hilarious watching him talking to every Taiwanese player who made it to first base. Lord knows if any of them understood much of what he was saying. It didn’t seem to matter to Morse, who chatted to every guy like he was their best friend.
Those of us who watched Morse play first base during the 2011 season remember his breakout with delight, getting the opportunity to watch him blossom into the hitter he was capable of being. It was clear, looking at his numbers, that playing first base suited him. Morse in 2011 hit .332 while playing first base from May 23rd to August 26th , and .252 at the beginning and end of the season when playing the outfield.
Considering those statistics, I hope Seattle gives Morse the opportunity to play at first base. I believe Morse, barring injury, will have a monster year. Even during his injury shortened 2012 season, Morse hit .291. He’s the real deal. Seattle just got a very effective slugger, as long as they don’t try to DH him too much..
Given Morse’s batting statistics when playing first base, I don’t understand signing LaRoche and his .267 average and letting Morse go. If it was up to me this would not be happening, but unfortunately I don’t have a billion dollars to buy the Nats and run the team, so as a fan I have to live with the decisions of others. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with those decisions. All of us will have to wait and see how these moves work out.
I am going to miss Michael Morse. I believe his teammates will miss him too. Michael seemed to contribute to a certain chemistry in the locker room which will not be easily replaced. Michael Morse fans will be sitting in the stands talking to other fans about how much they miss him. Perhaps that will be a fitting legacy for Morse’s time with the Nats–he will be missed.