In my opinion, there is no doubt that Nyjer Morgan made a mockery of baseball with his actions in the Nationals/ Marlins game and then again during the 2011 Pennant Race between the Brewers and Cardinals. In fact, perhaps it was Morgan that willed the Cardinals to victory by saying so coyly that the Cardinals should enjoy watching the playoffs from TV. Of course, the Cardinals won the World Series that season. It is my intention to call out the biggest boneheads of the 2014 season. Because of that, I only came up with a top 4 as opposed to the top 5 from last year.
4. Yunel Escobar, SS, Tampa Bay Rays- Similar to the situation during the 2013 World Baseball Classic which netted Luis Cruz the NMA for last season, Escobar was involved in taking an extra base when a game had seemed to be already decided. The only difference was the rules in the WBC stated that tiebreakers were based on the total amount of runs scored. In the WBC case, it was a misunderstanding. Escobar was clearly aware of the game and how it was not necessary to take the extra base. However, it probably wasn't the biggest bush league move as the Rays were up 8-3 in the bottom of the 7th inning. That being said, taking that extra base was not necessary and it was understood why the Red Sox dugout was ticked off.
I would have been easier on Escobar if he simply ignored the jawing from the dugout. Once he decided to fight back, he clearly went into the wrong in my opinion. And therefore, he gets a nomination on my NMA Bonehead of the Year.
3. Manny Machado, 3B, Baltimore Orioles- Few players in baseball had as disappointing a season than Machado. Between having a difficult time recovering from knee surgery he had in the off season. His last game was played on August 11 as he missed the rest of the regular season and the entire postseason. Machado was running the bases in a game against the Oakland Athletics and was trying to avoid a tag from Athletics 3B Josh Donaldson. Donaldson applied the tag and Machado confronted the Atheltics 3B for tagging him too hard.
That would be enough to end the situation. Machado's next at bat was against LHP Fernando Abad. Abad threw a pitch inside, followed by a pitch that may have been inside, but Machado was able to get a full swing in. He intentionally let go of his bat, sending it in the direction of Donaldson. Machado was ejected from the game for his actions and later suspended 5 games by MLB. Machado seemed as if he hadn't forgotten his scuffle with Donaldson, but later said he was intending to throw the bat in the direction of Abad.
2. Joe West, umpire- Last year, two umpires were nominated for this award, with Angel Hernandez and Tom Hallion making the list. Year in and year out it is easy to find a couple of incidents not handled professionally by West. Joe West is the prime example of an umpire that thinks the fans pay money to see him. He is not the star of the show, yet he really thinks he is.
West's actions that made the 2014 list happened in a game where a player was in the process of making a fool of himself. The Marlins were in Philadelphia and the Phillies had brought in closer Jonathan Papelbon to close a 4-1 game. Things did not go right and Papelbon had already given up the lead, taken out with the Marlins ahead 5-4. As expected, the Phillies fans let their closer have it as he came off the field. Papelbon did cross the line with his obscene gesture to the fans. This was enough for Papelbon to have to face the music for what he did. At this point, what was done had been done. Not in the eyes of the game's biggest narcissist.
West once again made the game about him, deciding to throw Papelbon out of the game. It may have had some credence had Papelbon not already been taken out of the game. The prime example of a redundant act. It wasn't as if Papelbon was not headed to the clubhouse anyways. You think he was going to stay in the dugout after such a performance?
1. Carlos Gomez, OF, Milwaukee Brewers- Gomez could have very well made the list last season. I held him off because there were bigger boneheads than him last season plus the fact that the award is named after a fellow former Brewers OF Nyjer Morgan. His actions in the game against the Braves and pitcher Paul Maholm were unacceptable, but he was taken off the hook because it was the second time Braves C Brian McCann had gotten in the face of a runner jogging home after hitting a HR.
Gomez admits he is prone to getting into fights because his androgen level gets quite high (wikipedia.org). Standing at the plate and admiring a home run is something we commonly see in the game today. However, if the ball does not leave the yard it has to be an embarrassing feeling. In addition, you showed up the other team and they have the right to say something to you as you stop at the base you ended up at. In this case, Gomez made it to third and apparently did not like what Pirates RHP Garrett Cole had to say as Cole walked back to the mound. Gomez would end up in a rage, flipping out trying to take on anybody that was in his way. Add in his actions in 2013 and Carlos Gomez is your 2014 recipient of the Nyjer Morgan Award. If this award was actually handed out, I would have Morgan hand it out to his former teammate. Gomez would probably feel it was an honor.