Michael Morse's arrival in Washington on Aug. 21, 2009, barely merited even the briefest of mentions.
Acquired from the Mariners for Ryan Langerhans two months earlier in what was universally described as a "swap of minor leaguers," Morse was promoted to D.C. after producing a robust .339 batting average at Class AAA Syracuse. His first appearance in a Nationals uniform came in the bottom of the eighth of a meaningless game against the Brewers. Pinch-hitting for Tyler Clippard, Morse swung at the very first pitch he saw from Milwaukee's Todd Coffey and lined out to first baseman Prince Fielder.
Few among the announced crowd of 26,307 that Friday night bothered to applaud the newest member of the Nationals bench, a big galoot of a ballplayer with no natural position and a track record for getting hurt.
Who could have imagined at the time what Morse's final at-bat in a Nats uniform would look and sound like: bottom of the eighth inning of Game 5 of the NLDS, a sellout throng of 45,966 belting out the chorus to A-ha's "Take on Me" a split-second before Morse roped a base hit to center field.
The burden of trading a beast
Nats Insider | Jan 17