Q&A with Orioles outfielder Michael Morse
Michael Morse was known as “The Beast,” and what a player he was when he wore a Nationals uniform. He was one of the big reasons they won the National League East title in 2012.
After coming back from a lat muscle strain last season, Morse made up for lost time by hitting .291 with 18 home runs and 62 RBIs in 102 games. He even played in the postseason with a hamstring injury, and managed to hit a home run and collect five hits against the Cardinals in the NL Division Series.
After the season ended, the Nationals traded Morse to the Athletics for pitching prospects, including A.J. Cole and Ian Krol. Oakland then swapped Morse to the Mariners for catcher John Jaso.
After having a tough season in Seattle, Morse was dealt to the Orioles this weekend. His job is to provide power to an already formidable lineup.
MLB.com caught up with Morse at Yankee Stadium on Sunday to talk about his trade to the Orioles and the possibility of returning to the Nationals.
MLB.com: What do you think of your season so far? You have been with the Orioles for two days.
Michael Morse: For a guy who was hitting .220, getting an opportunity to come to a team like this is special. I’m getting a shot at getting to the postseason with a great ballclub. These guys have so much potential. They have so much swagger. It’s going to be fun and very special here.
MLB.com: When did you know that you were going to be traded?
Morse: The way the Mariners were going, I knew it was going to work out [as far as going to a contender]. There was always speculation, I might be getting traded here and there at the Deadline. When this trade happened, I was very excited. There isn’t another place I want to go to.
MLB.com: You will be a free agent after the season. Do you want to stay with the Orioles?
Morse: It’s too early to think about stuff like that. The one and only goal right now is help this team get to the postseason.
MLB.com: Starting Thursday, you will play in Camden Yards, a ballpark that suits Michael Morse.
Morse: It absolutely does. My main thing is, just fit in with the team, have fun like I always do and help them with their push.
MLB.com: Let’s talk about the Nationals. How surprised are you that they have been inconsistent this year?
Morse: Baseball is a funny game. You look at what Jayson Werth is doing. He is having a great year. Ian Desmond is also having a great year. These are guys I talk to almost on a daily basis. I still have a close-knit relationship with a lot of guys on that team.
What we had last year was special. I hope to get it back. I feel like you have something like that, you have to go for it.
MLB.com: What do you think the problem is with the Nationals?
Morse: I really don’t know. Like I said, baseball is a funny game. It looks like Atlanta has been pretty good all year.
MLB.com: A lot of Nationals fans would like to see you come back. Would you like to come back and play for the Nationals?
Morse: For me, the door is always open. D.C. is a special place. The Nationals gave me my first big break and I have a lot of memories there.
MLB.com: What made that 2012 team so special?
Morse: We knew we were good. How good? We didn’t know until the season kept going. We had one goal: get to the postseason and win the World Series. We all had each other’s back. That’s what good teams do. When you have a close knit family like that, special things started to happen. Not only did we win games, we were having fun — on and off the field. We were all together. It was sad when I had to leave, but baseball is baseball. That’s what happens.
MLB.com: I heard you cried after the Cardinals defeated the Nationals in the National League Division Series.
Morse: It was tough. I remember in the locker room, sitting there — no one moved for quite a long time. It was one of those surreal moments where the season is over and we didn’t think it was. We thought we had batting practice the next day, but literally, that was it. I think we were not ready [to call it a season].
MLB.com: The song “Take On Me” by Aha is popular during the seventh inning at Nationals Park. That used to be your walkup song to the plate. What is your reaction that the song is still popular in D.C.?
Morse: That says a lot about the fans in D.C. I think it’s great. I wouldn’t want them any other way. I love the fact that the song still makes them happy.
MLB.com: Do you think the Nationals miss you?
Morse: It’s tough to say. I surely miss them, the players. Like I said, we were a close knit group. We keep in touch. Maybe down the stretch here, who knows, we might be playing against them [in the postseason].