Jayson Werth and Phillies fans: After the Love has Gone
Man, where did everything go wrong with Jayson Werth and the Phillies fans?
Less than four years ago, Werth was coming into his own as a full time player and the Phillies were raising their first World Championship trophy in decades. Now it’s safe to say the fans and Werth equally want no parts of each other ever again.
This fate was sealed when Werth broke his wrist during Sunday night’s game against the Phillies. When Werth was walking off the field after the injury, a few drunken nimrod Phillies fans were cheering. So after getting out of surgery on Monday morning, the Nationals right fielder emailed Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post with a message the likes of which not even Philadelphia’s nastiest villain would deliver. The following words were directed towards Phillies fans in the email sent by Werth.
“After walking off the field feeling nauseous knowing my wrist was broke and hearing Philly fans yelling ‘You deserve it,’ and, ‘That’s what you get,’ I am motivated to get back quickly and see to it personally those people never walk down Broad Street in celebration again.”
Damn Jayson. “Those people?”
Where did our love go? Tell us how you really feel.
Yes, I WAS the same guy who wrote an article on this very website titled “Phillies fans, don't blame Jayson Werth for taking the Nationals' money, remember him as a champion”
As the article shows, I was kind of in the middle as far as my feelings over Werth’s departure were concerned. But since then I’ve had a change of heart. Even though the Phillies are currently in last place and I’ll always be grateful for his time in Phillies pinstripes, I’m kind of glad Jayson Werth is gone.
I’ve had close ties to the Phillies organization for my entire life. To be fair I’ve never met Werth, but out of the Phillies regular starting eight from those glory years, he often seemed like a square peg in a round hole and the only one I could never really put my finger on. Werth is part of a third generation baseball family, was successful at the game from a very young age, and was drafted out of high school. All of this screams entitlement from the word “go.” Moreover, 99% of the world’s athletes have a sense of this anyway, so the apple might not fall far from the tree. But then again, I could be reaching here.
Werth however, may have raised some eyebrows back in 2008. While was platooning with Geoff Jenkins in right field, Werth stepped into Charlie Manuel’s office and told him he should be playing every day. Now granted, Werth was right and the Phillies went on to win the World Series, but that’s pretty ballsy for a guy who (at that time) still wasn’t hitting right handed pitching consistently and (to that point) only played over 100 games in a season once in his career.
Werth really came into his own in 2009, but things took a turn in 2010. Although his batting average was considerably higher that season, Some were blaming Werth’s inconsistent performance combined with his steep drop-off while hitting with runners in scoring position for the Phillies’ decline. Werth’s name also surfaced in several trade rumors when it appeared the Phillies would be (at the time) sellers and not buyers when trade deadline arrived. There were also reports of tension between Werth and the Phillies’ coaching staff, and of course, there was that game in July when Werth cursed out a Phillies fan while he was just trying to protect his son from a foul ball.
After the Phillies were shocked in the NLCS against the Giants, the Phils reportedly offered Werth a contract in the range of $48 million. Werth was offered $126 million from Washington. If somebody is going to offer you $78 million dollars more than your current team is, not even the angel Gabriel himself could come down from the skies to convince me I would be better off with $48 million.
So yes, Werth took the money and ran, you would have too, and I never faulted him for that. Some of Philadelphia got angry with him, but I thought it was more because he left the team as opposed to the contract, which is ridiculous to begin with. There was no way the Phillies were going to commit $18 million to a player like Werth, and It didn’t help Werth’s cause when Cliff Lee suddenly came back to town and signed for less money than Werth signed with Washington. Lee’s return seemed to perturb Werth, who sent Ruben Amaro text messages expressing his disapproval.
Since then, Werth has gone out of his way to take shots at the Phillies, particularly in his press conference while being introduced as a National, in addition to his “I hate the Phillies” retort to Nats GM Mike Rizzo. None of this was lost upon several Phillies fans, who decided to boo him the first time (and many times after that) he took right field last year in a Nats uniform at Citizens Bank Park. Personally, I think Werth should just let it go. “Those fans” (as he refers to in Monday’s email) cheered for him day in and day out while he was in Philadelphia. More importantly, he should be extremely grateful to the Phillies for even taking a chance on him back in 2006. Werth's wrist was injured so badly (the first time) there was speculation as to whether he would ever play again. And last but not least, Werth probably has $126 million more than 99% of the people reading this article, so why he can’t let go of Philly is beyond me.
THAT is why Phillies fans were giving Werth a hard time as he walked off the field Sunday. Do you really think anyone there thought he broke his wrist? Please. There's always a few idiots, but do you know how hard it is when you’re at a game to find the status of an injury you just watched? You text everyone, check Facebook, and chances are your friends at home still don’t know what the injury is. It’s just like the Michael Irvin incident. Do you really think 65,000 plus knew how badly Irvin was injured? But I digress.
Instead of sending a message to Nationals fans telling them how the surgery went and that he’s going to try harder than ever to come back to help the team make a playoff push, Jayson Werth comes off more like a jilted lover. Furthermore, he has permanently ruined any good will that respecting, knowledgeable, appreciative Phillies fans may have had for him. You know, the million or so who weren’t at ‘Natitude’ Park cheering as he walked off the field.
Jayson, October 29th, 2008 will forever remain one of the greatest moments in the existence of Philly sports fans everywhere. You had a lot to do with that, and to dismiss all the good times you had in Philly and then refer to all of the fans as ‘Those people’ is baseless, uneducated, and rather ill-advised Maybe when the drugs wear off, you’ll realize how pompous you sounded.
Best of luck in your rehab. In the meantime, don’t step on any banana peels.
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Werth wrist photo: Bleacher Report
World Series photo: ttp://farm4.static.flickr.com