We’re only eight hours, barring the weather, from seeing Jayson Werth step into the batters box as an opposing hitter to the Phillies for the first time since he was a Dodger in 2005.
Winning a World Series in 2008 and stealing the fans hearts in 2009 and 2010 with his all-out play, powerful swing and glorious beard, Werth finds himself the enemy to Phils fans.
This past off season, Werth turned down arbitration from the Phils and went on to sign a seven-year, $124 million deal with the Washington Nationals. Werth, 31, has never had a 100-RBI season and is potentially on the downside of his prime.
But he got paid, and not by the Phils. And the fans in Philadelphia weren’t pleased.
He sold out. He was seeing dollar signs. He doesn’t care about winning… All things muttered by Phils fans the past five months.
But on the other side of it, there are apologists for Werth. Their argument consisted of no one would be able to turn down that kind of money, especially in what looks like Werth’s last big pay opportunity. They also tell the angry fans to not hate Werth for going to Washington and rather support him, for he was a major part in bringing a championship back to Philadelphia, the City of No Love.
Philadelphia fans are the most complicated breed of sports fan in the United States. They’re also the most misunderstood. They boo because they care but sometimes, the boos are a little much and at the wrong time.
A pitcher has a bad start and he gets booed off the mound like Mitch Williams in 1993. Ryan Howard looks at strike three only innings after hitting a two-run homer and gets ripped apart.
The memory of a Phillies fan is very short. They quickly erase the last thing a player does when something new comes up.
That’s where Werth comes in. 2008 and 2009 were offensive outbursts for Werth, who made himself a household name in baseball. In 2009, he ripped .268 with 36 homers and 99 RBIs. But in 2010, Werth saw his power and run-producing numbers quickly drop, hitting nine less homers and 14 less RBIs. Scarily enough, his average with runners in scoring position went from .279 to .186.
Fans got on him bad. Especially when he hit .200 in the NLDS and NLCS combined last post season. Then he jumps ship for the money to play in the Nation’s Capital, or in baseball term’s, the Nation’s Baseball Hell.
So you decide when he steps up to the plate in Philadelphia less then a month from now. Do you boo Werth, the man who who left Philly for “greener” pastures or do you cheer and welcome him home?
One thing can be guaranteed: the right field stands will be loud once again.