Nationals RF Jayson Werth (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
WASHINGTON — Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth irritated Phillies fans last week when he faked a throw into the stands to a couple of children, claiming he was concerned with the drunk fans behind them.
Today, Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote a piece that should enlighten Phillies fans on Werth’s real emotions on the organization and especially his former manager, Charlie Manuel.
For the first time in their franchise history, the Nationals won the NL East crown with Atlanta’s 2-1 loss to the Pirates on Friday. But despite falling to the Phillies 2-0, the Nationals celebrated, and it was an odd feeling for Werth, who had been in that position from 2007-10 with the Phillies.
“It definitely was interesting,” Werth said Tuesday afternoon inside a home clubhouse that still reeked from the champagne-and-beer celebration the night before. “It was kind of a surreal moment, especially when I look over there and saw Charlie [Manuel]. I was hit with a thousand thoughts and a thousand emotions in a real short period of time.”
Werth nodded to Manuel, the manager that made it all possible for Werth.
“I was standing over by the steps and looking at the hitter and Charlie was directly in my vision,” Werth said. “I just kind of nodded at him and he nodded back. I was basically just saying, ‘Thank you.’ I was very excited about what was going on, but it also made me realize kind of how I got here. Charlie Manuel was a very big part of that. He definitely had a part in the player I am today. He gave me my real first opportunity. I’ll never forget that. As far as people go in the world, he’s at the top of the list for me.”
In a show of respect for Werth, Manuel nodded back. Manuel commented:
“He was looking at me and I just looked back over to wish him luck,” Manuel said. “Just the fact he played with us, that is still there as far as how you see someone. I’m proud of him because he has become a good player. When he was with us, I used to tell him how good a player he was. Jayson was having a tough time in his career and when he first came to us, he really hadn’t settled in on knowing how good of a player he could be.”
The Nationals finished the season 98-64, the best record in the National League and all of baseball. They will either face the Wild Card winner between Atlanta and St. Louis.