PHILADELPHIA — Jayson Werth stood in the on-deck circle Wednesday night in the ninth inning and incited the wrath of the Phillies fans already predetermined to ride him.
Werth, a target of the Philadelphia fans ever since he left and signed with the Nationals before the 2011 season, picked up a foul ball and appeared to begin to toss it into the crowd. But he halted his motion and then flipped the ball into the Nationals’ dugout instead.
The boos were relentless. Werth stepped in and delivered a big two-run single to give the Nationals some breathing room in their 8-4 victory.
So what actually happened down there? Let Werth explain.
“Well earlier in the game I flipped a ball in the seats in right field to a fan and it bounced off her hands and landed on somebody else’s lap. And then a guy reached over, a Phillies fan reached over into her lap, grabbed the ball and then threw it back on the field.
“In the ninth when I got the ball, I was going to flip the ball to a group of kids, and then behind the kids were like all these unruly middle-aged men that, to me, appeared to be snarling. And it’s the ninth. Who knows. I kind of got the sense that maybe they were intoxicated, but maybe not.
“So I was going to flip it to the kids and then I thought maybe I shouldn’t because the people right behind those innocent little children there. So I just flipped it into the dugout and evidently that rubbed some people the wrong way. But after the events in right field I just felt that it was better to maybe not throw it into the stands.”
Werth’s hit silenced the crowd, though, and most of them then went streaming for the exits.
So what happened to those innocent little children then?
“You know I looked in when I was on first base and Mikey (Morse) was feeding what seemed like the whole bag of balls. So I think he made up for it for me.”