Let’s not kid ourselves. Jayson Werth freaked out.
“I’ve got some ideas, obviously, and some thoughts, none I really want to share with the world. But I think it’s pretty obvious what’s going on right here. ... I’m not going to get into it right now. It is what it is. It’s unfortunate. We’re a way better ballclub.”
Sweet, Werth. Just totally leave us hanging on edge and aching to know what a $126 million man doesn’t want to share with the world about his sinking ballclub. He acts like he knows where King Solomon’s Mines and isn’t telling. He freaked out. He freaked in a more subtle way than say what catcher Ivan Rodriguez and general manager Mike Rizzo did last week against the chimps in umpiring gear in New York, but it was a freakout none the less. Why say such a thing in the public eye if you weren’t either trying to incite something or off your nut? It is frustration. I understand that. Everyone is frustrated with the Nationals right now - and the Nationals are not strangers to frustration.
For whatever reason, be it a player’s own personal performance or that the team is falling into the abyss as a whole and they are tired of losing, the Nationals have collected a nice amount of freakouts, tantrums and strange events that will forever cement themselves in D.C. baseball lore.
Or at least until the Internet burns out and this article is lost forever. Here are a couple of my favorite Nationals hemorrhages, in no particular order:
* Catcher Brian Schneider was generally thought of as a really nice guy and team player. He probably still is, but on Aug. 13, 2006 he flashed an intense dark side the likes of which Washington baseball fans had not seen in 33 years (probably because Washington didn’t have baseball for 33 years until 2005). After a bad game, he cussed out the media and kicked a chair showing an angry side that shocked D.C. fans causing some to think he was a head case. Chair throwing just made the event. There was something dangerous and startling about it. Most thought it wouldn’t get any worse than this. Boy, were they ever wrong.
* You might remember a Nationals reliever by the name of Joey Eischen. Of course you do. He was an intense competitor with a desire to win - just he could hardly do it, unfortunately. Eischen didn’t have a freakout, he was a freakout. Words cannot describe it so I will try with this picture instead.
* Starting pitcher Livan Hernandez passed out a few “souvenirs,” as he called them, on Aug. 5, 2005 after manager Frank Robinson took him out of a game against the San Diego Padres. Angered at being taken out, Hernandez proceeded to throw his jacket, glove and cap into the crowd over the dugout.
* On Sept. 11, 2008 possibly deranged outfielder Elijah Dukes almost went nuclear on the Mets’ Mike Pelfry after Pelfry almost hit him with a pitch. Taking it as a challenge, Dukes had to be restrained by five people from not beating Pelfry to a pulp. Later, on the field and in the dugout, Dukes was caught taunting and gesturing towards the crowd and sticking out his tongue. This is Elijah Dukes I am talking about, so maybe it isn’t as strange behavior as I am making it.
* Fresh in our minds, I’m sure, is former Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan’s reign of weirdness which started with a May 22, 2010 complete meltdown in center field, where he threw down his glove and started walking around swearing - during a live play, while the Orioles’ Adam Jones scampered around the bases for an inside-the-park home run. For the rest of the season, Morgan’s sanity seemed to fall apart as he gestured, taunted and threw baseballs at fans, crashed into catchers and started bench-clearing brawls. Again, maybe not that strange. He was the only Nationals player ever to admit he had a split personality.
I am sure there are more, but these are some of my favorites. We might try to take the high road and say these types of detrimental behavior don’t belong on a baseball field, but we know we enjoy it. It is like car crashes in NASCAR. We are concerned with driver safety and don’t want a crash to happen, but we want to see a car crash.
Underneath the oddness however are deeper rooted issues that crack the pots - and the players are the pots.
The dirt is spilling out.
Drew Kinback blogs about the Nats at Nationals Inquisition, and has given his take this week as part of MASNsports.com’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our little corner of cyberspace. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.