When Jayson Werth signed with the Nationals in December, leaving the Phillies for an offer estimated to be worth about twice as much as what the Phillies were willing to pay him, he knew he would be inviting the scorn of Phillies fans whenever the Nationals played them.
(In addition to being some of the most boisterous, passionate and vociferous fans in baseball, Phillies fans, of course, are unabashedly loyal people, and wouldn't even consider leaving their employer, even if another one was offering twice as much money.)
At any rate, Werth finished one leg of his heckling from Phillies fans yesterday, when Philadelphia played its final game of the year at Nationals Park. The weekend series drew two of the three biggest crowds in Nationals Park history, thanks to thousands of Phillies fans who drove down Interstate 95 to cheer on their team - and boo Werth. The Nationals have four more games in Philadelphia next month, but after that series, Werth's first year of tangling with Phillies fans will be over.
Werth has said all season that he's more curious than bothered by how the Phillies fans treat him, adding he understands why they're doing what they're doing and that he's always appreciated their fervor. But he hasn't exactly fared well against them - he's hitting .226/.259/.321 in 14 games. Then again, he's hitting .227 for the season, so his results haven't been much different against his former team.
On Sunday, though, he struck out three times, killing rallies in the first and the fifth innings by taking called third strikes. He helped put together the winning run with a 10th-inning single, but he didn't look good at the plate before that, and he's bobbled a number of balls in the field against the Phillies this year. A few of you have said you think the fans are bugging Werth; only he knows if that's true or not.
But whether he's enjoying playing the Phillies - and playing in front of their fans - or dreading it, the first season of it is almost over.