There was a call to action from fans at Saturday’s Nats U clinic at the ballpark – stop booing Jayson Werth. That call to action couldn’t have come at a better time seeing as a few fans decided it was better to chant “Jayson Werthless” directed toward the Nationals right fielder Saturday night during the MASN Post-Game Show.
The call to action came to fruition after Nats blogger Miss Chater posed a question for the Nats U team of panelists. Her question, in short, was regarding Werth’s recent slump. Nats third base coach Bo Porter was quick to defend Werth.
Porter’s defense was clear: You are not in our clubhouse. It’s true. Fans do not see what goes on behind the scenes no matter how invested in the game they happen to be. The season is a marathon and not a few series of games here and there. A player’s success each year is not determined by a singular series with a particular team, but rather the season’s total on the whole.
Porter continued to explain that fans are finding excitement in Michael Morse and Danny Espinosa’s All-Star caliber play this season. He attributes a great deal of those performances to what Werth has done behind the scenes in the clubhouse as a mentor. That’s what fans don’t see when Werth strikes out.
The call to action is a simple device in this case. The fan who stood up to speak on behalf of Werth is a mother. She shared her parental knowledge in the wake of Werth’s slump: everyone needs a little love and positive reinforcement is the best way to help someone out of a dark spot. If kids respond well to positive reinforcement then why won’t a ballplayer?
While it is understandable that Werth is getting poor treatment from a handful of fans, that doesn’t excuse the action. It’s disrespectful. Booing a player for giving up an inside the park home run (like Nyjer Morgan did last year) might be grounds for temporary booing. However, if a player is contributing on and off the field as a quality team member, booing is not warranted.
Stay classy, Nats fans, and have faith. Despite his bias toward the team, Porter remains optimistic. He believes Werth’s numbers will reflect his success in seasons past. So he’s hitting below his career average .270 right now. Porter believes Werth’s numbers will highlight a .270 average by the season’s end.
No matter what the numbers show, though, there’s no excuse for excessive and continued booing.