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Jayson Werth won't do well in New York

Aug 19, 2010, 10:59 AM EDT

Can someone as sensitive about his privacy as Jayson Werth seems to be survive in the Big Apple?

Sports Illustrated runs a fascinating profile of Jayson Werth this week.  It’s very long, very good and is worth a full and thoughtful read, but one passage from the first page stood out at me:

Werth is quick to deflect questions that demand introspection. He
agreed to an interview only if no questions involved his wife, his two
kids or any aspect of his private life. The rest of his relatives are
off limits too. Asked–gingerly–if he would pass along the number of his
mother, the former track star Kim Schofield Werth, he snaps, “My mom is
unavailable. She just got her phone number unlisted and moved from
Illinois to the Ozarks.” Ditto his stepfather, the former big leaguer
Dennis Werth: “I’ve got his number in my cell, but I’m not giving it

How come?

“I don’t see why he has to share his thoughts about me with the rest of the world.”

If I were thrust out into to the public spotlight like that I would probably feel equally protective of my privacy and my family, so I have no criticism of Werth for this.

But, to the extent people are still thinking that it would be a great idea to sign a big long term deal with the Yankees, the quoted passage is a pretty good indication that life for Werth in New York would be something approaching hell.  The press simply demands more of a player there, and to survive as a big money player in the Big Apple you either have to (a) be a smooth and professional PR assassin like Derek Jeter; or (b) you have to be a self-effacing and personable character like Nick Swisher or someone.

Based on this glimpse of Werth — and I admit, it’s only a glimpse — he doesn’t seem to fall in the “New York-Friendly” category of superstars.

  1. birdmancometh - Aug 19, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    The Philly media isn’t all unicorns and rainbows. I see your point, but Philly is about as close to New York/Boston as any other city out there.

  2. BC - Aug 19, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    I think its hit-or-miss. Randy Johnson and Kevin Brown were nightmares in New York. But Mike Mussina did fine – he’s a really private guy, but I don’t recall him punching anyone out or going off on a reporter or anything, he just sort of went about his business.
    Yankees are going after Carl Crawford anyway, so they don’t need Werth.

  3. El Bravo - Aug 19, 2010 at 11:18 AM

    also much too scruffy.

  4. Glenn - Aug 19, 2010 at 11:23 AM

    Werth could never hack it in New York, as he’s been sheltered in that little fairytale dreamland of Philadelphia.

  5. Simon DelMonte - Aug 19, 2010 at 11:26 AM

    My first thought on reading this was, “the Mets are talking about signing him?” How do you know I remain loyal to the Mets? I forgot the Yankees even existed for a moment.
    As for the Yanks, I think they have Carl Crawford penciled in.

  6. Old Gator - Aug 19, 2010 at 11:31 AM

    I think it would be fun to tell each one of those mind parasites of the press a completely different story about my private life, each one more outrageous than the last. When I was ten, I was molested by the priest. When I was eleven, I was molested by the Rabbi. Under hypnosis recently, I remembered being molested by the Imam when I was four. My wife makes softcore movies for Skinimax. My wife makes hardcore movies for Vivid. My wife just finished a pro-abstinence video for the American Family Association, which includes me. I’m single. I’m a recidivist Mormon with three homely pregnant wives and four dogs with seventeen puppies, three of whom appear to have been fathered by a possum. My son keeps kosher. My son is a vegan. My son routinely gets hypertension from whopper eating contests. My son doesn’t eat at all, he just stands outside in the sunshine and photosynthesizes. My son wants to go to law school and be the next William Kunstler. My daughter is a graduate student in paleontology who analyzes coprolite for Dinosaur Jim. My daughter is a dental hygienist. My daughter is a pole dancer at the local firehouse. My daughter trains new guides to emote at the London Transport Museum. Personally, I hope to leave baseball in the middle of the 2011 season and work on unified field theory. And so forth. Werth needs to lighten up. The situation is just fraught with opportunities to have a blast.

  7. Old Gator - Aug 19, 2010 at 11:33 AM

    Isn’t that funny? Steve Kilbey of the great antipodean rock band The Church recently said that the band was denied an American tour 20 years ago because they were too scruffy.

  8. BigPhil - Aug 19, 2010 at 11:39 AM

    I’m from Philly and am obviously a fan. I don’t live in Philly anymore, but I read the newspapers, blogs, etc. Werth is very well-liked in Philly, and a lot gets written about him (particularly his near retirement due to his wrist injury). And I had NO idea he was married and had 2 kids. Every other Phillies at least gets his wife/kids mentioned in some way (game notes, charity news, etc). I thought that was/is odd.

  9. BC - Aug 19, 2010 at 11:40 AM

    Not as scruffy as these guys though. They DEFINED scruffy.

  10. Tim's Neighbor - Aug 19, 2010 at 11:40 AM

    Well, Mr. Werth, I hear that the Atlanta press and fans are pretty damn hands-off…

  11. Kiwicricket - Aug 19, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    Exceptional taste in antipodean rock Gator.

  12. Detroit Michael - Aug 19, 2010 at 12:12 PM

    I don’t see how one can criticize a guy for not giving his close relatives’ private phone numbers to the media. This seems like completely normal behavior to me, not something that reveals Werth’s character.

  13. Utley's hair - Aug 19, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    That’s pretty funny…especially with the Philly press’ brutal and intrusive reputation.

  14. David - Aug 19, 2010 at 12:24 PM

    This sounds like exactly the attitude he needs to have to survive the NY press. I did notice that he didn’t say Chase Utley’s wife was off limits. Oh!!

  15. ie1950 - Aug 19, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    I’m sitting here wondering how many world series the Yankees would have won without free agency?…my guess is alot less then they did….the Yankees as well as the Red Sox are the 2 worst teams when it comes to Luring away stars form other teams so they can carry on their traditions….they make me sick….I’m not saying that the players should not be paid what they’re worth BUT what they are being paid today is absolutely ridiculous….A-Rod is NOT worth 27.5 Million a year for that matter no one is…I miss the old days when you would get players through the draft only….George Steinbrenner was the biggest scumbag that ever lived….He didn’t care about anything other than winning championships for the Yankees so he paid all this money to these players to leave their clubs and make the Yankees what they are today….well I for one would rather see a club draft and develope players so they could win honestly not the Steinbrenner way……good riddance to him…..Unfortunately his sons will carry on his legacy and the Yankees will be on top stealing your best players from you teams because they don’t have a clue how to draft….

  16. SadPandaRevolt - Aug 19, 2010 at 12:48 PM

    Yeah! How DARE players have a choice of where they live and play!

  17. Ditto65 - Aug 19, 2010 at 12:50 PM

    I’m with Old Gator – even photoshop pictures of strangers and claim they are your family doing all those different things you claim they do.

  18. bofarr - Aug 19, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    Not according to poor little Joe Johnson of the Hawks…

  19. JBerardi - Aug 19, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    Won’t someone PLEASE think of the children?!

  20. Old Gator - Aug 19, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    Have you checked the children?

  21. matt - Aug 19, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    Im a phillies fan and after reading the articles about Werth this year it seems to me that the various media members have hinted that Jason’s attitude has changed considerably recently. He may be reading too much of his own press. My wife and I both remarked on seperate occasions while watching seevral interviews with him that he had an arrogant smirk and a different tone of voice than he had a year ago when he was still a relatively anonomys player. Remember, this guy may be 30 or so, but he has just started to play regularly. This may be the real jerk coming out that was always there. To me he seems like the John Kruk type where he develops an image as an “everyguy” with the facial hair and the workman image, but in reality these are miserable people behind the scenes. In the end, New York can have him at $16 million /year. He isn’t worth it. His numbers this year are very deceiving. His #’s with runners ins coring position are putrid and I believe the worst in the majors. And dont let him hit a home run. Once he does he swings for the fences for the next 2 weeks.

  22. dprat - Aug 19, 2010 at 4:49 PM

    @ie1950… “because they don’t have a clue how to draft….”
    Jeter, Posada, and Pettite say “hi.” In the last few years, so do Tyler Clippard, Phil Hughes, Brett Gardner, Austin Jackson, Drew Storen, etc… (despite almost always drafting behind almost everyone else). So does a ton of Latin American talent they recognized, signed and developed. “Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi…..” Yup, they do got a buttload o’ money, and apparently they spent some of it purchasing a pretty decent clue.

  23. Pisano - Aug 19, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    I wouldn’t make book on Carl Crawford just yet . I don’t know his stats , but he doesn’t seem to hit left hand pitching well ,(someone give me the stats ) at least when I’ve seen him . The Yankees already have a weakness with Granderson not hitting lefties . I wouldn’t count Werth out , unless he would rather play somewhere else .

  24. GP - Aug 19, 2010 at 5:20 PM

    ….now get off my lawn!!!

  25. dprat - Aug 19, 2010 at 5:23 PM

    @matt “His #’s with runners ins coring position are putrid and I believe the worst in the majors.”
    This is small sample size nonsense. Yup, in 2010 Werth’s OPS is 199th out of 228 players with at least 75 PAs with runners in scoring position. That’s not good. But so what… Let’s slice these tiny samples a little differently. In 2010, among players with at least 100 PAs with runners on, Werth is 63rd out of 263. Wow, now it looks like he really steps up with runners on, doesn’t it? It’s all small sample size bullshit. For his career (that is, at sample sizes that might have some meaning) Werth is just about the same with runners in scoring position as he is otherwise… a little more OBP, a little less SLG.
    In short, cf: Gertrurde Stein re: Oakland.

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