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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
out.”

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. Food - Aug 19, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    You’re really going to give the Yankees credit for drafting Clippard and Storen? Seeing as how neither signed and later were drafted and signed by another team, that seems a bit specious to me.

  2. Old Gator - Aug 19, 2010 at 6:46 PM

    Yeah, I’ll accept the compliment on behalf of Steve, Marty et al. Saw them on their 25th Anniversary tour this past summer at the City Winery in NY. Wonderful. If you are a fan, mate, there’s a really good book about the band and about Kilbey in particular called No Certainties Attached though I can’t recall the name of the author at the moment. They’re a great story too.

  3. dprat - Aug 19, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    @Food
    You’re right about Storen, but wrong about Clippard, who was drafted and developed by the Yankees. I think the point holds: especially given their sucky draft position year after year, the org has been competent in their selections.

  4. schmedley - Aug 19, 2010 at 9:32 PM

    Good points Craig. I’ve read some unflattering stories about Werth around the Internet. Looks like he’s not the most fan/media friendly guy. I didn’t like the way that he yelled at the fan who went after the foul ball last month either. I think that New York would eat him alive. The Philly media is tough, but they’re not nearly as TMZish as the New York tabloids. The Philly papers never mentioned a word about the Internet rumor that Werth was having an affair with Utley’s wife a few months back. I think the New York Post would have had a field day with that story. I’m a Phillies fan and I appreciate Werth as a player, but I won’t be too sad to see him go.

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