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Davey Johnson explains Gio Gonzalez-Jayson Werth spat

Aug 14, 2013, 10:47 AM EDT

Screen Shot 2013-08-14 at 9.07.17 AM

During the first inning of last night’s Nationals-Giants game starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez and right fielder Jayson Werth had a verbal altercation in the Washington dugout that was caught on camera. It didn’t go beyond yelling because Werth seemed to end things by walking away.

Chase Hughes of went looking for answers in the clubhouse afterward and both parties declined to talk, but manager Davey Johnson explained:

Oh, just a little camaraderie going on. Jayson sometimes can get a little vocal. He thought that Gio was a little late covering first, and he was. Spirits are high. I like it. It’s no big deal.

Gonzalez did admit afterward that he was late covering first base, saying he fell off the mound to the third base side and thought the first baseman or second baseman was going to make the play.

  1. Glenn - Aug 14, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    When a team is losing, this is used as a textbook example of bad chemistry and dissension. When a team is winning, this is used as an example of grit and the “will to win”.

    • Glenn - Aug 14, 2013 at 10:58 AM

      PS – Davey Johnson is twisting this the opposite way, as he is the guy who will take the fall for “bad chemistry”.

  2. thomas844 - Aug 14, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    When a group of 25 guys travels and stays together for over 6 months, there are bound to be spats here and there. Some more public than others. This is just another example of the press trying to make a big story out of nothing.

  3. jfk69 - Aug 14, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Davey need to hire Bobby Valentine as his team chemistry coach. Bobby has a book of quotes to use from his managing career. Of course he will also need to hire Franco as his pitching coach and team mouth piece

    • kevinbnyc - Aug 14, 2013 at 1:34 PM

      Maybe Bobby can replace Davey next year! Start the rumor mill!

  4. heyblueyoustink - Aug 14, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    Gio: Get a haircut, hippy!

    Werth: Take that needle out of your ass.

  5. stoutfiles - Aug 14, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    “Spirits are high. I like it. It’s no big deal.”

    Yeah, the Nats are finally realizing they aren’t that good, and are starting to nitpick things and point fingers.

    “Should have pitched Strasburg in the playoffs” will be the saying for years to come. There’s no such thing as guarantees in baseball, you have to earn it every year.

    • emdash01 - Aug 14, 2013 at 11:49 AM

      I’ve never entirely understood why non-Nats fans are so obsessed with the Strasburg thing. Caring about decisions other teams make that don’t affect me at all seems like a lot of effort, if you ask me.

      • someguyinva - Aug 14, 2013 at 1:07 PM

        Because even though there’s no such thing as guarantees in baseball, the Nats should have pitched Strasburg in the playoffs because it would’ve guaranteed their winning the NLDS, NLCS, and World Series, and so they’re stupid and full of hubris, and deserving of scorn, derision, and hate, that’s why….

        The Nats had a plan to limit Strasburg’s innings last year, and that plan included pitching him on Opening Day, keeping him as part of the normal rotation, pitching every fifth day, etc. There was no way to stick with this plan and have Strasburg available for the post-season; they took their chance with Zimmermann, Gonzalez, Jackson, and Detwiler (not a terrible rotation, btw) and it didn’t work, because they pissed away a six run lead in game 5 of the NLDS.

        So, given that they wanted to keep him on regular rotation, then it’s obvious that they should’ve kept him idle at the beginning of the season, right? This way he doesn’t expend all his innings prior to the playoffs, and he’s still available. A team that won 81 games in 2011, with no recent history of having a winning record, saying at the start of 2012 that they’re sure they’re going to make the playoffs, and so they’re going to keep their ace sidelined till late May/early June, because he’s on an innings limit, and he’ll be needed for the playoffs? Yeah, that would’ve gone over almost as well with the “Nats are stupid for not pitching Strasburg” crowd as the way they handled it did.

      • danaking - Aug 14, 2013 at 3:12 PM

        I don’t think it’s about Strasburg so much as it’s about the organization arrogance shown by how they handled it in the media. I live near DC, and this situation was routinely depicted by GM Rizzo as
        1. Who are any of you to question us?
        2. we’re going to be in the playoffs every year for the foreseeable future. This is no big deal.

        Personally, I think they did the right thing by limiting Strasburg’s innings last year. It’ the kid’s career; the prevailing sentiment should be “First, do no harm.” They were asses about the way they did it, and this is why people love to beat them up.

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 15, 2013 at 6:05 AM


        Love it… You say “there’s no such thing as guarantees in baseball…” and then you say that pitching Strasburg in the playoffs “would’ve guaranteed their winning the NLDS, NLCS, and World Series,…”

        Uh, there aren’t any guarantees in baseball and no, pitching Strasburg wouldn’t have guaranteed them winds in all of the series up to and including the World Series.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 14, 2013 at 11:49 AM

      Sitting Strasburg last year was about more than just this year. The kid should be good for a while, and I would guess the Nats will be good again soon.

  6. skinsfanwill - Aug 14, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    they should have skipped Stras a few times in the rotation towards the end of the year so he would be fresh for the playoffs.

  7. misterj167 - Aug 14, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    A lot of the animosity towards the Nats is also aimed at sportswriters for arrogantly deciding that they were going to win the whole thing this year, and also a lot of Nats fans who were talking dynasty after having one winning year. You don’t get to brag about how great you’re going to be until you show up and do it. At least the Phillies won the division five years running before they collapsed, so their fans had reason to brag. Hey, in nine more years they would have tied the Braves for most consecutive division titles.

    Winning consistently in baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports, it’s much harder than winning a single World Series, as the Marlins have proved, twice. It requires more than just talent, it requires discipline and a system-wide focus on fundamentals. It’s not like basketball or football where one player can make a huge difference on a team (look what happened to the Bulls a couple years ago when Derrick Rose went down, imagine any football team winning with a bad quarterback), and you can’t have a couple of players who literally cannot play the game, like enforcers in hockey who are basically good at skating and beating people up.

    Yankees fans are jerks but their team has a winning history. So do the Cardinals and the Dodgers and the Braves. The Nats have had, what, one winning season since they moved from Montreal? And if they have a lot of talent now it’s BECAUSE they were so bad for so long. The Phillies spent a lot of money signing big name players to long term contracts and while that got them a WS in the short term, it’s hurting them now.

    The Braves had some lean years after their 14-year run and they didn’t have the advantage of high draft choices or huge payrolls, but now they’re back and a lot of their key players come from within their system. If you want to beat them regularly you not only have to have some extraordinary talent, you have to play BETTER BASEBALL than they do, and that’s not easy. And we Braves fans resent anyone being handed the trophy without the benefit of proving it on the field.

    • emdash01 - Aug 14, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      I mean, you’re basically just describing how sports punditry works, there – every year there’s a team that’s, as you put it, “handed the trophy” because every year there’s predictions of who will win the divisions. It’s usually a team that did well last year or added flashy new pieces, or both. Everyone except a few outliers like Heyman (who was mocked for it) thought the Braves would be good this year, too. Taking it personally because it’s a team in your division when these predictions happen *every year* doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

      • misterj167 - Aug 14, 2013 at 3:20 PM

        When sportswriters continue to predict their team will win even after they’ve been basically crushed, that’s different. Right after the All-Star Break, when the Braves had like a 9 game lead in the division, ESPN still had pundits happily and confidently predicting that the Nats would make a run and still win the division and completely dismissing the Braves. It’s one thing to say that stuff in spring training (and even I assumed the Nats would at least still be in the running), it’s another thing to be delusional about it. Last week the Braves were rated #1 in the power rankings on ESPN yet in the short video they had on the website they weren’t even mentioned. When your team is doing well you at least like to hear sportswriters saying that instead of finding excuses to talk about something else. My “Meanwhile, on ESPN” posts are an exaggeration, but not THAT much of an exaggeration.

        As for the fans, again, it’s one thing to want your team to win, it’s another to say how the other team still sucks after they’ve gotten their butts swept at home by that team. Baseball is about losing more than it is winning, and if anyone is going to be cocky about it, at least have a reason for it.

  8. dcfan999 - Aug 14, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    It’s ok the braves will choke in the playoffs like they always do

    • misterj167 - Aug 14, 2013 at 3:27 PM

      Like the Nats did in their only playoff appearance in HOW LONG? If the Braves “choke in the playoffs”, at least they GET there.

  9. multiplemiggs - Aug 14, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    Being that I know everything, I say Werth is right in this situation. A white man needs to step up and say something when a lazy, cocky Spañard is screwing things up for everyone.

    • historiophiliac - Aug 14, 2013 at 7:27 PM

      Somebody is looking for a banning.

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