Thursday, October 23, 2014
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Phillies fan says he protected son

Jayson Werth was the hot topic in the Phillies' clubhouse Friday night for two reasons: his behavior after he yelled at a fan who prevented him from catching a foul ball in the 12th inning of Thursday night's game against Cincinnati and the persistent trade rumors about him being shipped elsewhere.

Phillies fan says he protected son

Jayson Werth was the hot topic in the Phillies' clubhouse Friday night for two reasons: his behavior after he yelled at a fan who prevented him from catching a foul ball in the 12th inning of Thursday night's game against Cincinnati and the persistent trade rumors about him being shipped elsewhere.

"There has been some backlash," Werth said when asked about the fan incident.

After making a sensational catch against the wall for the second out of the 12th inning, Werth tracked down a foul ball off the bat of the Reds' Drew Stubbs and appeared ready to catch it, but a fan reached up and got it before him. The fan did not lean over the railing for the foul ball. He stepped in front of his son to make the catch.

The fan, identified only by his first name Pat, said during an interview on 97.5 The Fanatic that he was simply trying to protect his 10-year-old son from being hit by the baseball.

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"If I don't catch it, it's hitting him in the head," Pat said. "I wasn't even thinking about Werth."

According to Pat, Werth told him to "get out of my (bleeping) way."

"He shouldn't have said that in front of my son," Pat said. "He's a huge Phillies fan and Werth is one of the ones he really likes. He has been pretty quiet about it. I talked to him about it, but he isn't saying too much."

Werth said he felt "bad" about the incident, but he stopped short of apologizing.

"Honestly, in the heat of the moment and the situation that goes on on the field, I'm definitely in a different mindset than I would be in a normal setting," Werth said. "I don't think I would have yelled at anyboyd like that if that wasn't the case. We had the game on the line. If a guy comes up and hits a home run on the next pitch, I think it's a pretty big deal.

"Obviously I feel bad for the guy and the kid and the people that were sitting around there. It was definitely out of character a little bit. I don’t feel bad about playing hard and going after balls in the stands and stuff like that. It’s just one of those deals – it is part of the game."

Werth said he had not spoken to the fan. He was asked when he realized that it was a big issue.

"I may have not still realized that," he said. "I’m assuming people are upset, but to me it was just something that happened and I moved on right after."
 
He was asked if he felt the players' relationships with the fans was strained during the team's first-half struggles.
 
"I know where we’re playing," he said. "I know what’s at stake here and the fans know what’s at stake. I was at the parade. There were a lot of people at the parade. This place can be as good as any. When we’re winning and you’re on a float down Broad Street, there is nothing better. Right now we’re not winning. We have to play better."
 
As the day started, Werth's name was linked to a possible deal with the New York Yankees that would bring the Phillies pitcher Javier Vazquez. The deal was rumored as a chain reaction of events predicated on Cliff Lee being traded from Seattle to the Yankees. Lee, of course, ended up being sent to the Texas Rangers instead.
 
Werth shrugged off the rumors.

"It’s part of the game," he said. "If something like that happens I’ll find out about it and I’ll deal with it then. Right now my focus is playing baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies ... and winning ballgames."

In other news, second baseman Wilson Valdez was scratched from the starting lineup with a sore left wrist. Juan Castro started at second base instead.

 

Bob Brookover Inquirer Columnist
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