Call it J-Werth’s Senior-itis
The second semester of my senior year of high school I eschewed four years of perfect attendance, relegated studying to only that of the opposite sex, and made it a point to live it up at any and every moment because I knew, “Hell, I’m not going to be here in five months.”
I concerned myself little with what colleges might think as I a) had gotten into school and b) knew future colleges and employers would excuse a few months of truancy for the 17 years of hard work I’d put in.
Jayson Werth is in his Senior Semester with the Phillies and his performance and actions seem to suggest he’s got the senior-itis.
Let’s get the objective stuff out of the way. He’s batting average has dropped 103 points, his OPS 306 and his slugging percentage 371. Even that seems to belie Werth’s epic struggle.
In the month of July (54 at-bats) he has three RBI. The only number Werth has been able to keep steady are his strikeouts. He’s leading the team, averaging 23 per month and is well on his way to more than 30 swing-and-misses this month.
And those are only the cut-and-dried blunders that seem to be barreling down on the “Werewolf.” (By The Way; shouldn’t that be spelled “where”wolf or “ware”wolf?)
A month ago Jayson was easily the most popular Phillies player, especially among women.
With seats just rows away from the right-field where Werth plays, I’ve been privy to the seemingly endless number of signs and admirers.
“Fear the Beard”
“Take Off Your Shirt / I’m Werth It”
“Sign the Man”
“I’m Having Your baby”
If there were a rock star on this team, he stood 6’5" with a beard that might have made Jim Morrison ‘69 jealous.
So what happened? It began innocuously, seemingly silent, odorless and invisible. Now the boos and catcalls have started to become audible and it is clear to everyone that the “Werewolf” is no longer under a full moon.
He’s cursed out fans, been the target of post-game lectures from Charlie Manuel, has been short and irate with reporters, was the victim of a now de-bunked rumor involving him and Mrs. Utley; and today came under scrutiny again as it became public knowledge that he was out until 3 a.m. (earliest reports) gambling in St. Louis with the injured second baseman.
You may say, it’s the result of living under a spotlight, right? Not for Werth, who has seemed to embrace his hard partying, rock star image without become front page news for the rumor mills. Well, let’s add two headlines to that rumor mill right now.
“Jayson Werth Has Mentally Checked Out on This Team.”
“Werth Will Not Wear A Phillies Uniform in 2011”
Give him credit for dragging around Sisyphus’ boulder of burden (remember the Stonecutter episode of Simpsons?). His contract had to weigh on him this year.
But as he started out hot (hitting .325 in April) the weight of pending free agency probably felt like nothing more than a pebble.
However, the average dropped as did the power numbers, rumors started, and worst he’s seemed to develop a paralyzing fear of swinging the bat in two-strike counts.
So now it’s a “F--- It” situation. He’s put in three years and three months of solid MLB experience. Made an All-Star team and started on two World Series teams.
If the Phillies were going to re-sign him, they wouldn’t be shopping him loud and clear. Furthermore the Phillies’ organization knows if they don’t sign him, they have to trade him, as Ruben Amaro knows he’s in a position not to show minus points in any transaction.
Thus, Werth’s early-season pebble has grown into a boulder. We don’t have to admit it, but Werth, the Phillies, and deep down, we the fans know that they we're watching the sun rise on the Werewolf.