John Feinstein had Jayson Werth on his SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio show Friday afternoon, and Feinstein brought his D.C.-ness to bear on the interview. He told Werth that he was at Nats Park last season for games when Werth would have two hits and a nice defensive play, and yet would still get booed for striking out in his third at-bat.
And this made Werth reflect on the nature of Washington as a sports town.
“You know, I got booed in Philly too when I was playing good; it’s just part of the game,” Werth said. “And actually, Washington’s a pretty interesting place. Because I think you’ve got a really good sports town: They love the Redskins. The hockey team’s playing great and they’ve got a good following. And I think if we get going and start winning games, we’ll have a good following as well.
“But you’ve got a lot of people from all over the country, all over the world that live here, and so they have their own teams. And so every night they show up to support their teams, whether it’s us or where they’re from. So you get a lot of fans for other teams. So I think [that] didn’t bother them at all, booing me as well. It’s just how it is.”
Then Feinstein asked Werth if he was disappointed by the early-season attendance numbers, considering his team’s outlandishly excellent record.
“These things take time,” Werth said. “I think the attendance will come as the season goes on and the city starts to appreciate the team and the guys. I think we’re going in the right direction. I think that’ll all happen in due time.”
Feinstein also asked Werth if he can tell yet how good this Nats team actually is.
“It’s probably too early to tell, but I can tell you that the direction of the club and the organization has done a total 180,” he said. “And I can foresee a winning ballclub here in Washington for a long time. . . . I think we’re a good club, and we’re capable of playing like this for extended periods of time. And I think you’ll see it more and more as the season goes on.”
And in one final interesting quote, Feinstein’s partner Bruce Murray asked Werth if this was what he imagined when he decided to sign in D.C.
“You know, it goes back further than that probably,” Werth said. “When I started the whole process of free agency, I hired Scott [Boras], and you start taking a look at the landscape of free agency. And all along, Scott was saying that Washington is set up the right way. He would go into telling me how good the minor league system is, and in fact told me it’s the best minor league system.
“And I went back and checked, and I said, ‘Well you know, Scott, Baseball America has Washington ranked like 18 or something like that.’ And he said I promise you, they’re the number one, and I think the next year they turned out to be the best-ranked minor league system in baseball, so he was right all along. And that was definitely part of the decision. And the future of this organization — with what Mr. Ted Lerner and Mark Lerner and Mike Rizzo laid out before me — this is the direction of the organization.”