Kornheiser: Jayson Werth ‘an idiot’


(Alex Brandon/AP)

I know what you’re thinking: “Holy Toledo, another Tony Kornheiser transcript? This guy really has nothing better to write about than what a grumpy dude rants about on a radio show that’s fueled by grumpy rants? And this after dozens of us politely told him that this tactic was lazy and lame just a few days ago?

Here’s the problem: Kornheiser saying Caps fans have “a chesty fan base” is, thus far, my second-most read item of the week. Even if you’re hate-reading this and then telling your co-workers that The Post employs a sports blogger whose idea of creativity is listening to two sports-radio stations at the same time, you’re still reading it!

Anyhow, this is all kind of interesting to me.

So let’s start with the key quote from Adam Kilgore’s piece on Jayson Werth’s hitting approach, published in The Post earlier this week.

“Just because you can do something else doesn’t mean you can hit,” Werth said. “If you can hit, you can do anything. Because it’s the hardest thing to do. There’s nothing harder. I can bake a cake. I could figure out a way to do algorithms. But a guy that knows how to do algorithms could never hit. It’s literally the hardest thing to do. If you can do the hardest thing, you can do anything else.”

Werth also said that “there’s nothing harder in the galaxy” than successfully hitting a baseball.

Now, this was an easy quotation to pick at, and plenty of people did.

“There are probably millions of things that are harder to do than hitting a baseball. Werth has tried approximately 0% of the things a person can do,” one Hardball Talk commenter wrote.

“Let him deal with Fios customer service,” a WNFF commenter suggested.

“I think writing comments on Post articles is the hardest thing to do,” a Post commenter argued, and I nodded my head on that one.

Other people came up with actual hard things to do, like being a single parent, or piloting the SR-71, or even the aforementioned algorithm thing. But no one disputed Werth’s claim with quite the vigor of Kornheiser.

“I read all these quotes. They were unbelievably self-absorbed,” he said on PTI Wednesday afternoon.

Unbelievably,” Michael Wilbon agreed.

“I mean, among other things, curing cancer would be infinitely more important than hitting a baseball,” Kornheiser said.

“And more difficult,” Wilbon added.

There was even more vigor on Kornheiser’s ESPN 980 program. Lots of vigor. Very vigorous vigor.

“He’s an idiot,” Kornheiser said. “He’s just an idiot, Jayson Werth. It may be very hard to hit a pitched baseball. But it’s not the hardest, right? I mean, the sort of self-reverence of that….Again, my ego’s enormous. This is idiotic. I mean, this is Jayson Werth saying ‘I’m an important person because I can do the hardest thing in the world.’ I can. I’m a great hitter. What? C’mon. C’mon. You’re an idiot. There are like 30 things that are harder, and we don’t even have to sit down with a list….

“I’m not even going to say you’re not worth the money, even though nobody’s worth the kind of money you got,” Kornheiser later said. “But this is not the hardest thing in the world, is it? It’s just not. It’s not!!! It angers me….There’s nothing harder in the galaxy? You couldn’t find the galaxy with both hands. Stop. C’mon. Stop it. Please. Give us a break. I’m sure Jayson Werth’s a nice guy, but C’MON!  ”

While I was considering whether to devote my creative talents to a Tony Kornheiser transcript, I asked Kilgore — the author of the original piece and a regular Kornheiser listener — for his thoughts. His response:

In my opinion, a lot of people kind of missed his point. Tony had the most public and vehement reaction, but he was not alone. Werth doesn’t literally think he could play the violin or do brain surgery or something. What he’s really saying, I think, is: “I wish you poor saps knew how good it felt to hit a big league slider over the fence, because it’s so hard that when you do it, it makes you feel like the king of all creation.” Also, I love Tony and his show and in no way wish to align myself against him or it.

Which is probably a rational interpretation. And we can probably safely say that Werth is not an idiot, nor does he believe hitting a baseball is actually the hardest thing in the galaxy. Everyone knows that’s either playing Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto, or finding an acceptable Final Four team out of the West region this year.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg · March 20

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