Jayson Werth explains his fake ball toss in Philadelphia

Matt Slocum / AP

In the ninth inning of the Nationals’ 8-4 victory over the Phillies tonight, Jayson Werth provided what Ian Desmond called, “probably one of the bigger at-bats we’ve had all year.” With the Nationals clinging to a one-run lead and two outs, Werth rolled a two-RBI, game-sealing single up the middle off reliever Justin De Fratus.

The hit was a big play by itself, but the scene made it memorable. The crowd jeered Werth during his entire at-bat, even more than usual. While he was on-deck, a ball rolled to him, and he turned to flip the ball to a pack of fans behind the Nationals’ dugout. At the last moment, Werth faked the toss and then rolled the ball into the dugout.

Afterward, Werth provided a detailed, glorious explanation of what had happened with the ball, the fan and the fake toss:

“Earlier in the game, I flipped a ball in the right field seats to a fan. It bounced off her hands and landed on somebody’s lap. A guy reached over, a Phillies fan, reached over into her lap, grabbed the ball and then threw it back on the field.

“So in the ninth when I got the ball, I was going to flip the ball. There was a group of kids. Behind the kids there were these unruly middle-aged men that to me appeared to be snarling. It’s the ninth. Who knows. I kind of got the sense that maybe they were intoxicated. I was going to flip it to the kids, and then I thought, maybe I shouldn’t, because of the people right behind the innocent little children there.

“So I just flipped it in the dugout. Evidently, that rubbed some people the wrong. After the events in right field, I felt it was better to maybe not throw it in the stands.”

It begs the question: did those innocent kids ever get a ball?

“I looked in after I was on first base, and Mikey [Morse] was feeding what seemed like the whole bag of balls,” Werth said. “I think he made up for it for me.”

Adam Kilgore covers national sports for the Washington Post. Previously he served as the Post's Washington Nationals beat writer from 2010 to 2014.



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Adam Kilgore · September 26, 2012