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Jayson Werth hits home run in rare appearance in amateur wooden bat league

Jayson Werth hits home run in rare appearance in amateur wooden bat league

Jayson Werth was in town last weekend when the 2008 world champion Phillies team was honored at Citizens Bank Park. It reminded fans of that glorious run and perhaps gave Werth the itch to get back on the baseball diamond.

Maybe just not a professional diamond.

The Washington Post has a fun story today about Werth suiting up and playing in a regular old men's wooden bat league down in the Washington, D.C. area last month. It all started with a friendship Werth developed with Matt Mika who was injured in the shooting at a Republican Congressional baseball practice in June 2017. The two have kept in touch since and after Werth walked away from his career as a major-league ballplayer this June, he was looking to get some game action in to prepare for the Bluegrass World Series in Lousiville, Kentucky, in August where former MLB stars get together and play.

So Werth reached out to his friend about joining one of his games. Who is going to turn down a chance to see the "Bearded One" take on amateur pitching?

Werth had some funny things to say about the first non-professional field he's played on in over two decades.

“The outfield’s kind of uneven, the infield’s not really level and the batter’s box, it felt like a two-foot hole where your back foot stands. The lights aren’t real bright," he said.

And his quote to the Post about the pitching is pretty hilarious. 

“The velocity of the opposing pitchers wasn’t what I’m used to,” Werth, who drew a walk his first time up, said with a laugh. “It took me a minute.”

But Werth didn't go all Embiid-Dunking-On-a-Rando on them. He had some misses. He finished 1 for 4 with a home run and a walk.

And like Embiid playing at a local playground with randos, Werth made both teams' and spectators' days simply by being a good sport.

I always thought the dislike for Werth in Philly after he left the Phillies to play on an incredibly lucrative contract in Washington was misguided. All he ever did in Philly was win a championship and be a fun guy to root for.

Last we heard from Werth, he was telling us about how he's already spoken to Bryce Harper about what playing ball in Philly is like. If Bryce doesn't end up playing for the Phillies when he hits free agency, maybe Werth can always come back and join a Philly area wooden bat league?

Anyway, he can still put good wood on the ball as demonstrated in the below home run swing.


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Bryce Harper meets some Philly sports legends at the Sixers game

Bryce Harper meets some Philly sports legends at the Sixers game

The new big man in town, Bryce Harper, went to the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night to take in the Sixers game against the Milwaukee Bucks. He rubbed shoulders with some of the previous biggest (little) men in town.

Harper was in attendance and rang the bell prior to tip-off — something he'll surely do many times during Phillies games across the street this summer.

When Harper made his way to his seat in a suite, he was seated alongside Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. Rhys Hoskins was also in the suite as were all of the aforementioned players' significant others. Talk about some serious Philly sports firepower right there.

And then later in the game, the Sixers shared an image of a couple of legendary No. 3s meeting in the bowels of the Center. I'd love to hear the conversation between Allen Iverson and Harper.

Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was also in the building, sitting a bit closer to the court. Rapper Meek Mill was also in the building and took a photo with A.I. Which got me wondering: What's the perfect storm of Philly sports stardom in a Rat Pack sort of way? Obviously you had Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid on the court last night. In terms of the Flyers, aside from Gritty, you'd have to go Claude Giroux or maybe a fun-loving guy like Scott Hartnell from years past? Recently retired players that could fit the bill from other teams would have to include Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and maybe Pat Burrell just for fun. Is anyone in recent Eagles memory a bigger name than Brian Dawkins? He'd fill the fedora quotient. Nick Foles could be fun in a clean and wholesome sort of way.

My Philly sports Rat Pack would consist of A.I., Simmons, Embiid, Kendall Jenner, Wentz, Jason Kelce and Gritty. We got a good portion of that in the building last night.

Who is in your Philly sports Rat Pack?

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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Nationals fans don’t get to be mad at Bryce Harper

Nationals fans don’t get to be mad at Bryce Harper

They can boo him. They can even hate him. But there’s absolutely no way Washington Nationals fans can fault Bryce Harper.

Sportswriters instructed Nats fans not to show up to the stadium unless they plan to boo Harper. Metro TV personalities smashed a pinata with the six-time All-Star’s photograph. Fans destroyed their No. 34 jerseys and showed up to the ballpark with signs that read “traitor.” The mayor of Washington D.C. took to social media to compare a baseball player to Benedict Arnold.

And yet, on Monday it was revealed in The Washington Post that the Nationals didn't just offer Harper less money and fewer years than the Phillies. The structure of the 10-year, $300 million contract proposed in September would’ve deferred payment on $100 million – 33 percent of the total value – until 2052. Then, in January, the club followed up with an even worse deal: 12 years, $250 million that wouldn’t be fully paid until the year 2072.

Harper would be 79 in 2072, assuming he lived that long.

There’s loyalty and hometown discounts. Then there’s situations that just don’t make sense.

Now seems like a good time to point out the Nationals are owned by Ted Lerner, whose own net worth is estimated to be in the multi billions. The team has done pretty well for itself at the gate, finishing 11th in Major League Baseball in average attendance in 2018 despite some of the highest ticket prices in the game. And while the TV contract is in dispute, the organization will eventually claim hundreds of millions of dollars in right fees dating back to 2012.

The money was there. Even without Harper, the Nationals have the seventh-largest payroll in baseball this season – never mind management’s inability to construct a winning team with that checkbook.

Why is this coming back on the player?

It’s one thing for fans to suggest a professional athlete should consider taking less money. It’s quite another to argue the athlete should sign a contract where a sizable portion of the cash might be paid when he’s living in a nursing home.

On some level, this is all reminiscent of when Jayson Werth pulled a reverse-Harper and left the Phillies to sign with the NL East rival Nationals in in 2011. The Phillies chose to allocate finances in such a way the club decided it would only retain Werth for below-market value, so he left. Fans weren’t happy, and he was booed every time he came to town.

But Werth wasn’t a generational talent. He was a cog, people ultimately understood he got a better deal, plus letting him go meant the Phillies could re-sign Cliff Lee, for example.

The Nationals let the face of baseball leave D.C. without a serious offer, and all they got was the money to sign Patrick Corbin.

Hey, it happens, and Nats fans should boo Harper for all 13 years in red pinstripes, the same as any Philly fan would in their shoes.

Just don’t cry Harper is a traitor. He’s in a Phils uniform because the Nationals screwed up, and the only place fingers need to be pointed is directly at the front office.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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