The burgeoning rivalry between the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies probably didn't need any more fuel added to the fire the two teams are building.
Meanwhile, the good Phillies fans out there definitely didn't need another instance of bad behavior added to the rap sheet that makes anyone in the stadium complex see red anytime it's cited by an outsider.
But that's what both camps got on Monday after Nats outfielder Jayson Werth sent Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post an email that said he'd be motivated by the Phillies fans that he heard cheering after he broke his wrist during Sunday night's game. While Werth once said that no hard feelings existed between him and the fan base he left behind in 2010, the bushy bearded one says he'll be fueled through his 10-12 week recovery by what he witnessed from some of the Philly fans who traveled to Nationals Park and heckled his injury.
From the Washington Post:
"After walking off the field feeling nauseous knowing my wrist was broke and hearing Philly fans yelling 'You deserve it,' and, 'That's what you get,' I am motivated to get back quickly and see to it personally those people never walk down Broad Street in celebration again," Werth wrote.
As you might imagine, Werth's correspondence set off a flurry of opinions on blogs and on Twitter. Kyle Scott of the Philly-centric Crossing Broad told Werth to "get over us, you weirdo" while D.C.-based Mr. Irrelevant confirmed the cheering from the stands.
People, of course, are going to believe what they want to believe. I generally believe Werth, as there's a lot less room to interpret specific remarks as there is when interpreting cheers (it's possible, after all, that some Phillies fans were cheering in support with Nats fans as Werth left the field). What incentive would Werth have to lie about saying he heard someone yelling that he deserved his injury?
At the same time, Werth has a lot more to drive him through the rehab on the left wrist that almost previously ended his career. A $126 million contract with the Nats that he struggled to live up to in his first season, for one. A spot in a lineup with hopes of winning its first NL East title, for another.
But while I'm sure that Werth will have both of those in mind during the coming months, it really speaks to the rivalry between the two teams that this has become an issue.
One other certainty: This is far from the final chapter involving the parties in this dispute.
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