Jayson Werth warns Bryce Harper ahead of first season in Philly
Jayson Werth definitely knows a thing or two about playing in Philadelphia in light of his years in the Phillies organization, and he would like to offer a word of warning to Bryce Harper ahead of the slugger’s first season playing in the City of Brotherly Love:
Be prepared for the boo birds.
“It could be his first game,” Werth said of the inevitable cold reception Harper will experience at some point from the notoriously temperamental Philly faithful, via The Athletic’s Jayson Stark.
Werth spent four seasons with the Phillies before signing a megadeal with the Washington Nationals ahead of the 2011 season. Werth then of course was Harper’s teammate from 2012 through 2017.
During his time in Philadelphia, though, Werth became a fan favorite with his scruffy beard and aggressive style of play. Things changed, to no surprise, once he left Philadelphia to sign a seven-year, $126 million contract to play in D.C.
Werth relayed to Stark how a young Harper could not believe how vitriolic Phillies fans were toward a player they once revered every time the Nationals paid a visit to Philadelphia.
“He just looked at me, like, ‘They keep booing you, huh? Geez,'” Werth said. “Then he just kind of shook his head, like: ‘Why?’… Just didn’t get it. Maybe he just didn’t understand it. But he will understand it. He definitely will understand it.”
Harper, despite being hailed amid great fanfare as an eventual organizational savior who will lead the Phillies to a World Series championship, undoubtedly will run afoul of the team’s fans should he struggle at the plate at any point. Werth believes it is not a matter of “if,” only of “when.”
“It’s inevitable,” Werth said. “Bryce is a streaky player. He gets hot. He gets cold. You know how that’s going to go.”