I’m not sure exactly when this blog turned into happy fun time Spring Training anecdote central, but considering the alternative is listing all of the minor bumps and bruises that every team experiences this time of year, I’m going to go ahead and run with it.
The latest happy fun time Spring Training anecdote comes from the Washington Nationals camp in Melbourne, Florida.
Today not only marked the first time that Chien-Ming Wang threw to live batters in a long time, it was also the first meeting at the plate between Drew Storen and Jayson Werth since the two engaged in an epic eight pitch battle on September 19th, that ended when Werth crushed a walk-off grand slam.
According to Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider, who was observing batting practice:
When Werth stepped into the cage, Storen’s first offering came in high and tight, a little brushback pitch with purpose.
Werth nodded his head at Storen and called out: “Now we’re even.”
Storen’s reply: “Can’t let you get too comfortable up there.”
When the session was over, Werth walked past Storen and said: “I don’t know if I would’ve respected you if you hadn’t thrown that first one in there.”
Storen went on to give some insight into the battle with Werth to Zuckerman.
Oh yeah. It was like one of the first things we talked about. He asked me: ‘Why’d you throw a fastball there?’ It was good. It was good closure for me.
It was interesting to hear his perspective on it, because obviously I’ve played it out in my head and what I thought he was looking for. I thought I could get a fastball by him there. I told him our scouting reports are a little different on what he likes to do late in counts. He was pretty funny. He asked why I didn’t just throw a slider again. So he actually ended up giving me more confidence in my slider.
In all seriousness, that’s a big learning thing for me. You get a guy like that who’s a big-time hitter like that, and you know what he’s looking for late in the game? That’s all part of the learning process. That was huge for me.
Most fans see so much baseball over the course of the summer that we sometimes forget about single at bats and single pitches that are obviously better remembered by the players themselves. I’m as guilty as anyone at reducing these instances to mere statistics, but it’s always nice to see the human element to it being brought back.