Unshaven Fury: The Chronicles of J-Dub
By Justin Klugh
Jayson is one of those valuable mainstays of the Phillies lineup which, according to panicking fans, could very well dissolve without him around. His hardly exaggerated talents include hitting right-handed, fielding, throwing, and running; in addition to his ability to poop magic stars.
I mean, damn. The guy comes to work with a hatchet murderer’s beard and seems to get a hit for every time someone says he looks like he just got back from another successful human organ harvest. (People say that all the time, you just have to travel in the right circles).
But free agency is going to hit this man like a truck.
A truck specializing in the collection of magic star poopers.
So things could be worse. You could easily argue that one key player, a handful of skilled but hardly mainstay bullpen parts, and Greg Dobbs, are not the worst pieces to lose. There are other teams suffering much, much worse fates. The fact that our resident youngblooded spitfire is an outfielder also seems to be a win from the fates.
But free agency can be declared starting November 7, so regardless of how we rationalize the loss of J-Dub, his dusty razor, and his furious, unforgiving wrath, chances seem likely that he’s on his way out. Though at least it may not be to the Yankees.
To celebrate what may be his last time with Philly, here is a movie treatment I pitched at the 12th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival before being booed off the stage by Dame Judi Dench (who wasn’t even there for the festival, turns out).
Unshaven Fury: The Chronicles of J-Dub
Okay, so, we open on a Phillies night game in CBP. There’s this father and his son sitting on the third base side, close to right field. The dad is cheering, having a great time, until he realizes his son looks distant and sad. The son’s been getting bullied at school, we learn, and the father starts to console him.
He tells him a story about when he was a kid, and he was bullied, and the son respects his father so much that to learn even he had this problem in junior high makes him feel tons better. The kid starts cheering along with his dad, and now they’re both just having a neat old time at the ballpark, as fathers and sons have done for ages.
The Reds player at the plate CRACKS a fly ball down the line, and they both look up. No way. It’s coming right for them. The only thing that could make this night better is if they got to leave with that most organic of all baseball souvenirs: a foul ball.
Closer and closer it drops, almost within reach–
A GLOVE comes speeding in from off camera, and we see it belongs to the scrappy, wild-eye JAYSON WERTH who has appeared on the scene like a demon, his arm outstretched trying to make the catch. The dad and he make COLLIDE in the stands. Whatever out Jayson thought he could make is now destroyed.
His grizzled beard turns toward the father, furious.
GET THE FUCK OUTTA THE WAY!
Shocked and dejected, the father slumps into his seat, not even sure what just happened. The kid stands two feet away, biting his lip, totally unsure of what to do. His father was just disgraced by a pro ball player. The BOOS begin to rain down from the 400 level at their disruption of what could have been the last out of the inning.
Jayson walks slowly back to his position, the crowd menacing the father and son behind him, the night air clogged with dissatisfaction. His facehugger blows gently in the night wind as he spits on the outfield grass, still frustrated.
FREEZE FRAME, and as soon as we do, “Only Want You” by the Eagles of Death Metal begins to play, and the TITLE CARD appears over the image: Unshaven Fury.
Well, this is about where I was asked to leave, without even getting to share the overall arc of the story and the meat of Jayson’s character development. We would flashback to earlier in his career when Jayson, sans beard, was clawing his way through the Blue Jays and Dodgers organizations, using his clean shaven face as a metaphor for inexperience.
- The first scene we flash back to after that opener would be Jayson pitching part of a no-hitter in high school as his team won 56-1.
- We also see Jayson’s lifelong vendetta with A.J. Burnett begin in a really, REALLY intense scene during Spring Training. Burnett breaks Jayson’s wrist with a pitch, and makes a snarky weasel laugh (Burnett being played by Gilbert Godfried)
- Jayson then goes on to play 102 games in a season with his injury illustrating his drive to play the game.
- There’s a powerful scene where Charlie Manuel (Brian Dennehy) watches a tape of Jayson’s highlights (given to him by Jayson) and realizes that Jayson is so awesome that he begins to cry, then smashes his television, knowing it could never show anything as spectacular again.
- Jayson and A.J. Burnett have a pretty sweet helicopter/fight scene in a driving rain storm above the Hoover Dam.
- In August 2007, we get a rockin’ montage of Jayson’s 9-for-9 hitting streak, backed by Queens of the Stone Age’s “3’s & 7’s.”
- The unification of Jayson Werth and the Philadelphia crowd culiminates in Jayson’s theft of home plate, gaining him the acceptance he never needed. Charlie Manuel nods sagely from the dugout. It is the climactic moment of the Act 2.
- I’m also trying to work a scene in where Carlos Beltran spend the 2009 All-Star game vomiting with rage after being replaced by Jayson.
- A.J. Burnett trips and falls down a cliffside for five minutes in every scene he is in. In his last scene, he’s eaten by a shark.
- Jayson is played by Clint Eastwood.