"You like Huey Lewis and the News?"
— Patrick Bateman, as played by Christian Bale in "American Psycho"
Perhaps lost in the disappointing season the Washington Nationals are having is the resurgence of slugger Jayson Werth after a spate of injuries. As reporter Adam Kilgore notes in the Washington Post, Werth has hit .365/.450/.600 since July 1 and is one of the main reasons the Nats remain on the fringe of wild card contention. At age 34, Werth also has refined himself as a hitter, being more aggressive and seeing fewer pitches while still being one of the more selective batters in the league. Sure, he's getting paid, but it's a neat comeback from two career-threatening wrist injuries.
But it's not just good health, good luck and plate wisdom that's driving Werth to MVP-caliber status. It's also the films of superstar Christian Bale:
One night in July, Werth watched “American Psycho,” in which Christian Bale plays a deranged Wall Street executive. The next day, Werth blasted two home runs against Clayton Kershaw. He watched another movie starring Bale the next night. He crushed two more homers the next day.
“It was like eight straight nights of Christian Bale,” Werth said.
Superstitious, much? Well, yeah. Kilgore says that Werth "draws a thin line between superstition and routine." Many ballplayers, perhaps most, are like that. But the Christian Bale Hot Streak couldn't go on forever.
On the eighth night, Werth watched “The Machinist.” In that one, Bale plays an industrial worker whose insomnia leads to insanity and emaciation. Werth walked into the clubhouse and saw first baseman Adam LaRoche. “Rochie,” Werth told him, “I watched a movie about you last night.”
“I took an 0-for,” Werth said. “And that was the last time I watched a Christian Bale movie.”
(That was an inside joke Werth made about LaRoche, who takes Ritalin to control his ADD. The medicine makes it hard for him to eat, and LaRoche has not been able to keep weight on this season. Hence, "The Machinist" reference.)
It's only a coincidence, but it probably was a good time to quit Bale. And it does make you wonder what the other six movies were. My guesses:
• "The Dark Knight"
• "The Dark Knight Rises" (terrible)
• "Rescue Dawn"
• "3:10 To Yuma"
• "Reign of Fire"
• "Swing Kids"
OK, kidding about "Swing Kids." Werth definitely would have taken an 0-for after that. I'll go with "Empire of the Sun," Bale's first big break. Very sad movie, though. Anyway.
Take us out, Huey!