Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How Philly fans overtook D.C.

Photo courtesy of Eric London
A large group of Phillies fans waits to enter Nationals Park on Monday.
[UPDATED AT 11:12 A.M.]

I know there is much disgust around NatsTown this morning over just about every aspect of yesterday's opener, from the actual result on the field (an embarrassing, 11-1 loss to the Phillies) to the President pulling a White Sox cap out of his pocket to the invasion of fans from up I-95 who turned Nationals Park into Citizens Bank Park.

It seems that final point has been most upsetting to local fans who were aghast to walk into their home ballpark and feel like they were outnumbered by the opposition. On Opening Day, nonetheless.

So what happened? How did so many Phillies fans manage to squeeze their way in while many Nationals fans were shut out. Individual-game tickets went on sale March 2, and according to the club, it only took seven minutes for most to sell out. Did that many people from Philadelphia get on the phone in those seven minutes and gobble up all the available seats?

Probably not.

The best explanation appears to be that many of those visiting fans bought tickets through group sales, well in advance of March 2.

Different types of tickets are sold at different points in the calendar year. Season ticket packages go on sale before the previous season ends. Group packages also become available during the offseason.

"Both season tickets are sold, and groups are booked, all through the winter, for every game," Nationals president Stan Kasten said via email this morning. "All of this is before any individual game tickets go on sale."

It appears at least one organization in Philadelphia figured this out and took advantage of the opportunity to buy tickets in bulk long before they were on sale to individuals. A website called Phillytailgate.com, founded by a Philadelphia sports fan who wanted to organize large outings with other fans, bought a huge block of seats over the winter and then offered $109 ticket packages that included bus transportation from Philadelphia, unlimited food and beverages and a tailgate outside Nationals Park featuring a DJ, a string band and parade.

According to Philadelphia television station KYW, about 1,500 fans boarded more than 20 buses yesterday morning near Citizens Bank Park and made the trip down to Washington for the game.

Obviously, there were far more than 1,500 Phillies fans in attendance, so this one outing didn't account for the entire invasion. But it would appear plenty of other fans in Philadelphia got together and purchased group packages (minimum 25 seats) over the winter once they became available.

Some pro sports franchises have attempted before to restrict fans from opposing cities buying up tickets in bulk. The Capitals, most notably, have tried to keep Penguins fans from taking over Verizon Center by preventing phone sales that come from the Pittsburgh area code.

Asked if the Nationals discussed a similar attempt to restrict Philadelphia fans from buying seats to yesterday's game, Kasten wrote: "We tried to limit it, but not cut it off completely."

It should be noted that all those group packages purchased by Phillies fans were available to fans from Washington or any other city who wished to attend yesterday's game, or any other game this season.

In other words: If you want to avoid a similar scene next year, start organizing your Opening Day 2011 ticket purchasing groups ASAP.


JayB said...


Thanks for the research but the logic is hollow. Nats put such a poor product on the field year after year they killed any hope of fans organizing group outings...You can not even give away your season tickets to DC locals.

Nats have to be held accountable for the state of the fan base that was about 25,000 in 2005 and now is at best 5,000. This means protecting against what happened yesterday by holding off on group packages like that for opening day...they would have sold it out either way and profit margin is higher on individual game tickets.

Stan should be fired today, now for his short view how to build this fan base and franchise. Ted Lerner is to old and stupid and protected....quotes from the game show he did not have any idea what was going on in the stands. This is how we lost the last two baseball teams....and yes I know they have a lease and will not be leaving town...THEY ARE NOW THE WASHINGTON GENERALS and will make money for Lerner that way.....If he was not so clueless he should care about that legacy.

David H. said...

Why sell group packages for opening day?

DC Diehard said...

I follow the Nats pretty close -- am an "Insider." I did not know group sales were open all winter.

On the day single tickets went on sale I tried to get 12 for my group -- not available. I was able to get 25 as a group -- but not good seats.

How were all those seat for groups available in the top seating locations?

This management is doing a great job alienating its potential fans (I used to be a season ticket holder -- no more).

CoverageisLacking said...

Thanks, Mark. But the issue is not what the Nationals' practice regarding group sales of Opening Day tickets *is*. The issue is what the Nationals' practice regarding group sales of Opening Day tickets *should be*.

If the Nats are trying to build a real fan base, they need to develop policies that prevent against stuff like this on Opening Day. Opening Day is supposed to be a special day for the hometown fans. The Nationals ruined that for many fan yesterday (including me), and I'm not referring to the results on the field. The Caps became famous for blocking Pittsburgh fans from buying playoff tickets a few years ago when they were trying to build their fanbase and atmosphere; and yet the Nats are bending over backwards inviting Philly fans down to DC for Opening Day.

Mark, here are a couple followup questions for you to think about and hopefully pursue: did the Nats allow pre-season group sales for the Red Sox games last year? Did they have group sales for the ballpark opener in 2008? I think we can guess what the answers are. They no doubt changed their group sales policies; the same should have held true for Opening Day. And many Nats fans were shut out from buying tickets for yesterday's game as a result, as you noted.

The Lerners talk about how their ownership of the team constitutes a public trust. Mark Lerner just said in an interview with SBF that "Our family thinks of the entire Washington, D.C., community as stakeholders in the Washington Nationals." Then they spit in our faces by forcing us to deal with thousands of drunk, vulgar Phillies fans on Opening Day. The Lerners and Kasten make me sick.

Anonymous said...

JayB - As you have proven time and time and time and time and time and time and time and time again, you are ignorant to the financial workings of selling tickets. But, since I'm amused by watching little minds spin, please do explain how your plan for holding off on group ticket sales until later in the offseason enables the front office to put a better product on the field.

Anonymous said...

Mark, isn't this year's Opening Day payroll similar to last year's (within, say, 5%)? That's where the fans look to see if this ownership group really has a commitment to improvement.

The freshness of a) having baseball back in DC and then b) the new ballpark is OVER. That alone won't get people to go.

There aren't enough people who simply love the game that they'll go for almost no reason.

The Lerners have to make DC locals WANT to go to the games -- see: Capitals. Sure, the Caps are a bit farther along on that path and Ovechkin has indeed delivered on the promise he had when he was drafted #1 overall.

Will the same thing happen with Strasburg? Only thing there is that Ovi can impact every game, Strasburg is a 1 of every 5 game player.

What I saw yesterday was no different than most of the 102 losses of 2009 -- a starter that can't get through the lineup twice, a bullpen loaded with MEH (used-ta-coulds [Foxworthy Redneck Dictionary word there] and never-wills), and a lineup where hitters 6-9 wouldn't scare anyone.

Roscoe said...

Clearly a deeper issue is why MLB insists on making the Phillies our home opener the last two seasons. I believe MLB doesn't think DC can sell out the stadium. I think we can.

Kasten and the Lerners don't mind because it's just about the $$$ for them and a sellout looks good on the books.

If we open with the Phillies next year, screw it, let the Phillies have the whole stadium. I won't even be there.

Anonymous said...

Mark Lerner also claimed in that "interview" that Ted Leonsis is their entrepreneurial inspiration and idea guy. This does not sound like something Ted would ever cook up. This certainly smacks of thinking about nothing other than the bottom line. More about stub hub (the reason why premium Redskins tickets ended up in the hands of enemy fans) than about the community and the tradition of opening day. More like Snyder not Leonsis.

JayB said...

Read again...it says PROFIT not PRODUCT...Mr. Big Mind!

Mark Zuckerman said...

If anyone has a good photo from yesterday's game showing a large group of Phillies fans and would like me to post it, email me. I'll be sure to credit you.

Anonymous said...

Nats put such a poor product on the field year after year they killed any hope of fans organizing group outings...

Does it really, Mr. Dumas?

Anonymous said...

As a season ticket holder (Sect. 105), I was also offended by the Phillies fan invasion, but we also have to look in the mirror a bit here. The people sitting next to and behind me - all Phillies fans - bought their tickets off StubHub, some as early as January, from other season ticket holders. So it isn't just manipulation of group sales that resulted in what, from the outfield seats, seemed like an overwhelming majority Philadelphia crowd.

It will get better when the Nats start winning, of course. But it shouldn't require a winning team to draw a season ticket holder to opening day on an 80 degree sunny day in April.

I hope we turn it around soon, though. Because if I'm Ryan Zimmerman, in a few years I start thinking about playing somewhere else...somewhere where I don't get booed while accepting a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award on opening day at home.

Natsochist said...

In other words: If you want to avoid a similar scene next year, start organizing your Opening Day 2011 ticket purchasing groups ASAP.

And what about those of us who don't have 24 friends / family members / others who want to go to games with us? Or 24 people who CAN go to a weekday game for that matter? The demand for these tickets is there, and I've tried to get them each year I had the financial means to do so. Every year, I've been locked out -- I made it to opening day at the new stadium only because a friend who WORKED for the team got lucky enough to snag four seats and offered me one.

Going to a game as a group is fun, but it shouldn't be mandatory. Nor should the only viable alternative be purchasing tickets at a 300% markup on StubHub -- not for this team and this ownership.

I appreciate your research on this, Mark, but that kind of response from Stan is so much hot air. It's the kind of response for which someone needs to call him out, and it's inexcusable.

As for a good pic of Phillies fans, check out Yahoo's Big League Stew blog -- specifically this post.

Anonymous said...

In any case I have to admit that perhaps Buffalo native Steinberg pretty much captured the feelings of fans almost perfectly. However, a longtime, true DC fan said it summed it up best: "Would you ask Mrs. Lincoln if she enjoyed the play?" and "It hit home right at the end of the game when fans stand to anticipate that third out and its Phillies fans standing. We've got to get to that point, the point where we outnumber the opposition"

Clearly Jim Riggleman, the DC native, said it best.

Eric said...

I was embarrassed both for Philadelphia, which showed itself to be a classless sports city for the umpteenth time, and for our city, which fails to support its teams (from the Washington Post on down). Sure, I also blame MLB for sticking us with the Phillies, but more than that, for the Nats for putting an inferior team on the field yet again.

Steve M. said...

The post on the scoreboard about the Phillie Phanatic bus location was sickening enough plus the roll call of groups on the scoreboard showed several Phillies groups.

I have endured this same pain at Redskins/Steelers games and Capitals/Flyers games, and all the time when I had STs at Orioles Park when the Yankees and Red Sox came to town.

This is nothing new. Boston/NYC/Philly have faithful fans while they are winning. You saw with the Mets fans how they weren't in their large groupings at the end of last season when they were out of the playoffs.

Only way to change it here is to put a good product on the field.

It is tough to stomach but so long as these out-of-town fans are behaving themselves, I think it is great for the Nats to grab their money with the hopes that they have the revenues to sufficiently sign Bryce Harper and improve Rightfield and the Bullpen.

Eric said...

PS: I had to buy 5 tickets @ 95 dollars each (face 15) so I could take my kids to opening day for the first time. If the Nats suspended group sales until people in the DC area had a shot, I wouldn't have had to subject my young kids to the disgusting spectacle on the field and in the stands.

Chris Duckworth said...

You're also forgetting the motivation - Philllies fans were eager to see the start of the Roy Halladay era, especially after losing to the d@mn Yankees in the World Series. The Roy Halladay deal - though surrounded by some controversy with the dealing of Cliff Lee - is the biggest thing to happen in Philadelphia since the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Something else you're missing - the ticket brokers. Within days of the single-game tickets being sold-out, the online ticket brokers had tons of tickets available for the game.

I'm a Philadelphia-area native now living in Arlington. I tried to buy individual tickets on the day they went on sale, to no avail. I ended up paying more than double face value at an online ticket broker for tickets in section 203 just to see Roy Halladay. Though there will always be Phillies fans at Nats games - both those who drive and those who now live in the DC area - yesterday was an anomaly, owing to Halladay's first ever start in a Phillies uniform.

Section 222 said...

I think the angst over the Phillies invasion is a bit over-wrought, particularly because many of them bought their tickets on StubHub (at a significant markup) from season ticket holders. So in that sense, we brought this on ourselves. I also feel compelled to add that the Phillies fans near me in Section 210 were friendly and fun. They are proud of their team (who wouldn't be after two straight pennants?) and were excited for the season. One mentioned that it was alot easier to get a ticket to yesterday's game than it was to get a ticket to their home opener at Citizens Bank Park.

That having been said, StanK's explanation is garbage. Why should Nats fans have to find groups of 25 to make sure that they get tickets to their own home team's home opener? Opening Day is going to sell out, so the simple solution is to suspend group sales for that game until after the tickets are made available to the general public. (Another idea would be to play someone other than the Phillies on Opening Day.)

Chris Duckworth said...

PS. I know it sucks to have the opposing team's fans in the stands. I grew up attending Phillies games with more Mets fans in the upper deck than Phllies fans. I hated it. How did the Phillies get rid of those "Let's Go Mets" chants? We got a playoff team, and our own fans started coming to games again.

Hey, I cheer for the Nats except for when they play the Phillies. I want to see them put a good product on the field ... and so do all those potential Nats ticket holders who left tickets on the table yesterday, allowing us Phillie fans to show up.

Anonymous said...

Souldrummer says -
Isn't part of the reason that they have to cowtow to the brokers for Opening Day that they can't give away tickets the rest of the year? So yes, they could probably sell out tickets for Opening Day without resorting to group sales or ticket brokers. But if I'm a ticket broker who does group sales, I'm only going to work with the Nationals if they let me in on the Opening Day action.
I continue to submit that yesterday's issues shouldn't be cause for rage. The Nats don't want your business yet because of the payroll issues and because of the product on the field (conspicuously that RF who stared at strikes following Morgan's leadoff hit where Nick Johnson would have been last year with his discerning eye).

Vote with your feet. Reserve your tickets to see Harrisburg's dynamite rotation when they come to Bowie and get great seats and a legit ace. When the Nationals start winning the fans will come back. Just ask the Caps. This is a very competitive market and the Nats will do fine once they compete, which seems to be quite a ways from now.

Roscoe said...

I think we shouldn't have to organize. If MLB took the simple task of not putting our closest geographical rival in our yard on opening day, problem solved (except maybe for the Mets).

The Pirates played the Dodgers. Twins-Angels. Orioles-Rays. Bluie Jays-Rangers. Mets-Marlins. How about more than 2 hours drive away next year, schedulers.

Ray Hopkins said...

Mark it should also be noted however, that if not for Phillies fans and given the spotty attendance of the regular season, your opening day may have looked like other teams business person specials.

I understand your upset, but I think the NATS head office at the ballpark is trying to fill the seats, period. They are not as concerned with who...

Mark Zuckerman said...

Ray: I can assure you I'm not the one who's upset. Based on the comments I've read from fans the last 24 hours, it's clear many of them are upset. I'm just trying to give them an explanation for what happened.

Sam said...

On a different subject, would it be worth it to give Chad Bradford a shot? He is currently a free agent. Everywhere he pitches, he does it well (or at least, close to well). He doesn't walk anyone, and he certainly doesn't give up home runs. He has a career FIP of 3.54. I know he is like 800 years old, but he is certainly not worse than the clowns we have in the bullpen (Bergmann, Batista, Walker). I say that from empirical evidence, not just yesterday's game. When Hernandez is added to the roster, sign Bradford as well and release two of these guys. In fact, release all three of them and call up Martin. Anyway, that is my radical idea for the day. I figured I would post it here since it is the top post in the blog today.

Puttz said...

This is also the team that sold Red Sox merchadise in the team store at the stadium during the interleague series last year.

Anonymous said...

Get used to it. Phils games (especially those on a weekend night) will be essentially an Away game for the Nats at home this year just as any Yanks/Red Sox games always are for the Nats.

Dave said...

Mark, thanks for this explanation. I must say I'm surprised at how much this continues to upset me. Of course the team needs to try to sell the seats, but this really feels like the front office simply doesn't care about us loyal fans.

And of course, the continued weakness of the product on the field is more evidence of this lack of caring. (Why, oh why, are Batista and Bergmann on the 25-man roster?)

I've been pretty much a Pollyanna about the team ("They're making progress; it won't be like this forever") until yesterday. Now I find myself in that deep existential disgust and depression that I've heard expressed by so many people over the past couple years.

Anonymous said...

Nats fans-
If you are still seething from the scene yesterday at Nats Park and want some retaliation, and perhaps a sport with a slight change in pace, then join us next weekend in Philly:

You will be in a section with fans that will vocally support the DC side, and there will be no Philly fans within smelling distance...

alm1000 said...

Those who say it was the season ticket holders to blame are full of it. The season ticket numbers are way down and that is not the explanation.
This game would have sold out, or very close to it without the group sales.
StanK said, "We tried to limit it, but not cut it off completely."
He is full of crap. How did he try to limit it. I want specifics, not unsubstanciated rubbish. Why is he allowed to say that and not be challenged. He is helping the Lerners RUIN baseball in DC. HE MUST GO!
I am so mad!

Anonymous said...

Kasten wrote: "We tried to limit it, but not cut it off completely." --- Pompous ass. They didn't 'try' to do anything. The team is in total control of group ticket sales. They actively worked with the Philly groups to move as many tickets as possible. This comes from the same man who goes on Philly radio stations to invite them down.

Nats STHs in general did not sell their tickets on StubHub. When the Nats scored the first ten rows of section 115 all stood and cheered while the rest of the section sat. Pretty clear how far back the Nats sold season tickets in a section that two years ago was 100% sold out with ticket plans.

I bought seven extra seats the instant they became available to season ticket plan holders and I ended up behind 30 rows of solid Philly fans. Looks like I need to find at least 24 Nats fans to team up with before Kasten considers us a priority.

Unknown said...

As frustrating as it is to hear "Lets go Phil-lies" loud and clear on the radio, but not "Lets Go Nats" (or other support for the home team), I'm not going to blame the Nats/Kasten/Lerners for trying to sell out the stadium any way they can do it. This is a business, being run like a business. I wish it wasn't but that's the way most professional sports teams work around the country. To them, they don't care how much or little you love your team unless you spend money on the team. In this case, they give you the opportunity to get opening day tix by buying multiple-game packages, thus giving them more money. They know that they are not going to make any more or less money off the Nats fan who only goes to opening day than they would by selling group tix to Philly fans. I've accepted this reality: its up to you and I whether we want to reward this behavior by buying multi-game packages for a bad team or miss out on opening day. My only quip with the Nats selling group tix and/or selling them to the brokers and not the "real" fans is that the group packages are not advertised well in DC. I think I could have found 25 people who want to go to opening day if I had been aware that these tix could be reserved so far in advance. I fear that Kasten is advertising this fact more in Philly than in DC. IF that's the case (I don't know if it's true or not) then I will be upset.

Sunderland said...

JayB - I'm 100% in agreement with you.

The executives running the Nats are making short term revenue driven decisions, and therefore doing everything wrong when it comes to building a dedicated fan base.
Mr. Kasten can hide behind his spin but he is the one person who should be held accountable.
Yesterday was the most miserable experience I have ever had at the ballpark.
Can't blame the Philly fans (BTW, I did not notice any exceptionally bad behavior from them).
The game itself was a bit disconcerting. Our team has gotten progressively worse since Mr. Kasten took over. "We have all the pitching we need right here". What a joke.

Nationals Season Ticket Holders selling their seats to Philly fans. Nope. Didn't happen in any significant number. There's too few of them, and almost all own their tickets to be able to go to the big events like Opening Day.

awh said...

Hi guys and gals,

A Phillie fan here who was not at the game yesterday.

First of all, I apologize if any of you were offended by the behavior of some Phillies' fans in attendance. Unfortunately there is a small minority that go to Citizen's Bank Park and do the same thing and ruin it for others.

To give you some perspective, it wasn't the group sales that Phillies' fans jumped on.

When Nats' individual game tickets went on sale, a couple of enterprising Phils' fans discovered that there were still thousands of Opening Day tix available in DC and posted it on a Phillies' blog.

It spread like wildfire through the blog community here in Philly, and fans here who have, for years, been shut out of Opening Day jumped on the opportunity to watch their team and their new ace pitcher for the first time.

I personally went online to the Nats site and there were plenty of tickets available for a couple of hours. But once word got around up here it sold out by the end of the day.

Now, while I sympathize with you having your ballpark occupied by opposition fans (we have to deal with Mets' fans here in Philly [I guess DC is a little too far to go for most of them] and they are the worst possible visiting scum any fan has to deal with), the only way to prevent it from happening is for Nats' fans to buy up the tix themselves.

That said, goodluck, have a great season, and I hope some of you come check out our ballpark in Philly.

(P.S. I grew up in DC as a Senators fan and I really hope they build a winner down there.)

awh said...

Oh, BTW, Stephen Strasbug looks to be the real thing. I wish the Phils' had him.

Neato Torpedo said...

@ Ray Hopkins -

You make the point perfectly, Ray.

Management is being penny wise and pound foolish. They may have sold the seats yesterday - but at what long-term cost to their own fanbase? Last year, Stan went on WIP and pushed Philly fans to come down. And this has germinated.

Yesterday was a borderline miserable experience. Philly fans are the Duke fans of baseball: more interested in showing how good a FAN they are than actually being a fan of the game (this is why they create so many problems).

Part of this is probably us needing a thicker skin. The fact remains that they're the best team in the NL, and we're going to get shellacked and need to be ready for their fans to be accordingly arrogant (until their delicious, delicious fall from grace).

But if management is so focused on a positive fan experience (as evidenced by family-friendly entertainment options, etc), they need to take into account the ENTIRE experience.

Some highlights from yesterday:

1) The Phans. See above.
2) The ATM in LF was out of cash by the 3rd inning. On Opening Day. REALLY?!?!
3) The concenssions in LF (where Hard Times is) was out of beer by the 4th inning. On Opening Day.

What's emerging is an organization that is making steps for it's on-the-field product, although that's still a ways away. And in the meantime, are TOTALLY UNPREPARED to grow the rest of their organization accordingly.

It's a travishamockery. If you won't take steps to fix the baseball product (or, more appropriately, only take small steps), at least do well at something. Being a train-wreck at everything is the kind of stuff that makes us a laughing stock, in MLB and in DC. Fans can sense this kind of idiocy. And they won't attend it.

awh said...

Neato, I think they are taking steps to fix things.

To put it in perspective, it took the Phillies 10 years of careful (and lucky) drafting and building a team to overcome the horrible track record (multiple 90+ loss seasons) that they had in the late 1990's.

Anonymous said...

A complete embarrassment for the Nats. Kasten and Lerner just don't get it.

hleeo3 said...

I agree with you, this is a business. It took 3 Super Bowls for the Redskins to make DC a predominantly football town. When the Caps win their first Stanley Cup and the more the Redskins fail to reach the playoffs. I can see this town becoming more hockey loving because DC sports history sucks and the only real winner was Joe Gibbs and his 'skins. Granted it would probably take 4 Stanley Cup victories to do this but the point is the same. People will go to a perennial winner. Ted Leonsis has done a fantastic job with the Caps, I can only hope he continues his success with the Wizards.
With that said, I suspect Nats fans will start coming to park when we start winning or have something worth seeing. Strasburg...
Phillies fans had every reason to go to the park, Halladay and Polanco. Not to mention they are fielding probably one of the best Philly line-ups in their history.
Thanks for the good will gesture.

Anonymous said...

"My only quip with the Nats selling group tix and/or selling them to the brokers and not the "real" fans is that the group packages are not advertised well in DC. I think I could have found 25 people who want to go to opening day if I had been aware that these tix could be reserved so far in advance. I fear that Kasten is advertising this fact more in Philly than in DC. IF that's the case (I don't know if it's true or not) then I will be upset."

Highly unlikely that's true. I'm sure every bar owner within a five or ten mile radius of the ballpark was approached by the Nats marketing staff and given the opportunity to purchase blocks of 25 or 50 or 100 tickets to create their own Opening Day event. Get drinks at the bar pre/post-game, a bus ride back and forth to the park, and a seat all for $50 or $75 or whatever. Of course the bar would have to front the cost of the tickets and the bus and figure out how to make money for themselves on the deal. Yet did any DC bars do that? Apparently not. The Phillie groups OTOH were all over it, and I bet they didn't even wait for the Nats to approach them with the offer. They were probably calling the group sales number the day the schedule came out.

Anonymous said...

awh, it was not a "small minority" of Phillies' fans by any stretch of the imagination. A "small minority" can't overwhelm the cheers for Ryan Zimmerman's 2009 accomplishments with boos for no logical reason. They can't audibly yell "sucks" after every Nats players name is announced to cheers from hometown fans. I heard racist comments about Obama in the bathroom, I heard jeers directed at Nats fans. It was an embarrassment.

I appreciate that you came here to explain, and you seem like an intelligent and classy fan. Sadly, people like you are few and far between in Philadelphia. The city's reputation for producing obnoxious loudmouth jerk sports fans is well-deserved, and yesterday showed it.

Anonymous said...

Kasten is full of sh!t. He welcomed them with open arms. If he truly wants the DC area to embrace the Nats, this is not the way to do it. Put a winning product on the field and stop peddling tickets to Philly fans.

I wouldn't cross the sidewalk to spit on a philly fan who was on fire.

Anonymous said...

Say what you will about the marketing machine that is the Redskins, they at least know how to market their team. I know today at the Redskins team store there will probably be an excessive amount of Donovan McNabb t-shirts, key-rings, cups (you name it) on sale. On Opening Day do you think there was anything related to Steven Strasburg? No. That stuff is still in Viera, Fla. I wish I was kidding! How is that acceptable?

At the same time, go to the team store in left field. You will see a glass case in the back with game-used jerseys for $200. Obviously, these must be hallowed jerseys—a Walter Johnson, Bucky Harris..Mickey Vernon…or even a Ryan Zimmerman. No, the jerseys include Zack Segovia (who “played” in 8 games in 2009), Manny Acta (need I say more?), Tim Foli (obviously in recognition of being a former #1 pick in 1968), and some guy named Kelly. There was a Kenny Kelly who played in 17 games in 2005. Who knows?

I don’t just see a Zack Segovia jersey. I see good and evil. I essentially see an organization that is trying to sell someone a bridge. I see someone trying to sell a subprime mortgage….or they aren’t baseball fans and don’t care….either way pretty—sad.

Anonymous said...

I've been a Nats STH for several years and I'm still bothered by what happened yesterday with the Phillies fans. I can deal with the stupid chants and even the large number of Phillies fans who apparently can't handle their alcohol. But what really bugged me was the booing during the introduction of the Nats players and Zimmerman's awards.

We know the Nats have a long way to go, but apparently the Phillies fans have zero sense of class. The Nats have one current legitimate star player...and you guys have to come into our town and boo him when he's being presented with an award? And opening day is meant to be a celebration for all of baseball...and you clowns have to come into town and boo our players and yell "sucks" after each one is announced?

Although I appreciate the sentiment from some of the Phillies fans on this board, on behalf of Nats fans I want you to know that your apologies are NOT accepted. Please, instead of apologizing, go out there and teach your fellow fans a little bit of class.

I agree with so many others that Stan's comments are completely unacceptable. He could have done things to prevent the stadium from being overrun by Phillies fans. I'm still annoyed at what he did last year by inviting Phillies fans down on talk radio in Philadelphia. I don't recall hearing him on talk radio in DC encouraging people around here to come out to the game. In fact, I've seen very little advertising outside of MASN for any ticket sales. Since Stan can't seem to figure out how to host an opening day for Nats fans, as someone else mentioned, maybe MLB should step in here and schedule someone else other than Philadelphia for the Nats home opener.

But...even with all of that. I still had a great time with my son yesterday enjoying the great weather at Nats Park. Not even a few unruly Phillies fans could ruin that.

Bobo said...

Hahaha -- Dopey Nats fans. Your team sucks, might as well cheer for the Phils! Yah, 2 time NL champs! Weeeeeeee!!!
Nats suck goat nuts! I pee'd in the sinks in the bathrooms at National Park yesterday to MARK my territory! Phils Rule, Nats Suck.

Richard Amazin said...

Total disgrace. Shame on the Lerners and StanK. Nothing better then feeling threatened by a bunch of 20 something drunks toting Philly gear in your home-town ball park.

BTW the Phillies reached the 10K mark for losses a few years ago, along with their 2 WS championships in the last 110 years they have no room to talk!

awh said...

Anonymous (whoever you are), I wish Ryan Zimmerman had not signed a LT deal with the Nats. I wish the Phillies had him. He is the best player at his position in the NL.

If he was booed it was, indeed, classless, rude and clueless.

Anonymous said...

Because I used to go to the Vet in the pre-2005 days, I am still on the Phillies email list. And I received an email about a month ago that said "See the Phillies in Washington" from that mailing list. Also got it from other teams that I've purchased tickets for in the past (Mets, Pirates and Orioles.) So in some way, either MLB.com or the Nats (not sure who) is marketing this. And its not cool and it should stop, for the respect of those of us who are full season ticket holders who support the team with our dollars as well as our hearts.

But Jim R is right -- the way to counter it is by winning. This was a huge issue for the Caps with Pittsburgh, the NY Rangers, the Flyers, the Bruins and the Sabres games. Now the team is the best in the league, the building is sold out and it doesn't seem to be much of a problem anymore.

Anonymous said...

Souldrummer says -
All the jersey fouls are truly sad. They should be selling Strasburg stuff as soon as possible. That's the major marketable commodity we have and 4/11 is a circled date for me when he debuts at Altoona. Too bad that it wouldn't have been one day later when he would have debuted at Bowie. Hopefully he'll be good about signing autographs for all of the faithful who show up and Aaron Thompson will continue making progress to be either a tradable asset or a 3/4 starter in our rotation.

@Mark - If Aaron Thompson is going to be starting in Bowie over the 4/12-4/14 Bowie season I'd be very interested in any coverage you'd have to offer although I know that your CSN gig probably limits your freedom for well-deserved security.

Next to #37, this site may be the best thing to happen to Natstown this spring.

Bobo said...

I would have only cheered for Ryan Zimmerman if he broke a leg, or had some other crippling injury. F him and that whole crappy team. Your opening day starter wouldn't even make the Phils AAA team. Boo Ryan Zimmerman, Booooooooo everyone! Nats fans are a bunch of losers!

Bobo said...

I'm suprised there even are any people that admit to being Nats fans. Why bother wasting time and money following a horrible team that never is going to get any better. If I were you guys I'd boo every Nats player every chance I get, I'd stay away from that crummy park...what a horrible team

Anonymous said...

@ awh: I don't have a profile on here or I'd post with a name. Obviously you're a level-headed fan and you get it. I just wish your influence would rub off on some of the other Phillies fans. Over the past 2 years I've become so disgusted with the behavior of Phillies fans at Nats Park that I usually trade away or give away tix I have to Nats-Phillies games. So I didn't really expect anything better yesterday...I hoped that at least the Phillies fans would be able to behave for the opening ceremonies...

And as I mentioned before, Stan has made this even worse in how he markets Nats Park in Philadelphia and the almost complete lack of marketing here in DC.

Anonymous said...

Bobo, an appropriate name.

Philadelphia is a joke, a second rate city, a bunch of low class losers. No one has ever moved to Philly for any reason, because there is nothing there of consequence. Just a bunch of meatheads.

Steve M. said...

Will said...In short: stop whining and enjoy your ballclub while it lasts. Perhaps it would remain in DC if the "fans" bought a ticket once in a while.

I agree. I think we are mad at ourselves as Washingtonians that for Opening Day with the President throwing out the 1st pitch on a day game with the best weather imaginable, that Washingtonians didn't make this a priority.

I brought one of my son's who was off school and some friends and we had a great time!

I can do without the Phillies show of force "Let's Go Phillies", but again, where were Nats fans? That's what StanK, Lerner, and Feffer need to figure out before they start to erode the fanbase. It doesn't take too many bad experiences to turn fans away.

There were days last year you couldn't give away tickets for free. Like I said, too early to hit the alarm button but I still believe you put a great product on the field and the fan base will build before your eyes.

JayB said...

Just a start to the game day for my family....pulled into my Nats Lot and paid the Nats fee only to greeted by drunk Phills fans at 10:30 AM who refused to move out of open spots to let people park. They said they were for Phil Fans only...I pulled in anyway after some tense moments of chicken.....My family loved starting their Nats game day experience with that stress...thanks Stan!

Anonymous said...

The only way to get a message accross to StanK is to hit him where it hurts, the pocket book.

We need to identify a future game, maybe against a bad west coast team, and organize a nats fans boycott of it.

Let's see if StanK listens to Nats fans about not pitching tickets in Philly when he has 500 fans in attendance for a Wednesday Padres game.

Anonymous said...

I really dislike the Lerners. They are terrible owners.

Bobo said...

Wah Wah -- I'm a big baby Nats fan, I didn't have fun at the ball game. I was mistreated by those big bad philly fans. Wah Wah -- its everyone else's fault. I live and work in Washington DC everyone needs to take care of me!! Wah Wah -- I'm just a little overpaid gov't wonk that sips little bitty cocktails, and those blue collar philly people drank beer and yelled vulgarities. Oh there was no one to help me...

Anonymous said...

Steve M, you're missing the point here. The game would have sold out without Phillies fans. The front office made the mistake of allowing group purchases before single game purchases, a strategy that in this case produced very unusual results. After all, how many home fans buy tickets in groups of 25 or more? We don't need buses or tour operators to get to games, and we assume we'll be surrounded by friendly fans. Group sales are for companies and visiting fans- and in this case the club just totally blew it by selling to visiting fans in droves. If you had a great time at the park yesterday, I assume it's because you had to good fortune not to be in the first base, right field or center field areas that were dominated by Philly fans who arrived in groups.

Steve M. said...

Anon at 1:52. No, the game wouldn't have sold-out with Nats fans if it was an Opening Day vs. the Marlins. No way.

If there aren't groups to buy the tickets, then those get turned back into the regular purchase pool.

There were still seats available in the President's Club and Diamond Club I believe at the ticket window for walk-ups and plenty of scattered tickets.

cadeck12 said...

As an avid Nats fan/supporter since 2005, I am disgusted, disappointed and appalled at ownership over this pathetic takeover of Nationals Park by Phillies, Red Sox, etc. fans. It's pretty sad that on opening day at our own field we felt like a visitor. And to hear our players and staff booed when introduced, well, it's just wrong on all levels. The owners should be ashamed for not supporting their own players and fans. How sad and the link that Nasochist shared says it all.

Steve M. said...

Anonymous said...
The only way to get a message accross to StanK is to hit him where it hurts, the pocket book.

We need to identify a future game, maybe against a bad west coast team, and organize a nats fans boycott of it.

Let's see if StanK listens to Nats fans about not pitching tickets in Philly when he has 500 fans in attendance for a Wednesday Padres game.

April 6, 2010 1:41 PM

Great idea in theory only in actuality we embarass ourselves as a fanbase and city.

I have heard for 5 years now this isn't a baseball city. The best form of advertising is word-of-mouth so LIE to your friends and tell them what a great experience it is to take in a ballgame at Nationals Park and maybe some will believe it. Other than that, winning is the best solution.

Anonymous said...

Steve M: I think the Nats have sold out every opening day, or close to it, even at RFK. And that's with less-than-perfect weather.

The point is, those seats would not have been empty but for the Philly idiots arriving en masse. No chance. I called the ticket office looking for seats a few days before opening day and the only things available were a few singles and a few $300 president's club seats. There was plenty of demand ... just a terrible sales plan by the Nats front office.

Anonymous said...

"Steve M, you're missing the point here. The game would have sold out without Phillies fans."

Doubtful. Except for the 2005 new-team-in-town opener and the 2008 new-stadium opener, Washingtonians do not support their team with anything near a sellout on Opening Day. The 2006 opener vs the Mets and the 2007 opener vs the Marlins, both in RFK, were 5000 or so short of a sellout. The 2009 opener vs the Phils only sold out on the day of the game, and even then it was because of a large number of Phillies fans. BTW, those first two non-sellout openers came well before any 100-loss seasons, so don't go trying to say that's what's keeping fans away on Opening Day. Faced with this track record with the hometown fans, it makes sense for them to sell tickets to groups from Philly who are prepared to pay in full in January.

Suz said...

Where were the Nats fans? Being drowned out by the out-of-town fans that our ownership lazily decided to "market" to instead. I saw no advertisements here in DC for Opening Day. I want proof that DC bars were offered big groups of tickets in this area.

Certainly, the Nats would've had to work hard to market tickets here in DC, because the team has lost 200+ games in the last two years, has once again fielded a team with a bottom-rung payroll, and chose to bury its most exciting new players in the minors for the next couple of months so they can showcase their also-rans for trade value (that of course won't materialize). And also because, oh yeah, we'll need the good talent "under control" for when the Nats are competitive in 20XX . . . zzzzzzz. Meanwhile, do enjoy the craptastic team we boldly field today!

Bottom line: "Presenting the Washington Generals at Build-A-Bear Stadium" is not going to get those turnstyles a-clickin'.

And no baseball fan is going to support an organization that not only fields a terrible team, but goes out of its way to invite thousands of fans of the opposing team to Opening Day, where they can boo such outrages as the presentation of Ryan Zimmerman's gold glove.

Enjoy the tumbleweeds when Colorado comes to town. Or Milwaukee. Or the Marlins. See if you can get Phillies fans interested in busing in for those games.

Anonymous said...

I’m a Phillies fan who was at the game yesterday, and I had a great time. This may be a depressing fact for most Nats fans to swallow, but I didn't get a group rate on my seats, and I didn't heed any invitation or advertising from your owner. I went with two other people and we bought our tickets on StubHub because they were available and affordable. Quite simply, If DC fans wanted the tickets, we wouldn't have been able to go. The Phillies fans surrounding me (and there were many) cheered for Zimmerman - I did because I recognize that he's a good player. I had many genial conversations with the Nationals fans around me, and there was some good-natured ribbing going on from both groups of fans in my section. I also saw security escorting a few college-age Nats fans who were very drunk. To label all Phillies fans as classless is both absurd and childish, and blaming opposing fans for being too loud is ridiculous. If there weren't seats available, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I think the right thing to do is for all Nats fans to completely boycott the team.

Short term StanK and Lerners may not care as long as they're getting paid, but not having hometown support will make them look like the idiots they are and very few players (if any) will want to renew a contract with such a p!ss poorly run team.

Chris S. said...

Phils fan here. I got in line at 5:20 AM yesterday for the $5 tickets, along with quite a few other Phillies fans who just showed up.

I guess I can't blame Nats fans for being less interested in getting up early to see this game (though there were some) but if 400 Nats fans had beaten me I wouldn't have gotten a ticket.

Knowing about the Capitals history of ticket discrimination, I actually covered my Phillies gear with a generic red pullover until I was inside the park. But at that point you had better believe that I cheered for the Phillies as loudly as I could. Heck, I was clapping for balls and strikes in the 8th, when the Nationals fans were gone and the Phillies fans were bored.

But I certainly didn't boo or chant at the Nationals, because that's such a tacky thing to do. I know some Phillies fans did do such things, because I could hear them, but in my area the vast majority did not.

(Also, I live here, and I enjoy cheering for the Nats 144 games each year. After all, every Nationals win against a different team helps the Phillies!)

Michael J. Hayde said...

Nats fan since day one here. I was in Section 229, in an aisle seat next to 231.

First of all, the cheers when Morgan stole second, then came home on Zim's RBI double, were louder than the Phils Phans' cheers for anything that happened before or during that inning. Unfortunately, that was pretty much the last thing we had to cheer about; by the end of the fourth inning, our fans were already heading to the gate; a steady stream that became a torrent once Bergmann threw his second pitch.

So yes, we were outshouted and outdrawn, from inning four on. That's a much sadder, sorrier commentary about fandom, as is why we didn't shout down the boos during Zim's little ceremony. Just who are we trying to impress, anyway? Apparently not our home team.

Here's a Phil's fan for you: during the T-shirt toss, a little boy - couldn't have been more than 9 years old - ran up our aisle to the rail and waved in hopes of getting a shirt. One was shot in our direction and fell about six rows in front of me. A guy in a Phils jersey seated in 231 runs over, lunged for the shirt, grabbed it... and threw it back on the field.

Now, he COULD HAVE given it to that kid, who was still standing there. Might possibly have made him a Phils booster for life. But no, he had to have his little moment of glory, so he could be cheered by his drunken mates. Sadly, even though a uniformed guard was looking straight up at him from the field, no one came and threw the guy out of the park.

On the upside, a guy came into 231 wearing a McNabb Redskins jersey (that was fast - maybe it was the guy mentioned in Steinberg's Bog) with a Nats badge pinned to the front, and he sat there with a serene smile, while a bunch of P-jerks taunted him and loudly proclaimed (in detail) exactly how and why the Redskins would regret it.

An utterly classless bunch. But are we any better, when we don't have the stomach for standing by the team and shouting down the opposition? Employees at the Navy Yard Metro station must've wondered how the game could have ended after only 90 minutes.

Anonymous said...

Obviously Nats fans could have gotten the tickets, and many Phillies fans just "wanted them more." Nobody's disputing that. The only dispute is those that are saying the tickets would have gone unsold if not for the masses of Phillies fans. That's not the case.

It's nice that you have a great team that your city has embraced and you're willing to drive hours or wake up early to see on Opening Day- although I do wonder where all these Phillies fans were four years ago. But those that are saying that the majority of Phillies fans were well-behaved are 100% wrong. They must not have been near first base or right field.

It's unfair to those of you that were gracious and pleasant, but the fact is, pretty much every single MLB team has passed through DC at this point, including some other rabid fan bases in close proximity to DC, and Phillies fans are BY FAR the most obnoxious. It's not even close. I think you'd be hard pressed to find a season ticket holder who disagrees with me.

Perhaps the answer is for Nats fans to make a whole bunch of these to hold up:


David said...

As long as the Lerners own this team, we're going to hear a lot of defensive public relations about mediocre players, deals that never happened (Teixeira, Chapman) and witness a lot of losing. They and Stan don't know what they're doing - on the field or off. This is worse than Snyder or Angelos.

Mark "Mini Me" Lerner still needs training on how to talk to media. Don't want to hear another word from him about expense reports or accounting systems, and he needs to stop blaming past management. The Expos of the early 2000s were a much better team than anything we've seen in the 4 years his family has owned the Nats.

Chris S. said...

Four years ago I lived in Philly, not DC, and I often showed up about half an hour before game time and got a $12 ticket and three $1 hot dogs, and then sat down and clapped for balls and strikes.

Dollar dog night is a promotion that the Nationals - and more teams generally - should adopt.

Now that I've read the other comments, I must say, the anti-Philly whining on the site does not do credit to Nats fans.

From "apology not accepted" to this gem:

"Philadelphia is a joke, a second rate city, a bunch of low class losers. No one has ever moved to Philly for any reason, because there is nothing there of consequence. Just a bunch of meatheads."

I'm not impressed.

David said...

And don't tell me there isn't local interest in this team. Over 70 comments here in 3 hours during work hours. I was getting gas during lunch in Reston and was surprised at how much curly W gear was on display - t-shirts, caps, you name it.

We're not at the park because we're sick of the owners and the snake oil salesman fronting them. DC is filled with challenging thinkers, we're not going to be fooled into believing that Miguel Batista or Jason Bergmann are part of some "plan".

alm1000 said...

Well said David.

Anonymous said...

@ Chris: I'm the one who posted that the apologies on this site from Phillies fans are NOT accepted. I'm tired of hearing from Philly fans how it's a minority of their fan base that's really annoying. As someone else pointed out, every other MLB team has come through DC now and many of them have much bigger and more passionate fan bases than Philly. I completely agree that the Philly fans are BY FAR the worst. Apologies by the minority group of decent Philly fans won't change the rest of them.

More importantly, I don't really care about the Phillies or their fans. I just want to see the Nats put a more competitive team on the field so that the excitement/energy of yesterday's first inning can be sustained throughout an entire game...and perhaps through an entire season. Rizzo said a week or so ago that by the 2nd half of the season we should be able to see the difference in the team...I'll try to stay patient until then.

David said...


We have plenty of visiting Met, Cub, and Brave fans, but none behave anywhere near as badly as the Philly fans. The swear in front of kids, puke all over the place, and make the New York fans look like those people Golf clapping behind the rope at the Master's.

I won't take my kid to Nats Park for a Philly game, and I really have no interest in visiting their off-ramp mallpark.

Anonymous said...

My we are all a bit overwrought--time for another post, Mark! We clearly can't wait for the next win to get off this topic!

I get the sense of being used--by whomever (and by way of disclosure, I'm a two-package STH, and have been since the first year "back"; I organize group attendance at Nats games--did a group of 40 mostly Red Sox fans last year; sold my four home opener seats to a friend since I was out of town--I presume he was a Nats fan; and I don't like "phoreign phans" in my home ballpark).

As other posters have noted, we not winning enough yet--so we're stuck at least for a while with this reality. We're not the only fans in this position--pop in on any under-performing team when one of the rich-and-famous shows up and you'll see the same thing (and usually the visiting throng includes some obnoxious set of over-beered boosters).

What I didn't notice in the long list of 60+ postings was commentary on the absence of an extensive PR/marketing effort by the Nats operation to sell baseball, the ballpark, and the team to the local community. Really, leaving aside the quality of play our Nats have presented in the past four and a half seasons, the push to get casual baseball fans interested in attending games has been weak at best. I'd like to see the Lerners and StanK spend a lot more effort on that.

In the mean time, having missed the misadventure yesterday, tomorrow night is my "home opener" and, win or lose, I'm planning on staying until the end to cheer.

Carl in 309.

CoverageisLacking said...


I hope you'll consider following up with Kasten on the questions I raised earlier:

Did the Nats allow pre-season group sales for the Red Sox games last year?

Did the Nats have group sales for the ballpark opener in 2008?

I think I have a pretty good guess at what the answers will be. And I believe that the answers to those questions will be demonstrative of where ownership's priorities lie, and what kind of commitment they have to DC.

Stan makes it sound like the matter was out of his control: group sales were available, and if Phillies fans wanted to buy the tickets, he wasn't going to (or couldn't?) stop them. But clearly that's not true; the Nats could have made a commitment to their fans and decided not to make group sales available before the public ticket on-sale date. Just as, I suspect, they chose not to make group sales available for the BoSox series or the ballpark opener.

Following up on other comments, no one is disputing that there would have been a lot of Phillies fans at the game, regardless of whether group sales were available. I know there would have been (though my personal view is that there would have been fewer, and they would have been less out of control, than were the people who came down by bus, had been drinking since 10 in the morning, and didn't need to worry about driving). The question is whether the Nationals as an organization are going to roll out the red carpet for them on Opening Day.

Chris S. said...

Your argument is insufficient. You say a larger percentage of Phillies fans are annoying than fans of other teams, and therefore a majority are annoying. See the logical leap there?

And it wasn't true in line yesterday morning. I was aware of the first 15 people in line and 3 were baseball fans who wanted to see Obama, 5 were Nationals fans, 6 were well behaved Phillies fans (including me) and 1 was an obnoxious Philly fan (drinking beer out of a coffee mug, specifically - I admire his forethought).

When we got up to Section 402 the crowd was slightly more pro-Phillies than pro-Nats, and only a few people were shouting "sucks" or booing the Nats. None of the people in the front several rows did that, and that includes the drunk guy from the line.

Making extravagant claims about how awful Phillies fans are do nothing for me another than make me think less of Nationals fans. Your wrath is better directed at the Nationals. Echoing the same tired old exaggerated story about how awful my people are just makes me less sympathetic.

Anonymous said...

I've read one apology in this post from a Phillies fan. I was in attendance, and I didn't engage in any bad behavior, so I don't feel any need to apologize, so your statement of "not accepted" is irrelevant to me. I don't identify with any Phillies fans who may have misbehaved, in the same way I don't think the entire Nationals fanbase is as apathetic they seemed yesterday.

Chris S. said...

"I won't take my kid to Nats Park for a Philly game, and I really have no interest in visiting their off-ramp mallpark."

This is what I'm talking about. Have you been??? The park design takes the best of Camden Yards and improves it, with a full concourse that you can actually stand and watch a game in, whereas the Nationals concourse is so deep you can't really see the field from concessions.

I wish there hadn't been booing, cussing, or puking at the park last night, and I'm willing to condemn that without qualification. Really. But there's no reason for the conversation to go beyond individually bad fans, bad ownership, and bas baseball.

Philadelphia is a great city with old, old traditions and many wonderful, passionate fans. I've been on the Philly and DC web today to talk about the game, and baseball, and I've tried to make my views fair and objective. Nothing more or less.

Anonymous said...

Chris, I appreciate your perspective, but it just seems that your experience is not the one many of us had, especially in the lower tier in the right field and center field areas. It was not a small minority of Phillies fans acting poorly. Believe me, I have no love for Yankees, Red Sox and Mets fans, and in 2007 and 2008 I actually rooted for the Phils in the playoffs. But their recent success has brought out the absolute worst in the fanbase. I can honestly say they are, by far, the worst behaved.

I wish it was not true, since they are here so often and have a genuinely likeable team with few obvious PED guys and many homegrown talents. But it's painfully obvious that Philly fans deserve their atrocious reputation. We've seen them all come through Nats Park or RFK, and there really is no comparison.

Anonymous said...

And by the way ... I have been to Citizen's Bank Park. It's a great place, as you say, with good food and great viewing areas.

Of course, this was in 2005 ... so I just walked right up to the box office before the game and bought a ticket 15 rows up from the first base line. I wonder where all those folks in attendance last night were on that lovely afternoon?

Anonymous said...

The fact is - we have a right to be angry about yesterday - ok , so we lost to Halladay and the world series runners- up. But, we were treated very poorly by nats management and the phillies fans. They never even gave us a chance to buy the tickets and be at opening day. They really stuck it to our team, too, who deserved a the support of their own fans on opening day. Please don't let this go, Mark. You are our voice right now!

Anonymous said...

The outrage here is comical at best idiotic at worst. Hmmmm why criticize Stan K!? Oh because he wants a sellout on Opening Day versus 20,000 Nats fans in the seats and the park looking empty!? It is all about money. Second, DC is a city of transplants, sure some people drove down from Jersey and PA to see the Phils but you cannot turn around in the DCMDVA area without running into people who are from the Philly area, same thing applies to Pittsburgh for the Caps and Redskins folks on the board. That is the way it is until we post a winning season, Deal with it!!

Chris S. said...

Fair enough. Particularly if you were near one of the bus groups, behavior would be much worse than where I was, with the 6 AM crowd.

Which sort of brings us back to the real issue here. If the Nationals had real ownership and management, both the Phillies chants and the boos would have gone away.

But I'm not going to stop going to my team's games where ever I can, however I can.

Anonymous said...

Nor should you, Chris. More Philly fans like you and fewer like the ones who populated the lower tiers of right and center field yesterday would be welcome.

Some of my best nights at Nats Park were the Sox games last year. Their fans were surprisingly respectful and fun to talk baseball with. And they probably outnumbered the Phils fans who were there yesterday.

Maybe it's because the Pats and Redskins aren't in the same division?

David said...

"Have you been??? The park design takes the best of Camden Yards and improves it"

LOL I've been to over 20 parks, and Citizens Bank Park is what would happen if Camden Yards was located off I-95 in Glen Burnie, surrounded by parking lots, and filled with cheesy merchandising.

Camden Yards is a classic downtown stadium with an original design. CBP is a 1970s style offramp stadium with dimensions that were slightly modified so as not to look like the Vet. Comparing the two is like comparing dinner at a fine steakhouse to the substance the Phillie fan left in the 300-level bathroom after having had far too much to drink.

Mark said...

Mark - I think it's disingenuous on Stan's part to encourage the home fans to organize a group outing. What? I work in Arlington, I cannot get a group of people to go to a Nats game - they lost 100 games the past 2 years. Each year the season ticket base is smaller - and it's my fault as a fan? Stan. Are you reading this? Look in the mirror. The on-field product isn't worth seeing.

KC said...

I guess I'll start by saying I'm a Phillies fan. I'll continue by saying I went and will be going in Partial Season Ticket seats. I love coming to Nationals Park - to see the Phillies or otherwise - and I've enjoyed every experience there until yesterday

I was embarrassed by the antics by some of the fans yesterday, I admit that. I can't say it was only Phillies fans acting out though. Here's the thing about Phillies fans - say what you want about them, but they were getting up at 5-6am to drive down and see their team play, and celebrate Halladay joining the team. Nationals fans didn't have commute time that the Phillies fans did, and yet they just didn't show up.
If Nationals fans wanted to come, they would have - no excuses from group sales not getting the word out, if you're not sure when you can get tickets - pick up the phone, email, tweet, something!

I was in line for water in the 6th inning and the Nationals fan behind me was complaining that he couldn't find peanuts anywhere and they were out of cold bottled water. We started talking stats, etc - and I asked him if he knew about the autographed bat giveaway in the 7th inning that I saw on twitter. He didn't. This is just an example on how Nationals fans aren't trying to get the information. Not to mention the lack of cold water/peanuts/food/beer - not a good impression to leave. I had to wait 15 minutes for change at one vendor. Again, not a good sign.

Plain and simple - you need a fan base - one that doesn't decide to go to Opening Day once they see the 10 day forecast will be 80 and sunny.

Anonymous said...

"Did the Nats allow pre-season group sales for the Red Sox games last year?"

Of course they did. You need only to have looked at the crowd makeup at those games and the number of UMass Alumni etc groups that were listed on the big screen crawl each of those nights to know that. I was at all three of those games, so I saw the groups. As many as there were for the Phillies. Just broken up into many more small groups, and obviously no one came on a tour bus. The drive from Boston takes 10+ hours each way. Also, I bought my tickets for those games at the special STH presale of Red Sox tickets, after which those games were virtual sellouts. The group seats would have had to have been sold before that.

"Did the Nats have group sales for the ballpark opener in 2008?"

If they did, not many I'm sure. Recall that partial plan season ticket holders did not get Opening Day tix that year. We had to buy them at the special STH presale, at which other STH could buy extras for themselves - and they did. With the 2500 or so complimentary tickets handed out that night on top of an 18000 STH base each buying as many extras as they could, very few tix would have been left for groups. It was a field day on StubHub though.

Anonymous said...

"CBP is a 1970s style offramp stadium"

Are you serious? Were you ever at the Vet, Three Rivers, Giants Stadium, or Riverfront??? You think CPB is designed anything like those? Especially since the Nationals stadium looks like a generic convention center from the outside?

cadeck13 said...

Hi Mark! Are you enjoying your day off? Are you reading all these comments or are you just letting us rant? :) I had to ask :)

Wendell said...


Thanks for the good work sorting out the ticket situation. And congrats on the mention in the New Yorker article http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/04/12/100412fa_fact_mcgrath

RE the ticket situation. It seems to me that part of the problem was Phillies fans going on the Nationals website once the individual tickets were on sale. I can't imagine that the entire crowd of Phillies fans came from group sales. Do you know how long it took Opening Day to sell out once the individual tickets were on sale? I have heard everything from 7 minutes to several hours. Not much Stan can do to prevent folks from buying tickets on the open market to see their new ace.

It would be something different is a substantial proportion of tickets were held out for brokers and group sales. Do you know how many tickets were available when individual tickets were first put up for sale?

Thanks for your continued good work on this blog

Randy Boyd said...

StanK and the Lerners are rapidly approaching the same level of adulation in Washington DC that Daniel Snyder enjoys.

And they did it to themselves.

I did enjoy the half dozen or so off-season contacts from Nationals season ticket folks wondering if I REALLY wasn't going to renew my tickets and whether or not I knew what I would be missing out on, etc...

I do know and until this team plays something closer to American Legion or junior college baseball, I won't be buying any packages. Further, group sales of 25 or more? I don't KNOW 25 people who are willing to go to a Nationals game at their current level of performance.

2005 was fun. It was heady and it was exciting. We're not in 2005 anymore. Put a product on the field worth New York Yankees prices and then you can charge New York Yankees prices.

At the end of the day, selling out to the Phillies (figuratively and literally) isn't a major accomplishment. Wait until summer and half the concession stands and stores aren't open because the crowds just aren't there.

And then look in the mirror StanK and the Lerners and wonder, why? If you dare.

Anonymous said...

The concession problems this year were the same as last year's Opening Day. Can't say I'm surprised. How can the team not even work out the kinks after an exhibition game? Minor-league management, that's how.

Michael J. Hayde said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael J. Hayde said...

One other thing: I know we have fans. They showed up in droves on the last home game last year, when we'd already lost 103. As Steve M. noted above, the majority of faux Mets fans didn't bother coming, so there were at least 20,000 true-life Nats fans cheering on our otherwise forsaken team. God Bless 'em.

And those of you misguided souls that are advocating boycotts and dumping your ST plans - this is baseball. Baseball isn't a fair-weather sport, like - oh, any other major league sport. In baseball, you live and die with your team, and you don't quit it. It's "Dem Bums" for 1930's Brooklynites; it's the '62-'66 Mets. We didn't have baseball for 33 years. Boycott the team? You should fall to your knees and thank your Maker we've got a team.

Anonymous said...

Bobo is correct. Without us, there would have been a grand total of 5 Nats fans there yesterday.

Tom said...

I am a Nats fans and I would have gone if I could have bought a ticket. I know about 6 other people like me who tried and could not get tickets. Unfortunately I do know 25 and could not get a group section. That being said, the Nats did send out an exclusive presale to Nats insiders a week before the tickets went on sale. Unfortunately I should have jumped on it at the time, but I was still trying to figure out how to miss work.

Anonymous said...

Obviously degenerate Philly fan is as horrible at math as they are behaving in public.

Anonymous said...

Oh please Anonymous at 3:44, I must have missed 3 innings with the way the Nats fans would constantly stand up and walk out of the stands. Hey DC, learn game manners.

Sunderland said...

As Nats fans, we ought to be focused on the product on the field, and the groups sales to Philly fans.
The behavior of Philly fans (and everyone else for that matter) is what it is, and there ain't nothing we can do about it.
I for one bumped into my first Philly fan at 10 AM, but into my last at 4 PM and spoke to literally a hundred or more during the day (I'm a banterer). I had not a single negative encounter with any of these people.

Let's just leave their behavior, their stadium, and their city out of this discussion. It doesn't add anything and it dilutes focus on the real issues. There's no value in responding to anonymous (as we all are) posters.

Also, no matter what, there were going to be at least 8,000 Philly fans at that game. That's just how it is when their team is good, their fan base is excited, so many Philly natives live in this area and those that don't live a short drive away. They were going to be there anyway. Accept it.

Why is the Nationals fans base less energetic?
Because our team stinks, and casual fans care not about a stinky team. Why does our team stink? It's all on the Lerners and their tight wallets, and on Mr. Kasten and "the plan".

Stan has said more than once that we (the Nationals) will get the attendance that they deserve. He knows that they deserve lousy attendance. Instead of investing to put a better team together, they'll rely on 9 home games each vs PHL, NYM and ATL plus 3 home games vs BAL, LAD, and ChC. It's cheaper, and easier, than building a decent ball team.

Stan also allowed group ticket sales prior to individual ticket sales. This is pathetic. Group sales are for the visiting team. Locals of any sport in any city don't do or need group sales. They don't need transportation or accommodations.

Stan should get canned.
We had 20,000 Philly fans in our house Monday because our team stinks and because some unknown thousand of those received priority in purchasing tickets.

LoveDaNats said...

Well, it took me a half hour, but I read all the comments. It was a validation of how I felt at the park yesterday. Frustrated and sad. After reading it all, I'm ready to move on now. Tomorrow's another game, a new beginning and I'll be cheering for the Nats again.
Thank you to the Phillies fans who were apologetic.
And I loved the way everyone absolutely ignored Bobo.

Anonymous said...

So if Stan allowed group sales before single game sales for opening day, presumably the same thing happened for every other game too, right? So are we going to be invaded by out of town fans for every weekend game against a big market team all season?

I know that's generally been the case anyway, especially the past couple of years. But was yesterday just a preview of what games against ChC, NYM, LAD and other Phillies games will be? Or was it an different because it was opening day, Halladay's debut, etc.?

And I agree with the previous poster who noted the lack of marketing of the Nats in DC. In addition to the obvious need to put a better team on the field, why doesn't managment do something more to market the team in DC?

Anonymous said...


Thanks for your comments on closure. Your spot on. But this has been carthatic. You know it is when we feel rick-bottom--that the no-hitter occurs!

Anonymous said...

Data is what is missing to correctly analyze the situation. How many tickets were STH? How many group sales? How many Broker sales? How many individual? and how many Comps? Stan never wants to talk about his shrinking base of STH numbers so I doubt you can get management to talk about the actual numbers. On Wednesday night we will have a different data set assumedly without the large influx of group sales, but there will be a large Philly presence.
On a lighter note, our row was filled with almost a dozen Philly fans and I remember commenting at the start that at least they wouldn't be loud and obnoxious. However, be careful what you ask for, pre-teen girls get out of their seats ten times more often than the boors who just wait for the beer to come to them.
When all was said and done my family and I were entertained and I got to watch a professional baseball game in DC on a beautiful day.

NatFanNum1 said...

Yah I agree with all the other Nats fan on this board. We've suckled from the tit of inferiority long enough. I'm sure if we ask the owners and the GM nicely to pretty please put together a winning team it will happen overnight, and all these meanies from Philly/NYC/Boston will stop coming to our wonderful ballpark. But those Philly fans are the worst, actually traveling, organizing, paying money and showing up for a ball game, how rotten and inconsiderate of them.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe for even one second that Stan Kasten did anything to reduce Phillies fans ticket sales. In fact, I don't believe anything he says--ever. Pure crap flows out of his mouth every time he opens it. To Stan, a dollar is a dollar and he most certainly doesn't care where it comes from.

Anonymous said...

"But those Philly fans are the worst, actually traveling, organizing, paying money and showing up for a ball game, how rotten and inconsiderate of them."

NatFanNum1--You just don't get it. There's nothing wrong with their presence at the ballpark. It is their drunken, obnoxious behavior that is so despicable. Beyond that, they look like they just crawled out from under a rock.

LoveDaNats said...

Thanks for letting us vent.

Dave said...

@Sunderland: "Let's just leave their behavior, their stadium, and their city out of this discussion. It doesn't add anything and it dilutes focus on the real issues."

Really? Okay, the city and the stadium, maybe. But their behavior is really the entire point here. Yes indeed, they were rude. They booed the home team during the INTRODUCTIONS. They booed the best third-baseman in the NL when he received his trophies for Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. Their behavior was animal-like, and that is really what has everybody so upset.


@Sunderland: "Stan should get canned.
We had 20,000 Philly fans in our house Monday because our team stinks and because some unknown thousand of those received priority in purchasing tickets."

Exactly. We need an ownership group that has respect for the city, the fans, and the game of baseball. I'm pretty sure that's not what we have right now.

Anonymous said...

Souldrummer says -
I don't think the team is going to be very forthcoming on the data we actually need. How much of this is a push to market group sales to other markets? How much of this is Philly fans being more proactive to watch Halladay over the web once individual tickets were announced?

Philly fans were probably rude. This is to be expected. This is what they are. There are loads of documented incidents on the football side of how they are more poorly behaved than other markets, although drunken 'Skins fans are not immune from criticism themselves.

I think that there is an informed contingent that values the Nats that are early adopters and are quality fans. Natsinsider and Natsfarmauthority are possible in this market and wouldn't exist in some other markets. On the other hand, DC fans have lots of options and they tend to go with the one that is winning at the time or the flashy moves of the 'Skins. Partly Nats fans wish that the Lerners would make a smart Snyder move: going after a big name player that makes sense and would attract people to the ballpark. In a sense, we've lucked into Strasburg the same way that the Caps lucked into Ovechkin. The difference is do we have an ownership that can capitalize on that commodity and leverage that into roping in the casual fans? The lack of Strasburg jerseys available for sale mentioned above is one of the more troubling pieces of info related above.

Give the Philly fans their day. They've earned it by doing things the right way in building a winner unless you were personally victimized by boorish behavior and please report that in detail here. I do believe that we will have our day and it starts for Harrisburg in Altoona on 4/11.

Mark Zuckerman said...

To answer cadeck's question, if I can remember it amid all the other comments ... yes, I've been reading everything posted here just to make sure nothing gets out of control. So far, so good. Otherwise, I've been spending my "off-day" working on some other things plus taking care of some errands and household duties.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have an email for Kasten, even if he doesn't check it? We have an open letter from Nats Fans about the invasion.

Michael Dempsey said...

Watching from home from the comfy of my easy chair in Florida, I was totally embarrassed for the organization and die-hard Nats fans. It was bad enough Obama donned the White Sox cap, but the cheers were loudest for the Phils and a casual viewer would have sworn the game was in Philly. As a long time Caps season ticket holder before moving to Florida, I can attest Philly fans are the worst in the universe. I will say there is no way Ted Leonsis would have let that happen. After watching 162 games start to finish last year, I only made it to the 8th inning yesterday.

hleeo3 said...

Just a FYI, Strasburg jerseys will be non-existent in an official capacity until he makes it to the major leagues and pitches a few games... I can't say for certain what number but I think it is 4 appearances until he can be marketed.

Section405RowC said...

I had a quarter season plan last year, and renewed in cheaper seats for this year. I've seen the influx of Phillies fans in the past, and it was much worse yesterday than any of the 4 or 5 Phillies games I attended last year.

That being said, I've found that the average Phillies fan that I've personally encountered at the park was generally friendly, knowledgeable, deeply appreciative of their team, and not arrogant or insulting about our Nats -- and I'd been prepared to believe in the stereotypical "they booed Santa Claus" image of the boorish Philadelphia fan. Certainly the average Red Sox (or, god forbid, Yankees) fan displays far more arrogance.

Section 405 Row C Seats 1 and 2

Ryan said...

I love all these comments stating Philly fans are the worst...but it really looks like the DC fans are the worst kind of front running fans there are anywhere. Point: Nats fans did not come to opening day! Point: Nats fans let the Red Sox fans take over last spring training game. Point DC fans only show up for Caps games when they are winning! Horrible example of fairweather fans. I am ashamed...is this how we teach our kids?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"winning is the best solution ..."

I think if ownership/FO could field a truly competitive team one whose story captures the imaginations of DC Sports fans ... even if they didn't get to .500 that would be enough. It seemed like it was in 2005?

Riggleman said it best "We need to get where they are "the Phillies". We need to earn it (the support and interest of the fans)"

Truer words could not be said by any representative of the Nats FO. Its time to start earning it. The farms are still bare of top prospects in spite of FO claims that "they are working on that first". Admittedly I expect to seem some of the pitching begin to rise. But many of the position players even in the low minors are way too old to be considered prospects. They have got to sign more talent from International sources. They have got to do a better job in the draft trying not to waste the highest pick in every round. And they are going to have to raise the payroll. Stan himself said that with new front office safely ensconced they could begin to do that. Stan also said surprising International signings were imminent.

Hullo Stan? Are you are carnival barker or president of a major league baseball team?

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to those Nationals fans who refuse to pay for an inferior, neglected product. At least it was Phillies fans who lined the owners' pockets on Monday.

It makes sense that the stadium was full of fans who purchased them in a variety of ways - group sales, Nats fans resales, broker sales. Focusing on the group sale policy seems tendentious.

If an organization has to block sales from out-of-towners to make up for a lack of local interest that is one of the saddest things I have heard in the world of professional sports.

Anon's head cold said...

Yes! Congratulations to those National fans that stay home!!! That is the correct definition of fan if I've ever heard one...

Anonymous said...

I attended the Saturday Fan Appreciation event and game with Boston with my 14-year-old son. It was a very pleasant experience with one significant sour note: you were not allowed to leave the park after the Fan Appreciation Event and before the game! We were at the Park from 11:30 until the 4pm Game Start. Nationals Park is a nice ballpark but it felt a little like prison. I suppose this was to maximize concession sales. This was a way to show appreciation of season ticket holders who routinely drop $20 a game on a single hotdog, beer and maybe some peanuts?

Chris S. said...

"Camden Yards is a classic downtown stadium with an original design. CBP is a 1970s style offramp stadium with dimensions that were slightly modified so as not to look like the Vet. Comparing the two is like comparing dinner at a fine steakhouse to the substance the Phillie fan left in the 300-level bathroom after having had far too much to drink."

I think you're thinking of the actual Vet. What with CBP having been built after and modeled on Camden Yards, it has little to do with the 1970s.

I'll read mroe comments later tonight.

Anonymous said...

Alright guys. If you want to get a ticket to a hard to get team, you go on the other baseball franchise's website and buy it there. In other words opening day tickets at Nationals Park were available on the Phillies website, and that included seats next to each other. And the individual tickets on Phillies.com was not sold out within 7 minutes. The Nats front office had a cap on the number of tickets they would sell to DC and Philly and did not reduce the number for Philly even after the group sales. These guys want the Philly fans to be here. Stan Kasten himself pitched Nationals stadium last year. And of course the Nationals owners want them. They buy an awful lot of beer and food. And it lines the pockets of the Lerner's since the concessions contract is so favorable to the franchise.

Anonymous said...

Compared to last year's weekend series against the Phillies that included a Friday night game, a Saturday makeup day game and a Saturday night game, the behavior of their fans yesterday was relatively tame. Having said that, I contrast their booing yesterday of Zimmerman when he received his hardware with the standing O that Zimmerman got in San Francisco when his hitting streak came to an end there. That was class. Being only somewhat less borish is not.

JayB said...


Can you verify that Nats.com site tickets sold in 7 mins but a whole other lot was on Phils.com and they stayed open for a long time...some folks said days. Stan Sucks and is a low life lair if that is so. Stan sucks even if it is not so really!

CoverageisLacking said...

So I actually just got a "thank you" email from the Nats for buying tickets to yesterday's game, stating that "We want to hear about your game day experience at Nationals Park" and asking me to give them "comments and feedback."

Then, when I clicked through, the web site asked me to enter the date of the event, the only options were for 2009 and 2008. Classic.

Traveler8 said...

I think the one thing that could have been done differently by Nats management was to break up that Phillies group under the scoreboard - this was the group that was booing at all the introductions, and even started a big chant of "Yankees Suck" at one point (which totally mystified us, didn't seem to have any point there). The Mets fans, Red Sox fans, and even Philly fans have taught me that I need to be a lot more vocal, and I was clapping and yelling like crazy yesterday. However, it becomes very difficult to counter what was effectively an organized group engaging in behavior that Philly fans weighing in here say is considered bad behavior in Citizens Bank Park. If the Nats had not sold 1,500 seats together under the scoreboard the enthusiasm might have been more diffused, and behavior better.

alm1000 said...

Someone in my office got on at 10 am and never got a ticket - kept getting bounced and by the time he got in it was sold out.

The problem here is that it did not have to go down this way. That's why I am so mad. It happened this way because StanK doesn't really give a crap about this team and us as fans.

That makes me so sad.

I was a Mets fan from the time I was a kid in the 60s and when the owner died (can't remember his name) and his widow traded Tom Seaver (73 or 74) I stopped following the Mets until 10 years later when the Doubledays were the owners and they invested in the team. Hope that I don't have to wait another 10 years before the Lerners decide to invest in the team (I am getting too old).

Traveler8 said...

I would also echo what I saw jca post over on NJ - the groups coming on buses can be better policed. Certainly the Nats can insist that they not have alcohol on the bus coming down. There is no reason to allow someone who is already drunk in the park, or to allow them to stay.

Daniel said...

Who cares? The phucking phillies phans spent good money at the park and around the city. And there were plenty of tickets available at the ticket office. We were at 11 and people were walking up to the ticket box windows and buying tickets. We called some friends and had two $10 tickets held for them at the will call window.
Nats will be good soon enough and then we will be traveling up 95 because we cant get tickets at sold out home games.
Enjoy the game, people, and atmosphere It's all good.

Chris said...


I bought a Strasburg authentic down in Viera a few weeks ago.

Got lots of comments about it yesterday - from Phills and Nats fans.

Mary / Sec 317 said...

Although clearly quite a few Phillies fans came via bus, there is certainly a substantial fan base here locally -- hundreds rode Metro.

As for me, I certainly don't mind fans from other towns who root for their teams, but I 'draw the line' at those who actually boo and jeer at the hometown team. Regardless of where your loyalties lay (lie?) there's no reason to be disrespectful of another team or its players. Cheer and appreciate good hits and plays no matter who makes them -- just enjoy the game and hope 'your team' comes out the winner!

Anonymous said...

Who cares if Phillies fans booed Zimmerman and the rest of your players? Your a division rival were not going to cheer for your guys. I'll put it to you this way. Do Redskins fans boo Eagles players? Do Capitals fans boo Flyers players? Of course, the rivalry is what makes it fun. Sadly, the Nationals haven't been good enough to build up the same type of rivalry but booing opposing players doesn't mean your classless whether your a Washington or Philly fan.

hleeo3 said...

Congrats, be sure to keep that.
I did some searching on the internet and found an interesting article relating what I thought: "By players’ association rule, a player’s apparel cannot be sold until he’s played in a major league game, and a game is not official until the fifth inning."

I dunno what the deal with the Strasburg jerseys but the Braves didn't start selling Heyward shirts and jerseys until after the fifth inning. Here is the link: http://tinyurl.com/yjfyjma

Chris S. said...

For the record, there are two Chris' here - the only Nats gear I own is a hat from yesterday and a towel from the CBP opener in 2005.

Huh. Why did baseball have the Nats' franchise opener on the road? Was RFK not configured for baseball yet? And why didn't the Phillies open at home this year? Halladay's first NL start was a recipe for a Phillies home game in ANY city.

Nats ownership and management has some explaining to do, but I think that MLB does too.

Unknown said...

I think the "Yankees suck!" (and any other "_______ suck!" chants for that matter) came from random fans in the stands wearing team gear other than Nationals or Phillies. I know in my section, Phils and Nats fans alike were booing a guy in a Mets t-shirt every time he went up and down the stairs to his seat. It was like a fun bonding experience!

Deez Nats said...

Last year's home opener was also against the Phils. We were 0-7 at the time, yet a crowd of 40,386 still showed up. From being at every Nats home opener, I can tell you that the percentage of Phils fans this year was probably 3-4 times what showed up at the 2009 opener. So the people who have claimed in this thread that only 5000 Nats fans would've showed up if not for the Phils fans, that is a baseless assertion. For games later in the season, that may be true, but not the opener, which is something of a civic holiday.

The individual Phillies fans that I encountered were respectful one-on-one, but as a group they seemed to take on a moblike, confrontational mentality. By the looks of most of them, they don't seem like people that have much success or self-esteem, so they cope with their feelings of inferiority through associating themselves with successful sports franchises ("My team won, so I am a better person than you").

Ryan from Philly said...

As a Phillies fan who boarded one of the 27 buses from Phillytailgate.com, I want to thank the Nats fans for being good hosts. The papers and blogs are giving you far more grief than you deserve. The Nats fans around us were fun and really seemed to enjoy the game. Our chants, cheers, jeers, and attendance had nothing to do with DC, but instead our passion for our beloved Phillies. Thanks for hosting us on opening day ... and for putting up with us.

Ryan from Philly said...

As for @Deez Nats, we have plenty of success in Philadelphia outside of our Phillies. Many of us have jobs that allow us to take "vacation days" for things that we care about. I find it unfortunate that your citizens either did not have jobs that allowed paid time off, or did not feel the game was worthy of using it.

Ken said...

145 comments so far, and counting

If the Washington Nationals are not paying attention to the fan reactions to Monday's home opener, then they will only have themselves to blame for a diminishing fan base. In every sport, the main reason a team will have and advantage when playing at home, is its fans. To allows as many as 1/4 of the stadium to be filled by out of town fans cheering the opposing team, in effect, kills any advantage the team would have had, had a vast majority of fans been locals.

Having opposing fans in the numbers that were in attendance for the home opener effects not just the fan base, but players as well. When a team plays on the road and it sees and hears large numbers of fans there supporting them, every time their cheers are heard, players get a rush of adrenaline.

Unless the Washington Nationals are willing to give up home field advantage, fans from opposing teams should NEVER be allowed to get to sufficient numbers that they can be heard over locals.

As an example, our local junior hockey team limits sales to out of town fans to 10% during playoffs. During the regular season, group packages are only available to local groups, schools, companies and organizations. If an out of town fans wants to purchase a ticket, what tickets are available go on sale 2 1/2 hours prior to the game.

Anonymous said...

I just wish the skanky Philly Chicks didn't pee all over the seats in the women's restrooms. The most classless bunch of people on the planet.

The GREEN Mover said...

Well this has been an interesting read. I too am a STH and have spent tens of thousands of dollars following my team...the Nats. My family and I became STH after meeting Mr. Kasten at an event in the suburbs. We drank his Koolaid and we are all still waiting for the Buzz! I understand from a business perspective that reaching out and attracting Philly fans to DC is good business. The Phils are a good team, a very good team and the fans are very supportive. I was mostly appalled by the boorish behavior by many, many Phils fans during the pre-game celebrations. The booing of our President, our former President and all of the staff of our team, really wasn't necessary and indeed poor taste. The Fightin' Phils quickly showed all of us in attendance who was a better team and who was better prepared to win. Mr. Kasten keeps trying to fool us with his communiques "about Hope" but, in reality he's putting a second rate product on the field and still blaming "others" for the problem. When we travel to other ball parks we see well managed and happy staffs, well-stocked team stores and concessions that are never empty.

Talk about missing the boat, our team stores should be filled with Rodriguez, Strasburg,Zimmerman gear, yet, no we are still trying to sell "leftover" Zecovia, Flores and Milledge crap. I'm not sure that we've hit rock bottom yet, but, our management team has the pedal to metal and headed for the cliff. See you on the bottom, or maybe not. I have no choice but to get Stan's attention at the turnstiles by cutting my investment in his experiment by over 50% this year. We visited Chase Field this spring and we were surprised to see over ten items that had newly "lowered" prices to provide families with affordable options. A $7 hat, a $9 T-shirt and six food items that cost less than $3. Each and every staff member that we met on the tour made it a point to bring these options to our attention. Can you imagine suggesting a sale for less money rather than more? What a respectable concept. Mr. Lerner could you please take a field trip to Arizona and take a page or two out of their workbook before it's too late?

Chris S. said...

Here's one thing that the Nationals (and every team, imo) SHOULD import from Philadelphia, and it is neither a $140 million payroll nor obnoxious fans:

Dollar dog night.

For serious. Best. Promotion. Ever.

Anonymous said...

After reading newspaper articles, blogs and comments - once again,I urge you to NOT let this go. Trying to blame Nats fans is shameless - I WANTED TO BUY TICKETS!!!!! Another issue not getting enough play is the behavior that was ALLOWED. Those groups should have been warned, then escorted out and banned from group sales in the future. Our players were insulted repeatedly on their own opening day. Disgusting.

David said...

"they don't seem like people that have much success or self-esteem"

when you're 40, and spend Monday afternoon puking in a urinal, swearing at children, while wearing a replica baseball jersey that barely fits over your overgrown stomach, that also bares the name of a player almost half your age, then you're either a fan of a good team, or you're making plans to jump off the Betsy Ross Bridge

Anonymous said...

Is there any indication at all that the Nats front office reads any of these comments?

Chris said...


Ya, I have no idea why/how they were able to sell Stras jerseys down in Florida but they had an entire rack int he team store. There's gotta be some sort of loophole. That, or I'm wearing illegal contraband! haha.

Anonymous said...

Just win baby and they will come. It really is that simple, just win. JTinSC

Tom8 said...

Lets talk about ways they can improve this for next year. Maybe then they'll listen.

Item 1: Buy 1 ticket to any nats game for the upcoming season, be eligible to buy early tickets for opening day.

Item 2: Advertise options for home-town fans to buy exclusive tickets to opening day before the G.P. sales go down.

Any others?

Bobo said...

Bobo's Back Everyone! Let us all go over this one more time, Booooing Ryan F'n Zimmerman isn’t Boorish, Classless, or Vulgar! The guy is a tool, his team mates all suck, and the franchise is a mess. Therefore, he deserves, along with the rest of that excuse of a team, their fans, and their owners to be Boooooed every time they take the field.

I love all the undertones in these posts about the poor, underemployed, underpaid Philly fans and how they insulted the rich, sophisticated, urbane National fan. Oh you poor complicated souls, I am crying in my hands for you since I obviously can’t afford tissues. I wish I could give each of you a big hug to make you feel better.

Dave said...

Kilgore has just posted his complete email exchange with Kasten. Kasten just doesn't care whether anybody is angry.

Nationals Journal

Anonymous said...

@Dave, thanks for posting that link to the 'Nationals Journal' article. I am struck think that Kasten is like Nero sitting there watching Rome burn...

Anonymous said...

To AWH You grew up a Senators fan so you are not a Philies fan. You are a bandjumper and really a rude one making your "enlightened apology" to your sophisticated peers. I'm 60 and a life long Philly fan. I can say that the Phillies who have the "all time losing percentagre record" of all professional franchises, have previously given their fan base similar angst. And did not sell tickets. You don't like the NATS? Vote with your pocket.

Anonymous said...

Let's face it. Stan Kasten is a used car salesman not a marketer. Can't you picture him on one of those lots deflecting your questions about the engine and if the car was previously in an accident.

Anonymous said...

I am a Phillies fan, and was at the opening day game. We signed up on the Nats website as a fan, and then a week before individual tickets went on sale to the public we were emailed a password to purchase individual game tickets. We bought four and I am sure the people around us did the same. It def. was not all group sales.

Bobo said...

Hey Everyone, I'll see you tonight at the game...

Anonymous said...

Tickets purchased from either the Nationals website or the Phillies website are actually coming from the same place, so it's not possible that tickets were sold out on the Nationals website but not the Phillies website. You are always purchasing tickets from the home team.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me said...

I asked StanK for the Carfax. But all he would show me was the car mats.

Anonymous said...

To the Nats fans - I have been a Phillies fan since 1975 when I went to my first game (at 8yrs old). For years we had tickets, the fans while loud were not totally obnoxious - we dreaded the Mets games for he same reasons you now dread the Phils. Please know that there are several classless fans in every town. I would love to see these people kicked out of the games - we all must stick work together for this to happen. Classless fans ruin the games for all. I am so sorry that some of our ruder fans made your experience at your own stadium unpleasant. Please know that this bothers me so much that I no longer go to the games, but watch from home. I get my baseball fix by going to spring training - and minor league games.

I am truly sorry for my teams fans that were rude and classless - but please don't think that Philadelphia has only these fans. These people are not fans of the game - they are just obnoxious people with an inflated self worth who like to hear themselves.

Joe said...

I used to be a season ticket holder as well with both the Nationals and Sunday games with the Orioles. This Nationals managment team is working real hard to put themselves right up there with Peter Angelos in Baltimore. I'm disgusted, not only at the total lack of respect management has for its fans, as exemplified by the Opening Day ticket sell-out, but at the riduculous prospect of Riggleman as the manager for the whole year. He's only had two winning seasons in his whole career and one of those was just barely. He has no idea how to handle his pitchers, keeps one of his best hitters on the bench (Guzman, who should have been moved to first at the start of Spring Training), and thinks the sacrifice bunt is the best play in baseball (when it is the worst). This Nats management doesn't deserve the fans it has and I fell sorry for the players who are caught in the middle.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, we have to put up with these savages from time to time. Don't be surprised by their behavior, they're from Philly, after all. Guess the gas stations and fast food joints in Philly were understaffed opening day, all of their employees blew their day of vacation on a game.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a rooting interest either way, but I don't see how Nats fans can blame the team for selling tickets to paying customers.

Yes, it's annoying to be in a stadium filled with fans of the visiting team. I get that. But the Phillies fans didn't obtain their tickets through some underhanded, back-door tactics. They bought them on the open market, just as Nationals fans could have.

Bobo said...

Anon said...
"Guess the gas stations and fast food joints in Philly were understaffed opening day, all of their employees blew their day of vacation on a game."

Yep, that makes sense, especially coming from someone in our nations capitol, everyone knows employees at gas stations and fast food joints have the most disposable income right, now, especially after receiving all that bail out money. They are definitealy the cohort of folks ready to spend a couple hunderd bucks to come down and enjoy a ballgame.

You know, all kidding aside, the thing that I found the most amusing about this blog is the sense of entitlement of the Nats fans. You think you deserve to be protected from others -- you think you deserve to have a great team -- it's the owners fault that Phils fans came to the game -- It's the owners fault there wasn't more time marketing to DC folks, especially because no one knew opening day was coming up.

Anonymous said...

As a Phillies fan, I jumped on the opportunity to see the Phillies on Opening Day when the Nats advertised the Ryan Zimmerman 4 pack. It was much easier for me to buy tickets to see the Phillies in Washington than in Philly. Since there were no restrictions on games, I bought Opening Day and last nights 2nd game as well as two other Phillies games later in the season. As for the "free tickets" offered through that package, I'll probably hold off til the O's play the Nats or some other hot team comes to town.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why everyone is getting upset at Philly fans. I am a Phillies fan that was on one of the bus trips that left from CBP. When we left, there were about 20 buses that left from the sports complex, so I figured some of a Phillies fan presence when we got to DC. When we arrived, I actually was surprised I didn't see the Phanatic there.
There should be no surprise that a team that was won 2 straight NL pennanats and a World Series has fans that will travel 3 hrs to see them on Opening Day. The frustration should be when the Nationals look in the mirror. Your team went out and tried to improve this offseason. It should also be noted "again" that many of these Philly fans purchased tickets from Nats season ticket holders on stub hub. It was only a small margine of Philly fans that came on a bus.

Anonymous said...

Diehard fans will stick with a team through the lean years because they are proud of their city and their team -- supporting a losing team becomes a badge of honor. By turning Nationals Park into Phillies Park, not only did the Nationals keep their own fans out of the ballpark, but they also insulted the proud nature of the remaining Nationals fans. I hope the Nationals made some money from the Phillies fans on opening day, because they destroyed an already weak Nationals brand today.

It's obvious that the Lerners have no pride in the team. They are responsible for making the Nationals the worst team in baseball for 2008, 2009 and possibly 2010. It's time to start protesting the Lerners...

Anonymous said...

I don't even understand some of the posts about how Citizens Bank Park is a crappy stadium. I am die hard Mets fan and I think CBP is amazing. I wish the Mets took a hard look at it when designing Citi. No matter where you go, you could still see the game. Concessions are the best. Also, when you're there, just walk around if you wanna know everything about the Phillies. If anything, I've been to Nationals Park and it looks older than the Shea or the Vet did when it was torn down.

Anonymous said...

The home team fans are to blame!

I was able to buy Nationals season tickets in a very good location for a fraction of the cost of my Phillies season tickets. I plan on attending 12+ games this season in addition to the Nats/Phillies games. The fact that those season tickets are avail speaks volumes about the fan base in DC. In Philly you can't even purchase a SUnday package anymore because everything is sold out.
You can't blame the Nats front office for selling me aor anyone else tickets because that is their job, SELLING TICKETS! So stop crying and buy tickets. And for the record when I visit DC I will be spending money in your city at your ballpark. Oh yeah, and when they are not playing the Phillies I will be cheering for the Nats.

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