Monday, September 27, 2010

Embarrassed? Then start winning

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Phillies fans serenade their team during tonight's division-clinching win.
Inside the visitors ... er, actually make that the home clubhouse at Nationals Park, players quietly showered, dressed and left. A few sat in front of their lockers and stewed, clearly upset by what was transpiring over on the other side of the building and in the stands above the third-base dugout, where Phillies fans refused to stop celebrating their team's division-clinching victory.

As if the sight of a visiting team celebrating in the middle of the diamond wasn't tough enough to stomach, throw in several thousand of their fans, who dominated the ballpark all night to the point this felt like anything but a home game for the Nationals.

"Damn, it was a lot louder at our place than it was at their place when we go there," Nyjer Morgan said. "It felt like it was a home game for the Phillies."

"It was kind of embarrassing," Ian Desmond added. "Everyone in the stadium is clapping against you, and you're at home. It's not really where you want to be."

No, nothing about what transpired on South Capitol Street should be acceptable to the Nationals or their fans. The scene around this 8-0 thumping at the hands of the Phillies was both embarrassing and yet totally predictable.

What do you get when you take a 67-win home team, add a 94-win visiting team with a rabid fan base located only two hours up the interstate, put a division title on the line, stick a 20-game winner on the mound and throw in the threat of rain for good measure? You get this: A crowd of probably 7,500, at least three-quarters (maybe even 90 percent) of them wearing Phillies gear, chanting in unison things like "This is our house!" as the home team sits there helpless to stop it.

"That's just the way it is," John Lannan said. "The Philly fans are die-hard. They came down here. That's how it always is. Hopefully it changes over the next couple years."

There's only one way to ensure that changes, John. Start winning.

You can talk about how obnoxious Philly fans are. You can talk about the manner in which the Nationals' front office helped encourage nights like this by all but busing in thousands of out-of-towners every time they play here. You can even talk about local baseball fans not caring enough to show up in an attempt to drown out the invaders. But those are all peripheral factors to the real issue.

You want to draw your own fans and keep visitors out? Start winning.

The Phillies just won their fourth straight NL East title. The Nationals are about to wrap up their third straight last-place finish. Over the last four years, the Nats have finished 16, 32 1/2, 34 and now 27 games behind Philadelphia (with five games still to go this season). Head-to-head over that time, the Nats are 20-50 against the Phillies.

Technically speaking, these two franchises compete in the same division. Realistically, they're a universe apart.

"The Phillies are winning 90-plus and we're losing 90-plus," Jim Riggleman. "There's a gap there we've got to close."

This was the third time in four years the Phillies have clinched against the Nationals. In 2007 and 2008 at Citizens Bank Park, plenty of guys sat in their dugout, watched the celebration and talked about how they were motivated to try to do the same.

There wasn't much admiration for the opposition tonight, only frustration from a group of players that's sick of being on this end of these things.

"It's tough watching these guys," Collin Balester said. "You want to play for that. We have a good enough team to do that. ... It also stings a little bit to watch those guys do it, especially on your field. It's cliched to say the same thing over and over, year in and year out, to have the same results. But we really are working hard, and I think we have the team for the future."

The skeptics will say that future isn't on the immediate horizon. It's difficult to imagine any scenario in 2011 -- with Stephen Strasburg recovering from Tommy John surgery -- that results in the Nationals clinching anything of consequence.

But it's not going to do the Nats any good to proceed into next season as though it's a lost cause before it begins. They can't just push the timeline for success back because of Strasburg's injury. They have to approach their offseason roster changes as though Strasburg is going to be a part of the 2011 team.

No, it probably won't result in a title of any kind. It may not even result in 81 wins. But it will put this franchise in better position a year from now (once Strasburg is back) to make that leap, rather than delaying it even farther down the road.

After witnessing what they saw tonight on their home field, it's not enough for the Nationals to simply say they were embarrassed. It's time for them to do something to prevent it from happening again.


DCGuy7 said...

clap clap clap. now, how do we get the lerner's on board?

Anonymous said...

again, Masterful writing Mark. This really underscores a lot about how I feel about the team. But at the same time, the city does not care enough, and it sickens me.

Section 222 said...

Thanks for the dose of reality Mark. I hope some of the team reads it. I was there tonight, and yes, it was embarrassing. But the comments from the players make it sound like they blame the fans for not being more into it, not shouting down the Phans, not keeping control of "our house." Sorry guys, look in the mirror. Keep scratching out just 2 hits and playing sloppy baseball in the field and you're not going to get fanatic fan support because you don't deserve it. It would have been nice to hear some of the grownups in the clubhouse make those kind of comments rather than letting the youngsters sulk and complain. And no, Nyjer, it was not louder in Nats Park tonight than it is in Citizens Bank park when we play there. Come on! Oh, and by the way, what's with the jogging toward the fly ball you dropped in left center in the 9th? Are you even trying any more?

End of rant. I'll be there tomorrow too. Maybe now that the game doesn't mean anything to the Phillies either, it will be a fairer fight.

Anonymous said...

Agreed on all fronts except referring to the Phillies fans as "diehard". They are riding the wave of a winner, and no chance they invade like this is they weren't in the hunt.

Anonymous said...

Philly is a complete fraud of a baseball town. The Phillies drew files at Citizens Bank Park in '05 and '06. The first year they miss the playoffs and the Bank will be full of empty seats again. Philly is a one-team town for the Eagles.

Anonymous said...

May this be our darkest hour.

Darker than this I cannot take.

Ernie said...

I was there tonight as well. It's embarrassing, but I'm not sure I get all the Philly hate. I've been to 3 Philly games this year and the fans I've met have all been enthusiastic and loud, but nothing rude. The only obnoxious bit I can see is that they actually show up and support their team. I show up as well, but there was precious little to support tonight. Ramos's bloop hit? That was the only hit in the 8th inning "highlights" on the scoreboard. I was proud of Ballester, but what good does cheering do for a mop-up reliever when you're down 4 runs to an ace pitching a gem of a game?

I sat through almost 3 hours of rain to watch my team be shown up by a master on the mound. The pleasure was in seeing some of the best pitching I've seen all year and to think about the day when we can have our own party out there in the middle of the field. There won't be any more Strasburg debut games. From here on out this team has to earn the crowds. I'll be there because I'm hopelessly addicted to the game, but other will come as well when we start winning.

And Nyjer? Before you talk down about the home crowd, did you consider that some of those boos you were hearing when you stepped to the plate were the one thing uniting Philly and DC fans? I don't bo hometown players, but I saw others tonight who had no similar reservations..

CBinDC said...

Great piece Mark

I have seen the Nats in Philly and have been a number of games here over the years but after Opening Day this year I WILL REFUSE to attend another game if Philly is involved. They are the worst.
I could not listen to the post game on MASN the rudeness of the Filly Phans was so on display.

YES all you wrote is true Mark but the folks left out of last night were the feelings of Management.

What does Lerner, the COO, the departing Kasten think ? Are they happy? And if not what if anything do they plan to do about it. Until then I stay home when THE FILTHYs come to town.

BTW they shut up real good when losing, if the Nats had been ahead by the 9th it would have been real silent then they would go use the trash cans as urinals (oh that last part would have been winning too) .....can not say the same for NY fans they run their mouths win or lose

JayB said...

Great work Mark....again....6 months late to the facts but great non the less....this is what you should have written opening day. Still recall how you said crowd on opening day was maybe a 1/3 Phils......At least you got the point that I was making back Last Off season....Nats had to win this year. They lead the league in errors and look lost.....They will not recover from this poor showing in 2010 for many years. It will be Florida M's like in the park in 2011. Look for 3,000 to 5,000 to be the norm unless against teams like Fish, D-backs etc. That is the fan base they earned in 6 years here.

Dave said...

"That's just the way it is," John Lannan said. "The Philly fans are die-hard. They came down here. That's how it always is. Hopefully it changes over the next couple years."

Are you freaking kidding me? "Hopefully"?

A guy who gave up 4 earned runs in 5.2 innings shouldn't be talking about how it always is when the Phillies come to town. He should be doing something about it.

Losing pitcher: Lannan, as of the 2nd inning.

There have been many depressing and disgusting evenings in Nationals Park this year, beginning with Opening Day, continuing through the sweeps by the Orioles and the Cubs, and leading right up to last night's debacle. It just seems to get worse and worse.

It's a shame that it took 157 games for someone like Ian Desmond to say he was embarrassed by this team's play. Guess what, Ian? Most of us have been embarrassed since early June.

Ed Stroud said...

Balester: "We're good enough to be like that."

What you smokin Collin?

Vito said...

as a STH it was tough to take....nice job by all the 3rd base line STH flipping their tickets to the Philly Fans..was there some kind of special deal? It was really remarkable sight and I am just not taking about Halladay's sensational pitching effort. Glad the season is now over for me but I'll be back come April.

lefty said...

The Phillbillies have always traveled to see their team play as evidenced by their attendance at Camden Yards during intraleague games in the past. They are basically loud,drunk, obnoxious and poorly behaved if transported by bus.I could do without their presence so it's time to stop complaining and start to buy tickets to see our Nats play the best baseball has to offer.

Anonymous8 said...

It could have been worse if the weather was better. I bet another 10,000 Philly phans saw the weather report and stayed away.

Did you see all of them in the President's Club. By the 8th inning they all moved to the 1st 2 rows. Security did nothing to keep them in their assigned seats.

Also keep in mind that there are thousands of Philly transplants that live in the DC area.

Like someone else said, the way to shut them up is to beat them and give them nothing to cheer about.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Nats fan and season ticket holder. Can we stop talking about Strasburg! We're all forgetting he had shoulder issues on top of his tommy john - In short, if we're banking on him in 2012, we could be in a lot of trouble.

Not tryin to be negative, just being realistic.


markfd said...

Mark, you hit a homerun with this column the organization should be completely embarrassed by this season.

Also, no reason to hate on the opposing fans because if our guys took care of business day in and day out the opponents' fans would be leaving with their tails between their legs!

Anonymous said...

First off, I was really impressed with Ian Desmond's emotion after the game. He was as upset as I was about how everything went down. I'd rather have him with 30 errors than someone that doesn't care with none.

Secondly, I don't think you can separate out the Nationals organization welcoming these near-humans and success. It is part of the same thing. I was in the President's Club (a perk of being a full STH) and I was astonished and horrifed to see and hear the hostess there ignoring the Nats fans while making sure all the Phillies fans were serviced -- there was a group of them behind me and she was telling them how much they liked Phillies fans and how welcome they were there. She even went to the trouble of getting them programs. It turned my stomach. You aren't going to have a winning team unless the organization wants one, and from what I see, this organization is more interested in a quick dollar by courting the opposition fans than building its own fan base. Peter Angelos seems to be the business model.

Thirdly, I take exception to the Phillies fans being characterized as die hard. How many of them would have sat in a rainstorm to watch a team that had only 67 wins? They are loud and obnoxious. That doesn't make them die hards.

Sunderland said...

We reap what we sow.

And season ticket holders weren't "flipping their seats" to Philly fans. Games like yesterday, you can just go sit where you want pretty much. Should security have kept people in their designated seats? No, that's childish and foolish in a near empty stadium.

CBinDC said...

BTW to add to the Fans are talk but is anyone listening on Sunday they announced on the BIG HD it was Mark Lerners birthday .....the silence was deafening.....No one can even can get up a good boo or golf clap

Feel Wood said...

I caught an interesting commercial for 2011 season tickets on MASN last night. First time I've seen it, although it did show multiple times during the game. The ad featured several players, presumably ones you'd expect to see if you purchased 2011 season tix. Zimmerman, Desmond, Espinosa, Pudge, and.....Dunn. Maybe the MASN commercial folks know something the rest of us don't?

Bobo said...

Hehe everyone Bobo is back! I went to opening day at CBP south with all my Philly friends and enjoyed pissing all over your stadium. Last night I got to enjoy another NL East crown. Good times for us, not so much for you. How did you enjoy watching the Phils steal 3 bases in the 9th? This is an example of a team that plays to WIN. Unlike your bunch of losers.

Anyway, wanted to pass on a hello, and thanks for having us again at your wonderful stadium...

Anonymous said...

Here are the numbers that account for the gap between the Phillies and the Nats that Riggleman talks about:



Until that gap is closed there is no sense whining about players whining.

Big Cat said...

Here's the bad news. It ain't gonna get much better in 2011. There is no cavalry riding in to save us. It will be good to see the two kids up the middle progress. I think we may something special in those two. We need to throw some serious money around and get a couple free agents in here. A CF and a starting pitcher or two. Course, who wants to play here?

CBinDC said...

Not to pile on but the morning just feels this down ....has anybody seen the Season Ticket Prices for 2011 and compared those to other teams in MLB in the bottom of the bunch club? Well the National prices are, in most sections, 25 to 50 % higher then anybody else. Even with the 2 for 2 which is only in 4 sections they must be top ten on price. And reading the COO's (new face of the front office) letter on offers for 2011 he thinks this is an improvement.

Souldrummer said...

"I was there tonight as well. It's embarrassing, but I'm not sure I get all the Philly hate."

Perhaps you missed the "a-hole" chants when one got away from Bisenius and he knocked down Roy Halladay? I certainly heard a couple of Philly fans joining in from section 225.

Would have been nice if they could have won this game. Also, would have been nice if their fans had more class. Our 10-8 record against the Braves certainly helped them clinch early and set up their rotation for the playoffs. If we had gotten swept by the Braves, they would have at least gulped at the Braves comeback win against the Fish.

Craig Stammen continues to fall down the totem pole of relievers for next year. He hasn't been much better as a reliever than he was as a starter and Balester continues to be spacey dominant.

The big bummer for me about this is that now there are really no more meaningful games left on the schedule. Winning tonight would tie for our best home record since we've been back to DC. That's a good goal, but it's hard to get but so up for these kind of games.

Still, I'll be there at the park tonight and I hope that they can give us a performance and some plays or performances that really matter. You never know when some unexpected guy is going to flirt with brilliance.

citizen16 said...

You are 100% spot on again Mark.

I am a partial STH and after the Opening Day debacle I traded in the other tickets for Phillies games this season. The message I got on Opening Day is that Stan wanted to see Phillies fans there to cheer on the visiting team whenever the Phillies are in town. There was no way I was going to sit through another game at Nationals Park while putting up with those Philly clowns.

If Nats management ever puts a competitive team on the field and they win, the fans will come. Look at the hoopla when Strasburg played. That can be sustained in DC if the team is winning. If the team wins for several years then it can handle some bad seasons with fans still supporting the team (like the Redskins).

Seems to me like Stan's plan has not worked and is unlikely to work for another few years. Now that Stan is gone, why not try a different plan...significantly increase the payroll and be smart and aggressive in free agency to put a team on the field that can win 80+ or 90+ games. Fans will come and fan loyalty will develop. A few years of playoff baseball around here will generate excitement that will last for years to follow.

I can dream, right?

Either way, I'll still be back as a STH in the spring when hope is alive again.

Souldrummer said...

@Ed Stroud
"What you smokin Collin? "
95MPH and an over a K per inning. Balester has been one of the real bright spots down the stretch. Showing he's an in house potential strikeout pitcher out of the pen is pretty solid stuff. You can make a case that last night's game goes completely different if Balester gets the opportunity to bail out Burnett instead of Stammen. I guess Stammen will get a shot to do his Miguel Batista impersonation next year, but if we were a team that had reliable starters and didn't need a flex guy as much, Stammen would probably belong in Syracuse.

Anonymous said...


I agree with you 100% percent the ticket prices remain too high despite underperforming for 5 years and they do not allow Nats fans to buy lower bowl tickets unless they buy all 82 games, which NO other team in the majors does!!!??

I wonder what attendance would have been last night if the Phillies were not in town, maybe 1,000!?

As for embarrasment, Lannan, Desmond and Morgan should be embarassed by their performance this season! For Lannan, he should be embarrased that if it were not for three or four injuries he would finished the season at AA and been Chico'd and never return to the majors! Desmonds should be embarrased for being the WORST defensive player in baseball. Morgan should be embarrased for acting like a two year old all season!!

Anonymous said...

I've been to a lot of baseball stadiums, enjoyed talking with a lot of fans of a lot of different teams. On a per capita basis, Philadelphia fans are by far the worst - no other fandom is even particularly close. It carries over to Eagles fans in the NFL as well. Other team fans will cheer and chant for their team - Philadelphia fans taunt, swear and aggressively use bodily fluids against other teams and their fans. I don't know the reason for the difference and I don't much care.

Having my brother-in-law get hit by a beer bottle on Opening Day after Phillie fans heckled Ryan Zimmerman's award presentation just confirmed what I long knew already: Philadelphia sports fans have the largest % of extreme jerks of any fandom I've encountered. Maybe there are soccer hooligans that are worse. Maybe.

JCC from DC

Bowdenball said...

Anonymous 9:37:

I agree that they're overpriced, but let's not get carried away with the criticism. There's plenty of lower bowl tickets available without buying a full season ticket. The only restriction the Nats have is that some sections can't be purchased with partial plans- basically because they want to either sell the seat for all 81 games or sell it at the higher individual game price. That's completely reasonable.

I don't know how other teams deal with their season tickets, but I'm guessing this isn't unusual. I looked at one other team with similar attendance numbers to the Nats- the Mariners- and they do something similar. You can't get certain premium sections on their weekend/business/16 game plans.

Milo said...

Thanks for the column Mark. Losing a big game to a rival doesn't get much worse than the exhibition we saw last night, and you captured the feeling. The nature of the sport is such that we got last night and we get Strasburg's first game in the the same season.

Fans want the best season record a team can achieve. Strasburg will be useful, but alone won't drive a much better record. Nats fans will also need at least two other consistant front line starting pitchers, a competent center fielder, a competent lead-off hitter, and two or three consistant hitters in the lower end of the lineup. That should get us a little better than a .500 season. Really, not much to ask for for next season, right?

ThrowsLikeSteveSax said...

While I agree that the season may end with a whimper, we got some good baseball from the Nats this weekend. Friday was one of the best games I've seen all year ... Saturday not so hot ... then a solid Sunday. Don't let a little rain and the Phils just instantly ruin what has been some pretty nice ball from the September squad.

320R2S15 said...

How can this owner not feel responsible for this mess 5 years in? They are clueless real estate developers, that's it, and it won't change till they get tired of their little toy and sell it.

Pilly is Philly. They are what they are, if they want to come to see their team in our stadium and seats are available, then more power to em. It's kinda like getting mad at your dog for doing dog stuff.

The condition of this team is the fault of MLB for selling to a group with no experience. I would love to be wrong here, but I do not see good things for us in the near term. I'll keep going to games cuz I love the fact that we have baseball here, but don't get all bent out of shape about Philly.

Mark said...

I'm not embarrassed as a fan. The Nats lost that fight for me before it even started.

If I was the owner, I'd be embarrassed beyond words for fielding a team that has gone 125 games under .500 since the start of the 2007 season. I'd be embarrassed for fielding not 1, but 2 teams that lost 100 games. I'd be embarrassed for marketing to the other teams fans via radio and through group sales. I'd be embarrassed for giving the fans a AAA roster every spring filled with question marks, risks, and below league average talent.

If I was a player, I'd be embarrassed for the half a dozen times each season the team just didn't show up and played a game like they were asleep. I'd be embarrassed for leading the National League in errors for 3 straight seasons.

If I was the manager, I'd be embarrassed for not getting my players to play every play like it mattered. I'd be embarrassed for letting my team not show up for at least 1 game every month. I'd be embarrassed having my team lead the NL in errors - and I'd be embarrassed to not have them out there early every day - until every player knew what the correct play was in every situation.

But as a fan? Nope, I'm not embarrassed. I'm not up to that fight. The team, the ownership and the players have tied both hands behind my back, and put a blindfold on me. I cannot fight under those circumstances.

Feel Wood said...

"The condition of this team is the fault of MLB for selling to a group with no experience."

As I recall, none of the groups bidding for the Nats had any experience running an MLB team. That is, except for the Lerner group, which had Stan Kasten - a man with considerable MLB experience. Is that not the case? What other group that didn't get the team had more experience?

phil dunn said...

Mark Said--Embarrassed? Then start winning.

Easier said then done with the current incompetent ownership. The Nats have the same lethal problem that the Redskins have had for many years with Danny Snyder at the helm and the Bullets/Wizards had with Abe Pollin. Nothing will change unless the ownership changes. Look for lower attendance next year and probably another 90+ losses. We can thank Bud Selig for this mess. He hand picked the Lerners.

Steve M. said...

You guys act like it is just the Nationals the Philly fans invade. They have done it for years at Capitals games and finally the last 2 years that STH control the arena, they are in smaller numbers. Same for Redskins games.

They are bandwagoneers and until the Philadelphia teams turn back to losing, it will be this way so get used it for the 9 games a year and like we know, you shut up Philly fans by beating them. Give them nothing to cheer about.

Halladay is Cy Young pitcher. The game could have been kept close but poor fielding by Nyjer and Morse extended some brutal innings.

I expect the Nats to turn the corner the same way the Phillies did it through the Draft. That's right. Rollins, Utley, Ryan Howard, Ruiz, Kendrick and Hamel were all home grown talent. Victorino, Werth, Blanton, Oswalt and Halladay were all trades. Polanco and Ibanez were Free Agents.

320R2S15 said...

Woody, why do you t5hink Stan is leaving? I think you know why.

SteveRep44 said...

There's enough of a core here to take the next step. Once taken, ownership MUST know that said next step will NOT result in 90 wins the very next season. It's still part of a process.

Unless .... they remained overly infatuated with the bottom line of the ledger sheet. But, owners that do that are condemned to an existence on the bottom line of the standings.

Do they look for a FA right fielder to go with Willingham and Bernadina? (That's right, Nyjer must go.) Or is Morse the answer there?

Also, the pitching MUST become more consistent. Every pitcher that's in consideration for the 2011 rotation has a Jekyll-and-Hyde aspect and you're apprehensive that Mr. Hyde doesn't show up and we get a five-and-dive start.

Anonymous said...

Feel Wood @ 10:17 FYI--Most major league franchises in all the major sports leagues are purchased by parties with lots of money and little or no experience in owning a team. The key to success is a willingness to spend money, and an ability to hire highly qualified people to run the franchise. The Lerner family is clueless when it comes to those key two requirements. Yes, Kasten did have experience but if Tom Boswell of the WP is correct, and I believe he is, the Lerner family refused to take his advice, which is probably why he is quitting.

Anonymous said...

The writer of this post has it dead on, some of the commenters, not so much. Trash on Phillies fans all you want, but we're helping to pay the bills to keep the lights on at Nationals Park. Saying that we really aren't "diehard" because there wouldn't have been that many Philly fans there if the Phillies only had 67 wins is just plain stupid. Of course there wouldn't have been any Philly fans there. But I guarantee if the roles were reversed and the Nats were clinching the division at Citizen Bank Park, there would be more than 3,000 Phillies fans at the game. I've lived in DC for four years and the truth is, this is one of the worst sports cities in America. I love what Ted Leonsis has done with the Caps and I hope he turns around the Wizards, but the Redskins are the only team that really matters and Dan Snyder is a total schmuck. So whine all you want about Philly fans but if you don't like it, show up and shout us down. Otherwise, shut up about it.

Anonymous said...

The reason why DC is such a bad sports town, is because it is run by people from NY, Philly, Pittsburgh, NJ ect.

Why dont you get jobs in your own home? If your hometown is so great, why do you all leave?

Anonymous said...

Perfection in a Blog Post, Mark.

The Washington Nationals are the worst-run organization in all of baseball, a complete embarrassment.

when will the Lerners get a clue?

Anonymous said...

"I wonder what attendance would have been last night if the Phillies were not in town, maybe 1,000!?"

Actually it would have probably been about the same, 15,000 or so, as it was with Houston the Monday night before. Most Nats fans knew what the stadium was going to be like and stayed away. The Nats business practices are discouraging their own fans from coming to their own ballpark.

Chris Duckworth said...

As a native of the Philadelphia area who grew up attending games at Veterans Stadium filled with stinkin' Mets fans, I know what Nats fans are feeling. I hated going to games and hearing "Let's go Mets" as they beat the crap out of my Phillies.

But then the Phillies started winning games. More Phillies fans bought tickets. Fewer Mets fans got through the gates. And even if they got a seat, more often than not the Mets fans didn't have much to cheer for, since the Phillies were likely giving the Mets a good spanking.

So I agree with Mark. Once the Nats start winning, they'll fill the seats with their own fans and not have such spectacles as we had last evening, on Opening Day, and pretty much any other time the Phillies come to town.


For what it's worth, I'm a passionate fan and I cheer and boo with the best of them. However, as I sat in the seats on Opening Day, Phillies gear on, I was disappointed with some of my fellow Phillies fans. Booing the Nats starting lineup as they were introduced during pre-game ceremonies was bad form, as was some of the language I heard (including a drunk guy in a Phillies jersey who shouted "take a shot" as President Obama walked to the mound). Not all Phillies fans are obnoxious, of course, but I do think that we're more passionate than most.

Just get a good team, Nats fans (and I count myself as one, except for when they face the Phillies), and you'll drown us - and our occasional obnoxious behavior - out.

Anonymous said...

For all the posters who think you can fix the Nats by throwing money at them check this out:

1)Chicago Cubs - $146 mil - nowhere near the playoffs.
2)New York Mets - $133 mil - nowhere near the playoffs.
3)Detroit Tigers - $122 mil - nowhere near the playoffs.
4)Chicago White Sox - $108 mil - nowhere near the playoffs.

5)San Diego Padres - $38 mil - in the hunt until the end.
6)Texas Rangers - $55 mil - in the playoffs.
7)Tampa Bay Rays - $71 mil - in the playoffs.
8)Cincinati Reds - $72 mil - in the playoffs.

So when you compare salaries between the Nats and the Phillies you are using 'selective' data to make a point; of course money makes a difference but before you spend wildly it helps to also develop: Howard,Utley,Rawlins,Victorino and Hammels.

phil dunn said...

Back in 2006, when the Lerners were awarded the franchise over the much more qualified and deserving Fred Malek group, I said on many Nats blogs that the team was doomed to failure because I knew the Lerners were only interested in controlling costs and producing bottom line profits. That's always been their goal in every business they have ever run. Well, everyone thought I was nuts but my worst fears have definitely come to fruition.

Sec3MySofa said...

Phillies fans coming here is predictable. That's not what bothers me. What bothers me is the predictable outcome of years of losing:
Brian Matusz keeps Tampa Bay Rays quiet
By Jeff Zrebiec
Tuesday, September 28, 2010; 12:35 AM
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. - The 12,446 who showed up at Tropicana Field on Monday night came to watch the Tampa Bay Rays clinch their second postseason berth in franchise history.
Instead, the fourth-lowest crowd here this season witnessed a sterling performance from an rookie who continues to pitch like he's not ready for the season to end.
At some point, not even winning will save them.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 10:55

It also helps to spend the money wisely like the Minnesota Twins do. Spending lots of money guarantees nothing, as you point out. The Mets are probably the best example of stupid spending and the franchise is run by a bunch of dopes.

Sec3MySofa said...

@Phil -- as I recall, the Malek group had their proponents (Jaybee, weren't you one of them?), and they did have their own issues, too, but I remember it as a general uneasiness with a group that had to have Kasten forced on them, and was completely oblivious to the need for anything like minority viewpoints within ownership. The fears seemed to be of a throwback to the old Comiskey-esque feudal style of ownership.

Anonymous said...

Phil Dunn said:

'the Lerners were only interested in controlling costs and producing bottom line profits. That's always been their goal in every business they have ever run.'

Sounds like a pretty good approach to running any business.

Pete said...

I was at the first game Cliff Lee pitched for the Phillies here in DC. He laid an egg and the Nats roughed him up. The Phaithful did very little cheering that day. Once they start winning though, it's over the top in your face hooliganism.

K.D. said...

Actually if the Philly fans want to come, sit in the rain and spend their money in DC - more power to them. There is no excuse for rudeness though, and that is a reflection on their city not DC. Objectively studying the Phillies it is easy to see what the Nats are missing, STARTING PITCHING with some consistent defense not far behind. Defense can be shored up, pitching will take some soul-searching and cash. Either way I have enjoyed the games this year good and bad.
Also, being an out of state fan I have really enjoyed reading Nats Insider and received my T-shirt today to prove it. Hopefully, it will be relevant to wear next year!

Anonymous said...

Until the strike in 1994, Veterans Stadium drew about 30,000 a night for many horrid Phillies teams. Between 1987 and 2000, the Phils had 1 season with a winning record (the 1993 World Series team). Citizens Bank Park has been a huge draw since it opened in 2004; there's never been 12,000 for any game.

As has been noted, we put up with Mets, Braves, Yankees and other fans. No one liked it, but that's what happens when your team isn't very good.

I think the bad behavior of the Phils fans tends to get overblown on blogs like these when you need something or someone to blame for your problems. It's easy to fall back on that old stereotype. We in Philly don't think all Caps fans are classless jerks just because one hit a Flyer with a cup after a playoff win a few seasons ago.

As to why so many people migrate to DC, well, that's pretty easy. While jobs are disappearing all over the northeast, DC is fairly safe because of the federal government. As much as I'd like to see it, I don't think Congress is going to be outsourced.

Go Phils!

Michael J. Hayde said...

A nice passionate column Mark, except for the part that states we will not contend before Strasburg returns. That's a little TOO passionate. Putting aside the fact that we have no idea if SS will ever return to form, not to mention the possibility of shoulder issues, isn't it a little presumptuous to put the success of the franchise on one player? Yes, Strasburg can hopefully return as a difference-maker, but he ain't going to turn a 75-to-80-win team (which is about the best we should expect for 2011) into a contender without a LOT of help.

We need many more pieces than one to finish this puzzle.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
Philly is a complete fraud of a baseball town. The Phillies drew files at Citizens Bank Park in '05 and '06. The first year they miss the playoffs and the Bank will be full of empty seats again. Philly is a one-team town for the Eagles."

WOW, this might be the worst response i have ever read, I am a "diehard" Phillies fan and I gotta tell you, The Phillies Have taken over Philadelphia in the last few years. Much like the Caps have taken over DC. (except the Phillies win in the playoffs) There is a small group of actual Nationals fans out there but not many. Last night I was at the game and to have that few Nationals fans show up is not an embarrasment, its a shame. Don't get upset with Phillies fans when they come to your park to see their team. Nothing prevents you from going to Philly to cheer on your Nats.

GO PHILLIES!!!!!!!!!!!!
2010 NL EAST CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!!

Sully said...

I posted this elsewhere. But D.C. has quiet summers while politics slows down and then it speeds up in the early fall with elections and the start of session, etc. Don't forget that this city revolves around the government. So, right now people are busy, just back from vacation, its raining, and we are looking at another sub 70 win season. That's just kind of how it goes.

Anonymous said...

"We need many more pieces than one to finish this puzzle."

With Lombardozzi coming up next year? And then after him? No, they don't need a lot of pieces Crawford if they are unbelievably lucky ... perhaps Werth if the Filthies don't resign him ...

Really the only pieces they need are a Halladay, Oswalt, and Hamels. Yep, to compete against these guys ... to make the squirm?

Cliff Lee, a trade for an under 30 Grienke type ace ... and then if they are lucky throw in Strasburg and one of Solis, Zimmermann, Detwiler. Although some of the Nats younger pitchers might be needed to make that trade. Milone is just about ready to fit into the middle of the rotation. Maya will more than likely improve with some acclimation and experience with AAA/major league hitting.

With the bullpen improving ... and even Balester now finally contributing?

They really are pretty close. Its definitely NOT many more pieces. But the pieces required at the top of the pitching rotation are expensive and hard to come by.

Anonymous said...

If you are from Philly, and you move to DC, you have to be a DC fan...Thats the new rule. If you dont cheer for DC, you must go back and live in Crappytown, PA.

Anonymous said...

I would rather my baseball stadium be taken over by Philly fans, then my hometown be taken over by crime, unemployment and white trash.

It's so good to be a last place Nats fans....

Anonymous said...

"Nothing prevents you from going to Philly to cheer on your Nats."

Actually it does. I don't want my tires slashed, or bodily harm threatened. There are stories out there about people being beaten up, and their cars vandalized. I love the Nats, go to every home game and several road games a year, but I keep it in perspective, its a ballgame. The Philadelphia people do not. I would never go there, period. I'm in this for entertainment and fun, not to get into an unnecessary rumble with a drunken lynch mob. Clearly you have no idea what you're talking about if you actually wrote that with a straight face.

Anonymous said...

I agree with raymitten,

there are prison pick up games that would be friendlier to attend then a game in Philly

Nataholic said...

There is a direct correlation between spending money and winning games. I am TIRED of going over this argument over and over. "Everyone knows" or "look at these few teams" is not a way to prove your point. The Yankees every year contend, the Yankees every year spend a lot of money. The Pirates every year think about the winter. The Pirates every year don't spend. That is typically the way it is. Yes, there is a certain amount where it gets murky and yes, every once in a while a low spending team catches lightning in a bottle (2007 Nats, 2010 Padres) and plays above themselves. But for the most part, teams will follow the statistical trend of spending = wins.

I would prefer to have the argument that assuming we have enough AVAILABLE to spend, are we spending it wisely. But with the Lerner's we should not engage in the second argument without agreeing on the first argument. Are the Nationals spending or willing to spend enough on payroll to have a competitive product? If we engage in value before we talk about resources we end up with guys like Adam Kennedy, when Orlando Hudson was a better fit and for all purposes should have fit within any reasonable payroll. Hudson could have given us more wins, which is what baseball is all about, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

@ raymitten

attendance last night was 7,500

Anonymous said...

Another observation from the President's Club last night. Two Phillies fans, guys in their early 40s, were sitting just to the right of me, shouting idiotic comments all night, etc. One of them dropped their soda bottle under the seat in front of them. Instead of him bending over and picking up the bottle himself, he summoned the usher, a woman in her mid-70s, to bend over and do it. It was disgusting, but very typical of what these people are. Below the benchmark of human decency.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, there is a certain amount where it gets murky and yes, every once in a while a low spending team catches lightning in a bottle (2007 Nats, 2010 Padres) and plays above themselves. "

I think you misspoke. The 2007 Nats went 73-89 -- they didn't quite "catch lightning in a bottle".

Seamhed said...

Feel Wood @ 10:20

Of the three finalists for the team ownership, the Smulyan (sp?) group did have MLB ownership experience; Smulyan himself was a principal with the Mariners of the Kingdome era. OTOH, Kasten had MLB management experience and was added to the Lerner group to make up for their lack of experience.

As we've seen, however, it was still Lerner money, and thus the Lerners make the decisions--first over the advice of Kasten, and soon without his advice. I'm not a huge Kasten fan, but I'm really dreading what a post-Kasten era might look like.

Anonymous said...

"If you are from Philly, and you move to DC, you have to be a DC fan...Thats the new rule. If you dont cheer for DC, you must go back and live in Crappytown, PA."

This has nothing to do with Nats/Phillies specifically, but I think that a person who is so willing to switch allegiances is not the type of fan that a fanbase really needs. And those people might come out and wear a team shirt when the weather is nice, but they're not going to be there when the team really needs them, and they're not going to be passionate.

Anonymous said...

@ raymitten

If you are naive enough to attend a Nats road game in Philly wearing full Nats regalia you deserve to be beaten and have your tires slashed! Everyone knows you do not wear opposing team regalia in certain cities, Philly, New York and Boston, it is just not done, it is not a new development it has been going on for over 40 years.

Harper_ROY_2012 said...

Watching Doc dismantle us last night I thought of only one thing, we need to sign a #1 veteran ace in the offseason and his name should be Cliff Lee...get it done Rizzo!

K.D. said...

In addition to being a Nats fan I am a Tigers fan. With the purported reputation that Detroit has I have never, ever had an incident in or outside the stadium that has made me uncomfortable to bring my family in over 10 years of going to the ballpark. The stories regarding Philly fans in DC misbehaving cannot be dismissed so lightly by any baseball fan from Philly or not.

Anonymous said...

As for embarrassment, I don't think the Lerner's have any. I think they would become embarrassed if they didn't make a profit. But for that to happen, the opponents fan base would have to stop coming. Considering the Lerner's market to the opponents fan base effectively, (about the only thing they market effectively), that scenario will never happen.

Nataholic said...

Anonymous @ 1:03, most people (scouts, reporters and talking heads) thought that team should have lost over 100 games. Finishing 12+ games better than they should have is catching lightning in a bottle.

Sec3MySofa said...

@anon 11:24 -- if your only goal is to make money in the short run, or by flipping the team later, then sure, they can make money off DC by shorting the entertainment value and bringing in out-of-towners to cover their costs, locals be damned. It's a time-tested business plan. But this isn't Broadway, and part of the deal for the ballpark should imply a good faith effort to put out a reasonably decent product, and the Lerners are not doing that. So those people (fewer all the time) who do still care about seeing this team become good are understandably dissatisfied. We had a deal.
Anonymous said...
Phil Dunn said:
'the Lerners were only interested in controlling costs and producing bottom line profits. That's always been their goal in every business they have ever run.'
Sounds like a pretty good approach to running any business.

Softball Girl said...

Not really commenting but signing on as one would a petition. I hope ownership gets the message.

Sec3MySofa said...

@ anon 1:07
that's just crazy talk.

Anonymous said...

"Everyone knows you do not wear opposing team regalia in certain cities, Philly, New York and Boston, it is just not done, it is not a new development it has been going on for over 40 years."

That's odd. I was at a Red Sox-Yankees game in Fenway Park about ten years ago, and there were tons of Yankee fans in the stands (this being before the Sox started selling out the entire season in advance, of course) and no fights or violence was to be seen. Maybe things have changed in Boston, but I doubt that even now they're as inhospitable to opposing fans as Philadelphia has always been.

Anonymous said...

@anoymous 1:07:

And women should wear burkas! Low cut dresses are an invitation for trouble!

Anonymous said...

So using your logic, with 5 games to go the Nats have a pretty good chance of ripping off another "lightning in a bottle" type season. no?

RDibble said...

Ray Knight is a scab.

Anonymous said...


The reason I keep debating you is because you have yet to say one thing which convinces me I am wrong. Using the Yankees and the Pirates selectively is foolish at best and disingenuous at worst. I gave you 8 easy examples of where your theory breaks down and if you want we can focus simply on the Rays.

They are app 10 mil higher than the Nats and they have been world series contenders for 3 years; they are going to lose Crawford and Pena this year but they have talents like Desmond Jennings waiting in the wings; they won't rush out to spend 100 mil on a free agent.

No team other than the Yankees can take the approach you suggest because no one else has the revenue streams they do.

Dave said...

Philadelphia fans just do not want to accept that their fans are known world-wide for their boorishness.

But yes, they are. Philadelphia fans seem to be unique in that regard. True, there are civilized human beings who are fans of the Philadelphia fans. My sister is married to one. He admires the Phillies as a team and follows them. (And I must confess to admiring the Phillies as a team myself.)

But the ratio of animalistic boors to civilized human beings among Phillies fans has got to be orders of magnitude greater than for any fan base in North America. That includes Mets, Yankees, Red Sox, and any other team's fans one could name.

This is true no matter what people from Philadelphia say.

Dave said...

Sorry, I mean there are civilized fans of the Philadelphia TEAMS, not FANS.

Can't type. Too upset. Have tickets for tomorrow night. Dreading it.

Anonymous said...

Taking in the whole DC sports landscape, there is only one thing that will make the Nats a success and that is bringing in Ted Leonsis as the owner, he knows the business from top to bottom and makes smart marketing and personnel decisions, two things this team is sorely lacking.

Bowdenball said...

What Dave said.

The Nats have been here six years now. That means every MLB team has cycled through, and those of us who go to lots of home games have met them all. Phillies fans are far and away the worst. Like Dave said, it's not even a comparison, it's an orders of magnitude difference between Phillies fans and everyone else. And that's including Red Sox and Yankees fans, both of whom have had more success in the last decade and have much larger fanbases.

Tom L. said...

Anon @ 1:31. You are an idiot. Leonsis hasn't brought a winner to anything. If making the playoffs was a big deal then Pollin bringing the Caps to the Stanley Cup finals in 1998 and lost in the finals would have crowned the Caps a great franchise. Win a few Cups and then lets get excited.

It takes talent and a commitment not a bunch of smoke and mirrors and smiles and handshakes. Don't get me wrong, Leonsis is a great politician, but I am from Missouri so SHOW ME!

RDibble said...

@Tom L: You're an idiot. Leonsis, while he hasn't exactly produced a vinner (yet), has energized a fanbase and made rooting for a local team fun. When was the last time rooting for the Nats fun? June 8?

Anonymous said...

There is a direct correlation between spending money and winning games. I am TIRED of going over this argument over and over.

Well, actually not precisely? Would you be willing to accept the opinion of a non-biased, objective, financial source?

- The median cost per win is roughly $1.07 million in team payroll;

- The San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers rank 1st and 2nd in ‘payroll cost per victory’. The Padres 2010 payroll is $37.8 million, so prorated through 88 games is $20.5 million. The Padres have won 51 games, which amounts to $402,291 in payroll per victory. The Rangers come in at $600,445 in payroll per win.

The added criteria to make the list of most ‘effectively efficient’ is to have a winning record. With this criteria in mind, the Tampa Bay Rays ($723,082), Cincinnati Reds ($821,380), and Atlanta Braves ($881,783) round out the top 5 most efficient teams thus far in 2010.

Unfortunately, things aren’t so rosy in Wrigleyville.

- The Cubs rank last among 30 teams thus far in 2010, requiring $2.07 million in payroll per win, and underperforming their projected win total by 9 games.

- Filtering out teams with winning records, the 2nd and 3rd least efficient teams thus far in 2010 are the Baltimore Oriolesand Seattle Mariners…both of whom have required approximately $1.5 million in payroll per win.

Additionally, the Orioles and Mariners surpass the Cubs in terms of underperforming relative to projected win totals. The Orioles are the worst at 14 games below projected wins, while the Mariners are 10 games below projection.

The Pirates earned a $29.4M profit in ‘07 and ‘08 due in part to $69.3M in revenue sharing. The Marlins received nearly $92M in revenue sharing in ‘08 and ‘09 and produced a net income of $33M in those years. Similarly, the Rays received $74M in revenue sharing in ‘07 and ‘08 and total net income in those years of a little more than $15M.

That noise you just heard was George Steinbrenner rustling in angst in that corn field from the great beyond in left field of the Field of Dreams.

Because it was this kind of behavior — teams benefiting from revenue sharing but not re-investing it back into their clubs – that Steinbrenner feared … and why he and other large market owners staunchly opposed revenue sharing for years.

True that this year we have a unique situation where three of the 10 lowest payroll teams in baseball are likely playoff-bound (Tampa Rays, Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres). And true that just because a team spends more money doesn’t mean they’ll make prudent player personnel decisions. But the former is an anomaly in recent times and the latter indicates that such clubs are inefficient and perhaps need new management.

The revenue sharing system in MLB was instituted to create a greater degree of competitive balance. Low payroll teams with persistently poor on-field performance that have the means circa their shared revenues to add $10-20M dollars in payroll - but don’t - are doing the system, and their fan bases, a major disservice.

Bottom line: The payroll should contract to a great extent as a result of getting rid of Bowden era mediocre players and their salaries. Allowing wriggle room for Mike Rizzo and his top heavy FO.

And what was the first thing Rizzo did this past offseason? Build the brains needed to make spending on salaries and player development as efficient as possible. Now, this would be the offseason where they have the wriggle room to put their stamp on things.

You're just going to have to be patient and wait for the drama to unfold. Hoping that Mike Rizzo, Roy Clark, Bob Boone et al are as smart as any baseball men out there. And if they are then the Lerners whould allow them increase payroll by another 10-20 million which should be enough.

Anonymous said...

Forgot the attribution: sorry all.

MLB Financials Show Need For Minimum Payrolls
Assessing MLB’s Most/Least Efficient Teams
posted by PATRICK RISHE Forbes Magazine.

Anonymous said...


Fair enough; it's just bothers me that controlling costs and focusing on the bottom line is presented here in a negative light when it comes to 'all their businesses'; the insinuation is quite frankly insulting.

From where I sit I see lots of poor decisions over the years principally getting snowed by Jim Bowden and frankly I like most of the moves made by his successor; I see no evidence of extreme frugality such as what is exhibited in Florida and Pittsburgh just some smart restraint. Don't sign irrelevant FA's who won't get you closer to the promised land at the cost of bad development (I would much rather invest in AJ Cole etc than on Orlando Hudson).

Anonymous said...

I am a Philly transplant living in metro Boston for 20 yrs. Have 2 children who love all Philly teams like myself. We have traveled to N.Y,. Balt., L.A., and D.C. as well as been to Boston stadiums to see the Phils, Eagles, and Flyers. In Boston I have witnessed and been the object of abuse because of the team I cheer for. It has also happened in N.Y. The difference here in D.C. is that the numbers of Phillies fans coming here are just extreme causing many Nats fans to become frustrated and looking to blame someone or the other teams fans for the poor quality of baseball put on the field by your owner. Your frustration is understandable but your reactions are misguided. Stop harping on the fact that Phillies fans take over your stadium. It is really childish. You need to demand better baseball. The problem is that right now there are not enough Nats fans to drive home the point.
To the person from Detroit, your comments are merely stupid. From stories I've seen about your city, you could not pay me to visit there. Philadelphia has its problems as all cities do in this economy, but it really is a nice place to live and I plan to move back someday.
In summary, good luck to the Nats except when they play the Phillies. Go Phils and win the World Series for all your diehard fans all over the world.

N. Cognito said...

I did my part this year. I took a cue from Stan and sold all my tickets to Nats-Phils games, and they probably went to Phils fans.

Nataholic said...

Anonymous @ 1:22, the Nationals were expected to win 70 games this season. If they finished 81-81 then yes, they caught lightning in a bottle.

Anonymous @ 1:23 As for statistics, others have done the analysis but in essence up to 2007 every $7-$8M = 1 win. In 2008, payroll was insignificant for the AL (duh, Rays skewed it and Yankees had a down year) but significant for the NL and in 2009 the opposite was true. I can't find the analysis on 2010, but I am sure it will come out. But the interesting part is that if you look at this data in a graphical representation, you see a line that moves slightly up where more money equals more wins. Clearly it is not absolute but a general trend is there.

As for the Rays, put your money on the table so I can easily take it. The Rays average record from 2000-2009 is 69 wins and their average payroll is $40M The reason they are good is because they had a disproportionate number of terrible years and decided to draft the best talent, unlike the Nationals strategy until this year. To be specific the Rays have had three 100 loss seasons and five 90 loss seasons in the past 11 years. For the most part, their payroll has reflected their record. And after this year, when they drop their payroll if they don't have good cheap talent to fill in their deficiencies, they will probably have a poor record.

For all those that think the Rays are the poster child for a well run franchise than clearly we will differ. I do not want to deal with one more 100 loss season and 4 more 90 loss seasons before we get a winning season.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add to my original post. I was at the division clinching game at CBP 2 years ago and had a few Nats fans around me. One of them was actually rude and obnoxious. My 15 year old daughter was very upset by this and I just said to ignore him. My suggestion to Nats fans is the same if you experience a Phils fan like that. If you notice i did not characterize all nats fans the same as some nats fans are doing to all Phillies fans. I guess it comes down to how you are raised to deal with a perceived situation. Again, go Phillies. Win it all for your diehard fans.

Anonymous said...

To Dave,
So sorry to hear ypu dreading to go to the game tonight. I would gladly pay for those tickets and bring my family from Massachusetts. Go Phils.

JaneB said...

To several Anons...

We didn't have a baseball team for decades: switching from your original team into a Nats fan is how the fan base will grow. Otherwise,all fans would be under ten years old.

I've been a STH since 2005, and the Phillies fans have always been the worst behaved, including the Yanks fans. They have an awesome team. Their fans, every single time I've sat next to them, have been over the top rude. Not just to our fans, not just to our players ...and both those things are beyond the pale...but tom their OWN players!

One of the things I love about NatsTown is that we are a pretty polite bunch. We cheer for our guys, and don't trash the other guys. If there is booing, fans in out area of the stadium tend to shut it down (unless we are booing a boneheaded reading of the strike zone, or an out call when the guy was clearly safe. THAT kind of booing is common.)

Nothing says rooting for your own team requires ugliness toward the other guy. In Philadelphia, they teach something altogether different, I guess. It's been generations of bad behavior, passed lovingly down through families...and I say this as someone who once sat in Philadelphia stadiums for baseball, football and hockey -- but won't ever again. More recently, it's become fueled by alcohol and a seeming competitive desire to out shout the other fans.

Nataholic said...

The $7-$8M reference was meant to be $700-$800K. Anyway it is unclear. The hardball times has a better explanation and gets to the heart of the argument.

Anonymous said...

To JaneB
Your comments are rude and sound more like the Philadelphians you propose to be an expert on. You insult me and the overwhelming majority of Philadelphians who work hard to give our families a decent life which is more and more difficult because of the government based in your polite little town. You are a fraud and so is the political trash coming from D.C. today. Your comments disgust me. But on a more positive note, I loved watching the Phillies do it again with thousands of us there to support them. So sorry that you are so pathetic and find it necessary to discriminate against millions of people who probably pay your salary as federal "worker."

Anonymous said...

"More recently, it's become fueled by alcohol and a seeming competitive desire to out shout the other fans."

My goodness! A desire to cheer louder than the other fans? What's next? Rock and roll music?

natsfan1a said...

Anon@3:16, for the record, my impression of JaneB since she began commenting on this site has been that she is knowledgeable, funny, and civil. Granted, I've not read every comment, but my impression has never been one of rudeness.

Perhaps you could reach back some years in your Phillies fandom and recall what it was like to have your team losing frequently and your park overrun by opposing fans and thus "feel our pain"? Empathy, it's a beautiful thing. ;-)

Dave said...

To Anon 2:57:
Please go jump into a hole somewhere. I'm not selling my tickets to you or anyone else. Go buy your own tickets at the Nationals' box office. I think the game's not yet sold out.

(And read my post again. I did not say I was going to the game tonight.)

I dread tomorrow night because of a number of things: it's the last game of the season; my team sucks really badly; they will be playing a team that has a better-than-even chance of beating them; and my home ballpark will have a lot of the other team's fans in it.

Many of those fans will be drunken jerks. Those of us who have attended series against plenty of arrogant fans from other teams have tried to make this clear. Phillies are, in fact, ruder than any other fans in baseball. If you are a Phillies fan and are not a rude jerk, then I know it hurts to hear this, but it is true.

I do not love it when Nationals Park is full of rowdy Yankees, Red Sox, or Mets fans. But I do not fear for my safety. When Philadelphia is in town, I most certainly do.

I would love to attend a game at CBP--I really would. But I would wear Nats gear, and I know I would be abused. I could reasonably expect to have beer thrown on me, or cups or bottles, or be vomited on, or be verbally abused in the most hateful and obscene manner, or possibly even physically attacked.

This simply is the way it is. When we tell you this, we are not wallowing in our misery because our pitiful team is losing to the best team in the NL. We are saying it because we have experienced it again and again, over six years. Those other teams' fans have overrun our stadium at times during those six years as well, but we are not making these claims about those populations.

It is subsets of the Phillies fans that cause this atmosphere, again and again, predictably, over six years, uniquely, unlike any other group.

Anon 3:16 must have the thinnest skin ever displayed on the Internet. Nothing in JaneB's post was rude or insulting. She told it like it is. This is our experience, whether you like it or not.

Anonymous said...

One day we Nats fans will have the opportunity to celebrate at CBP as the Nats clinch...hopefully it will be a classy celebration with respect to the hometown fans. Oh, fahget about, we'll stomp and romp too, lol.

Anonymous said...

"Oh, fahget about, we'll stomp and romp too, lol."

Wait, I thought that Nats fan are afraid of Phillies fans? Everyone on here seems to be afraid of getting their purses stolen.

Anonymous said...

natsfan 1 a
If you have read any of my posts over the last baseball season, I have been very empathetic of the Nats and their fans.I usually post under phillies 2008 and as a lifelong Phils fan-45 plus years-certainly have experienced the down side of being a Phillies fan. I started going to Phils games when they were still playing in Connie Mack stadium and know what it was like to draw less than 20,000 fans to a game and many were not cheering for the home team because they were not competitive. I became a Phils fan because in those days the Phillies had a program where if you got straight A grades in school they gave you 3 sets of tickets free. My friends and I would each select different games so we could see as many games as possible. We took public transit to get there and if you knew Connie Mack it was not in the best of neighborhoods. We were white catholic grade school students going into a very challenging situation but it developed a loyalty to the Phillies that I have shared with my children now that we live in Massachusetts. There are thousands of other Philadelphians who have had the same loyalty to the Phils now that we have relocated around the country. we are proud of the Phillies and are ardent in our support to the point where others cannot understand this loyalty and believe that it is arrogance, boorish, etc. It is who we are, not the people who you categorize us as. Chances are if they are under twenty, they are new Phillies fans which is the case based on the makeup of the crowds I see when I go to CBP. I have never had a problem there and have never seen any abuse toward other fans. I am sure it has happened but to generalize all of us as has been done here is really unfair. But, we are Philadelphians where ever we live and forgive you for not understanding us. And yes indeed I really feel empathy for Nats fans. You deserve better. But please do not continue to characterize millions of good people in the ways that have been done here. I fully expect the next post to continue to rant on Philadelphians. Stop for a second, look in the mirror and realize that what you are doing is as bad as what you profess to admonish others for.

Anonymous said...

In response to you. You have now made me realize that you are a pathetic old man complaining about the Phils fans. Get a life, grow up. Life is dog eat dog and you are seeing the big dog- the Phils- eat the little dog- the nats. Continue to expect the world to treat you like everything is equal and just and prim and proper and you will be like the Nats- irrelevant and ignored by their own fans. Cry me a river- Phillies fans are nasty, evil people. BOO HOO!!!!! As I said before grow up and stop crying because someone booed your team in your ballpark. It is your own fault for thinking the world owes you something.

Anonymous said...

Ha! I like this Phillies fan. His hate is humorous!

Anonymous said...

"But, we are Philadelphians where ever we live and forgive you for not understanding us. And yes indeed I really feel empathy for Nats fans. You deserve better. But please do not continue to characterize millions of good people in the ways that have been done here."

In characterizing Phillies fans, all we have to go by are those people wearing red hats with P on them that we see all around us. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...well, you know the rest. If you're a Philadelphian and you don't like how these folks are representing you, all I can say is physician, heal yourself.

Anonymous said...

Don't get mad @ 1a. All she see are lilacs and daisies. She represents the 'we are politely uninterested patrons attending a beautiful sunny day that happens to have a baseball game in front of our seats' contingency. In other words, she represents the worst DC fans have to offer and the reason this town is a terrible sports town. There is no passion or excitement in her voice for the team or for their pathetic effort or lack of talent. No, using her logic its sunny outside, why care about those things.

Anonymous said...

LOL! Some Philly fan nailed 1a to a T! I'd say that she'd get mad, but she will more than likely tell us that she will 'politely refrain' and superciliously look down on the poster for being rude.

Anonymous said...

To Anon @ 4:49:

I love your baseball story, and salute your fandom. I have many friends who are also fans of Philadelphia sports teams who cheer for their team in a rowdy but respectful way. It would be a mistake and a deep disservice to ever say "all fans of Philadelphia sports teams are [whatever]."

But it's just as much of a mistake to blindly dismiss evidence that suggests that Phillie (etc) fans have a higher percentage of louts than other fan bases. It's not just media hype - I've been going to sporting events for nearly 40 years, and from hundreds of games I can tell you that it's just a different, more negative experience when the Philadelphia fan base is there. I suspect that most of the worst ones are bandwagoners, but I don't know that.

I do know that I congratulate the Phillie organization - I really like and respect the team that they've put on the field. I'm going to tonight's game, and possibly tomorrow as well if I can get out of work in time, and I'll face down the louts and cheer loudly but respectfully for the Nationals.


Dave said...

Anon 4:49, way back up-thread I mentioned people like you. My brother-in-law is one of you. I have a student in a class I teach who is probably the son or grandson of somebody like you. If Nats Park was filled with Phillies fans like you, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Unfortunately, the last few years it has also been filled with people like the guy who was arrested for intentionally vomiting on a young girl in CBP awhile back. It's shameful that idiots like that--who have populated Nats Park in very large numbers this year and years past--have caused the reputation of "Phillies Fans" to have become so negative.

What Anon 5:36 said is sad but true: when obscene, loudmouthed drunken idiots are wearing Phillies regalia, it reflects badly on Phillies fans everywhere. And it does, in fact, make for a very unpleasant atmosphere when they're there.

Anon 5:05, your visual acuity is astounding. How old am I, exactly? And how much of my long post were you actually able to read through before zoning out? You seem to have missed my point entirely.

Anon 4:49 does seem to get the point we are making. Anon 5:05, on the other hand, seems to embody it.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dave,

Your nose is pointed up so high that I can see your nose hairs!

Allan said...

nationals inherited a lousy organization (montreal expos) so the foundation of the organization is inherently flawd. if you guys want to win, make better business decisions, stay healthy and if you have to, spend a little more, but spending money will not of itself guarantee a playoff berth. that being said, i cant stand it that a majority of the fans out there criticize us philly fans strictly by what you see in the media. fans like pukemon are from jersey thus you automatically label all philadelphians that way. yea we got fans who run out on the field, but that happens all the time in other stadiums so get off your moral high horse. you got fans in kc running into the field and beating up the first base coach to a point of near death, you got fans in ny jumping from the 2nd level onto the field (albeit there was a net) to catch a foul ball, and you have fans in chicago that interferes with a potential last out that will all but guarantee a world series appearance. im not saying philly fans are saints, but for all the negative press we get, we also have fans who have warmth the heart of the community such as the dad who caught a foul ball, gave it to his little girl only to have that girl throw it into the crowd and the dad immediately gave his little girl a hug. so yea criticize us for what a minor subsection of fan base may do, but before you judge us, look at your own fan base.

Also, to all that said that phillies wont get the same fan support if we werent winning, yea thats most likely true, but ever since CBP opened up in 2004, phillies have always filled that stadium, whether were slumping or were winning. were dedicated and knowledgeable fans, and just like everyone else, we show emotions when we win or lose. dont hate that philly fans come to your stadium in droves, mets fans do it all the time in philly. blame your organization for advertising in philadelphia to come to your stadium and generate ticket revenue. it shows how much our fans care for our team that 12000 fans would go to dc on a rainy day to see our team clinch the east, while only 10000 fans would go to tropicana field on the day that the rays could potentially clinch the al east.

go phillies

Anonymous said...

Hey Nats fans... We (decent, respectful and devoted Phillies fans) abhor the bad behavior that a lot of our fans exhibit in opposing ballparks, but even at home as well. I travel to many Phillies games in "away" parks and more and more families are traveling to follow the team and enjoy the atmosphere of a different ballpark. Unfortunately, we have a lot of bad fans too that give us all a bad name. As for empathy, I feel your pain! I have been going to games since 1971 and many, MANY games sat, outnumbered by Mets fans or others in our own park. It is embarrassing. I hate going to CBP when the Mets, Red Sox or Yankees are in town because I think the NY & Boston fans are dusgusting. It's all relative, when the Phils win and sellout everynight it's great for us, but we see more and more STH's selling premium seats on SH than ever. We suffered for many years and building the new ballpark and FINALLY spending money for talent has turned the franchise around. But, it will die off when they have a few bad seasons & the TRUE fans will remain. Keep the faith! You have a beautiful ballpark and it's up to Management to make the rest of the parts of the puzzle come together. P.S. I hate apologizing for our own A-Hole fans! I'm always respectful when being a visitor! Too bad we all don't think that way!

Anonymous said...

And as for wearing your team's gear at ANY stadium. No one should be afraid to wear your gear, just don't act like an a** and taunt the home team's fans to WANT TO abuse you! I've worn my Phillies gear to every stadium EXCEPT Fenway & Shea. Everywhere else I found chatting with local fans around me to be nice and add to the experience. Pittsburgh is another prime example. 18 straight losing seasons, management trades away every star, so of course the attendance suffers and it gets overrun by opposing fans. Beautiful ballpark, bad ballclub. Nats Park, Beautiful ballpark, bad ballclub. Your day will come and that will make it even more sweet. Maybe that's why us Phillies fans are rowdy (besides the alcohol) because we suffered with crappy stadiums and teams for so long. Winning will fill the seats with loyal Nats fans. As for the "danger" & "tire slashing"... It's all blown out of proportion. The sports complex is a very safe area as long as you avoid an obvious packof drunken idiots, like any intelligent person would anywhere! If you're a Nats fan and sit next to me at CBP, if you're respectful, I'm respectful. We're there to enjoy a ballgame! Most Phillies fans HATE the morons that give us our bad reputation and embarrass us.

Anonymous said...

you think you know it all. anon4:49 and 5:05 are both me. I tried to be civil but you really think your opinion is the only one that can be right. It all comes down to numbers. With thousands coming here to support the Phils, there are bound to be some who misbehave. Simply, I object to you classifying Phillies fans. If I remember to last year Capital playoff series there were some bad behavior by your fans. I read about it on line of a Montreal newspaper. I know Washington fans are great and Philadelphia fans are nasty. I hope you do not have any kind of job where you have to manage or evaluate people. You seem to be a pompous jerk. Sorry, that was my Philadelphia upbringing coming out according to your friend Jane. Go Phils and Eagles and Flyers and Sixers!!!!!!

SuckItNats said...

This article and it's comments section reveal the most obvious and hilarious emotion "JEALOUSY". None of you can ever be called "fans" cause this team gets no legitimate support whatsoever from most of you. And to those who think that Citizens Bank Park has ever been empty before the Phils rise to dominance I ask you to look at baseball-reference which states that the lowest attendence figures Philly has seen in its new park were 32,000. I REPEAT 32,000. When you wannabes can get past 25,000 in a park without a majority wearing the visitors gear then you can have permission to speak. In the mean time enjoy watching a real team and a real fanbase in October as the Phils run down their second World Series in 3 years.

gove said...

To suggest Philadelphia fans are a fraud based on 2005 attendance is silly. 2005 was their lowest average attendance year and that was 32,905. Not too shabby. Washington's best year was 2005 and that was only 33,708.

And don't fool yourelf, the Phans are really there because they can't get tickets at home!

natsfan1a said...

Anon@4:49, I did not weigh in above re. characteristics of Phillies fans.


But please do not continue to characterize millions of good people in the ways that have been done here. I fully expect the next post to continue to rant on Philadelphians. Stop for a second, look in the mirror and realize that what you are doing is as bad as what you profess to admonish others for.

Fred Benson said...

I have an idea for not having Phillies fans in D.C.! MOVE THE NATIONALS BACK TO MONTREAL WHERE THEY BELONG.

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