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The Nationals’ “Take back the Park” thing turns stupid

Feb 28, 2012, 9:57 AM EDT

Phillies fans AP

Remember how the Nationals launched an initiative to keep Phillies fans from taking over their ballpark during Nats-Phillies series?  How they won’t sell tickets to people not from D.C., Virginia or Maryland?

I think that’s kind of pointless and silly because (a) it’s not like the secondary ticket market doesn’t exist; and (b) money is money and last I checked the Nats weren’t filling their park with locals anyway.  If they want Phillies fans to be drowned out, win ballgames and sell more season tickets. But whatever, it’s their show, and if they want to say no to someone when they go to buy a ticket, it’s their choice.

But it’s another thing altogether, it seems to me, to renege on tickets they already agreed to sell to Philly people before the policy was put in place. And that appears to be what they have done.

Seems that in December a Philly company called Integrated Project Services, Inc. contacted the Nationals for a group outing, put in order and paid a deposit which guaranteed the tickets.  They were supposed to get final confirmation of where their seats were and stuff in January. Then:

It was almost the end of January, and neither Kate or Chuck had heard a thing from the Nationals about their tickets. “we had tried to contact the Nationals because we thought by the end of January we were suppoesd to know,” McCorriston said. “So we called and emailed and called and called and emailed and called, this had been going on for two and a half weeks, and they finally just notified us and said ‘well sorry, we have to take back our park, you know, you can’t have the tickets, there aren’t any tickets left, and we’ll refund your deposit. That was it.”

Just an idiotic business decision to address a problem — too many Phillies fans in the park — that, while slightly embarrassing, is not exactly the sort of thing that a sophisticated business should really care about.  And it’s the sort of thing that could lead to a lawsuit, so that’s great too.

Win some baseball games, Nationals. That’s how you take back your ballpark.

  1. mnovis - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    Hey guy….why don’t you mind your own business. Thanks “craig”

    • koufaxmitzvah - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:45 AM

      Isn’t the business Major League Baseball?

      Thanks, “Champ.”

  2. kopy - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    Wow, the Nationals better sell out these Phillies games. If they don’t, they’re going to look really (even more) stupid for retracting sold tickets.

    • cur68 - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:24 AM

      Yup. Really, really, REALLY stupid. Frankly I don’t see what Montreal doesn’t just launch a campaign to “take back” the Expos. They’d have been thrilled to have a full stadium, even if they were Philly Phans. Mind you a part of Stade Olympique would likely have collapsed and harmed some of the Phans, but hey, they needed culling anyways.

  3. bleedgreen - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    So they’d rather have empty seats than the revenue from opposing fans? Baseball is a business. You don’t run a business by turning down people trying to give you cash.

    • tcostant - Feb 28, 2012 at 1:50 PM

      I guess you missed the “there aren’t any tickets left” line. Bottom line, if tickets were left these seats would have been released to the group. I’m fine with this…

  4. mattintoledo - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    “Mind your own business.” That’s what every good news source does, right?

    I do like that mnovis put Craig in quotation marks. Like, “…if that’s your real name.” Also, I’m looking around nervously in this strange new world where “craig” sides with Phillie phans on an issue.

    • CJ - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:33 AM

      “Also, I’m looking around nervously in this strange new world where “craig” sides with Phillie phans on an issue.”

      Yet another sign of the apocalypse. The end is near!

      • cur68 - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:25 AM

        Basically this is one of the worst parts of the bible, right?

      • CJ - Feb 28, 2012 at 12:11 PM

        no, its far, far worse. This is so terrifying they had to leave it out.

      • cur68 - Feb 28, 2012 at 2:38 PM

        What, like “Satanic Verses”? Careful man, you could be persecuted for bringin’ that kind of thing up.

  5. gilmanmf1007 - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    To be fair, the Nats say the deposit did not guarantee tickets, and they simply do not want to sell tickets to Philly fans at a discounted rate. Philly fans are still welcome to buy tickets at full value.

    “The lack of group sales has upset some Phillies fans, particularly tour operators who generated income by packaging bus trips with tickets to Nationals games. Feffer said those operators can buy as many as tickets as they want – at a non-discount rate – once single-game tickets go on sale at the conclusion of the Take Back the Park promotion. He also emphasized that a deposit on group sales did not guarantee purchase.”

    • b7p19 - Feb 28, 2012 at 12:33 PM

      You won’t be popular here, but it certainly sounds more reasonable this way.

    • Jonny 5 - Feb 28, 2012 at 1:22 PM

      These guys lost their tour bus deposit as well.

  6. xxshookonexx - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    I went to the Nationals vs Red Sox and Cubs two years ago. It was like a home game for the Nationals for those games too……..try winning.

  7. 12strikes - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    Craig…. I’m impressed. You did not spin this in a way to make the Phillies Fans look like the bad guys here.


  8. The Dangerous Mabry - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    It seems to me a better way to “stick it” to Phils fans is to take their money. You know, for tickets and concessions. Of course doing so would also drive tourism to your city, which is one of the things they no doubt said the new stadium would do when they made the public fund it. As John Q Taxpayer in DC, I wouldn’t be very happy if they turned around and told me that they didn’t want tourists coming to the stadium I paid for.

  9. blabidibla - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    As a Giants fan I always thank Dodger fans for coming to our home games. It makes me feel good knowing they are helping us pay our players to beat them.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:50 AM

      As a Dodgers fan going to Giants games at San Francisco, it was always great having Giants fans toss their peanuts and popcorn at my back, because invariably they hit the people next to me instead. That always got me my extra leg room.

      • micker716 - Feb 28, 2012 at 8:59 PM

        As a Padres fan I would like to thank both of you. We need the ticket revenue

  10. pbsenerchia - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    As a Nats fan, I originally liked this idea – but I think the execution has been crap. It makes the Nats look bad, and will further fire up some of the Philly fans who do come. That said, I think part of the team’s rationale was that the Philly fan invasion had reached the tipping point, where local fans specifically avoided games against the Phillies because they didn’t want to get verbally or physically assaulted or puked upon. Obviously that’s a small minority of the fans that come, but that doesn’t excuse it.

    • sasquash20 - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:28 AM

      If that is the case you Nats fans are even more pathetic then it seems. What a joke of a fan base. Instead of driving the Phillies fans out by buying the tickets yourselves you decide to hide at home. Thank god I’m not a Nats fan I would kill myself if I was that spineless. Don’t worry we still plan on taking over your park again this year chumps!

      • nategearhart - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:50 AM

        I would say someone going out of their way to give their rivals more money is also a “chump”.

  11. illbringdabeers - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    I’m actually going to be making the trek down to DC for a Phillies/Nationals game this year. I’ve heard nothing but nice things about Nationals Park and the local Nationals Fans. It’s not about taking over another town’s stadium, I just like to see my team play in a different venue while getting to get out into a beautiful city I don’t get to see that often.

    • pbsenerchia - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:45 AM

      You’ll be entirely welcome. There are usually a good number of fans of the visiting team at games because there are so many transplants in DC – mostly it’s cool; they can be fun to root against/talk to about their team. It’s just completely different when they come on their own then when they come in by the busload and tailgate for hours before the game like it’s football. NFL crowds are the worst – drunken, brawling, a-holes.

    • sasquash20 - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:36 AM

      Not me I’m going to HELP TAKE OVER THE STADIUM AGAIN. I think DC is a cesspool so you can take that beautiful city thing and shove it. The nationals fans are the worst in the country. They probably will have to move soon because there fans are so lame. The owner actually embarassed because we take that stadium over every time, decides to try and ban people from buying tickets because there from another city. If that doesn’t say how lame DC fans are then nothing does. Fragaisie city with fragaisie people.

      • phillyphreak - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:48 AM

        ^ Not the representative view of most (rational) Phillies fans.

      • nategearhart - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:51 AM

        Maybe he gets a kick out of watching you jump through hoops before you give him his money.

      • illbringdabeers - Feb 28, 2012 at 12:48 PM

        You embarrass Philadelphia fans everywhere. Your probably on unemployment and live with your parents. What the Nationals owner does and doesn’t do does not represent Nationals fans or people who live the DC area. I was going to continue to respond to your comment but then I’d just feel dumber trying to explain anything to an idiot. Have fun watching the Phils this year on your parents TV

      • Utley's Hair - Feb 28, 2012 at 1:30 PM

        beers, I’m not exactly sure of where the “your probably on unemployment and live with your parents” comment comes from or where you were headed with it, though it seems a bit misguided and kneejerk.

        That said, sasquash, DC has its bad areas, just like any city—yes, even Philly—but it most certainly is not a cesspool. It is a beautiful city. It’s people acting like you that give and perpetuate the reputation that Philly fans have. Get over yourself and stop painting fanbases and cities with the same broad brush used on Philly fans.

  12. verytalldad - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    As a Nats fan, I could not be any happier with the ownership and I think the hardcore Nats fans would agree.

    To the poor, whiny, first place Phillies and there fans, go cry to your mommy or your Senator (which you already have). Do you think we should care about disappointing a few Phiiladelphia fans who already have a sterling reputation nationwide of having their share of pricks.

    I dont think billion dollar ownership cares about losing money to philly fans and it will probably back fire, but at least our ownership said a big “EFF YOU” to our NL East rival.

    And to those who think Philly fans are so loyal, look at the attendance levels of the Phillies when they sucked like the Nats do right now. The Nats had higher attendance with similar records. Enjoy your time while your team gets older and I will see all of your at the Nats home games that you bought from second hand websites.

    Go Nats!!!

    • illbringdabeers - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:58 AM

      “our ownership said a big “EFF YOU” to our NL East rival”

      I remember reading, if i’m not mistaken (which I definitely could be) but for the past few seasons your ownership were contacting and setting up tour companies in Philly to bring in buses of Philly fans to the Nationals/Phillies series. This is the first year that they are trying to put a stop to it

      • verytalldad - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:14 AM


        You got to take a stand sometime. Its not like this has been some 50 year Philly fan tradition. This should be a turning point year in the franchise, especially if Harper comes up.

        So what better time than now to make a statement to Philly fans and the league.

      • phillyphreak - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:28 AM

        Statement: “We don’t want any fans other than Nationals fans in our park.”

    • verytalldad - Feb 28, 2012 at 1:13 PM

      That’s a statement I Hope most owners would agree with bc of course red sox want Yankees fans at Fenway

      • phillyphreak - Feb 28, 2012 at 4:07 PM

        If I were an owner, I would pull for my team and do everything I could to help them win. But I wouldn’t mind if other fans came to the park a) for the experience and b) cash money ..

  13. koufaxmitzvah - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    This wouldn’t have happened in Montreal.

    • El Bravo - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      Only because no one in there right mind would want to take back L’stad Olympique…worst. stadium. ever.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:27 AM

        They had kosher dogs, man, and a statute of Jackie Robinson.

        It was like Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor getting together and doing something crazy.

      • cur68 - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:47 AM

        and you could hear the ballgame called in French. I used to like French-called games…everything was backwards, it was like Bizzaro World baseball.

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 28, 2012 at 2:53 PM

        Say “sac bunt” in French.

      • cur68 - Feb 28, 2012 at 3:34 PM

        I do believe that one varied from “sacrifier le petit coup”, to “le petit coup, sacrifier” depending on if they saw it coming or not. Could be wrong though: its been a few years since I’ve heard any French baseball…sigh…

      • Utley's Hair - Feb 28, 2012 at 3:44 PM

        Well, that just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

  14. swchach - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    This is going to make for a hostile environment for the half dozen Nats fans that show up to Citizens Bank park. blood is on the Nationals hands on this one.

    • verytalldad - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:15 AM

      We would want to come to Philly because? The liberty bell? Cheesesteaks? Ryan Howards achilles?

    • verytalldad - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:16 AM

      But congrats for continuing the Philly fan stereotype. VIOLENCE SELLS!!!

    • phillyphreak - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:34 AM

      1) It shouldn’t make a hostile environment. Cheer for the Phillies, let the other fans cheer for their team. This especially bothers me when someone brings a kid to a game and people heckle them. That’s not what going to a game should be about at all.

      2) Verytalldad, you shouldn’t just assume that fights happen only in Philadelphia or with Philadelphia fans. Google told me to go to the website Sports Bully. There I found this: “On Friday July 29th, the New York Mets defeated the Washington Nationals 8-5 IN Washington D.C. During the game a fight broke out in the stands between fans which resulted in a woman being hit.” Fights in DC? No way!

      • verytalldad - Feb 28, 2012 at 1:16 PM

        Three hours of baseball and access to beer will lead to stupidity anywhere. I fully admit that but Philly does have a reputation. I never said Nats fans were angels. just you know, Philly sucks.

      • Utley's Hair - Feb 28, 2012 at 1:34 PM

        “Three hours of baseball and access to beer will lead to stupidity anywhere.”

        So I guess you’ve been watching baseball with a stocked fridge then?

      • verytalldad - Feb 28, 2012 at 4:04 PM

        Are you saying people dont get wasted at games, people here are already saying how there is tailgating for the Philly fans before games.

        Ill tell you the truth, Philly Fans think they are gods gift to baseball. Your not and neither is your team. You show up at the stadium because you have won for a decade and like I have mentioned, your attendance was lower than the Nats when you sucked.

        So get off your high philly horses and chill out. So DC fans want to stick up for our one young promising team. So sue us.

      • Utley's Hair - Feb 28, 2012 at 7:12 PM

        Yes. That is precisely what I said. Nobody ever gets wasted at baseball games. Ever. Never has happened, and never will. Kinda like what the 7UP guy used to say, only slightly paraphrased.

        As a Phightins Phan, I do not think I am God’s gift to baseball. Nor do I think that a majority of the Philly sports fanbases feel that way. We take pride in the teams we root for. No different than any other fanbase of any other team.

        D.C. is a place comprised of people and fans relocated from so many places and fanbases, so obviously, tickets will sell to other teams’ fans. That might have something to do with your claim about attendance, dontcha think? By the way, the Phils haven’t been winning for a decade. The Bank just happened to open eight years ago. So, the fact that the Vet was closing and the Bank was opening had a lot to do with the attendance the first few years.

      • verytalldad - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:06 AM

        I do enjoy the claim that everyone in DC is some transient vagrant just passing through. Your kind of missing a few million people who have deep roots in the DMV. And most people who go to the games arent even from DC.

        I think going to a Redskins game (when they are competitive) shows what type of home team crowd this town has.

        Either way about the Vet or Bank, your fans were not there when they sucked. So its funny when everyone tries to mock the “horrible” nats fans for not showing up.

        I am sorry the comment section for a sports blog is supposed to show such candor to rival fan bases.

      • phillyphreak - Feb 29, 2012 at 7:11 AM


        I’m really not sure about your line of reasoning.

        “Either way about the Vet or Bank, your fans were not there when they sucked”
        – This kinda reminds me of Nationals Park now. And, at least for baseball, it’s kinda representative of most stadiums/cities where the team is not competitive.

        “I think going to a Redskins game (when they are competitive) shows what type of home team crowd this town has.”
        – I can interpret this statement two ways. 1) When the Redskins are not competitive, people to don’t to Redskins games (which would invalidate your point about the Vet). Or 2) going to a Redskins game is different when they are competitive? I’m not sure ….

        “I am sorry the comment section for a sports blog is supposed to show such candor to rival fan bases.”
        – For the most part, the conversations are pretty civil around here. Sure the crazy comment poster appears but it doesn’t reflect poorly on the rest of HBT. Same goes for going to stadiums and interacting with other fans- mostly it’s great and sometimes (in most places) there’s crazy people. I don’t understand why it being like that is a bad thing.

      • Utley's Hair - Feb 29, 2012 at 11:14 AM

        Okay. You caught me in an error. I mistakenly omitted “largely” from in front of “comprised.” Bravo. And yes, I did intend to include that word. If you took the time to read another comment I made on this thread, you might have assumed that. But kudos to you and mea culpa, verytalldad.

        As for the rest of your latest comment, refer to phillyphreak.

        Oh, and you go right ahead and call your senator. But it might take a while to find out his or her name.

    • Utley's Hair - Feb 28, 2012 at 1:39 PM

      Your call to violence does not speak for a vast majority of Philly fans, just as verytalldad’s ranting does not speak for a vast majority of Nats fans.

      Guys, dial it back a bit, because you’re making yourselves and your respective fanbases look bad.

      • verytalldad - Feb 28, 2012 at 4:01 PM

        Ranting? Philly fans are pretty sensitive on HBT. You try to support your team (without invoking violence) and your ranting? Its baseball. Sane support for your team is not ranting.

      • Utley's Hair - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:22 PM

        “Sane support for ‘your team’ (as if you actually own them)” is not ranting. It’s being rational and engaging in dialogue. But blindly lashing out at an entire fanbase because somebody talked smack about the team you follow—like you were doing—is not sane, ergo, you were ranting.

      • verytalldad - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:58 AM

        So you have to own the team to call them “your team”. Kind of titpicking. Sarcasm and highmindedness running high in PA. Maybe I should complain to my Senator.

      • Utley's Hair - Feb 29, 2012 at 11:32 AM

        By the way, there’s something about “titpicking” that does seem kind of intriguing.

  15. stevejeltzjehricurl - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    As a Phillies fan who lives in Northern Virginia, I want to thank the Nats for allowing me to make enough money from reselling my tickets to Friday’s and Sunday’s games to pay the freight on my tickets for Saturday, as well as concessions. Really, really nice of you guys to do it.

    For the record, the hardcore Nats fans (which is not a big group of people as yet) are pretty welcoming and the ribbing strikes me as good-natured when I go to games here. I’d be pretty offended if opposing teams fans show up in my ballpark; then again, that pretty much describes my childhood at the Vet during Mets games. The solution? Get better, and the bandwagon fills up. DC’s pretty starved for a winner, since the Redskins continue to be run into the ground by Dan Snyder, the Wizards are irrelevant, and the Caps continue to mystify despite an abundance of talent.

    One note to DC fans, though — I notice that when I go to games, there’s a lot of opposing team’s colors (Mets, Cards, Phils, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, etc.) in the park. I realize this is probably true to some extent everywhere, but I wonder if the Nats will struggle long-term to build a fanbase because such a large number of the folks who live here are transplants (and some of the folks who’ve lived here all their lives stubbornly remain Orioles fans despite Peter Angelos’ best efforts to kill that). And it’s a lot easier for transplants anywhere in this day and age to follow their real hometown team — my two girls are growing up Phillies and Eagles fans without too much trouble, despite living in allegedly hostile fan territory. I have a nice livuing in Philly who’s being raised as a Yankees fan by her dad. This is not such a big deal for established franchises, but the Nats don’t have a group of fans living elesewhere who grew up with the team. Thoughts?

    • pbsenerchia - Feb 28, 2012 at 12:11 PM

      I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head.

    • marinersnate - Feb 28, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      “I have a nice livuing in Philly who’s being raised as a Yankees fan by her dad.”

      Shouldn’t that be considered child-abuse?

    • verytalldad - Feb 28, 2012 at 1:18 PM

      winning cures all and Nats had higher attendance than Philly when Philly sucked. Win and dc will show up with a lot of the transplants with curly w hats

    • tcostant - Feb 28, 2012 at 1:57 PM

      This is very well written. I think the Nats should have been forsighted and not taken Philly deposits for group sale. Someone mentioned tipping point; for me it was Ryan Zimmerman getting booed at home, while recieving his Silver Slugger award by all those Phils fan. I’m fine with the policy.

  16. fellspointbird - Feb 28, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Being an Oriole fan, I tend to think that I know alittle bit about fans (obnoxious, polite, or otherwise) taking over my favorite team’s ballpark.

    Still, and in my own opinion, part of the mystique of baseball is tied into the ability to visit other cities and see other ballparks. This is a right of MLB fans, which should not be encroached upon.

  17. jaguar0413 - Feb 28, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    This is so unbelievably stupid. Why are Phillies fans so upset about this. You have your own stadium. Go to games at your own stadium and stfu already.

    As a Nationals season ticket holder, I applaud this effort to prevent Phillies fans from infesting our park.

  18. badmamainphilliesjamas - Feb 28, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    When the Nats announced this, I dismissed it as nothing more than an PR move to crank up the Washington fans. I KNEW they weren’t really serious, and the Philly sportstalk faithful were just overreacting.
    The way this is escalating, though, we might soon need peace talks between Washington and Philadelphia. Maybe a neutral arbitrator to put it to rest once and for all . . .
    Oh, nevermind.

  19. socojava - Feb 28, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    I cannot wait for this series. There will be more Philly fans then ever.

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