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The Nationals’ rainout policy is stupid

May 8, 2013, 8:28 AM EDT

MLB-Atlanta Braves @ Washington Nationals

The Nats-Tigers game was rained out last night. It’ll be made up on Thursday at 4:05PM. If you held tickets to last night’s game you cannot, as fans of most other teams can and as the Nats used to allow fans to do in the past, use them as a rain checks for any future game. You have to use them on Thursday afternoon or lose ‘em. Why? Adam Kilgore tells us:

In the past, the Nationals have allowed fans with individual tickets to rained-out games to exchange them for any future ticket, subject to availability, of equal or lesser price. Tuesday night, the Nationals announced “no exchanges or refunds will be issued” for tickets not included in season plans.

Asked for a response, the Nationals provided little. The Post e-mailed Nationals COO Andrew Feffer. The team replied with a statement from spokesperson reading, “Due to higher demand and less capacity, we’ve had to modify our ticket policy.”

Weak. On Opening Day the Nats drew 45,000+, which for these purposes let’s call a sellout. They’ve had only one home game since then where as many as 40,000 show up. Most home games have tens of thousands of unsold seats.  There is no reason whatsoever why people who held tickets to a Tuesday night game — which was probably gonna draw between 25,000-30,000 shouldn’t be allowed to exchange tickets for a future date.

But hey, the Nats got their money, so I guess it’s all good.

  1. danaking - May 8, 2013 at 8:32 AM

    The Nats owners are about the most arrogant SOBs in baseball, which takes some doing. Think back to the Metro controversy of last year.

    • pdowdy83 - May 8, 2013 at 8:48 AM

      Jeff Loria and Peter Angelos beg to differ.

    • kinggw - May 8, 2013 at 11:10 AM

      The Metro controversy that really wasnt a controversy. I guess you didnt get all the information. MLB didnt want the Nationals to pay because they thought it would set a bad precedent. It had nothing to do with the Lerners.

      But why let facts get in the way?

      • forsch31 - May 8, 2013 at 2:46 PM

        Actually, that “fact” is somewhat iffy. It was a DC councilman who said that was the problem, but neither MLB nor the Nationals outright confirmed that. It also should be noted that the Nationals had paid for late-night Metro for several games before suddenly not doing it anymore, thus stranding fans after a 13-inning, rain delayed game.

  2. gigab0t - May 8, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    They made the call to postpone that game WAY too early. It could have been played.

    • pdowdy83 - May 8, 2013 at 8:46 AM

      Disagree. If I am a team and there is a good chance (80% or higher chance of precipitation during the game window) that there would be a long rain delay and there is an easy fix to avoid it (ie. moving the game to Thursday which is a mutual off day) I would be for moving the game and not making a very long night of it.

      • rockthered1286 - May 8, 2013 at 10:10 AM

        Meanwhile 45 minutes down the road in Baltimore, the O’s got their game in with only a 45 minute delay. There was indeed a window of 80% chance of precip, but it was a quick passing heavy shower that lasted maybe 20 mins. There’s no reason the Nats couldn’t look at the radar and see a ton of scattered showers and nothing more. It was heavily discussed on Baltimore talk radio yesterday afternoon. Many thought it to be ridiculous to call it so early in the day…

      • kinggw - May 8, 2013 at 11:41 AM

        Notice how you said meanwhile 45 minutes down the road in Baltimore. Its not the same area. Its close, but the not the same. How many times has it snowed in Baltimore and there wasnt an inch of precip in DC or vice versa? So what if the O’s were able to play their game, that has no bearing on what the Nats should or shouldn’t have done.

        Hindsight is always 20/20.

      • flavadave10 - May 8, 2013 at 12:22 PM

        There was very light rain in DC last night. Game definitely could have happened.

  3. goskinsvt - May 8, 2013 at 8:43 AM

    I’d be interested to know how many teams have this policy. Anyone have the numbers?

    • goskinsvt - May 8, 2013 at 8:47 AM

      Ah, its in the AK article, my bad.

  4. jcmeyer10 - May 8, 2013 at 8:47 AM

    Scrooge McLoria begged the Nationals take some heat off of him. This is what they came up with.

    • heyblueyoustink - May 8, 2013 at 10:04 AM

      Make sure you send some royalties to O.G. for the “Scrooge McLoria” reference.

      • sabatimus - May 8, 2013 at 12:32 PM

        I was just going to say that Gator probably just looked up from his work desk and had a deja-vu-style, someone-is-talking-about-me reaction.

      • jcmeyer10 - May 8, 2013 at 1:40 PM

        I promise it was done out of deference.

  5. bigharold - May 8, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    Nice way to tell the fan base to bugger off. Not only is it bad press but it is a poor tactical move as well. If you give somebody a rain check they will likely do it. Obviously they can’t do it for for sell outs but there are plenty of dates that it wouldn’t hurt getting another 5K to 10K fans in the park.

    You can’t fix stupid.

    • cur68 - May 8, 2013 at 10:08 AM

      Yeah man. Shafting your customers is never a good idea. Anyone with a functioning google browser can verify the statements about sellouts being the problem. I’m going to bet that the Nat’s FO is going to be hearing from a lot of irate fans over this. Its a dumb policy that’ll drive them away rather than encourage them to come to games. Gotta love that Nattitude.

    • sabatimus - May 8, 2013 at 12:41 PM

      The thing is, the diehards will be back anyway; it’s the non-diehards (and their voting with their wallets) that the Nats really need to worry about. And this conduct is going alienate a LOT of them.

  6. southpaw2k - May 8, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    I found it a bit odd that the Nationals game was rained out, but the Orioles game was played as scheduled (albeit with a brief rain delay during the game). Was the rain in DC that much worse than it was in Baltimore?

    • ryand17 - May 8, 2013 at 9:24 AM

      Nah, it was actually pretty nice in DC last night. Few stretches of very light rain but for the most part it was dry and warm.

      • danaking - May 8, 2013 at 10:38 AM

        They called an afternoon game a few years ago based on an incorrect forecast. It never did rain, was a perfect day for baseball, and there was no game. Must have been low advance sales. Or something.

  7. tcostant - May 8, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    Shame on the Nationals:

    If you purchased a ticket for Tuesday and can’t go, you should be able to redeem for a future game. Shame, shame, shame on them.

    Not everyone can go every night and the fact the the new game is at 4PM instead of 7PM, make it even worse.

    Pure greed.

  8. lookatmike - May 8, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    Red Sox have the same policy. I had tickets for a weeknight game a few years back that got rained out. It was rescheduled as the day game of a day-night doubleheader the next day — a Wednesday. Since I can’t just ditch work in the middle of the day for a baseball game, I was screwed. No option for a refund, nothing.

    Wrote the Red Sox a letter pointing out that this was bullshit, not really expecting anything. They wrote me back with pretty much the same excuse the Nats provided above, and threw in a little bag of Fenway dirt, a Dustin Pedroia postcard, and a cheap foam “2007 World Series Champs” pennant.

    Needless to say, I treasure the postcard and sleep with it under my pillow each night.

    • Joe - May 8, 2013 at 9:15 AM

      It is BS, but at least in the Red Sox defense, almost all of the games were legitimately sold out for a few years.

      • sabatimus - May 8, 2013 at 12:34 PM

        Even if Ace Ticket was the buyer of a LOT of the tickets.

  9. heyblueyoustink - May 8, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    You dare to criticize decisions made within the confines of our nation’s capital?

    “All you did was weaken a country today, Kaffee. That’s all you did. You put people’s lives in danger. Sweet dreams, son.”

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 8, 2013 at 9:27 AM

      Don’t call me son. I’m a lawyer. And an officer of the United States Navy. And you’re Thursday’s game, you son-of-a-bitch.

    • sabatimus - May 8, 2013 at 12:36 PM

      Jessup had the right to remain silent, but he sure didn’t exercise it.

  10. 18thstreet - May 8, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    Owners are assholes.

    And that’s why I almost never complain about the players being overpaid.

  11. packer42390 - May 8, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    The Royals of all teams attempted to do this after a Friday night game was rained out. Against Cleveland. It wasn’t until 30 minutes before the rescheduled game started that they announced you could exchange your tickets. Shady, especially for a team that hasn’t won in my lifetime.

  12. historiophiliac - May 8, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    Wouldn’t it be Tigers fans that get the most screwed in all of this? They either have to stay until Thursday if they want to use their tickets (if they weren’t going to before) or lose them. They can’t just come back for a different game later that might fit their schedule. Also, think of Verlander’s mother!

    • indaburg - May 8, 2013 at 9:39 AM

      lol Poor, poor JV’s momma.

      Sucky policy for all the fans involved. Boo Nats officials!

  13. skids003 - May 8, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    Craig, you were a lawyer. Aren’t you supposed to provide a service when someone pays you?

    • mybrunoblog - May 8, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      Umm. You need a lawyer to answer that question? Really?

      • historiophiliac - May 8, 2013 at 11:23 AM

        You missed your chance to randomly bill him — and he is obviously confused at whether he should get anything for his money, so it seems an easy mark.

  14. aiede - May 8, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    I’ve never understood jacking fans around on ticketing. Get them in the stadium and spending money on concessions. Every empty seat is an $8.75 beer you’re not selling.

    • twilson962 - May 8, 2013 at 10:33 AM

      Good point

  15. rockthered1286 - May 8, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    When Buck spoke to the media around 4ish yesterday, he said that they’d be having their “weather meeting” an hour or so before the game to make sure everything was good to go for the O’s/Royals game. Now explain this to me- why was it that the O’s took a look at the weather during the day and decided to not make a decision until later in the afternoon, then have another look at the weather hours away from game time, and decide to play… but the Nats officials made their call waaaay earlier in the day without so much as considering a game? The logic fails here…

  16. echech88 - May 8, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    If I was a fan of the team I’d take that as a sign to stay home from now on.

    Why give money and enable that kind of dick attitude from an organization that has only been good for MAYBE 1-2 seasons in their history of being in the city?

  17. rcali - May 8, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Money should be returned, end of story. Another reason why I rarely buy tickets for sporting events. When I do it’s at a significantly reduced cost at StubHub.

  18. twilson962 - May 8, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    With the exception of opening day, I have never bought Nats tickets ahead of time. I’ve always purchased tickets at the gate.

  19. evanwins - May 8, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    I know every one hates Philly and The Phillies but they had a game in 2011 that was played in really bad weather and after being delayed an hour. A lot of people didn’t even show up but they played the game. The Phillies offered anyone with a ticket to that game, used or unused, an exchange for a ticket to one of 6 upcoming games. And this happened with a team that was selling more tickets than almost anyone else in baseball.

    • nolanwiffle - May 8, 2013 at 3:14 PM

      That anecdote did nothing to mitigate my hatred for the Phillies.

  20. someguyinva - May 8, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    They’ve updated their policy – http://curlyw.mlblogs.com/2013/05/08/statement-from-the-nationals/?partnerId=as_was_20130508_7819154

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