Barbarians at the Gate

Like Bad Brains, these people are Banned in DC.

Phillies fans are some of the very best in baseball. They travel like mad and create entire t-shirt empires out of dust; slowly reducing the tired “violent/bitter Philly sports fan” stereotype to rubble. It is almost as though a nine-year run of sustained success is good for business!

Understandably, some of their division rivals do not view the invading hordes from Eastern PA/South Jersey so warmly. Phillies fans descend on parks in Washington, New York, and Pittsburgh like leather-lunged locusts in support of their Fightin’ Phils. Thanks to interleague, Phillies fans filled Camden Yards for every O’s/Phillies series even when the Phillies were bad, so “they could go see a team in a nice stadium instead of the Vet” says Phillies fan/writer/bon vivant Dan McQuade.

With their team on the upswing and management making a commitment to winning, the Nationals have said enough. They are tired of hearing their players booed at home and they are taking action! Guess what, Phillies fans: you are welcome at Nats Park NO LONGER. Sort of.

Despite Meech’s jocular tweet, this is serious business for the Nationals. Fans have emailed the club to say they no longer attend games when the Phillies are in town. Phillies fans, high on the Four Ace hog, declared Nats Park “Citizen’s Bank Park South”. The Nationals, while quite content to sell extra tickets, decided they were losing the PR war and went on the offensive with plans to Take Back the Park.

From Nationals Chief Operating Officer Andy Feffer (via the WaPo)

“Frankly, I was tired of seeing it,” Nats COO Andy Feffer told me this week. “Forget you, Philly. This is our park, this is our town, these are our fans, and it’s our time right now.”

Which is why, starting Friday morning at 8 a.m., the club will begin selling single-game tickets for just a single weekend series: May 4-6, against the Phillies. These tickets will remain on sale for a full month before the rest of single-game tickets go on sale. And they’ll be available only to buyers with a credit card tied to an address in Maryland, the District or Virginia.

Suck it, Phillies fans! How do you respond?

Meech is obviously joking, later noting the team entire process is harmless (and acknowledging Kasten is no longer with the Nats.) The Nationals are giving their fans first crack at not buying tickets. Once the DC locals feign interest in watching their exciting young club for a few days, the Nationals will eagerly accept the money of the foreign legions.

All of this bluster likely seems very strange to fans of the Toronto Blue Jays fans who remember their front office doing quite the opposite a few years back. During the height of the Red Sox Nation craze, Jays fans expected the RSN to storm the Rogers castle and actually fill the building. Rogers, in their infinite fiduciary wisdom, reached out to travelling fans before the local supports, giving Red Sox & Yankees fans first dibs on single-game seats.

Very strange to fans of, um, the Washington Nationals as well. The Nats themselves employed a very similar policy of embracing the travelling fans just two years ago, allowing Phillies fans to seize the ballyard by not placing limits on the quantities of group tickets purchased.

Credit to the Nationals for attempting to overhaul the perception of their club. The acquisitions of Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson and the recent free agent spending on Jayson Werth show they want to compete on the field, and this deft bit of brand management shows their fans a shred of loyalty. None of which will prevent them from taking the fistfuls of cash offered by Phillies fans in need of the phix.

Comments (13)

  1. I enjoy going to the Dome and being surrounded by moronic Yankees & Red Sox fans. It’s what going to a sporting event is about. It’s boring as all hell on a Tuesday night vs. the Royals in there. Of course I’d rather be surrounded by a park full of Jays fans, but recognizing that isn’t going to happen anytime soon I enjoy the weekend series vs. BOS/NYY.

    • Good call. 99% of the stuff here in North America is good natured and fun. Why fight it?

    • I usually dress up in the opposing teams swag to have a little fun at the ball park. I attend a game most times Detroit and Cleveland are in town. It is good natured fun, the Toronto fans are fun to interact with. We appreciate each other.

      But now that I have my Robbie Alomar throwback, I will be picking on the opposing team fans for a few games this year.

  2. And upon further reflection, I just realized this is fucking brilliant ploy by the Nationals. It’s a huge marketing gimmick. If they really cared about Phillies fans packing the house, they would have put the pre-sale on for the 2 mid-week series’ too. By not doing that they create a scenario where they are not only forcing Phillies fans to buy tickets towards the less profitable games if they want to watch them play in Washington, they are actively riling them up to do so.

  3. There is nothing worse than some dickface Western New Yorker from Rochester or Buffalo who comes to the Dome all Yankee’d up pretending that their from NYC cheering for Derek Jeter. Or some Masshole pretending that less than a decade ago their team wasn’t a decades old joke.

    It kills me, but still, I like that the Jays take home an extra bit of $$ that they would never have when the OriLoLs are in town. If I want $$ to spend on Lawrie, and can’t convince 30,000 of my friends to come down to the park – there really isn’t a lot for me to say.

  4. I like it when fans of other teams sit next to me at the Dome.
    They almost always buy me beer and almost never add to The Wave.
    Blue Jays fans never buy me nuthin’.
    Hoorah for Outsider Fans!

  5. I’ll always hate Boston fans after going to the ALDS game in 04(I believe?) when, after Washburn got shelled; BOS fans were chanting “Don’t Donnie Moore yourself”. Needless to say, I saw a lot of fights that day.

  6. Fans of the other teams (not counting NYY/BOS) are a blast. They’re usually fairly knowledgeable about baseball and mostly interested in being friendly whether it’s jabs or just friendly conversation. Jays fans amongst each other can sometimes be like riding on the TTC. They’re all there for the same purpose, but like hell is anyone going to acknowledge another soul’s presence.

    San Francisco fans have been the most amusing at the Dome, IMO. Especially when we had Fred Lewis.

  7. I had great seats, row 7 behind home plate. To Cliff Lees meltdown last season. I was surrounded by phillie phans and I roasted them all game long. I was getting it back pretty harsh as well. The Jays where losing most of the game, till the 8th. And the best I think the Phillie Phans mustard was look at the scoreboard. I never relented, I had this feeling that the Jays would do something. Sure enough in the 8th inning the Phillie Phans were shocked and awed in what I believe start with Thames home run.

    I never wavered, and the silent Jays fans in my section came to life with high 5s for me and my, smart and not rude or abrasive heckling.

    I was even kind enough to point them to the “tittie” bars on Yonge street. Which was a reference to me being a 18 year old kid with my mom, dad and older brother at game 6 of the 93 WS waaaaaaaaaaaay up in the 500 level. Two Phillie Phans had been sitting in front of us that whole game and went from heckling me and my brother to two sombre guys who kept asking us where the tittie bars where while the skydome was ROCKING.

    Oh well that’s my story about phillie phans. they are not so bad. Though I hear some bite.

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