Some final thoughts on the Phillies fans from Nationals opening day

Posted by Brian Michael, Wed, April 14, 2010 11:51 AM | Comments: 8
Phillies Nation in the News

by Adam Kilgore
Nationals Journal
Washington Post Nationals Blog

The only obvious thing about all those Phillies fans from opening day is the anger. A lot of Nationals fans who attended believe the presence of so many visiting fans spoiled their opening day, and a good number of them are under the impression that the Nationals aided and abetted the interlopers.

Definitely, I can say the Nationals did not discourage them. After that, I think it gets kind of complicated. What should the Nationals have done? Should the Nationals have turned away large groups from Philly? Should they have sold fewer groups seats, period?

There are two viewpoints that probably cut to both sides of those questions. A Nationals fan named Daniel Furth e-mailed the Post yesterday and called Monday, “the worst baseball experience ever.” He’s the fan I talked to for the story in the birdcage liner. He goes to about 20 games each year and he usually brings with him a small group of people.

“I just think that they are really short-sighted about how to build a fan base,” Furth said. “Sure, they’re getting revenue and they’re selling tickets. But building a fan base would have been making sure these tickets were available to people all over the D.C. area.”

Another viewpoint comes from a Phillies fan named Brian Michael, who I also talked to for the story. In 2004 he started a Web site, Phillies Nation, that has turned into one of the more prominent fan blogs. He organized one of the bus trips. He said he doesn’t make much money off of them, he just does it for fun, the same reason he started his site.

“If Nats fans simply organized themselves into a group of 25 people, they can purchase group tickets just like all the other groups (including Phillies groups),” Michael wrote in an e-mail after we spoke on the phone. “So, if you are a fair weather fan that just wants to go to the important games, then you have no right complaining. … The Nats ticket office doesn’t do anything egregiously out of the ordinary. … if you care enough about the team to go to Cincinnati game on July 21, then you’ll find a way to get tickets to Opening Day (e.g. the Nats will offer them). If you don’t care that much, then you can’t complain about not getting to Opening Day. Phillies fans care and we fill stadiums both home and away.”

That’s another way to look at it, which I’m sure will produce more anger. The bottom line is probably this: Whatever the Nationals did or did not do, a lot of their fans left opening day, really, really mad at them, and how can that be good?

For further context, I also wanted to include the e-mail back-and-forth I had with Stan Kasten. The transcript is after the jump.

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About Brian Michael

Brian Michael has written 1164 articles on Phillies Nation.

Brian is the CEO of Phillies Nation which he founded in July of 2004.

  • Posts: 0 Gaze_NJ

    If Nationals Fans had searched for tickets earlier than the week before the game, they were available on stubhub for very reasonable prices. The 30 tickets I bought for myself and friends in the upper deck came to $22 each. The Nationals fans really have no one to blame but themselves.

  • Posts: 0 O'Malley

    I maintain that if they left angry it wasn’t because there were so many Phillies fans there, it was because the game was a total wash for the Nationals and their fans need something to latch their frustrations onto. From what I witnessed no Phillies fans were in DC bullying natstowners out of their seats, there were no fights, there may have been some heckling, but what ballpark have you been to where everyone is cheering for the same team? People come to The Bank all the time and cheer for the other team. Perhaps if they loved their squad so much and knew it was such a hot ticket to get in DC because of all us crazy Phillies fans buying up our seats so quickly (which had Strasburg been eligible to start for them that day would have been MUCH harder for us to get our hands on) then they should have worn their rally caps with pride and stayed thru the end of the game instea of leaving by the 6th like most did. And let’s be honest here – if they had opened against the Mets, Marlins or Braves the stands would have still only be half full and that’s the truth of the matter.

  • Posts: 0 Carolyn

    I love that Kasten blames the whole thing on the Phillies fans.

    He mentions the large groups of Red Sox fans on Saturday and the difference between the two games. The difference wasn’t the quality of the visiting fans. Saturday was an exhibition game and Monday was the home opener. There’s the difference.

    Anyone who has been at a Phillies home game around large groups of Red Sox fans, knows they are just as irritating as any other large group of visiting fans.

  • Posts: 0 badlukk13

    Kasten wasn’t blaming Phils fans, he was blaming Nats fans for not being interested enough to support their team’s finacial well being, and thus their existence.

    I personally loved how Kilgore was blatantly trying to pigeon-hole Kasten into giving the answer Kilgor wanted, as opposedto taking the answer he was given. If you’ve decided already what you think the answer is/should be, then asking thequestion is just a waste of time. He clearly wanted to hear, “you’re right, we shouldn’t be sellin tix to other fanbases… we should have taken the financial hit because Nationals fans are the greatest. I’m sorry we wronged you for shameless profit,” and nothing else.

  • Posts: 0 Gen

    I went to the opening game, and had a great time – even though my group was endlessly heckled by Nats fans sitting behind us. We paid reasonable rates for our tickets (and we didn’t have to go through group sales, btw), and had a mostly pleasant experience. All 6 of us, by the way, are from the Baltimore/DC area (but are Phils fans).

    Living in Baltimore, I hear all the time about how Orioles games only sell out when they’re playing the Yankees or Red Sox…and you can bet the stadium is not filled by O’s fans. Yet, I don’t hear much complaining about tickets not being available (although there’s always the anecdote or two about obnoxious fans…on both sides). These things happen. Fans want to see their team play. Stadiums want to sell seats. I think there’s a clear solution here – Nationals’ fans need to be as enthusiastic about ticket sales as Phillies fans. I don’t doubt that there are passionate Nationals’ fans out there, but honestly, I think we in Philly are more seasoned at this. If you know you’re a huge fan of, say, a band that might sell out quickly, don’t you look for any way to get tickets (presales, etc), rather than waiting until the day they go on sale and then getting mad when it sells out in 30 seconds? Just saying.

  • Posts: 0 Ed R.

    I bought my tickets to opening day on January 29, 2010, which was before single game tickets went on sale. So even in late January, Nat’s fans were selling their tickets.

    Look, the Nationals are a new team, they suck and D.C is a very transient area. Most older people in the area are O’s or Rangers fan’s. Give them time, and maybe some wins and it won’t be such an issue and maybe, just maybe they can fill their own stadium so that we won’t have to do it for them.

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  • Posts: 0 Tracey

    I have some sympathy for the Nats fans. I’ve been to Phillies home games against the Mets where the Mets fans outnumber the Phillies fans, where the Mets fans harass (heckle) the Phillies fans, and yeah, it sucks. I was at a Phils-Mets game in 2000, when the Phils were in the toilet, and having Mets fans rub your nose in how much your team stinks was really not fun. I’ve tried to avoid Phillies-Mets games since then, except when the Mets are in the toilet, which makes Mets fans much less obnoxious.

    So I’ll tell you what I told the Mets fans in 2000: they know they suck; you don’t need to rub their noses in it. That doesn’t mean you can’t go to the game, and that doesn’t mean you can’t cheer when your team does well, but leave the “your team sucks” garbage at home. They know they suck.

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