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“Take Back the Park” Has Intended Effect

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Fri, February 03, 2012 03:07 PM | Comments: 39
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Game on Andy Feffer, game on.

The Washington Nationals stirred up some publicity earlier this morning by beginning the sale of single-game tickets for one singular series, May 4-6 versus our beloved Fightin’ Phils. It wasn’t the odd practice of only releasing one series’ worth of tickets to the general public that caught headlines, it was the fact that these tickets were limited to folks with credit cards from the DC-metro area, intended to “Take Back the Park” to block out Phillies fans.

The Nationals are quietly stockpiling nice, primarly young and developing talent to help them ascend to the top of the NL East. And that ascension may come quicker than Phillies fans realize: just yesterday, Buster Olney tweeted that the Phillies would win the NL East and that the Nationals would win one of the two Wild Card spots. As teams like the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A’s have found, making the playoffs does not always fill up the stadium. But announcing a rivalry with the top dog and telling their fans they can’t come to the games? That will grab headlines and that will fill the seats.

The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg commented that he, and the rest of the Nationals fanbase, hated seeing rows and rows of Phillies shirts and jerseys.  He interviewed their COO Andy Feffer who said “Forget you, Philly. This is our park, this is our town, these are our fans, and it’s our time right now.” Feffer addressed this e-mail to folks who bought tickets with the Nationals in years past:

Dear Nationals Insider,

Let’s work together to keep Phillies fans out - it’s time to TAKE BACK THE PARK!

Starting today, single game tickets for the May 4-6 Nationals vs. Phillies series will be made available only to Nationals fans who reside in Washington, D.C., Maryland or Virginia.

To take advantage of this offer, click on the green Take Back the Park button below to register. Upon successful registration, you will receive an email with a one-time-use password to complete your purchase. Nationals fans may purchase up to eight tickets per game in one transaction, while supplies last.

We invite you to show your Nationals pride and TAKE BACK THE PARK!

Sincerely,
Andrew Feffer
Chief Operating Officer

And to that I say, thank you.  The Phillies head into 2012 with five straight Division titles and an experienced core. A little competition has never hurt anyone and this may help light a fire underneath the Phillies to have them remain competitive.

A competitive, young Nationals team will help the Phillies remain competitive and respond positively to change. And a competitive and successful team in DC, no matter if they block out Philadelphia-area credit cards or not, means more relatively local baseball to see on a consistent basis. As for Feffer’s comments, they’ve had the intended effect: people are talking about the Nationals and locals will buy tickets and even further engaged Phillies fans will find ways to buy them. A competitive Nationals team helps the entire baseball fanbase and may help the Nationals turn the corner much like the Phillies did in 2007 when Jimmy Rollins proclaimed they were the “team to beat” heading into the season. For the Phillies sake, I hope this is not the case.

What are your reactions Phillies Nation?

Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 806 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ian's athletic achievements include getting stuffed by NBA center Aaron Gray in high school and hitting .179 over four years for NYU against D-III, NAIA, JuCo, and NCBA schools. Ian hopes his athletic successes will help him achieve his dream of becoming the underground Bob Uecker.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Steve Pierson

    That’s awesome! There are more Phillies fans in DC, Maryland and Virginia than Nationals fans.

     
  • Posts: 0 dr. stephen mahony

    can’t wait for the nats plane to go down !

     
  • Posts: 0 Adrian M.

    This is an interesting experiment to see if the Nationals actually have fans. A passionate fanbase will typically buy up all the tickets for a home game with a rival team just as quickly as the rival team’s fans. The stands are much more equally divided when the Phillies visit New York and Pittsburgh.

     
  • Posts: 0 Heather

    The Nats probably sold more tickets in the series against the Phillies then they did all season!! Hahahaha

     
  • Posts: 0 Tom Taylor

    Just got 6 for sat and Sunday….. It’s feb and it already 12-0 Phil’s ha ha

     
  • Posts: 0 delearyous

    it’s funny, i’ve made the drive to washington for a game with my brother. i can’t help but at least feel a little responsible for this ‘take back the ballpark’ movement. i mean, how sad is it that when we got to washington for that game, they were passing out tickets to anyone on the streets to try and get them to go the game and raise attendance?

    then, while in the game they were trying to throw us out for heckling. we were completely clean in our language and everything. hell the guy we were harassing, elijah dukes, was enjoying that someone was even in the stands cheering at all. he was laughing and everything.

     
  • Posts: 0 AZHokie

    Interesting idea, can’t imagine it will work out though. I see a couple of scenarios. A) There are still plenty of Phils fans in that area, and I could see just as many of them buying the tix as Nationals fans. B) As the Nats get closer to that series and realize they have about a half (or less) sold stadium, they have no choice to open the tickets up to everyone. Its not like they can just refuse to generate revenue to make a point. C) The Nats fans will buy the tickets, and by May when they are 5+ games out they will sell them on the secondary market to Phils fans anyway

     
    • Posts: 0 maggie Koncir

      Uh…I know this isn’t likely, but what if you were a Nationals fan from this area? Does that really make any sense to censor the ticket sales?

       
  • Posts: 0 Brian Michael

    Yea, the Nats didn’t take kindly to our 2010 Opening day trip:

    http://philliesnation.com/archives/2010/04/news-mentions-from-opening-day-in-dc/

     
    • Posts: 0 delearyous

      that’s the weekend we went down. $15 for front row seats in right field

       
  • Posts: 0 Mike

    Except the same COO was all over 97.5 the fanatic in philly urging the enemy to come to town…

     
  • Posts: 0 Gerald Yanavok

    Hey Nationals is is not the fault of the fans in Philadelphia that your team doesn’t have the market you think it does. Now while I am all for small market teams; being that the Phillies are, or at least, were a small market team, you have to have some sort of fan base for your team to go anywhere. Now, when I watch your games, you have very little people there; not Marlins status but close. That is not our fault, nor is it yours. However, to suggest that in order to build up your fan base you would deliberately not take the credit cards of the fans of Philadelphia is not only insane for your income but also classless and distasteful. I understand your feelings about large groups of fans representing the opposing team is uncomfortable, however, that is part of the enjoyment of the sport. There was a time when the Phillies were not good at all and large numbers of Mets fans would show up in our stadium, it was annoying, however, it was also baseball at its best. Because what is baseball without all the fans being there and being able to enjoy a game that they pay their hard earn money to see. No matter what team they are rooting for.

     
  • Posts: 0 vonbinder

    Already bought my tickets. I actually sat behind the guy who was pictured in the article…His jersey said “Mr. Cheesesteak Head”….massive joke of a fan. Didn’t care about the game, was talking trash to Victorino. Vic actually clapped when he was escorted out. We filled the stadium that day and we will fill the stadium everytime they play the Nats. Citizens Bank Park South…no doubt

     
  • Posts: 0 Gordon Riggs

    They can’t even fill there own park, they must be selling the tickets for half price to get there loyal fans to come to a game…..Phillies will still out play them and we have the best loyal fans on the east coast.

     
  • Posts: 0 Mazinman

    The funny thing is that this will likely only encourage more Philly fans to go just to stick it to the Washington folks.

     
  • Posts: 1135 EricL

    Avatar of EricL

    Huh?

    I mean, I guess it’s ok to be happy that other teams are improving, but I don’t get the whole “THIS IS AWESOME THAT THE NATS HAVE A GREAT YOUNG CORE!” sentiment Ian took here. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I’d love to see the rest of the NL East look like the NL Central, in which there is one team that is far and away the cream of the crop and the rest mediocre to poor. There’s no shame in beating up on crappy teams, and if it increases the odds that you make the playoffs I’m all for it. Lets play all 162 against the Astros, Cubs and Mets!

    The Phillies are coming off of a disappointing 102-win season. I don’t see how they need a fire lit under them, and I don’t quite get the notion implicit in such a statement that making their own division more difficult will light said fire under them. I get why the Nationals want to fill their stadium and run promotions for the local fans, but I don’t see how this effects the Phillies, other than having them play in front of slightly fewer Philly fans when on the road in Washington. Odd article, IMO.

    Anyway, my reaction to the Nationals’ one-series promotion is an emphatic, “Meh.”

     
    • Posts: 854 schmenkman

      Avatar of schmenkman

      Yes. I don’t want the Phillies to be in competitive, tight races, because by definition whenever that happens, there is a very real chance they won’t make the playoffs.

      Now, there are some people for whom making the playoffs is pointless unless they at least make it to the WS, and they think that they would do better in the playoffs if they’re coming off a tight race.

      To me, making the playoffs is the important thing, because any short series is a crapshoot, and all you can do is get in and take your chances.

       
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    Dont the Astros usually kick our butts or was it just that one year? Anyways i echo the other sentiments, i would rather have a quick and easier race, instead of it coming down to the last 2 or 3 games of the season. I see the logic tougher competition supposedly brings out the best in everyone….But it also means your chances of losing are greater. Sort of like last year we can beat the Cards, it doesnt matter who gets in. Well we know how that ended.

     
  • Posts: 0 Dave P

    He probably meant “forget you” the same way Cee Lo does…edited for public consumption.

    Also, I do prefer a competitive league. Makes it more exciting. We all want the phils to win, but what merit does it have if you say you’ve won 100 games if you’re doing it against garbage teams?

     
  • Posts: 0 Dave

    i bought 4. Let’s go Phils!!!!

     
  • Posts: 0 Chris

    Lets see how this works for them. With no Phillies fans in the stands it is going to be quite lonely and quiet in the stands. Mr Feffer should be greatful to the Phillies fans for keeping that stadium around. Lets see how they react when they have to move the team back to Montreal, oh wait we all know that outcome, don’t we? Good luck with this one!

     
  • Posts: 276 Jeff of Nova

    Avatar of Jeff of Nova

    So as many of you know me my name says it all, Its night Jeff of Nova (Villanova) but Jeff of Nova(Northern Va)

    So who wants to rain on their parade?

    I have a Va address we can make a trip of it:)

     
  • Posts: 276 Jeff of Nova

    Avatar of Jeff of Nova

    Just registered

     
  • Posts: 276 Jeff of Nova

    Avatar of Jeff of Nova

    Got my tickets for my wife and I in the Center field Reserve, tickets were extra cheap:)

     
  • Posts: 62 LCMRSalazar85

    Avatar of LCMRSalazar85

    The thing is, none of the remaining Washington media didn’t pick this up outside of the Wash Post. Looking forward to seeing everyone the 1st weekend in May in DC.

     
  • Posts: 0 brad

    Let’s just take over Camden yards then….they get less than dc I think. Wait till dc complains about low revenue from ticket sales this year…this will change quick.

     
  • Posts: 0 Schwalmy

    I was told by someone organizing a bus trip that Baltimore won’t sell bus trip tix for Phil’s unless you purchase another bus trip package for another series at their park

     
  • Posts: 5190 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    I love seeing legions of Phillies fans at all our away games, it’s quite impressive and I think we are right up there with the Yankees in terms of fan representation at away ballparks now.

    But, sometimes you have to look at things from someone else’s shoes. I completely understand why the Nats people feel this way. We used to feel the same way at the Vet and CBP when the Mets fans came.

    The other side of the argument is that the Nats Front Office brought this on themselves when struggling to sell tickets in 2009. – see below

    http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Issues/2009/04/Issue-140/Franchises/Stan-Kasten-Encourages-Phillies-Fans-To-Support-Their-Team-In-DC.aspx

     
  • Posts: 0 Bill Easley

    It’s probably just a scam to encourage more sales to Phillies fans to make up for the lack of local sales. Here in Charleston, SC, one of the best-attended promotion nights for the minor league Riverdogs every year is “Go Back to Ohio Night”

     
    • Posts: 436 Ian Riccaboni

      Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

      I think you may be right, Bill. Either way, this is a clever promotion to grab some headlines and sell tickets to both sets of fans.

       
  • Posts: 0 Louie

    How pathetic is that fan base? The fact that the owner has to set up a “take our stadium back” marketing ploy to get the fans to buy tickets is an outrage… We philly fans are still gona take over that stadium… There is no stopping us

     
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      It’s actually not at all pathetic, in the sense that the vast majority of MLB teams that are consistently at the bottom of the standings typically draw very poorly.

      I’d be willing to bet that if they win 5 straight NL East titles the stands would very quickly fill up.

       
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  • Posts: 276 Jeff of Nova

    Avatar of Jeff of Nova

    Got 3 for Sat as well, bringing:) my daughter, sitting near the Phils Bullpen

     
  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    Nice PR stunt. However now I want a ticket so I am contacting my sister in Maryland.

     
  • Posts: 0 Earl Driscoll

    Use this link to purchase 4 tickets to the Phillies games that are not available and get a 5th game free!

    http://protected.tickets.com/buy/MLBOnsale?orgid=17&agency=WSHN_FLEX95&poid=30182&tfl=Washington_Nationals-Tickets-Flex_Plans-na-b2

     
  • Posts: 4 kenstee

    Avatar of kenstee

    Just a few short years ago the Nationals actually INVITED Phillies fans to come down to the season opener. LOL!!! It’s OK. Their policy won’t effect the outcome. And there’s always StubHub you know…..

     
  • Posts: 0 Depressed man

    Personally being a NATS fan I just wish we could be friends. Really not kidding

     
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