(photo courtesy of Nats Enquirer)
The Nationals just sent out a press release announcing their Take Back The Park Night, an effort to try to stop the annual invasion of Philadelphia Phillies fans in Nats park (a tradition invited by our former president, Stan Kasten). Their strategy? Give Nats season ticket holders, and those who live in the DMV, a chance to buy tickets for select Phillies games before they become available to the general public.
Here's a portion of the release:
"The Washington Nationals today launched Take Back the Park, an exciting initiative that encourages local Nationals fans to purchase tickets for the first three games against the Philadelphia Phillies before they go on sale to the general public.
Beginning today, single game tickets for the May 4-6 Nationals vs. Phillies series will only be available to season ticket holders and fans who reside in Washington, D.C., Maryland or Virginia. This exclusive presale will ensure that the team’s most loyal fans have the first opportunity to purchase tickets to cheer on the Nationals when they play their NL East rivals to the north."
Two thoughts here on my end:
1. Great PR move here on the Nats end. One of the biggest complaints by Nationals fans over the years has been that we get washed out at our own ball park by obnoxious Phillies fans. While the truth may be that Washingtonians are to blame for it, for not buying tickets to see their own home team play, reminding fans that they had an extra opportunity to buy tickets before others gives the team a strong defense if a Philly takeover happens again. Of course, while we all want to believe that the team cares deeply about its local fans, as most things are this is a money grab. The team is trying to rally their fanbase to buy up tickets for these games by giving them a strong call to action. Personally, I have no problem with it at all and hope that I only see Nats fans there that weekend.
2. I don't know if this will work. I have a feeling that Nationals fans will not start buying tickets in DC until we begin winning. I mean, of course the REAL Nats fans will buy tickets, but was the Verizon Center ever full until Ovechkin was the best player in hockey and Gilbert Arenas was leading the league in scoring? Nope...I have a feeling demand for tickets wont go up in Washington until about May, which means this promotion may be too late.