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Stan Kasten Sings a Hymn to Philly Fans


(2007 photo by Preston Keres - TWP)


I'll probably always be something of an outsider in D.C., because I'm not from here. I didn't live through Gibbs I or the Bandwagon, the Penguins in the '90s or Wes Unseld-as-GM. Still, I think I'm getting to understand the mindset of that rarest of creatures: the all-D.C.-sports die-hard. Here are a few rules: Philly is the (metaphorical) enemy, in every sport. The invasion of fans from rival cities is an inevitable plague best left unmentioned. And the active courting of visiting fans (ahem, S.O., ahem) is craven betrayal of the grandest hope, which is normalcy. Just make us like a regular sports town. That's all we want.

Stan Kasten hasn't been here as long as I have, and he hasn't learned the rules. Stan is brilliant in many ways, but if you're representing D.C. sports you can't--CANNOT--open your arms wide in a fuzzy embrace of visiting Philly fans. You might as well just take the D.C. off your caps at that point.

Kasten was on the Jody Mac and Harry Mayes Show today, the mid-day sports radio program of ESPN 950 in Philadelphia, and he turned the segment into an advertisement for next week's home series with the Phillies. Good tickets, apparently, are still available. The first question was about the Nats' roster, and after Kasten wound his way through that question, he ended with this. Unprompted.

"It will be fun, and I think Philly's our best, closest National League rival. We always have great games with them here, because there's so many Philly kids in college here. So we always have great, enthusiastic crowds, and we hope you all come back again. We have an opening day here Monday, we'd love for all our Philly fans to come down, because I know it's gonna be so hard to get tickets in Philadelphia this year. It'll be much easier if you drive down the road and come see us in Washington."

No, Stan, no. Stop now. Hang up the phone. Tell them you just realized you have a lunch appointment. Tell them you need to go watch a MASN re-broadcast. Don't make it any worse.

"You can come here early, we open two and three hours early, have a good time," he said later, when asked specifically about visiting Nats Park. "The neighborhood, which had so many plans for an exciting nightlife waterfront area, frankly has been pushed back a year or two because of the economy, so there's not a lot in the neighborhood. But let's face it, any trip in Washington, which is among the world's most visited cities, among the world's best tourist cities, there's plenty else to do if you want to make a day of it or a night of it. But I promise you, just coming to a ballgame will be more than worth the trip."

Guh. Please. Stop.

"No, we want to play you, we want to see you here, and we would WELCOME your fans here," he said later, when the hosts joked about avoiding this improving Nats ballclub. "And I've got to tell you, I have gone to enough games in three different sports in Philly to tell you that I haven't always felt welcome in your parks, ok? But you can root for whoever you want, you will be welcome when you come to Nationals Park."

Rational D.C. fans don't want anything approaching hostile conditions for visiting fans. They don't want violence, they don't want profanity, they don't want beer throwing, they don't want rudeness. They want laughs, and good times, and fun. But they don't want their faces rubbed in these visiting invasions, either. They don't want to be shamed.

"Hey, you've got an opening day hat!" Kasten said, when asked about any giveaways on Monday. "It's a Nats hat, which is ok, but we do feature for sale many Philly hats in our store, so come on by."

Good gracious me on the tombstone of Walter Johnson, really? You're going to say that on Philadelphia airwaves? "We do feature for sale many Philly hats in our store?" That's not being tone-deaf, that's deliberately going out of your way to play everything in E-flat when you're living in a D-major city. I'm trying to think of a more blasphemous thing a D.C. sports executive could say. Yup, still trying.

To be fair, there was one moment of sanity, when the hosts were talking about what Philly fans could expect, one moment when Kasten said the exact right thing.

"Well, first of all, the aggravating thing for me is the last few years, the Philly games, it feels like a damn Philly home game," he said, even using the correct profanity. "Ok, that's the annoying thing, because the Phillies are so good, or have been recently, we are so close, and so we DO get a lot of fans from Philadelphia. And we have so many college kids here, so there are an awful lot of Philly fans here. Now building teams go through that--road teams attract more customers than you would like as the team is building. The better we get, that's gonna turn over quickly, and it'll quickly become a lot more Nats fans, outnumbering Philly fans, but Philly fans always seem to have a good time."

This is the point. This is what you say. It's unfortunate, but inevitable, especially for teams from Philly, Buffalo, Pittsburgh and the like. It's a fact of life. It will gradually change as wins come--see the Caps--but never entirely disappear--again, see the Caps. So haha, Philly radio hosts, you're right, we'll probably see a lot of your people here next week, and we'll shake their hands and say hello and then just wait for them to leave.

But we won't encourage them. We'll never, ever encourage them. Civic pride is more important than selling a few more beers.

(Much love to Kevin E. for the heads-up.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  April 7, 2009; 3:43 PM ET
Categories:  MLB , Nats  
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Comments

God, Stan sucks sometimes.

Posted by: WebberDC | April 7, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me for one moment, I have to go kill myself.

Posted by: mrlogical | April 7, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Gotta sell the tickets to someone to pay Dunn's salary!

Posted by: ramgut | April 7, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Time to dust off all my old Orioles gear. Thank God I didn't renew my 20-game plan.

Posted by: HogsHaven | April 7, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Pathetic and embarrassing. That being said, I have some Phillies fan friends coming down for the games next week, but they are mostly Philly bandwagoners and not typical philly scum. And one is a skins fan, so it is somewhat acceptable.

Posted by: jacktrickard | April 7, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

This is hardly new. The Nationals blatantly marketed to Orioles fans last year through Baltimore radio and the Sun. It's annoying beyond words.

Posted by: evwill | April 7, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

That is disgusting and shameful. It's one thing to invite Kansas City Royals fans...those people are welcome with their non-threatening homeliness. But ASKING the most neanderthalic, smelly, rotten group of American citizens to come your park? Saying they are welcome? WHAT THE HELL. GAAAhh. I don't even like the Nats and this drives me bananas.

Posted by: ThisGuy | April 7, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

just another example of used-car kasten selling his soul. sadly, the franchise i wanted for 20+ years is a joke

Posted by: jpfterps | April 7, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

wtf wtf wtf wtfw wtf wtf wtf wtfw wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtfw wtf wtf wtf wtfw wtf wtf wtf wtfw wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtfw

Posted by: JDB1 | April 7, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

No! Come on Stan. We respect you, but please don't praise and court Philly fans, especially for Opening Day! Just cue up the "Rocky" music already why don't you ........

His first two sentences were fine and should have stopped there. Then just say tickets are still available and we look forward to kicking off our home games with a victory over the World Champs! Talk about how we won the series against Philly in Sept. Something!

ALL teams do a little courting of visiting team fans by advertising, "Come see Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals when they are in town....." but this is ridiculous.

Posted by: baseballphotosbycheryl | April 7, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

You get it, Dan, and I second ThisGuy.

As for Stan, what the? I'd type more, but my head just exploded.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 7, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I am ashamed to be a fan of this team. Here's a novel idea. PUT A WINNING PRODUCT ON THE FIELD AND YOUR OWN FANS WILL SHOW UP.

Posted by: JDB1 | April 7, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Just what we need... more drunk fans from Philly yelling E-A-G-L-E-S at the baseball game. Heck, might as well open a Geno's or Pat's in the stadium the way Kasten is talking.

Posted by: keydet01 | April 7, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Steinberg - This is worse than you think. When did Susan O'Malley take over the Nats?

I was alerted to this disgrace this morning by Kevin E. I immediately snapped at our office admin as she was the first unfortunate soul to talk to me after I heard the news. I had to apologize, then take a walk around Ballston to try to clear my mind.

This pandering is utterly unacceptable. Stan is going to have to ask fans from every city in the major leagues to come to Nat's Stadium if he doesn't apologize for this because DC fans won't show if this is the game plan. I vow to boycott this sorry excuse for an organization. I won't dust of my O's hat like HogsHaven, but I will not buy a single ticket to a Nat's game and will encourage everyone I know to do likewise, until Stan apologizes or resigns. This is an unbelievable insult to Washington Fans, particularly those of us who grew up here. Go back to Atlanta A-Hole. And for Philly fans - you're not welcome in our stadiums and arenas. Come at your own risk.

Posted by: DisgustedinArlington | April 7, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

uh, keydet, you knew about the Pat's Pizza on the club level last year, right? They're heeeere.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 7, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

heh heh. don't think my initial response is going to make it through the censors.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 7, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

"I'm trying to think of a more blasphemous thing a D.C. sports executive could say."

Yeah, that's a blasphemous thing for a supposed DC institution to do, to cater so baldly to Philly fans. Why the only thing I could think of that would be worse would be if the top newspaper in DC sent its Nats beat writer into the Phillies locker room to get the game story from there, complete with quotes from Charlie Manuel and Phillies players. And you guys would never, ever do something like that!

Oh, wait. You did. I forgot about Chico the food writer's BFF, Eli Saslow.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 7, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

This is bothersome. Kasten spent all of those years in Atlanta, where there were no natural rivals (Miami? Even Miami fans don't go to Marlins' games). Of course, he was in the NL, so never really had the joy of sitting in OPCY with a majority of fans from Boston or NYC. He just doesn't get it.

Of course, DC being DC, we will always have fans from other cities, both new residents and tourists, but come on. You don't want to encourage people to drive the three hours from Philly here. Balto fans have to live with Yankee types and Saux nation, but we shouldn't have to.

Posted by: Catcher50 | April 7, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Oh lordy. I have to live in the hellhole that is Filthadelphia. Trust me, their sports media will be all over this (they actually cover baseball, have multiple sports radio outlets. Its kind of a revelation, actually.) Philly teams have an idea of what it means to be from Philly, and they'd rather wither than sell out their true fans. They employ people from the city in management positions, they make themselves part of the cultural fabric of the city. Same is true of Chicago, NY, probably Boston teams. DC teams do not. Plain and simple. Even when they are owned by local folks (Snyder, Lerners) they are so far removed from real DC that they buy into the lie that no one is from here and therefore they don't make an effort to cultivate their natural fan base - the 50% of the 3 million people in the region who are from the urea and will spend their whole lives here. Makes me so sad. And Philly fans aren't fun. They're dangerous. Way to go Stan, I hope you spend a couple innings out with your new buddies and see what a pleasant experience it is.

Posted by: MoMonroe | April 7, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Are you kiddin me? I know Stan wants to sell tickets, but come on. Try marketing smarter to your own fans Stan. My god man, as JKC would have said, this is baseball blasphemy.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 7, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Oh my God. Is it April Fool's Day???

That's disgusting. The Balt. fans are not a problem - other league and all, but begging for support from a division rival; lame beyond words. As a half-season plan owner since '05 who didn't renew this year, I couldn't agree more with the earlier poster: Maybe if you put a decent team on the field you'd have your own fans in your park. Instead, you may as well go all out and have a big P mown into center field and fly their World Series champs flag over the Pink, er Red Porch.

Posted by: macman3 | April 7, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm from Brooklyn, so I know something about your rival's fans coming to your ballpark, but I think everyone needs to chill.

Stan has bottom-line responsibility and he's trying to sell a few tickets in what figures to be a tough year financially. Nothing he says is going to significantly alter the balance between Nats and Phillies fans; as several posters said, that will change over time and with a better team.

Take a deep breath, everyone. It's OK.

Posted by: Meridian1 | April 7, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Please excuse me while I hurl.

Posted by: frog7694 | April 7, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

It's this sort of bush league, short-term cash-happy BS that has characterized this franchise from Day One. Instead of building some market equity with the Nats IN DC, and working to connect the civic pride of the city to the team, all the dude cares about is ticket sales. Pathetic. Reminds me of Abe Pollin/Susan O'Malley destroying the home crowd in the Cup Finals in '08, selling BLOCS of tickets to Detroit fans.

I mean, even when Leonsis was desparate for ticket sales, he was working to block Pittsburgh fans out of the building. For a professional franchise to be so short-sighted is just beyond baffling -- it's pathetic. Total loser move. Not that the Lerners care anyways.

Posted by: ThisGuy | April 7, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Jesus (not Flores) once said "Let he who is without sin among you cast the first stone." As distasteful as is the level Stan Kasten has had to stoop to in order to sell tickets (and you surely know it's a recession when Philly fans have to be INVITED to take over a rival's stadium), it's even worse that the Washington newspaper that itself has spent the past four years whoring out its diminishing sports pages to Orioles fans in order to make a buck - all the while running down the local Washington team at each and every opportunity - could even think that it could possibly claim the high road in this story.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 7, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

@ Meridian1:

I agree. Stan's comments aren't going to bring in that many more Philthy fans. The stadium was going to be packed with Philthies regardless of what Stan says on Philty radio. But don't you understand....that makes it that much worse! He doesn't need to pander to out of market fans because they're going to show up anyway.

And being from Brooklyn doesn't qualify you to comment on Washington's sports market. Yankees/Mets, Rangers/Devils/Islanders, and Nets/Knicks is not comprable. This is an executive from one city...one market...marketing our tickets to another city. It is shameful. It is insulting. The bottom line is the Nat's organization is a bad organization and the team is trying to piggy back off of a winning organization in order to make a few extra bucks. Fine, except it alienates and insults Washington's fan base. The organization has been an absolute disgrace since the Lerner's took over from MLB. This is the last straw. So long Nats. See you when you get your spit together.

Posted by: DisgustedinArlington | April 7, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

What a sell-out!

Posted by: dclifer | April 7, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

This is your best Nats-related post ever, Dan. Thanks. Seriously.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | April 7, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Stan had better believe that these quotes will be reposted for as long as he remains in DC.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | April 7, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

What Kasten seems not to understand is that the drunken filth from Philadelphia RUINS the experience for the Nats fans, who he is supposedly trying to cultivate. What an idiot.

Posted by: poguesmahone | April 7, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

I don't have much love for StanK, but if we had enough fans to sell the joint out ON OPENING DAY this wouldn't be necessary. Sad, but true. And I hate all the fans from the jobless cities as much as anyone...

Posted by: WrongDog | April 7, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone else completely fed up with this nunof1 guy? His trademark combination of dimwitted reasoning and clueless snark actually adds negative value here, to NJ, and to life in general.

Posted by: JhonnyBheGhood | April 7, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Stan Kasten just put the guarantee on my not showing up for a single Nats game this year. Full season ticketholder since the team relocated to no plan this year and no plans to go back again. Maybe you should just change the name of the team to the Philadelphia Nationals and market them as Philly's second team. F you Stan and f the Lerners too.

Posted by: StikSav | April 7, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Just more proof that the Nats are doomed to fail until they get smarter people running the show. Unfreaking believable.

Posted by: FlyersSuck | April 7, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone else completely fed up with this nunof1 guy? His trademark combination of dimwitted reasoning and clueless snark actually adds negative value here, to NJ, and to life in general.

Posted by: JhonnyBheGhood | April 7, 2009 7:07 PM
---------------------------------------------------

Just glad to be doing my part, dude. Have a nice day.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 7, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

"Good gracious me on the tombstone of Walter Johnson, really?"

I don't have anything to add regarding Stan's marketing plan. But thank you Dan for the sentence above, which provided a welcome laugh in an otherwise discouraging baseball day.

Posted by: dcbatgirl | April 7, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

"I don't have much love for StanK, but if we had enough fans to sell the joint out ON OPENING DAY this wouldn't be necessary. Sad, but true. And I hate all the fans from the jobless cities as much as anyone..."

BS. A decent product and the place would be sold out. A decent product and the place would draw nearly 3 million.

Posted by: JDB1 | April 7, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

OH
M
G

Posted by: LetTeddyWin_com | April 8, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Not that I really want to defend Susan O'Malley, but I think what she did was different, and much less egregious, than what Kasten is doing here. Maybe I was just a dumb kid back then, but I seem to recall that O'Malley was promoting the visiting teams when promoting the Bullets not in order to get fans of the Lakers or Celtics or Knicks or whoever to come to the Cap Centre (although she wouldn't have been opposed to that), she was basically saying, "Look, the Bullets are boring and mediocre, but if you like basketball you should come out to the games because you'll be able to see great players like Magic and Bird and Michael Jordan." It was really just an extension of the whole "Market the Stars" concept that the NBA began with Magic and Bird--not a specific plea to Lakers fans or Pistons fans or whatever like Stan's doing in Philly.

And back in the 80s, as I've commented on before, I don't recall anywhere near the amount of vising fans coming to games in D.C. as there are now. I went to the Caps-Sabres game Friday night and couldn't believe how many Buffalo fans were there. When I went to Caps-Sabres games in Landover, I don't remember any significant contingent of Sabres fans ever showing up, let alone the few thousand that were at Verizon the other night. But once again, I could have been just a dumb, self-absorbed kid and not noticed. Anyone else remember?

Posted by: TheFingerman | April 8, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Nothing more needs to be said about Stan *shakes head*.

That said, Washington D.C. will always have an inordinate number of opposing team's fans invading our pro sports stadiums just because of the nature of the Town. DC is a transplant town by it's nature. Lots of people re-locate here because of the government. Congress, The Executive, all of the various departments of ________, all of the military, govt. contractors, etc. It's an atmosphere that caters to transplants. People come from all over the country to live and work, and they bring their allegiances with them.

Also, relatively, the economy here is pretty good and employment is relatively high. It's a good place to live and work (if expensive), so people come here.

It's always been like this.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 8, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Dan, I beg you to get the Post to make this a big deal. If the team put a decent product on the field this wouldn't be an issue. People on every board aren't to happy and rightfully so. Kasten has crossed the line!

Posted by: JDB1 | April 8, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

StanK....

Even for someone as slimy as you and this pathetic group of owners this is a new low...

I hope you do not last through the season and will openly rejoice at your demise.

In short, You SUCK.

Posted by: randy_boyd | April 8, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

To those that point out that there are almost always a number of opposing teams fans at DC (and Baltimore) pro games, yes we know. But the point is that Kasten is out there ENCOURAGING it. THAT is mind boggingly short sighted and stupid. It pisses off the Nats fan base and reduces home field advantage.

Posted by: poguesmahone | April 8, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

You wanna play that game, Stan? Fine. Expect a large envelope full of what used to be all of my Phillies & Mets tickets from this year before they went through the shredder. You may have duped me into paying for all of those, but you're not going to get the hundreds of dollars in concessions & merchandise sales. Way to alienate an entire fanbase, as weak as you may think it is, for a few hundred more tickets sold on opening day. You're a piece of S.

Posted by: fuglynats | April 8, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I think fuglynats is onto something...

Tell the concessionaires to shove their new beers and new jerseys up Stank's a$$.

Why let this piece of trash make another CENT off DC???

Anyone else think this is a good idea ????

Posted by: randy_boyd | April 8, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I'm hoping Philadelphians stick to their normal Monday afternoon routine. Stay home - 12 pack of "lager" - beat the tar out of spouse.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 8, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Why should anyone be surprised by this (although I will say, in defense of Phillies fans, that they are higher on the evolutionary scale than their Eagles brethren)? Remember, this is the management that has the gall to rip off the godawful Red Sox anthem "Sweet Caroline." DO THEY ACTUALLY THINK WE'RE THAT STUPID?

I had a Nats 20-game plan from 2005, but discontinued it. I'll still root for the team, and maybe go to a game or two, but they have to win me back.

Posted by: VPaterno | April 8, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Encouraging phans (sic) from other cities is one way to promote sales, but let's face it, Nats management has not done much to encourage local fans.

First they fired the beloved Frank Robinson and didn't even give him a proper sendoff.

They raised seat prices even at RFK so much that many people (including myself) did not renew their season tickets.

They traded most of the good players (e.g., Emilio Bonifacio, Brian Schneider, Ryan Church) and didn't even make a good faith offering to give a contract to Ryan Zimmerman, probably their best and certainly their best-known and liked player.

And who do they give contracts to: thugs like Elijah Dukes (convicted domestic abuse).

Someone asked Adam Dunn about the feeling in the club house. I wouldn't be too happy with a criminal convicted of abuse was in the clubhouse.

Wise up management, get us at least a team we can like.

Posted by: esmcmurrer | April 8, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

"Stan is brilliant in many ways"

Whoa- let's hold up there- what has he actually done here in Washington and how long are we going to give him?

Secondly- it's widely known that Stan had much help in Atlanta's success.

Posted by: richard_cranium | April 8, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

It's bad enough the Nats have to have their games broadcast by the Orioles. Now we have a team President who want the ballpark to be Philly-South.

Here is just one more indication that the Nats are being run by businessmen, not baseball men.

Selling a few more tickets by marketing to Philly fans will make you a little extra money now. But it's just going to delay the day when you can make a lot more money by putting a salable baseball product on the field.

Stan Kasten and the Nats have done something even more egregious than mismanage their franchise. They have made me embarrassed to put on my Nats hat.

Posted by: noslok | April 8, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Never have been a big Stan "the Plan" Kasten fan to begin with. I always thought he was a used car salesman and this proves it.

What a complete dumbass move on his part.

Is making a buck that important that you have to sell out your fan base?

Nice job Stan. Hope you come down out of your suite on Opening Day and hang with the commoner's and get a load of the drunken, obnoxious, slovenly Philly fans you encouraged to come here. What a fool.

Posted by: Section505203 | April 8, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

esmcmurrer: Elijah Dukes has never been convicted for "domestic abuse". In fact, I don't believe he has been convicted for any crime as an adult. I understand why people might want to bash him and be wary of his track record (his wife filed, then dropped, a restraining order complaint) - but please get your facts straight when you disparage him.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 8, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Jack, I thought all Philly fans were essentially nothing more than bandwagoners.

Loud, drunk, boorish bandwagoners.

-----

That being said, I have some Phillies fan friends coming down for the games next week, but they are mostly Philly bandwagoners and not typical philly scum.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 8, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Nats starters have given up 19 runs in 11 innings so far this year.

Add that to a ballpark experience that includes Clint, a poorly revamped Screech, and little else (other than Dingers, which are awesome), and you start to get a sense of why Stan finds himself marketing to out-of-towners.

Build it and they will come. Kasten's just not done building it.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 8, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Can we hope the Lerners put the team up for sale asap and then take Kasten with them? None of them care about the product on the field. Just the products in the concessions and stores. It is just about money to them. Go back and build malls. Let some real baseball people own and run the team.

Posted by: Wallpass | April 8, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I've been a Nats fan since day one. Been to 3 of the 4 opening days, and in excess of 40 games since they got to town. Currently, I'm looking forward to going to games, but to be honest have no plans to go to opening day. Yeah, I was still considering it, but the thought taking time off work to have to deal with the a-holes that are Philly fans pretty much made sure I won't go.

All in all, what's worst about the Nats is that they were better and more fun to watch when they first got here than they are now. How is it that with less money, no owners, a falling apart stadium and a drunken bumbling primadona (Bowden) as GM they were better than they are now when they have wealthy owners, a shiny new taxpayer funded stadium, and a guy in Kasten who is supposed to know how to make a winning organization?

The Nats management is a joke. Put a decent product on the field and people from this town will pay to see it.

Posted by: rawk | April 8, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

The Lerners and Stan have found themselves quite the little business. Make the Nats stink and fill up the place 18-27 times a year when the Mets, Phils, and Braves are in town. Hardly any cost and a moderate amount of income. Who wouldn't take that proposition? Kudos to them for buying a team situated in the ideal location to let the oppositions fans comprise the fans base. Why compete when we can just let winners do that and accept their fan overflow?

Posted by: makplan20002 | April 8, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe that the president of a team that lost 102 games last season and has yet to win this season, would invite their rivals (who won the World Championship by the way) to fill up our stadium....this is a disgrace and reminds me of my days as a Bullets season ticket holder....embarrasing. Kasten needs to apologize to the Nats fan base.

Posted by: ejharrisjr40 | April 8, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"Stan is brilliant in many ways"

--See this type of comment makes me shake my head and just say what??? How in the world can anyone think this? This guy's the most overrated blowhard I've seen in a long time. How many colossal, embarrassing screwups does this organization have to have, or do, before this guy starts getting nailed to the wall.

Where's the improved farm system? Where's the steady progress? This team is going nowhere, fast, in all facets of the game...from the front office to the scouting.

Now he's got the gall to openly market our games to out of town fans. People who say "Oh at least it's not as bad as when Boston comes to Baltimore..." Get real. Wait til Boston gets here, for one thing. And two, I was at two Nats-Phils games last year, sitting in the lower section where STH seats are. And I was surrounded by ROWS...not isolated pairs but ROWS...of Phillies fans.

They're already getting tons of tickets Stan...thanks to your idiotic management and completely subpar attention to putting together even a half decent team. Now that you're marketing directly to them, it will be much worse no doubt.

Here's a thought, Mr. "Plan" as in "Don't have and never had one"...how bout...I don't know...building a decent team, so fans HERE...in DC, Maryland and Virginia, aren't embarassed to wear the W....or go to games. How bout building a semi-decent team, so we can go to the games and not have to sit through never ending 12-4 type losses? Maybe if you did your JOB...and built a decent team, there'd be more interest (in a brand new stadium to boot) and you wouldn't feel the need to go to Philadelphia to find butts for your overpriced seats.

Ugh. Screw Kasten and the Nats. Thanks for nothing Lerners.

Posted by: jollyroger2 | April 8, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Ugh, I just puked in my mouth... hey Stan, how about going on DC radio and promoting the product, rather than some Philly station- you might sell more tickets to people WHO LIVE IN THE TOWN than a couple thousand wackos driving 100 miles from Philly.

God just when I think ownership is starting to get it, I realize how clueless they are. God help us

Posted by: S2DU | April 8, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

To be fair to Kasten, if he went onsports talk radio in this town, it would be on a station that considers the Nationals (and everything other than a certain pro football team) an afterthought.

Posted by: VPaterno | April 8, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

ESPN 980 stinks as much as Kasten's comments. We have to endure the BlO's this year again. I thought that when Snyder bought the station he would kill andy pollan's everlasting love fest with baltimore. I found out sadly that this wasn't the case.

Posted by: punchdaclock | April 8, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I don't like fans from Philly because of the rivalry. I don't like them because they are crass, obnoxious, and always want to fight.

This city has a big rivalry against Dallas but they keep their comments to the game and when it is over you can still party with them. They had to stop a Redskins game because the pepper spray that the police were using to break up the fights in the stands actually ended up affecting the Eagle players.

Philly fans are bullies, which is why there is a jail right on site. The fans from all the sports have that same bully mentality and now what Stan K. wants to do is to encourage them to come and out number us in our own stadium. I won't be there, but he better hire extra security.

Posted by: Carole5520 | April 8, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

What is really scary is what this says for DC fan interest. Everyone who has been to a Nats v Phillies game in DC has seen the thousands of Philly fans who turn out. Now they all get to see their team play, in an opening day atmosphere, the year after they've won the Series. Every Phillies fan I know (and I know a shocking amount) is planning to go, and they're bringing all their friends.

And the Nats STILL can't sell out opening day.

Posted by: bryc3 | April 8, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

This is why DC has such a poor reputation as home town fans. Other than Ted Leonsis all the owners & management market towards the dollars not the fans. I hate Philly!! My family has had 'Skins season tickets since '71 been going to Caps games since '74 and went to 20 Nats games last year and it makes me sick to see the opposing teams fans take over our stadiums. The Caps are a blast now that the fans have finally caught the RED fever. Kasten needs to concentrate on Nats FANS not Philly. Very poor move for a supposed smart man.

Posted by: dph60 | April 8, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

VP, if Stan went on a local station to reach out to the fans, nobody would hear him because the Nats' signal is so crappy. But that's another story.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 8, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Agree, dph. I've gotten hoarse at Nats-Phils (and Nats-Mets) games after trying to shout/cheer opposing fans down.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 8, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

"VP, if Stan went on a local station to reach out to the fans, nobody would hear him because the Nats' signal is so crappy. But that's another story."

Its relevant. Its part of the overall problem.

Posted by: JDB1 | April 8, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I would rather have the Nats ownership group market the team to us and us only, but I am not ownership and I am not responsible for the rent and the players' salaries.

It is kind of a double edged sword here: If we don't market the other teams, revenue goes down, as does the ability to reinvest the money into the team (the key word here is the ABILITY to reinvest). If we put up with the other fans for a few years and IF (a big IF, I know) that money is reinvested into the Strasburg fund and other such ventures (free agency) and not used to line the Lerner's pockets (remember, the word is IF), I would be OK with it.
The Caps were pretty terrible for several years as management tore down the team and built it from the minor leagues up. Look at them now. Getting a playoff ticket to Verizon will be tough...for Caps fans...but even more-so for the opposing teams fans.
Like it or not, this is actually a good business move. If this becomes a yearly thing and the Lerners are pocketing the profits while putting a poor product on the field each year, I will be more vociferous in my opposition

Posted by: TimDz | April 8, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

The only way I'd be OK with this is if there were a "Visiting Fans" section somewhere out in the right-field upper deck nosebleed seats where all the Philly fans could go.

Posted by: Juan-John | April 8, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Wake up DC! There's nothing wrong with the Nats promoting geographic rivalries with the Birds, Phils, Yanks, Mets, BoSox & Pirates. And not-so geographic rivalries with the Red Birds and Cubbies for that matter. Rivalries make sports more enjoyable. If DC fans don't fill the park, bring on the "hated" rival's fans! The more the merrier.

Posted by: jsavagelaw | April 8, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe people are upset about this. Isn't Stan's job to get people to come watch the team? Yes, I'd much prefer if every seat was filled by a Nats fan. Still, Stan wants as many butts in the seats as he can get. I really don't care where the fans come from or who they cheer for. I just want to watch entertaining baseball, in a good atmosphere.

I just don't get the criticism. Apparently people would rather see a half-empty stadium them have fans from another city in the park. Yikes! Where's the logic in that?

Posted by: grforbes | April 8, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"I really don't care where the fans come from or who they cheer for. I just want to watch entertaining baseball, in a good atmosphere."

Well that's why people are complaining about the Phillies: it isn't a good atmosphere. They're rude, crude, drunk, and obnoxious. It's a wretched atmosphere.

Posted by: fuglynats | April 8, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

And that terrible Philly fan atmosphere detracts long term locals from wanting to attend. I know dozens of Redskins fans that won't go to the Eagles game at FedEx anymore. The Nationals shouldn't risk alienating even more local fans for the sake of one sell-out.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 8, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

@Nunof1

I know you like stirring things up, and by all means we're a fair target. Still, I think this:

"it's even worse that the Washington newspaper that itself has spent the past four years whoring out its diminishing sports pages to Orioles fans in order to make a buck - all the while running down the local Washington team at each and every opportunity - could even think that it could possibly claim the high road in this story"

is a little unfair. First of all, I've never really considered the Orioles under the "D.C. Sports Bog" purview. The paper surely did, though you can't pin that on me. Nor can you pin my post on the paper, since I didn't talk to a soul there before claiming this high road.

And putting all that aside, we don't cover the Orioles anymore, in any way. But even if we did, I wouldn't say it's "whoring" out, since the newspaper gets distributed to Howard and Anne Arundel, places that are still very much in Os territory. I think it's a bigger reach to suggest that Phillies fans living in Philly are part of the Nats' core demographic.

Posted by: DanSteinberg1 | April 8, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

In all fairness, it isn't ALL Philly fans. Point in case:

I went to a Nats/Philly game two years ago (at RFK) a Philly fan accidently bumped me and I ended up spilling my beer. He apologized profusely, but it was an accident. I told him no worries but the guy ended up buying me three more beers that evening.

I just don't feel it is fair to lump them all together (and that goes for any opposing team fans).

Posted by: TimDz | April 8, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"@Nunof1

I know you like stirring things up..."

Posted by: DanSteinberg1 | April 8, 2009 4:47 PM
___________________________________________________________

This gets my vote for understatement of the year.

Posted by: Section505203 | April 8, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Actually, as a marketing strategy, the idea of inviting Philly fans down here is quite brilliant. All through spring training and the first couple of, albeit dismal, games, we've been inundated with the call "Get Your Red On (Out?)" Having a stadium half full of Philly fans will at least gaurantee a lot of "red". Stan can then use the aerial photos of a packed stadium to draw in the unsuspecting. Plus, maybe it'll fire up the Nats, and they might score a run or two.

Posted by: EKruse | April 8, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Memo to Stan: The Nationals are awful. The owner is awful. You are awful. Kasten appears to be one of these carnival guys who thinks video games and president races are going to fill the seats, and the actual "product" on the field is secondary. Go out and spend some money on players, and lose the pathetic hawking of tickets to Philly fans.

Posted by: 4472jon | April 8, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

DC has a baseball team, it just happens to be in Baltimore. If we didn't ignore that fact than we wouldn't be in this mess where we trade one mediocre team for one bad and one horrible team.

Posted by: jesstyr | April 8, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

why should now be any different than the 70s, when we flyer fans basically kept the caps in business by packing the cap center in landover???

Posted by: threemcomp | April 8, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

First they drop the ball on Crow and now this.

NATS officially the worst franchise in Baseball. FRAUDSTEN needs to be fired. Lerner's need to start from scratch or sell the team. It took Angelos 10+ years to finally get it in Baltimore and finally to start building the team the proper way. It will take another 10 years before Nats will be any good. They won't draft Strasbourgh or even if they do they wont sign him.

Nats are a Joke on Baseball tonight daily.

This Fraud should be fired!


GO CAPS!

Posted by: lightshow | April 8, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Also to add.

I was the season ticket holder with Nats first 3 years being brainwashed and believing that they had a Plan.

Plan was to advertise to Philly fans.

Posted by: lightshow | April 8, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Kasten is a smart guy...he realizes any and all DC fans with just half a brain and a life .....have deserted this UNDERfunded Keystone Kops team......and will stay away at least until the Lerners ...DRAFT and shell out the Millions for Strasburg.....

Otherwise , our leader, Fletcher Christian II, will lead the mass mutiny.....

Posted by: unc1dmo | April 8, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Steinberg: You still work for the Post? They still paying your salary? They still providing the webspace you occupy with this blog? Yes, you say? Well then, by God when you speak here you speak for and with your employer. Whether you got their approval or not before you wrote what you wrote, whether they even *care* that you get their approval before you write, whether you write what you want to or what they tell you to write. That's the way it is in the corporate world, newspaper/professional blog or whatever not excepted. You try selling some words that you've written here for your own personal profit without your employer's approval, and see how far it gets you. Where's the nearest courthouse to the Post, anyway?

Given that, it is not the least bit unfair of me to link what you are writing on this webspace today with views your employer has espoused, past or present. If that bothers you, maybe you should have thought about that before you signed on to write under the Post's dime.

Posted by: RickDotSalt | April 8, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

I have zero respect for Kasten now. He should be fired. He leads a front office that produces a perinneal last place team and then has the nerve to court fans of rival teams.

Please go back to Atlanta or to Toronto or wherever.

Posted by: cabraman | April 8, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

The special section for Philly fans is called the holding cell.

---

The only way I'd be OK with this is if there were a "Visiting Fans" section somewhere out in the right-field upper deck nosebleed seats where all the Philly fans could go.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 9, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

DIE STAN KASTEN. DIE!

Posted by: trezmartin | April 9, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Sales to Philly fans will not make up for the lost sales from alienated area fans.

Posted by: gbooksdc | April 9, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Stan's appearance with Jody Mac and Harry Mayes on ESPN 950 was only the smaller, second half of the story. I was driving through Philly Tuesday at 8 a.m., and Stan was on the much higher rated 610-AM WIP with Angelo and the Morning Team, hawking Nats' tix to Phillies fans. I almost drove off the highway!!! Not even Angelo could believe it! This wasn't an "oh by the way..." kind of thing. This was a premeditated, deliberate, calculated, and REPEATED act.

Unbelievable!

Posted by: ykc8 | April 9, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Nats fans have no one to blame but themselves. If there were real baseball fans here, Opening Day would have sold out weeks ago. I say this as a Nats fan who will be at the game Mon. Face it. This clearly isn't a baseball town. You can't blame management for seeking out baseball fans elsewhere.

Posted by: dm100 | April 12, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

How hard is it for DC fans to simply accept that their baseball team is in Baltimore?

That's why Kasten has to do this, he doesn't have enough DC fans to fill his stadium.

Posted by: mlbterp | April 13, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

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