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Kasten on the Philly fan takeover



Stan Kasten has offered a few comments on Monday's Philadelphia takeover; you can read some on Mark Zuckerman's Nats Insider, for example. The Post's Adam Kilgore also e-mailed with Kasten on the issue; here was the team president's initial response.

"We sell season tickets and book groups all winter long. For every game of the season. All of this is before any individual tickets go on sale. Most of our groups are local. Some are from out of town. It's really that simple."

There was some more, and Kilgore will be writing a larger story on this issue, but one of the most interesting bits came when Kilgore asked whether a scene like Monday's is detrimental to the fan base. Part of Kasten's response:

"I think the best way to answer your question is for you to think about the difference between the crowds Saturday and Monday. Same policies for everything. (And clearly more Red Sox fans Saturday than Philly fans Monday.) But there's no denying there was a tangible difference in the two crowds. I'll let you draw your own conclusions."

Now that actually increases Kasten's popularity in my household. Subtle digs at certain regional rivals are always welcome. And see above, for the veracity of his remark.

Anyhow, you know those photographers at every sports event who take pictures of fans and then offer details on how you can buy them? Well, they were at Nats Park. They offer a nice view of the type of people who showed up. In this gallery, for example, I counted 25 pictures of Phillies fans, and 14 of the Nats. In this gallery, it was 19 pictures of Phillies fans, and 14 of Nats fans. These are photos that are now for sale on the Nationals Web site.

The gallery from Philly site Phightin Phils, though, was more entertaining. Like the photo of Philly fans urinating in Washington. Here's the caption for the above photo:

There was a ceremony for Donavon McNabb after the game. In pure Philadelphia style fans took turns stomping his jersey.

That's called a tangible difference.

By Dan Steinberg  |  April 6, 2010; 2:39 PM ET
Categories:  Nats  
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Comments

There was a reason the founders knew to move the nations capitol out of Philadelphia...

Posted by: alex35332 | April 6, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Phillies fans can be bashed to all our hearts content, but it not their fault we don't support the local team. The Nats, at their core, are a business venture whose job it is to sell tickets. If we don't buy them, are we to expect the Nats not to sell them?

Also, it seems like all the things that make Philly folks seem so obnoxious are also the things we lack as a fan base....willingness to travel, active participation, and yes, even trash talking. Maybe we should get rid of the whining posture and focus more on getting a chip on our shoulders.

Oh, and Mr Kasten, a preseason Red Sox crowd is nothing compared to an in season crowd. Don't let Saturday fool you into thinking that crowd is any more classy than the one that showed you up on Monday

Posted by: dsdonaghy | April 6, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Would the city have approved financing for the stadium had they known their own residents would be an afterthought when it comes to buying tickets to opening day?

The Post crucified Snyder last season for far less than this.

Posted by: bryc3 | April 6, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

in even more pure philthydelphia style, the guy doing the stomping in that picture was getting harassed by other philthies fans...a fight nearly broke out between 2 of those tools.

Posted by: natsfan76 | April 6, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't at the Red Sox game but I guarantee there were more Philly fans there on Monday. I've been to a dozen home games against the Phillies, Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, and Mets, including last opening day against Philly, and it has never been nearly that bad. In the past Nats fans have always been intermixed with the opposing fans but when there are 20 rows in the lower level behind the Phillies dugout with not a single Nats fan it becomes clear that something was done differently this time. Highly successful from a profit perspective, shows a complete lack of concern for the home town fan base.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | April 6, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

The majority of current Red Sox fans in this area are a bunch of pink hat wearin' band-wagon jumpers who would be lucky if they could find Boston on a map. A trendy team like that isn't going to garner the same passionate support at Nats Park as the Phillies do, especially since we see the Phils so much more often and they are so much closer.

Having said that, if the lousy on-field product weren't enough of a deterrent to attending games, feeling like a visitor in my home park is certainly enough to keep me away. It's really unnerving to show up at a Nats game and always feel out numbered by the visiting teams' fans.

Posted by: jburksva | April 6, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

All those Phillies fans are so, uh, rotund. Do they eat each other?

Posted by: mike8 | April 6, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Never had a problem at Nats Park with Red Sox, Cubs, or Mets fans. Opposing fans have never ruined the fun like they did yesterday. The team needs more security and new ticket policies for the Phillies specifically.

Separately, Stan and Mini Me Lerner need to stop spinning this stupid story about the second half getting better. It was better last year, and the team still had the worst record in baseball.

Posted by: TGT11 | April 6, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

StanK the ultimate used car salesmen. Whatever I can sell on StubHub this year I will to recoup my lousey investment. BTW thanks Lerners for giving me 36 free tickets, those will be posted on StubHub too! Us piss-ants are capitalist too!

WAPO you punished Synder (and rightfully so) now its time to do the same to the LernerStanks! Give'em hell!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | April 6, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

@dsdonaghy, it's easy to point the finger at nats fans, but as was mentioned in numerous comments in the other thread, it's not like many casual fans even had a chance to buy tickets.

I can tell you that not only was I looking to buy 4 tickets for opening day, I was going to buy 4 flex plans to bring 4 nats fans to 4 other games throughout the season. But in this case, a busload of phils was preferred/accepted over me and my Nats fans. The phils fans are gone, wed's game is far far far from a sellout, so I hope the front office enjoys their short term gain...

Posted by: JJones-CapitalWeatherGang | April 6, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

StanK doesn't get it. OD tickets should never be put out there for group purchase. I mean, really, is he that F'ing clueless?

I think they could hire a team of monkeys to run this team and they would do a better job.

Posted by: Section505203 | April 6, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

i was at BOTH games and i can say monday was much worse. most phila fans drove down from town. the boston fans mostly live in dc/va/md. phila brought their own brand of cheering (and booing) to dc. they've ALWAYS been the worst/rudest fans. way before the nats existed. beats oakland by a mile

it is way easier to get a ticket to nats park than citizens bank. even for our opener! and no, stan doesn't really care. if you buy it, they will sell it to you.

Posted by: xrvax | April 6, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I would suggest if we want to keep out of town fans from flooding Nats Park at the season opener, we may just have for special permission for the Nats opener to be a intrasquad game.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 6, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

@PowerBoater69 I was at both games - Saturday AND Monday. I sat in roughly the same seats (106 on Sat, 105 on Monday), and I can vouch that not only were there more Philly fans in my area on Monday, but they were louder, meaner, and more obnoxious than ANY Boston fans. The Boston fans cheered for their team, but that didn't mean they were rude to the home-town crowd. I even had a nice conversation with the Boston fan sitting next to me (who, as he said, is a Nats fan the other 162 games of the year). The Phillies fans scowled at me every time I tried to cheer.

Posted by: darastar | April 6, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

For crying out loud, people. It's not as though any individuals in Philly could buy tickets over the winter either-- so what you're complaining about is the fact that there are more large, organized groups of Phillies fans willing to purchase blocks of tickets and drive three hours to see their team on opening day than there are large, organized groups of Nats fans willing to purchase blocks of tickets and take the metro three stops to see their team on opening day. Moaning about how the average Nats fan couldn't go to the game is just sour grapes.

And yes, I'm a Phillies fan, but that's not the point.

Posted by: Yossarian5 | April 6, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

The Lerners need to sell the team to an owner that truly considers the franchise a public trust- not a money making machine.

But first- they need to fire Cadillac Bud Seligs' hand-picked stooge Stan Kasten.

Posted by: 24nats | April 6, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Subtle digs at Philly fans are nice, but doesn't outweigh non-subtle "come take over our ballpark" messages on Philly radio.

It's true what some have said: This situation will change somewhat when the Nats actually start winning. Everyone forgets 2005, when the Nats won a lot that summer, and even with a crappy stadium, still drew 35,000 a night (and few visiting team fans). Of course, it's hard to have much optimism that this team will win anytime soon. At least once Strasberg comes up, they'll have good crowds every five days...

Posted by: TheFingerman | April 6, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

WOW, you know what I smell? The stench of jealousy coming from a group of what 100 petty little rats from Washington? Which by the way makes up the entire Natinals fan club. I'm so glad to hear the round of Boos when that single A baseball club. I'm staying a lil more local and going to see the Phils pick up their NL championship rings which I think is a nice gesture, you know to let the nationals see a championship presentation. And personally I can't wait to see all the natinal fans that show up...how many buses are you guys bringing up? zero...I thought so. SO until you actually find a thousand non fair-weather Natinal fans, do Philly a favor and keep our name out your mouths and by the way that goes to you to Steinberg. Have fun writing about another 100 loss season.

Posted by: PHIgreaterthanWSH | April 6, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

It's pretty simple. The Lerner's are too cheap to spend to put a real team on the field. They kept a ridiculous bare bones front office and scouting staff until this past offseason. They have spent money on 1 big free agent that no one else wanted in Adam Dunn. They spent on 1 middle tier free agent in Jason Marquis.

The Nats are consistently in the bottom 5 of team payroll because the Lerner's are too cheap.

You have 1 option. Hit them where it hurts. I gave up my season tickets. If they refuse to put a quality product on the field then they won't get my cash. They have an awesome ballpark that they were handed and they won't spend the money.

And the Post should be railing on them just like they did to Snyder. They both deserve it. Come on Dan, go after these cheapskates and hold them accountable.

Posted by: JDR1970 | April 6, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

My Response to StanK (emailed 30 seconds ago)

Mr Kasten;

As a 6 year season ticket holder and devoted Nationals baseball fan let me please get your attention and tell you that yesterday will be the last time I or anyone in my family comes to Nationals Park. I will post all of my tickets on StubHub and hope for the best. Yesterday was a disgrace, my kids and I were spat on, called vulgar names, and threatened by a bunch of drunk idiots that you and your organization had a hand in inviting. I also plan to notify the Mayors Office, the City Council and the DC Chief of Police in regards to open container laws in the district, the tons of trash left behind by these people, and the lack of crowd control situations that many innocent Nats fans found themselves in yesterday. My boss who also attended the game was verbally abused and physically attacked on his way back to his vehicle on M Street. My son, who is a United States Marine Corps Officer was taunted on numerous occasions in Section 138 because he was wearing his Blue Nats Curly W road cap, it was all my family could do from holding him back and not causing a scene. It was a shameful day for the District and the metro area, the fan base is gone Mr. Kasten and you know it! Instead of creating a baseball culture in a town that had none for 33 years all you have done in 4 short years is added to the culture of greed and fraud. This is not New York or Boston, this is a baseball team playing in a Redskins town that has no ties to the game outside of the 45+ crowd that remembers the bad days of the Senators. You have let all the good will and opportunities to cultivate and grow a loyal fan base slip away. Now all we have left is a pile of empty beer cans, broken promises, and a media enthralled with an old quarterback. Every Nationals fan that endured that misery yesterday deserves an apology, every Nationals fan that has been loyal and faithful to this team deserves an apology. You always say, "we will get the attendance we deserve", well standby because after yesterday you ain't seen nothing yet!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | April 6, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

To all of those people (mostly Phillies fans) that are saying "You could've bought group tickets too!": Why would I? I live in the city the team plays in. What reason do I have for buying group tickets? I would have the expectation that fans would have a reasonable opportunity to buy tickets when they were released. Instead, most of the tickets had already been sold.

FWIW: I am a season ticket holder and I was able to go to the game, but it doesn't change the fact that local fans were screwed.

Posted by: lordscarlet1 | April 6, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Great stuff Tippy. Look at the attendance numbers in Philly when the Phils sucked back in the day. Interesting correlation that when their team sucked their average attendance sucked as well.

So get the picture Stan? Put a quality product on the field and the fans will show up. Look at the Caps.

Posted by: JDR1970 | April 6, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

You don't even need to look "back in the day" for poor Philly attendance... In their last season with a losing record (2002) they drew 20k a game.

Incidentally, for al the Phillies bark about how great they are now, I had no problem getting tickets for the Nats first game at CBP back in '05. But what do you know, they've been to the playoffs three times since then and won a WS - all the sudden they're packing the house. What a coincidence.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 6, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Flat Brim'd. Chin strap'd.

Posted by: jacktrickard | April 6, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line: if the Nats were better, more Washingtonians would come to the games. We'd find a way to be there. But even in one of the most affluent metro areas in the nation, people aren't going to pay good money to see bad baseball. Phillie/Red Sox fans know that when they drive three hours/fly down here or to Baltimore (a.k.a. Fenway South), they're going to see good ball played by one squad at least. Die hard Nats fans will always go to the games, but they don't fill up the park. You need, for better or worse, the bandwagoners, to fill the seats and keep the Phillie fans away.

I'll be a Nats fan until I die from too many 100-loss seasons, FWIW.

Posted by: kungpow9960 | April 6, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

It's over. The team has failed. I wasted $100 on this POS team yesterday. 2 years ago, I was a season ticket holder. It's 50%/50% whether I'll attend another game this season. Selling all of our seats to the worst humans alive? Eat me.

Posted by: bflorhodes | April 6, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Excellent email Tippy.

Suck on it Kasten, you stooge.

Posted by: Section505203 | April 6, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

"Most of our groups are local. Some are from out of town. It's really that simple."

It's not that simple...if it were, then most of the stadium would be Nats fans. My section (137) was easily 75% Phils fans giving Willie Harris the business ALL game. Total disgrace.

Posted by: HogsHaven | April 6, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I was also at both Saturday's and Monday's games, and my experience was like darastar's: there was huge difference in the crowds. There was one older couple behind us who were well-behaved, but all the other Phillies fans in our section were loud, obnoxious, drunk twenty-somethings. There is just no excuse for going to another team's ballpark for opening day and booing the home team.

I have always said that the only fault I can find with National Park is that it's waaaay too close to Philadelphia.

Posted by: EinDC | April 6, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Tippy...

Does Kasten have a publicly available e-mail? I'd love to send an open letter of my own and encourage other fans to as well.

Posted by: williamhenline | April 6, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Tippy:

That is a great email. If you do get a response, I hope you will share it.

For those asking, Kasten's email is publicly disclosed and available. He used to talk about how he enjoyed getting emails from fans and encouraged it, and he said he read them all. Wonder if he still does. The address is stan.kasten@nationals.com

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | April 6, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

stan.kasten@nationals.com

Posted by: MACCHAMPS04 | April 6, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

We can hope this is a moment from which the Nationals can learn. Opening Day is different. I'm appalled to learn why I was having so much trouble finding available seats even a minute after tickets went on sale. This is a bit eye-opening. Maybe I should create my own "group" to buy these tickets....

Opening Day is special and it should be marketed to the real fans of the team. I propose that the team should not sell any group tickets for Opening Day until local fans have a chance to purchase individual tickets.

Posted by: fischy | April 6, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

"There is just no excuse for going to another team's ballpark for opening day and booing the home team." -- EinDC

Really? I don't know, it's damn funny.

Posted by: JerkStore1 | April 6, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Stan Kasten is a bleeping idiot.

Posted by: dcsportsdude | April 6, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

D.C., being a center of commerce and government, has transplants from all over the world. It's natural to have a lot of fans for all other teams at our games.

Posted by: DKSW | April 6, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I sat in Section 204, which is about 16 or so rows deep. The first 10 or 11 rows were basically solid Philly fans. My row and the ones behind it were mostly Nats fans. The visiting fans dominated in terms of noise, view. The Nats fans were very quiet and became even more so as the game went on. For the season ticket holders in the group whose normal seats were now occupied by the Philly fans, it was hard to take it on top of the last few years of declining wins and sinking customer service.

Posted by: prq98 | April 6, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Philadelphia travel companies bought blocks of tickets and bought down large groups of fans. You know you have to do that if you're from out of town. Who would have thought the only way to get into opening day in your home town is organize a group? (Or buy season tickets.) This would not have happened if opening day tickets had been put on sale earlier rather than held back in the vain hope that season ticket sales would occur.

The team's lousy, Kasten is an arrogant imbecile. It's really that simple.

Posted by: markfromark | April 6, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday's experience was demoralizing; not only for fans but think about the players and what they had to suffer on opening day in their home park. Does this type of an experience contribute to whether a player wants to play in a certain town or not? What a day it would have been had Strasberg been opening and had been exposed to the boos and the cat-calls our other players had to experience yesterday. Sure, the players are professionals but even as a professional you'd like to think there might be some comfort and security in your own ballpark. Marketing has never been the front office's high card. An apology to the fans (and players) won't cut it. A change in direction is what is absolutely necessary!

Posted by: Pepperplay | April 6, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

When and if I get a response I'll let everyone know. For now I plan to send that letter to all of the media outlets in town. Someone eventaully will pick up on it and then the fire works will start.

However in the mean time if you had the taken the day off, went to the Park and been subjected to all of that mayhem, please let Mr. StanK now about it. Even the tone deaf every once in a while turn up the hearing aid. "Ted what are they shouting"? "Ahhhh I don't know Bud I don't hear anything"

Posted by: TippyCanoe | April 6, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

You know, just as a note to any Phillies fans who were at the game. Personally, I'm not pissed at you for buying tickets when you were permitted to. I'm also not pissed at you if you came to the game to cheer your team and boo ours during the game. We stank, Haladay was brilliant, our team was overmatched and outplayed. As far as I'm concerned, you (and all the local Phillies fans, who seem to actually have some basic decency...I chalk it up to leaving Philly. ;) ) are welcome in the rather ill-kept streets of Natstown anytime you want to come on in and watch some baseball. I even enjoy watching the Phillies...though I'll admit to liking it more when we're not so totally outclassed. ;)

But if you were a drunk, knuckle-dragging asshat who couldn't even keep your fat trap shut during the team introductions, or the awarding of Zimmerman's Gold Glove and Silver Slugger, if you couldn't extend basic human respect to the town you were visiting and the fans who's house you were in, then you can DIAF. That kind of crap may be standard operating procedure up in Filthadelphia, but we roll a little different down here. Your team is better than that, and they deserve better fans than the tanked up cavemen that took over swathes of Nationals Park yesterday.

The Nationals may stink on the field, but I will at least console myself with the fact that our fan base has some manners and decency. And I'll admit that this may be all the consolation I have for a while.

It's gonna be a rough season.

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | April 6, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Stan - You should have to sit in section 105 where you are out numbered 80-20 without any security among a bunch of drunk Philly fans before you get your next pay check. Your denial of a serious problem should be cause for your dismissal. But... you can be thankful that your owners don't care.

Signed,
Five and not a six year season ticket owner.

Posted by: navboss | April 6, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I think all Nats fans should pick outside the stadium during home games. Maybe carry some "Can Stan" signs.

Boycott the team until Kasten is fired.

Posted by: DesertNat | April 6, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Steinberg, you wrote, "Now that actually increases Kasten's popularity in my household. Subtle digs at certain regional rivals are always welcome. And see above, for the veracity of his remark."

What planet do you live on. StanK is a lizard (I'd like to say worse but won't curse) and if his subtle dig at Phily increased your opinion of him that you are clueless.


Posted by: alm1000 | April 6, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Steinberg, you wrote, "Now that actually increases Kasten's popularity in my household. Subtle digs at certain regional rivals are always welcome. And see above, for the veracity of his remark."

What planet do you live on. StanK is a lizard (I'd like to say worse but won't curse) and if his subtle dig at Phily increased your opinion of him than you are clueless.


Posted by: alm1000 | April 6, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

new chant for Nats Park:

SELL THE TEAM!

Posted by: tgt111 | April 6, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

11-1

Posted by: theprez98 | April 7, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

At least in Philly they have enough courtesy not to celebrate April as Confederate History Month, and they don't name highways after Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. Just sayin'.

Posted by: dclaw99 | April 7, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I am a Phillies fan, and I was at the game. I was in Sect. 230 - which I think would be best defined as the cheap seats - and I witnessed very little of what folks like TippyCanoe are saying. Were there Phillies fans who acted badly? Yes, but there were at least 20,000 of us there, and this was a small minority. Most of us were there to cheer our team. A little booing of the hometown 9? Maybe, but we cheered when Ryan Zimmerman got his awards. He's a great player and deserves it. he was hardly booed by the majority of folks in attendance.

I had season tickets when the Phillies weren't all that good, and I am generally annoyed by the more recent additions to our fanbase who don't represent the team or city well. But they hardly speak for many of us, let alone all of us.

Posted by: pringleschief | April 7, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

it wasn't so long ago that phillies were still in a playoff drought and mets fans would overrun citizens bank park by the bus loads. as rude and obnoxious as they were, i've always felt it was our (phillies fans) own duty to buy these tickets to keep mets fans from coming down.

i've been to a game at nationals park. cheap tickets. a really nice park. and if we (philly) had as good of public transportation as you (dc) do, i'd go to every game regardless of the win loss column.

and from speaking from baseball misery (10,000+ losses and 2 world championships in 125 years), you dc fans have no excuses for not supporting this team.

Posted by: jayfril | April 7, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

To ALL NATIONALS FANS and DC residents!!! I would like to offer a sincere apology for the acts of ignorance and/ or abuse any of you endured. I'm a die hard Philadelphia 4 sport fan and brought my 10 year old daughter down to Nationals Park and was completely embarrassed by what I saw!! We were in line to get in the centerfield gates and couldn't believe the behavior, vulgarity, and language we heard coming from our own. I told my wife years ago that I would never take either of my children to an Eagles game because I knew what to expect. I honestly thought I was at a football game at the Linc!!! I, too, am a Phillies season ticket holder, and have never seen what I saw down in Washington on Monday. These are not the Phillies fans that go and support the team year in and out....these were a bunch of amateur, irresponsible, unemployed drunks that had nothing better to do than to wreak havoc on your beautiful city!! I'm ashamed to read what has been written, and I feel as though I have a huge black eye that will never go away. So Sorry!!

Posted by: jpkealey | April 8, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

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