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The fans and Strasburg's scratched start

(Via @DCUniverse.)

There were multiple reports of unhappy fans at Tuesday night's non-start by Stephen Strasburg, especially before the sold-out crowd understood why they were getting Miss Iowa instead of Miss Universe. People e-mailed me tales of (at least a few) fans leaving early, and at least one fan requesting a refund. Someone who was there e-mailed me his opinion that the Nats should offer a 10 percent future discount for Tuesday night ticket-stub holders. And the team ultimately put up the above note on the big screen, which was greeted with scattered boos and which read like so:

Stephen Strasburg was pulled from tonight's start just minutes before 1st pitch. This was a precautionary move due to Stephen having difficulty getting loose. His status is day to day.

And look, the Nats seemed to market this scheduled Strasburg start more aggressively than his previous ones. I saw ads on MASN, ads running down the side of stories, e-mailed ads and those annoying giant full-screen Web ads, all touting July 27 as the day. But every mention took special care to say "scheduled starter," or "matchups may change," or "lineups are probable," or something along those lines. Even when Stan Kasten jokingly promoted Strasburg's upcoming starts on ESPN 980 last week, he added a caveat about how this was only the scheduled date.

So even though the Nats sent out a Monday e-mail with the subject line "Strasburg on the hill tomorrow - T-Shirt Tuesday 7:05 p.m.," I say you take your chances, and you don't waste any energy blaming the Nats. It's not like you're the only one affected; Clinton Portis and Andray Blatche both chose Tuesday as their chance to see Strasburg for the first time, and they wound up with Miss Iowa, too. (By the way: please, someone, send me a photo of Portis at the Nats game.)

Plus, by the end, people were happy they had stayed. Check out the fan reaction to the Nats finishing off their 3-0 win. That's certainly not something that usually happens after a game where Miguel Batista pitches five innings..

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 28, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Nats  
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Next: Jim Bunning mocks Stephen Strasburg


Great quote Miguel..hahah

Posted by: rachel216 | July 28, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I get what Batista was saying but Miss Iowa is going to be attractive too. Last night, he was Miss Universe but I'm holding my breath for future appearances.

Most people stayed until the end of the game. The stadium was still was full (and cheering) when Capps got the final strike out and the escalators and ramps were packed. Anyone complaining that they deserve a refund or discount is being stupid. You still got to see a baseball game (and a pretty good one!), which is the whole point.

Posted by: LurkerNowPoster | July 28, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I was at last night's game and was impressed how our bullpen stepped up. I was more disappointed that I didn't get a t-shirt since I arrived more than an hour early. What time do you have to get there to be the first 10,000?

Posted by: capsnnats | July 28, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

*Not* holding my breath. (Proofread! Proofread before sending!)

Posted by: LurkerNowPoster | July 28, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I understand that the Nats are marketing these Strasburg starts to try to up attendance and everything, but it still bums me out that people come out to games only to see him. I was at Strasburg's first start, and as soon as he was pulled, it was like a mass exodus from Nats Park. I dunno, you're already at the game and there's only 2 1/2 innings left where the home team as winning, why don't you hang around a little longer to cheer them on in the win.

And as far as that guy demanding a refund at the ticket counter, he should just grab a beer, watch some baseball and shut the hell up.

Posted by: RoachVA141 | July 28, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

There were no wrecking of the stands, fights, etc because this was a baseball game with baseball fans coming to see a sporting event in a park. Not a situation where the "fans" get there three hrs before game-time and throw down bloody Mary's, beer, and tailgate party, then go thru the stands looking for a shirt from the opposing team and try to pick a fight. My greatest concern is when we start winning, those fans from the team with the most racially despicable name in sports will come in and bring those habits. It's baseball, let's keep it mellow.

Posted by: olliehutchjr | July 28, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Anybody demanding any kind of refund or discount to future games should be banned for life.

Posted by: CapsNut | July 28, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

As much as I wanted to see Strasburg pitch, my next Nats game will DEFINITELY be a date when someone else is on the mound if only so that I don't have to wait 35 minutes in a concession stand line to find out that they are out of...well, EVERYTHING! I started my journey around the top of the 5th behind the scoreboard near section 242 but the lines were insane, so we went down a level where we found the same story.

If my friend and I did not have $20 each loaded on our tickets we would have given up, but I already paid for the food. No premium beer (how do you run out of beer in the 5th inning?) and when we got near the front of the line around the top of the 8th we were told that there would be a 20 minute wait for hot dogs. Assuming that they were actually making them I can only assume that they had a bunch leftover when the game ended since most people just left.

While I do not go for the food, I don't think that it is unreasonable to expect to be able to make it back to your seats in 15 minutes which is what I experience during a 'normal' game.

Posted by: TheOneWhoHurtsMost | July 28, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

The nats should trade strasburg away for the Yankee's backup catcher. The nats fans don't deserve him. Especially the bandwagon entitlement fans who only go to the strasburg games for their yuppy "i saw strasburg pitch" merit badge.

Posted by: rev_ollie | July 28, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

This is pretty silly, all the way around.

Those asking for refunds/discounts are being ridiculous. The Nats advertising came with a disclaimer that you shouldn't have needed in the first place if you actually know anything about baseball.

Those complaining about the booing are being ridiculous too. First of all, because it wasn't that widespread (I was there, I didn't boo, I didn't hear anyone in my section boo) and second of all, because it was a pretty WTF moment. Last minute scratches like this aren't that common, and even 15 mins before first pitch, the stadium cameras had shown Strasburg warming up, the announcers were discussing him, and ... here's Batista, no announcement as to why, or even an acknowledgement that anything changed.

Posted by: HHover | July 28, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

rev_ollie: So those of us who've been following every game since the inaugural year deserve to be stuck with Ross Detwiler just because a few bad apples are disrespectful?

Posted by: 202character | July 28, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Kasten should take a note from Leonsis and listen to the fans. Nats Park sucks. The food sucks and when Strasburg pitches they run out. The sight lines suck. Paying $8/beer to watch JD Martin start a game sucks. Going to games at RFK was better.

I hope Mark Lerner gets hit in the face with another baseball while shagging flies in BP.

Posted by: GeorgeTowner2 | July 28, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

"Stephen Strasburg was pulled from tonight's start just minutes before 1st pitch. This was a precautionary move due to Stephen having difficulty getting loose. His status is day to day."

Next time I e-mail my boss to say I won't be in that day (it's so much easier now than back in the day when you had to call and try to sound sick) I plan to use this text, replacing Strasburg's name with my own.

Posted by: FeelWood | July 28, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

The "fans" of this team are a joke.

Posted by: bird3000us | July 28, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

They booed because they have no clue! There are no real Baseball fans here, if there were they would have shown concern not boo the Kid. Strass go to a real baseball team.

Posted by: humbertomisteroni | July 28, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

"yuppie 'I saw strasburg pitch' merit badge"

SO TRUE! I'm a season ticket holder and I've been giving away my Stras-mas tickets because I can't stand to be crowded with all the poseurs. HA-HA on them about last night - they actually had to watch the rest of the Nats for once. Very typical that they're complaining.

Posted by: hohandy | July 28, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

They're called "probable" starters for a reason. Anyone who actually requested a refund should just never bother to come back.

Posted by: tha_prophet | July 28, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I heard an interesting chant get started in the seats on the first base side in the ninth inning of this game: "M-A-T-T, Capps! Capps! Capps!" Think Ted Leonsis should complain? Or maybe be'd be happy with what that says about how his hockey team has become an integral part of DC sports.

Posted by: greggwiggins | July 28, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I've heard "Let's Go Capps!" before.

Georgetowner, as someone who went to ~90 games at RFK, Nats Park is much, much better, especially when you talk about sight lines.

Posted by: 202character | July 28, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I was afraid when Stras came up that my team would be overrun by newbie "fans" and this game showed why. Sure, I wanted to see him pitch but I go to see the NATIONALS 30 games a year, not one guy. The last-minute crew pitched a shutout, for crying out loud. *That's* great sports.

On the tangential topic, Nats park is way better than RFK, but when there are more than 20k fans in the park, the food lines are outrageous. And there wasn't a single beer guy in my section for innings 4-7. I'm sure the Lerners want me to buy said overpriced food & drink, so they might put some effort into making it easier for me.

Posted by: katekirk | July 28, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I gotta say though - I liked those RFK ticket prices.

Posted by: 202character | July 28, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

to 202character: Have you ever sat near the aisle in the lower deck? Can't see a thing. All you see is people walking to and from their seats the entire game. The slope of the bowl is awful. I had my season tickets moved to the club level so I could actually watch the games. We're paying higher prices for an RFK caliber product now.

At least you're allowed to bring in food from the outside. I bring in Potbelly or Italian Store subs every time I go.

Posted by: GeorgeTowner2 | July 28, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

It's kind of embarrassing when your team gets booed before the game even starts b/c one guy isn't starting. That being said - I know there's a ton of great fans in the area that love baseball and the nationals. There will always be a band wagon for big events around here - it's just how it is. And those who say we don't deserve him? Get a life losers.

Posted by: BrownBagIt | July 28, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

The sight lines suck.

Posted by: GeorgeTowner2 | July 28, 2010 10:32 AM

Then you must be frickin blind

Posted by: Kev29 | July 28, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

If you want a refund your not a fan, injuries are part of sports. As I have troll posted on other blogs. The people I have a real problem with are the ones who left the game and scalped their already used tickets, screwing over real fans.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 28, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

The sight lines suck.

Posted by: GeorgeTowner2 | July 28, 2010 10:32 AM

Then you must be frickin blind

Posted by: Kev29 | July 28, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Now now, he might be a hobbit.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 28, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I gotta say though - I liked those RFK ticket prices.

Posted by: 202character | July 28, 2010 11:31 AM

RFK prices - $7 to $90 (Diamond Boxes)

Nats Park prices - $5 to $325 (Presidents Club)

Both with plenty of options under $25

Posted by: Kev29 | July 28, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

The problem in Nats Park isn't the sightlines, it's the inconsiderate or ignorant spectators who get up and down during play. (I won't call them "fans"; fans know better.) It's a problem in every section, and one that the ushers don't help with. There is an announcement about it in the pre-game, but nobody pays attention to it, and they do not repeat it during the game.

As to the Strasburg watchers: Bob Carpenter once said, "It's like church on Easter Sunday - it's full of people you've never seen before, and will never see again."

Posted by: EinDC | July 28, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Gadzooks! I'm really ticked at anyone who thinks they deserve a refund if the person they expect to play doesn't. What if you went to a hockey game and Ovechkin was scratched? "I want a refund." Or you go to a horse race and a particular horse is scratched. "I want a refund." Boo-hoo. Remember, these players are human beings. GET OVER IT!

Nice to see Batista and the rest of the team step up and make the evening enjoyable.

Now, for the rest of the team: WIN TONIGHT, darn it! I'm a Plan A ticket holder and you've only produced 2 wins for us this season. I'm tired of seeing you lose when I'm there.

Posted by: luv2bikva | July 28, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I'd be willing to pay extra if I went to a game and clueless manager Jim Riggleman got ejected prior to turning in the lineup card.

Posted by: FeelWood | July 28, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone think Strasburg was feeling anything other than great? They used him to sell some tickets and trotted him out there as a thin veil to cover up a scheduled day off. Typical of Nats management.

Posted by: GeorgeTowner2 | July 28, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I agree with HHover. I was at the game, and I think most folks who "booed" were booing because of disappointment and shock. A "WTF" moment indeed. We were not booing AT Batista (way to botch that in the game story, Gene Wang). I'm a season ticket holder, and I mildly booed, as I was VERY disappointed. I was booing that I got Miss Iowa and not Miss Universe, as I'd been expecting. I was at SS's debut, but I still wanted to see him again - as did my wife who has not seen him pitch live and was at her last game of the season (due to impending surgery). People were disappointed, and I think that's fair.

But I'm a a baseball fans, and I think - and most agree - that things aren't guaranteed. I'm not ignorant enough to ask for a refund, but watching SS is a big reason to go to the game, and those of you who think folks shouldn't be disappointed are living in fantasy land. Just 'cause one moron thinks he deserves a refund or a future discount doesn't mean it applies to everyone who was disappointed by not getting to see SS last night.

Posted by: TheBorg | July 28, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I agree w/ capsnnats - How early did you have to get there to get a t-shirt? I was there by 5:50pm, and there weren't even empty t-shirt /BOXES/ in sight, let alone actual t-shirts. I went to 4 entrances, just in case the CF gates were the only ones to run out.

Given the dozen or so folks around the stadium who "waived their t-shirts" for the scoreboard in the 2nd or 3rd inning, I think the Nats gave away closer to 1K t-shirts than 10K. There's a story there, and I think the Bog needs to delve into it!! :-)

Posted by: TheBorg | July 28, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Kev - the $5 and $10 sell out REALLY QUICK. Not as much this year, but the first year in the new stadium, I would show up about half an hour before the first pitch with my friends, and usually we couldn't get anything under $18 or so. We could always rely on those $8 tickets at RFK, and move up with them.

Posted by: 202character | July 28, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, the "fans" here in DC are unaware that "... there's no crying in baseball!"

Posted by: CubsFan | July 28, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Georgetowner 2 must be an Orioles troll. The only thing that struck me as extrodinary was the T-Shirt rant. I am a veteran of many "T-Shirt Tuesdays" and never had any problem. I wonder what was up?

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | July 28, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

When attending a recent game, the usher held fans back during play and released the hounds between batters. He received rants from the 15 people that backed up during a particularly long AB. The funny thing was people just pushed those waiting out of the way as if they had no reason to be in their way when they had to bolt down to their seat to scarf down their recently acquired (during play) food. PS - I complemented the usher and told him I wished all ushers would do what he did. In typical DC fashion he ignored me.

Posted by: smirkman | July 28, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I completely agree with TheBorg....absolutely no way 1 in 4 people at the game got a t-shirt. Obviously, I didn't go to the game to get a t-shirt but don't advertise the first 10k fans when it is clear just walking around the stadium that very few people got them. I highly doubt there were 10k fans in the stadium by 5:50pm on a Tuesday night.

Posted by: dougstcyr | July 28, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I was there and heard very little booing. Even with initial confusion and some disappointment, most of us were happy with a well played (and quick!) Nats win against the Division leader.
Those who walked out or demand refunds or come up with conspiracy theories are idiots. I say "enjoy the game!"

Posted by: tmginnova | July 28, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse


I'm not an Orioles troll. I'm a season ticket holder in sec 212 and I think Nats Park sucks for a new ballpark. I preferred paying $34/game for just about the same view of the game that I used to have at RFK.

Do you remember the nacho bar the first year of Nats Park just behind home plate in the club suite? Fresh shredded cheese, fresh veggies, choose one of four kinds of salsa, choose from chicken, beef or pork. It was the best concession stand in the stadium and they got rid of it after one year to put in more dog meat and call it a Ben's Chili Bowl nacho stand.

Do you remember the Grey Goose bar? Nats park has only become worse since the first year and it wasn't any good to start out with.

Posted by: GeorgeTowner2 | July 28, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how many of those asking for a refund were Red Sox fans who felt the need to parade around in their Red Sox junk in a NATIONAL LEAGUE PARK against a NATIONAL LEAGUE TEAM.

Seriously, if you are one of those fans and you are reading this, we all secretly think you're an idiot. If you are a Sox fan that's fine, just don't wear Sox stuff to a Nats game.

Posted by: enstage | July 28, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Nats advertising, I saw this banner ad this afternoon:

They at least include a "subject to change" in the ad, if you look carefully...

Posted by: jfoust | July 28, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Dan - Curly Washington, the monkey mascot on Facebook, has a nice photo of Clinton Portis at the game.

GeorgeTowner2 obviously has never been to the stadium or is posting just to cause trouble.

A typical Nats game has 12,000 real fans. On Tuesday night there were 40,000 to watch. There were many that paid scalpers prices to get in. Do the math. 28,000 additional people made up of casual fans, some Braves fans, and those there only to see Strasburg and many that shelled out $100's to see the phenom. So, yes a few thousand boo'd. Not the end of the world. Yes, they were disappointed but were treated to a good game and the Nats won 3-0!

Go Nats!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | July 29, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm not from the area and have to say Nationals Park is a great place to watch baseball.

If I bought my Strassberg tickets from a ticket broker and paid $250 per ticket plus a tank of gas, I would have been booing too.

Posted by: PENSguy17 | July 29, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Dan, please find out when Miss Iowa, Katherine Conners is scheduled to throw out the first pitch, sing "The Star Spangeled Banner", yell out "Play Ball!" or whatever else it is that promotions have "celebrities" do at Nationals Park.

Posted by: tidalwave1 | July 29, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

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