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Tourism official invites you to invade Philly back

Most PR pitches I receive are immediately deleted, along with all those NASCAR e-mails I still get after covering four races in the summer of 2005. But if you send me a message with the subject line "Invade Philly Back?" Well, I'm going to read it, anyhow.

As you might recall, the Phillies' last trip to Nats Park included a large, organized group of Phillies supporters from a fan site, along with thousands more who came as individuals. I posted a brief item about all this, focusing on the huge number of Phillies fans who showed up in MASN's standard home plate shot. I also referred to this as a fan invasion, which gave readers license to post thoughtful discourses on the nature of inter-East Coast metropolitan migration, like this:

Who wouldn't want to get out of Sillydelphia for a nice weekend in the Nations Capital. We like there money $$$$$

And also this

There's a good reason the place is called Philthydelphia. It's Home of the Unwashed (M)Asses. What more can you say for a city whose culinary claim to fame is that mega hunk o'junk, the cheesesteak?

Now, a timid PR professional might have steered clear of such enmity, but Cara Schneider-- media relations director for the Great Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation -- is not timid.

"Would you like to join us and a small group of Philly media (not sports writers) in a suite on Friday?" she asked me, referring to this weekend's Nats-Phillies series. "If you make the trip, I'd be happy to arrange a city tour (mainstream or offbeat) earlier in the day."

See, this is Kastenomics in reverse. You can't be scared of your presumed rivals; you have to reach out and embrace them, changing the tone, slowly winning over hearts and minds.

As it turns out, I don't need to be converted -- my sister lives in Philadelphia, we visit there every December, and my family even belongs to the wonderful Philly kids museum. But I was a bit curious how a media relations director for a Philly tourism group would deal with all the hate.

Because let's be honest, we're all just waiting for a gross fan story to implicate Philadelphia, even when the same story coming out of Topeka would be mostly ignored. Just like Rob Dibble draws national attention for possibly offensive comments about female Nats fans, while Jim Riggleman makes a joke about indecisive women that's totally ignored. Anyhow, take it away, Cara.

"Travel writers are our bread and butter, but sports writers pass through here all time, and sports images affect the city's reputation more than anything," she told me. "There are things that have made me cringe through the years that have happened here, but there's such a knee-jerk reaction in the press. This is the story line in Philadelphia, and similar things might happen in other cities that never become the main story."

How, then, to describe the typical Philly sports fan?

"The word passionate is overused; if it weren't, I would use it," she said. "So I'll say fiercely loyal, they know the game - nobody disputes that, they're very well educated - and most of them are not as noisy as the one guy doing the stupid things that make the headlines. And yes, I hate it when someone in a stadium in Philadelphia does something deplorable. What I can't bear, though, is that defining a whole city."

I, of course, have Redskins duty this weekend, but Cara would like to invite you to visit her city. Washington is their third-largest feeder market, and there's even a "station domination" marketing campaign campaign in Union Station right now, with 76 different ads urging Washingtonians to head north. Go for the baseball; stay for the museums and the parks and the culture and whatever else tourist offices promote.

"Reverse invade," she said. "Absolutely. Invade back."

By Dan Steinberg  |  August 17, 2010; 4:54 PM ET
Categories:  Nats  
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Next: Jim Zorn talks about his return to Washington


Pass, Cara. Thanks for the invite though.

Posted by: bottomfeeders10 | August 17, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

theres a reason they come here...that place is a sh*thole

Posted by: theredskin | August 17, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I'll pass on Philly, too. But why do you have Redskins duty, Steinz? Is that beat so poorly covered that your newspaper must pass up a story idea about a local team making a regular season visit to an arch-rival?

I mean, how many people will be covering the Redskins compared with how many people traveling to Philly with the Nationals? Why isn't it equal or, considering that it is still the NFL preseason, why doesn't The Post send more reporters to cover a team that is actually playing its regular season?

Posted by: greggwiggins | August 17, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Philly is one of the most disgusting cities ever. I feel bad for the people that live there. Im so glad i am from the DMV.

Posted by: MrWillie | August 17, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

As a person from dc who now lives in philly, it's not that bad. Just like every city you just have to know where to avoid.

And having been to a load of cities in the states and abroad, DC too has work to do...

Posted by: sire1 | August 17, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

"And having been to a load of cities in the states and abroad, DC too has work to do..."
Posted by: sire1 | August 17, 2010 7:08 PM

but DC is just a small portion of the DC-MSA.

Posted by: Hattrik | August 17, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

hate to admit that i'm watching shaq vs, but desean jackson is on the show sporting a washington nationals hat... hilarious.

Posted by: mini_dagger | August 17, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

I don't disagree that covering a team that is actually playing would be good, gregw, but evidently the Post's m.o. for information-gathering on at least some news stories these days is to post solicitations on social media sites. (As noted in the recent ombudsman's column about coverage of the recent Metro brawl.)

In this case, I'm visualizing something like the missed connections service in one of the local rags (can't remember which). You: drunken, obnoxious Phillies fan at Nats Park opening day 2010. Me: DC sports bogger in search of story. :-D


Why isn't it equal or, considering that it is still the NFL preseason, why doesn't The Post send more reporters to cover a team that is actually playing its regular season?

Posted by: greggwiggins | August 17, 2010 6:15 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 18, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Can we all just agree the ad campaign is horrible. Not quite "VA is for Lovers" bad, but pretty close.

Posted by: M__N | August 18, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Philly the only city on the east coast that makes b-more look nice

Posted by: jonthefisherman | August 18, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

As suspected, Dan's column has fallen on deaf ears. All these comments from Washingtonians seem to use it as a chance to bash Philly....without realizing Dan like everyone else with an interest with the Nationals will not be making the trip up. The reason Phillies fans take over your stadium is because no one buys tickets. The weekend series in Philly has probably been sold out for months already so Nats fans couldn't go if they wanted. You need to start supporting your own city before you can bash on others.

Posted by: bmichael2 | August 18, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Last time I looked, Phillies were selling out about every game. Once we get to the games, should we just hang out in the parking lots?

Posted by: rh951 | August 18, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Dan, I love your insights and the work you do. I gotta be honest though, don't make posts like this. Your commenters are just going to spew vitriol because they are upset that they can't sell tickets to a Nationals game that Strasburg doesn't pitch. God forbid that Philadelphia fans show up to support our team. It's not to get out of out city (Which isn't a dump, Washington has plenty of bad areas, you don't sound very smart people), it's to watch our baseball team play. It's hard to do that at home.

Posted by: PhillyFan20 | August 20, 2010 1:11 AM | Report abuse

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