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The Phillies fans celebrate

(Photo by Cheryl Nichols - Nats News Network)

If the Eagles beat the Redskins and McNabb on Sunday in front of a gloating home crowd, it will likely mark a new low in Philadelphia-Washington bi-lateral athletic relationships. Already this week, there was one of those events where the Phillies get to clinch a division title in front of their own fans in Nationals Park while Philly columnists salute the invaders' confidence.

The Phillies fans, who provided the night's only noise, lingered long after the game, before marching out en masse, chanting "Let's go, Phillies!"

Those supporters displayed the kind of understandable swagger a new generation of Philadelphians possess. A few thousand of them drove or took the train here. They seemed certain that the Phillies' celebration, delayed this weekend, would take place in this riverside stadium, just south of the glowing Capitol dome.

They roamed Nationals Park's corridors in their uniform tops and red caps, swaggering proudly, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the young Nationals and their near-empty stadium recalled what baseball had once been in Philadelphia.

Nats players, as you've likely heard, said it was "kind of embarrassing" to see that spectacle, which led Nats Insider Mark Zuckerman to spew rage at his laptop.

You can talk about how obnoxious Philly fans are. You can talk about the manner in which the Nationals' front office helped encourage nights like this by all but busing in thousands of out-of-towners every time they play here. You can even talk about local baseball fans not caring enough to show up in an attempt to drown out the invaders. But those are all peripheral factors to the real issue. You want to draw your own fans and keep visitors out? Start winning.

The most sane assessment of the night I've read came at Nats Enquirer, of all places.

Monday night was awful. But we don't begrudge Phillies fans for invading Nationals Park again. And we don't begrudge Nationals fans for staying away. It may have been awful for Nationals fans and players, and embarrassing; but the chants and the taunting and the celebrating are all fair game. Monday night was a completely different animal than the embarrassment of Opening Day 2010, when the Nationals basically rolled out the red carpet for Phillies fans. We just hope the Phillies fans enjoy the free Nationals team photo. And we hope that the Lerners were watching.

Well, they were.

"I've just [soaked] in the footage in the back of my mind," Mark Lerner told reporters on Tuesday. "We'll have our own champagne one day."

And hey, if the Nats finish 3-2, they'll have won 70 games.

(Actual photos by Jonathan Ernst - Reuters and Mitchell Layton - Getty.)

By Dan Steinberg  | September 28, 2010; 3:22 PM ET
Categories:  Nats  
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Win 90 games? Not this season.

Posted by: bouncinggorilla | September 28, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I have a season ticket plan and I don't go to Phillies games because they're not fun. I have friends that are Phillies fans that want to go to Nats/Phils games. I have no interest in going to a "home game" just feel like an outsider.

Going to a Nats/Phils game is like going to an execution. Why go to a game you know you're going to lose? I wouldn't go for free. They pick up pitchers like Halladay, Oswalt and Lee. We pick up 2 wins from Jason Marquis.

Lerner has no clue. I hope he gets hit in the face again shagging flies.

Posted by: GeorgeTowner2 | September 28, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I enjoyed reading all the blogs and twitter posts about how special the Sillies fans are for coming in and taking over Nats stadium. They are just a bunch of fair weather fans like everyone else. On top of the division they'll bus down to Nats park. But please don't forget how empty the Vet was during all their terrible years. In a short time your new stadium will look the same and it will be impossible to spot a Sillies fans in DC.

Posted by: arlingtonJAM | September 28, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I hope they've all staggered home to Philly to leave us in peace.

Every time someone asks me what Nats Park is like, I say, "There's only one thing wrong with it: it's way too close to Philadelphia."

Posted by: EinDC | September 28, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Love seeing Natinal fans (all 25 of them) getting their comeuppance after years of trying to bash the Orioles for the Yankees and Sox invading.

Those days are coming to the end but it seems like Natinal Park becoming Citizens Bank Park-South are just beginning.


Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 28, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

As least the Nationals can blame it on a losing season. What's going to be Philly's excuse when Yankee fans take over Game 1 & 2 of the World Series?

Posted by: Scoonie97 | September 28, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Poopy - Angelos better hope that the days of Yankees and Red Sox fans taking over Camden Yards is not coming to an end. Those are his best paydays...........

Posted by: poguesmahone | September 28, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

You want to fix this? Give away free tickets to anyone in DC / MD / VA that bought tickets this season. Give anyone with a military ID up to 4 free tickets. Do like Ted Leonsis did to Pittsburgh a few years ago and not sell tickets to anyone in a Philadelphia zip code.

It's easy enough to fix, it all comes down to how badly the Natinals want to fix it. And I will never, ever forgive StanK for rolling out the red carpet, even if he was trying to create some kind of rivalry or something.

Posted by: kingrob76 | September 29, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Love seeing Natinal fans (all 25 of them) getting their comeuppance after years of trying to bash the Orioles for the Yankees and Sox invading.

Those days are coming to the end but it seems like Natinal Park becoming Citizens Bank Park-South are just beginning.


Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 28, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

and yet the nats still outdraw the o's despite many more games in o's park v boston and new york than phillies games in dc.

as for years of bashing the o's. the team has been in town for 5 seasons...not exactly a ton of history there.

both teams suck. both teams wont draw until they dont suck anymore. the difference is that the o's have a not so long ago history of being good and winning world series. the nats have no history and have sucked since they got here.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | September 29, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone watched a Phillies gane besides the one last night? I am going to say no! If you had you would have seen that we follow our team into every city they have played in...why? because they are AMAZING and we love and support our teams! The "Sillies" fans are not silly at all. We have the best record in September in baseball. And don't worry, the Yankees fans will not be taking over our stadium during games 1 & 2 of the World Series...Don't be jealous people! There is a reason why every home game has sold out this season! OUR PHILLIES R PHANTASTIC!!!!! Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Naaaaaaaaaah!

Posted by: phillies_phan | September 29, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

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