Rally Towels or Dish Towels?

Greg Young

It's the first week of the regular season, and yet it seems like the Nationals promotions are either confused or blatantly misleading.

Lets take the "rally towels" that were handed out as fans entered the stadium opening night. When I was first handed one as I walked in through the center field entrance about an hour before the game, my father and I were confused: Were we supposed to wave the towels ... or were they dish towels?

Surely, my dad eventually reasoned, the towels had to be for dishes. They were grainy and uncomfortable, and fairly small, not an optimal waving towel (like the Pittsburgh Steelers' Terrible Towel.)

In fact, apparently most fans came to the same conclusion. The towels were not being waved by anyone near my section; rather, they were shoved in pockets to avoid being seen.

But after a quick glance at the Nationals promotion website, they indeed are intended to be waved, and advertised as rally towels. So let's compare the rally towel with the established Terrible Towel and see how it comes out:



Notice the key differences. First off, the Terrible Towel is longer, making it much easier to wave. Secondly, it's smooth, making it easier and more comfortable to hold. And finally, the towel is an established presence in Pittsburgh; fans have been waving them for more than 30 years.

The Nationals towel is grainy and uncomfortable. It's also shaped more like a dish towel, which doesn't optimize the waiving ability. And finally, the tradition is not established at all. Shouldn't the Nationals try to establish their own tradition, rather then merely stealing one from Pittsburgh?

So, come on Nationals promotion staff, you can do better then passing out red dish towels with Nationals lettering on it.

By Greg Young  |  April 2, 2008; 4:06 PM ET  | Category:  Greg Young
Previous: A Great First Game | Next: "Don't Pull A Snyder!"


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Maybe it's an eBay towel?

Posted by: derek | April 2, 2008 4:18 PM

I don't know how you dry your dishes, but my dish towels are larger and softer than the rally towel given out Sunday night. And while the Terrible Towel is the orginal, the concept is not lost on other sports teams. I was given a rally towel when I attended a late season rally inducing game at Citizens Bank Park, though I quickly gave it away.

Besides, do we really expect quality give-aways? Why complain about a towel? Toss it!

Posted by: Hillgal | April 2, 2008 5:03 PM

Rally towels are given out at all major league sporting events in all cities. I don't think the Nats are stealing a secret Pittsburgh tradition...

Posted by: CJ | April 2, 2008 5:04 PM

I hate to sound like an old fart, but back in the good old days ('65-'69) at Shea Stadium, we waved white hankies. Anyone actually carry hankies anymore?

Posted by: Ed Ramras | April 2, 2008 5:22 PM

I don't think they're trying to aim to be like Pittsburgh. They're just a nice promotion to commemorate the opening of Nationals Park. However, if you do have people actually waving towels in unison (my college had a similar promotion before its first home game a few years back), the effect is incredible. Regardless, it's funny to see that such a momento is going to be used to wipe grease and other junk off of dishes.

Posted by: Jason | April 2, 2008 6:01 PM

Come on, do you really expect baseball people to be on the forefront of ideas. This is coming from the team that stole "Sweet Caroline" from Boston, "Everybody Clap Your Hands" from a hockey team and the New York Mets, the big racing heads from Milwaukee, now they're pulling the towels from the Steelers.

I've only met two people in my life that work in baseball that are actually baseball people. The rest are using it to kill time between their fantasy football and basketball seasons. Seriously, ask some of the people working for the Nationals about this year's team, then ask them who they think will win the NBA. You'll have a longer conversation over the NBA. People that work in baseball, seem to not actually like baseball.

Posted by: Baseball Person | April 3, 2008 10:00 AM

My thought on rally towels is that there should have been more white in them. When the Phillies fans use theirs, they're all white and show up on TV great. These are too dark....and the scoreboard never reminded us to wave them - like during the 9th before Zim hit his homer. A 'Rally Towel' graphic to get us all up and swirling would have been cool.

I say next time: white towels with red lettering...

Posted by: DanD187 | April 3, 2008 2:37 PM

You'll probably think I'm crazy, but I tried to trade my giveaway ticket holder pendant for another rally towel. But the trade was refused. I support the auction fundraiser that Bethesda Big Train Baseball holds each year and collect Team giveaways for the silent auction. You'd be surprised how much money people will pay for stuff like this. The baseball team puts the money to good use refurbishing local baseball fields in the city and county.

Posted by: Richard 320 | April 4, 2008 12:33 PM

The towel you are comparing was a $.75 give away, versus a $5.00 purchased item.
Typical Liberal American ----You get something for FREE and you still complain....

Posted by: Jeff | April 9, 2008 2:15 PM

Sigh...I see you're going to keep your blog in the same tradition that the A-Blast does...nothing positive! All the news that fit to gripe and moan about.

How about looking for something good? The park is beautiful, the trains were effective, the team played well, your mom can tell you to do the dishes and you won't have any excuses.

Quite 'yer moaning!

Posted by: Annandale Atom | April 10, 2008 4:27 PM

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