"Don't Pull A Snyder!"

Gillum Ferguson

As many of us know, opening night at Nationals Park was not the only major sporting event going on at the time: 10th seeded Davidson was taking on 1st seeded Kansas in the Elite 8. Anyone who did not know that the game was taking place certainly figured it out if they walked about five yards, since it was being shown on every TV in the stadium (and let me tell you, there are PLENTY). Roars would go up every time Davidson would score, bringing them closer and closer to pulling off a George Mason-like run to the Final Four; moans would arise every time a Kansas player hit a free throw, digging the knife deeper into the hearts of the Davidson fans.

But while everyone was anxiously enjoying the game in its final seconds, the other fans and I watching it on a TV in the concourse behind section 204 were denied that privilege. At approximately 7:10 p.m., with 36 seconds left in the game, two event staff came up to the TV and declared in loud voices, "Y'all are blocking the walkway! Move along, move along!"

At first we didn't know what was going on and just stood there not really listening and continued to watch the game. The event staff retaliated by pulling the plug on the TV and demanding that we clear the walkway.

You can imagine how the crowd reacted: "What the *&*#?", and "Oh come on!" But one yell caught my ear: "Don't pull a Snyder" (referring to the beloved owner of the Washington Redskins).

I agree. We weren't stopping the flow of foot traffic, we weren't causing a ruckus, we just wanted to watch an exciting game before the real one started at 8:05. If we wanted to be bossed and bullied around for doing nothing wrong, we would go to FedEx Field where Snyder is king.

Anyway I just thought I'd say that if you want to watch TV on one of the many many sets at Nationals Park, you will probably be declared to be "blocking the walkway" and forced to move on. Apparently the Nationals would rather the TVs not be watched and just sit there to look nice, like they are at FedEx.

By Gillum Ferguson  |  April 3, 2008; 7:21 AM ET  | Category:  Gillum Ferguson
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Uh oh. A couple of days ago , I beefed about game-watchers who genuinely were blocking a concourse aisle. I didn't realize that at some places, the Nats actually shut the TVs down.

My complaint had been the concerted actions of some people watching one TV who blocked a family on purpose, and some other oblivious people. Watchers who left room for folks to get by should never have gotten hassled, and the TVs should have been left on. Like you, I think that the Nats *owed* it to the fans to keep the games on -- we were stuck inside the Park for HOURS, and there were important games going on [at a minimum, the Nats should have wanted to keep people satisfied and occupied].

Of course, when you say "Snyder," it brings to mind the obvious -- for Snyder, everyone watching TV should have instead been BUYING something. If that's the problem, then I think the obvious solution for the Nats to keep everybody happy is to have some crafty vendors make sure they serve the folks gathered in front of a TV -- it seems to me a win-win situation. And fans will always clear a way for a beer or hot dog vendor.

Posted by: Scott Watson | April 3, 2008 8:27 AM

What a putz! First, you claim that there are TV's all over the place where you could watch the game, but then claim that you were denied the privilege because ushers made you move because you were blocking the concourse! You may have thought you weren't holding up foot traffic, but the ushers thought otherwise. Since you've already contradicted yourself in this piece, I'm inclined to believe the ushers.

Claiming this was some sort of conspiracy to get you to spend money was just a cheap shot.

Posted by: John | April 3, 2008 9:32 AM

Actually, it was the NCAA who teamed up with the NFL to find out that fans were gathering in large groups to watch the games and bringing the ratings down. Don't you people know that you're supposed to be putting three people on every TV AND THAT'S IT. No more, because then it hurts the ratings and possible revenue. That's why it wasn't on the big board. Too big of a screen.

Posted by: Heidi Snyder | April 3, 2008 9:56 AM

This was very poorly written! How did you get this job!!??

Posted by: Coach Grieco | April 13, 2008 4:51 PM

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