Testing the Commitment to the Faithful Fan

Scott Watson

As much as I wanted to see the Nats extend their scoreless-innings streak -- when things get this bad, a dark part of my soul wants to see just how low it can go -- I thought that attending a ceremony at which my daughter received a scholarship was just a bit more important. Now that I missed the game, I'm kicking myself that I missed out on the first real test of the Nationals' commitment to the "faithful fan."

Anyone who watches enough late, late conclusions to painful rain delays knows that there's a magic associated with the ballpark on those nights (or mornings). The sound eerily reminds me of pee-wee and little-league games. But that shouldn't really be a surprise, since once the trappings of MLB are stripped away, that's all the games are: They're just baseball games.

Admittedly, they're games played by hulking men with unbelievable skills. But they're still just games. As I watched television replays of the high school students from D.C. play at Nats Park over the weekend, I was reminded that they're all playing the same simple game, no matter where they're doing it. After a rain delay, a faithful fan has the rare chance to be wholly reminded of it.

As a faithful fan, you're a member of the tiny, intimate crowd of fellow sufferers who have stuck it out through the pain of a long, soggy rain delay. You deserve to be rewarded. Not with a discount coupon to the team store or a free hot dog, but with an acknowledgment that you're one of the idiots blessed by the Gods of Baseball on a given night. You've been stripped of all sense or reason.

And the only way I know for MLB to acknowledge that crazed condition is to give the faithful fan free rein o'er the park. Let him sit in the Emperor's Section behind home plate. Let him sit behind the dugouts. Let the faithful be baseball nuts, since that's clearly what they are.

From the scenes on television, it doesn't seem like the Nats embraced that philosophy. I hope I'm wrong. In the face of obvious difficulties -- if I'd paid $325 for a ticket, you can be damned sure I wanted every Johnny-come-lately escorted out of my sanctum -- I think the mark of a superior organization is the flexibility and imagination to deal with those special situations to make a lasting mark on the faithful fan.

With the awful level of play on the field right now, they need to make every connection to the faithful fan that they can.

By Scott Watson  |  June 9, 2008; 9:55 AM ET  | Category:  Scott Watson
Previous: A 'Long Lunch' at the Ballpark | Next: For a Clearer View, Bring Some Windex


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This is like saying your morale is the responsibility of the company you work for. Jeez Louise.

Your reward is shorter lines at concessions. A shorter wait to get into Metro. Your 'I wanna sit wherever I want' shtick is old Watson.

Posted by: Mr. Entitlement Strikes Again | June 9, 2008 11:33 AM

They blessed me and many others last Tuesday night (Cardinals v. Nats). ...especially after the second rain delay. I'm pretty grateful for that.

...and no, it's not a sense of entitlement. It's just a value-added.

Posted by: Pompous Magnus | June 9, 2008 12:54 PM

Alright, entitlement, you cretinous douchenozzle --

I don't want to sit wherever I want. I don't have a claim to any seat except the one I purchased. I should not stretch my arms into the aisles. I should drink water when it's hot, and I should always look both ways before I cross.

The point of the post is that a lame-on-the-field, relatively-cash-rich [revenue through the roof, despite underwhelming season ticket sales]franchise can operate like your father's Oldsmobile, a Jetta, a Mini-Cooper, a Jag, or a wholly-new marque. Behind the scenes, a Mets computer, disguised as a well-hidden fan base, has infiltrated the WaPodotCom and generated the persona of Grumpy-Sit-Anywhere-Watson in order to lead the Nationals down the primrose path of creating a marque that is fun and spontaneous and fan-friendly.

DAMMIT how did you figure it out?

btw, YOUR morale is not the responsibility of the company you work for. It's yours. But the COMPANY morale is the responsibility of the company. And the morale and vibe around the Nats is the responsibility of the Nats.

Evolution has not yet hit. You are so blind right now.

Posted by: Herr Watson | June 9, 2008 1:39 PM

Wait; I wanna be Watson too. . .

Posted by: Senor Watson | June 9, 2008 1:40 PM

No one will doubt that *this* is the real Watson:

I prefer the spelling "schtick" over the spelling "shtick." Despite the more accurate rendering of the old yiddish word.

Posted by: Sir Watson | June 9, 2008 1:42 PM

I sure didn't read anything "entitled" about this post.

I've always thought it would be a nice *treat* (not entitlement) for the announcers to say "c'mon down, ya'll. Let's all sit together in the lower bowl."

What a fun treat that would be.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 9, 2008 2:08 PM

The Giants used to hand out pins to those that stayed to the end of an extra inning game. They were called the Croix de Candlestick and were given out sometime in the mide 80's. The conditions for a late evening game at the Stick were supposedly cold and windy. The Nats could do something similar...how about a Curly W pin for an extra inning win? Make it happen Stan.

Posted by: Fred | June 9, 2008 3:14 PM

Nice one Fred, I was also going to post about the Croix de Candlestick. The pins contained the motto "Veni, Vidi, Vixi" which means "I came, I saw, I survived" and is a takeoff on Caesar's famous saying. It would be cool for the Nats to do something like that--anything where this team's marketing staff implements a bit of creativity is a good thing in my book.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | June 9, 2008 5:46 PM

I don't care about sitting in the Emperor Section. Just let me move out of the sun or the rain or into better seats when nobody is sitting there.

Posted by: Ed Ramras | June 9, 2008 6:37 PM

If the stadium is practically empty due to the rain delay except for those die-hard fans, why shouldn't someone be able to move to a better seat? Is he talking only during rain delays or for every game. If its only rain delays, I see nothing wrong with moving down to an UNUSED seat.

Posted by: CALSGR8 | June 9, 2008 6:38 PM

Nothing to see here folks. Move on.

Posted by: This is inane | June 9, 2008 7:02 PM

"This is inane"

jesus christ, if that were the criterion for moving on, 90% of the blog posts and 80% of the online newspaper would never get seen.

get real; this is all just playland

Posted by: anonymous | June 10, 2008 7:27 AM

Watson (all the Watsons, actually) has a good point here. In other parks (Fenway, Camden Yards) there's a reasonable tolerance for fans moving to unoccupied seats. As a general (and unwritten) rule, certain prime seats like those behind home plate or near the dugouts are always off limits without a ticket, but I've never had a problem moving to other sections of the park in the late innings. I'm sure if you *asked* other clubs, they would say that their rule is "no switching seats ever," but the ushers in those parks have found a common sense way to enforce this that makes everyone happy. A little common sense from the ushers at Nats Park would go a long way here.

Posted by: mister s. | June 10, 2008 11:06 AM

I frankly don't feel comfortable or appreciated while I am at Nats Park. I paid good money to enter the place and I am usually treated like a problematic old uncle who comes too early and stays too late. The ushers at Nats Park are usually under educated, all-grown up welfare babies who treat everyone and everything like the world owes them a living. I am tired of it.

Posted by: RyanDylan | June 11, 2008 9:21 AM

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