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Some final thoughts on the Phillies fans from Nationals opening day

The only obvious thing about all those Phillies fans from opening day is the anger. A lot of Nationals fans who attended believe the presence of so many visiting fans spoiled their opening day, and a good number of them are under the impression that the Nationals aided and abetted the interlopers.

Definitely, I can say the Nationals did not discourage them. After that, I think it gets kind of complicated. What should the Nationals have done? Should the Nationals have turned away large groups from Philly? Should they have sold fewer groups seats, period?

There are two viewpoints that probably cut to both sides of those questions. A Nationals fan named Daniel Furth e-mailed the Post yesterday and called Monday, "the worst baseball experience ever." He's the fan I talked to for the story in the birdcage liner. He goes to about 20 games each year and he usually brings with him a small group of people.

"I just think that they are really short-sighted about how to build a fan base," Furth said. "Sure, they're getting revenue and they're selling tickets. But building a fan base would have been making sure these tickets were available to people all over the D.C. area."

Another viewpoint comes from a Phillies fan named Brian Michael, who I also talked to for the story. In 2004 he started a Web site, Phillies Nation, that has turned into one of the more prominent fan blogs. He organized one of the bus trips. He said he doesn't make much money off of them, he just does it for fun, the same reason he started his site.

"If Nats fans simply organized themselves into a group of 25 people, they can purchase group tickets just like all the other groups (including Phillies groups)," Michael wrote in an e-mail after we spoke on the phone. "So, if you are a fair weather fan that just wants to go to the important games, then you have no right complaining. ... The Nats ticket office doesn't do anything egregiously out of the ordinary. ... if you care enough about the team to go to Cincinnati game on July 21, then you'll find a way to get tickets to Opening Day (e.g. the Nats will offer them). If you don't care that much, then you can't complain about not getting to Opening Day. Phillies fans care and we fill stadiums both home and away."

That's another way to look at it, which I'm sure will produce more anger. The bottom line is probably this: Whatever the Nationals did or did not do, a lot of their fans left opening day, really, really mad at them, and how can that be good?

For further context, I also wanted to include the e-mail back-and-forth I had with Stan Kasten. The transcript is after the jump:

FROM ADAM:
Hi, Stan. I also left you a voicemail on this topic, and I hope we can speak over the phone. If you would prefer to answer in e-mail, I'll gladly give you that chance. A large number of fans felt disheartened or angry about how many Phillies fans were in the park yesterday. I hope you can answer a few questions about that:

-A number of Nationals fans have the impression that droves of tickets were sold to travel companies in Philadelphia before local fans had a chance to buy them, which left several local fans without the chance to buy a single-game ticket for opening day, since those out in seven minutes. Is there something untrue and/or lacking from this impression? What should the numerous fans under this impression know?

-Some of the Philadelphia travel companies were advertising as early as January 21. How did they receive so many tickets at that time?

-Do you have any concern/disappointment so many of the fans in your ballpark on opening day were there from the other team?

-What was your impression of how the Phillies fans affected the overall atmosphere at the game yesterday?

-A few fans who I spoke with or contacted me were concerned that by making available so many tickets to visiting fans, the Nationals were favoring easy revenue over building a true, local fan base. Is there something untrue and/or lacking from that impression? What should fans under this impression know?

-Is there anything I did not ask in regard to this topic that you feel I should be aware of?

Thank you, Stan. Hope you're well.

Adam

FROM KASTEN:
We sell season tickets and book groups all winter long. For every game of the season. All of this is before any individual tickets go on sale. Most of our groups are local. Some are from out of town. Its really that simple.

FROM ADAM:
I appreciate your quick response, Stan. However, I don't think the response fully touches on the concerns I mentioned. This is probably a pertinent question I didn't ask before:

One organizer I spoke with purchased roughly 530 tickets for a Phillies group, 450 of which were purchased in the winter. He was just one of many such organizers. Are you comfortable the Nationals did enough to allow local fans a chance to buy a tickets for opening day, especially in terms of how many tickets were made available to visiting fans before local fans had a chance to buy them?

Thanks again.

Adam

FROM KASTEN:
Again, The ONLY tickets made available to ANYONE, from ANYWHERE before the individual ticket sales date were season tickets or groups. And let's remember that we didn't sell the game out until the day of the game. Which is why , FOR EVERY GAME we hold back 400 tickets at $5 each that can only be purchased day of game.

FROM ADAM:
I see what you are saying, but I don't think it gets to the heart of the matter. One more question: Is a park with thousands of visiting fans on opening day detrimental to cultivating a long-term, loyal fan base?

Thanks again for your help.

Adam

FROM KASTEN:
I think the best way to answer your question is for you to think about the difference between the crowds Saturday and Monday. Same policies for everything. (And clearly more Red Sox fans saturday than Philly fans Monday) But there's no denying there was a tangible qualitative difference in the two crowds. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

Also as anyone who has watched bad teams turn into good teams, in any sport, these problems dissipate as teams improve, as home teams followers get more numerous and more enthusiaistic.

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 7, 2010; 8:53 AM ET
 
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Next: Wednesday's Nationals lineup

Comments

If that's Kasten's last word on the subject then he's lost his fanbase. You gave him every chance to apologize and try to tamp down the anger and he made it worse. That's ridiculous.

Posted by: mojo6 | April 7, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Yep, Kasten's clueless all right. This exchange shows rather clearly that he just does not CARE whether his DC-area fanbase is angry or not.

I'm not a fair-weather fan. I've had some sort of season ticket since 2006. I attend 25-30 games every season.

I've never yet shared the anger and disgust I've seen here and in other forums. I've always given Kasten and the organization the benefit of the doubt.

But now I am angry. I had a miserable time on Monday--a day that may have featured the nicest OD weather we will see in years--because Kasten doesn't feel it's important to make OD pleasant for his own fans.

How can he not understand this? Whatever happened, people are outraged now. He ought to perceive that as a problem.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | April 7, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Stan Kasten sounds like an arrogant jerk.

As I was reading the e-mail exchange, I had a feeling of deja vu then I realized -- of course, this sounds like Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato!

Posted by: Jeff_Jackson | April 7, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Stan, you just don't get it...and please stop comparing the home opener to an "EXHIBITION" game.

And if Stan and the ownership wish to open the doors to the cast from "the jersey shore", don't be surprised when the eggs start flying.

Posted by: boricuabopper | April 7, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Agreed...Stan is not credible...I will not renew after 6 seasons of season tickets....Stan you SUCK!

Posted by: JayBeee | April 7, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

As a full season ticket holder, I am not very happy with what Stan thinks of my Ballpark experience.
I would appreciate it if he would re-emphasize to his security staff that poor behavior at the ball park will not be tolerated.

Posted by: rvrtis | April 7, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

No, this is the only team that sells its Opening Day tickets this way. The Nationals are not getting the message. We are not coming to the games to cheer the owners' profits. They're entitled and encouraged to make profits, but there is more to it than that. The team is a public trust. The owners are treating it as only a money-making machine.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | April 7, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

"Also as anyone who has watched bad teams turn into good teams, in any sport, these problems dissipate as teams improve, as home teams followers get more numerous and more enthusiaistic."
I don't disagree with that. Here's the problem. Let's assume you are doing all the right things, Stan, to create a winning team. You don't crap on the fans who have endured this mess on the way to winning, hoping that they'll live long enough to see that day. You do everything you can to make those especially loyal fans happy. That includes not marketing Opening Day to Philly fan groups and apologizing profusely when the result of doing that becomes clear even to a sea slug.

Posted by: mojo6 | April 7, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Agree with all of these comments. Not to mention, once again, they dont seem to be able to hadnle the logisitcs involved when more than 20,000 people show up. Huge lines again, warm beer, running out of hot dogs in the fourth inning etc. Monday's game was awful - on the field and off. This is my last season as a partial season ticket holder - I'm done.

Posted by: AlexVa1 | April 7, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Myopic hubris.

Posted by: joemktg1 | April 7, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

StanK says two things in his responses. 1) We want revenue any way possible now since we stink and don't expect a large vocal and local following. 2) When we produce a winner we can treat you any way we want because you are like sheep and will follow a winner no matter how badly you were treated in the past. The optimist in me says that they count on improving the team. Do they know how? hmmm.

Posted by: smirkman | April 7, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure that posting your (private?) verbatim e-mails back and forth is going to win you access down the road.

In terms of the opening day, fans are angry because
1) We got shelled
2) Dedicated fans want to convince fair weather fans that the team is different and this didn't help
3) The Phillies and Nats organizations and fan bases are light years apart at the moment.

Stan is right, if they win more and start to establish a real competitive and entertaining identity, this stuff will go away.

Posted by: tgerbracht | April 7, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting the emails, it put Kasten's emails in the proper context. Overall his comments were pathetic, and reading that they were replying to makes it even more pathetic

Posted by: tedunni1 | April 7, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Is anyone aware of any Nats fans who were unable to get Opening Day tickets? I haven't seen anything written that locals were turned away but that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Secondly, I assume the expectation is that the Nats should have had a crowd of less than, say, 30,000 rather than let Phillies fans in?

It seems the best way to fix this problem in the future is 1) in the short-term, make sure the Nats don't open at home with the Phillies or Mets. The Fish would do fine. 2) Sell more season and partial plans which allow the purchaser to buy extra tickets to opening day. That will require a better team.

Otherwise, it seems we just saw for the first time at Nats Park what the Orioles see 18 times a year when they play the Yankees and Red Sox and are the de facto visiting team.

Posted by: Section314 | April 7, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Adam - Thanks for sharing this with us. I know you've got a line to toe as a beat reporter, but you asked some very direct questions and it's appreciated.


Posted by: Sunderland | April 7, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and how about a single post during the offday about player reactions? injury updates in the minor league camp? AAA and AA news? Anything?

Posted by: tgerbracht | April 7, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I usually go to 3 or 4 Nationals games a year. This year I will go to 0. Atleast Snyder and Cerrato pretended to care about their fanbase.

Posted by: jdwood84 | April 7, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if at some point during Monday's game Selig leaned over to Lerner or Kasten and said "I think you have a problem here."

None of this conversation would ever become public of course but Selig saw and heard with his own ears what was clearly a case of a superbly botched public relations event. Coupled with the miraculously low television ratings for last season he has to wonder about his choice for the stewards of baseball in the nation's capitol.

Posted by: driley | April 7, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Alas, driley, I imagine instead he'd wonder about his choice of cities.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 7, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Wow. There's a lot of anger over this, and it certainly doesn't need further stoking, but...wow. THANK YOU for posting the full exchange, Adam. Stan's response is pretty tone deaf.

Posted by: Section220 | April 7, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I don't have a problem with allowing group sales during the Winter, before individual games tix go on sale. But I do have a problem with allowing Opening Day group sales made available. OD is the one special day of the year for all fans -- old and new. With the way this team has played the past few years, the Nats should have considered some way to arrange OD tix to be made available for all interested buyers, with group sales capped at a certain amount.

And Kasten/Lerner should be called out on this BS about "And let's remember that we didn't sell the game out until the day of the game". I tried like heck to purchase 3 tickets for me, my wife and my daughter multiple times (first with the special "Nats Insider" code a week before they went on sale, then again when they went on sale to the general public), only to be told that no tickets were available. Why? Because the Nats held tickets for people to purchase the game plans. Guess what, Stan? I've been a loyal 20-game STH since Day One! Unfortunately the economy + consecutive 100 loss seasons + bad game day experience + scheduliing conflicts = me not renewing this season. But I am still a fan and I will continue to go to the games when I can 1) afford it and 2) my schedule dictates. Still, I (along with many, many others) should still be afforded the opporttunity to purchase 1, 2, 3, 10 tickets to Opening Day before groups of 25+ from out-of-town do. I'm being penalized because I couldn't gather 25+ of my friends/colleagues? Screw you.

Posted by: erocks33 | April 7, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Section314: Yes, I had a co-worker who wanted Opening Day tickets, but was too late, couldn't get them. One anecdoate, yes, but it definitely happened.

Stan probably realizes he screwed up to some extent, but can't admit it publicly right now. He's not in denial per se, he just knows he can't comment on it without looking worse than he already does.

If the Nats learned nothing else from this, I hope it's DON'T BOOK THE PHILLIES FOR OPENING DAY. Not sure how much control they have over the schedule, but jeez, bring in the Marlins or somebody for the first game.

Posted by: CarlosdelVaca | April 7, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

"What should the Nationals have done? Should the Nationals have turned away large groups from Philly? Should they have sold fewer groups seats, period?"

I'm not sure about the answer to these questions, but what the Nats ABSOLUTELY shouldn't have done was - according to your article, Adam - have a senior account executive in the Nationals group ticket sales office contact a Phillies fan directly.

Posted by: NatMeg | April 7, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Do you really want an apology from Kasten? That's absurd.

So what if the Phillies fans travel well. That team is a legitimate wrecking crew in the NL and will be for awhile longer. And we're an easy target, close, DCish, new, worst team past two years, etc., etc.

But stop acting like a bunch of amatuers. I'm about as embarrased by the Nats fans whining as anything else in this whole mess. If we'd have won 11-1 you'd have had a great time.

Focus on the game of baseball, please. It's about the only thing where your opinions are interesting.

Posted by: longterm | April 7, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I ranted on Mark's blog yesterday about our own "fair-weather fans" streaming for the exits at the first sign of trouble. But the Lerners should be embarrassed and furious at Kasten's replies to those questions. Does he really believe these are solely the sentiments of a handful of bloggers and their readers?

I hope Ted grows a pair and puts Kasten on notice that such indifference to fan concerns won't be tolerated again. At the least, Stan should be put on probation for this fiasco.

Posted by: MikeH0714 | April 7, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I was not lucky enough to be able to attend opening day, but my family was and agreed that all the phans turned what should have been a fantastic afternoon into a bummer. And the team basically says they did nothing wrong and it'll be better once the fans are more enthusiastic.

I suggest that everybody who shared their experience email the Nats/Lerners at
http://tinyurl.com/yd8zmur

GIVE EM WHATFOR!

Posted by: nattaboy | April 7, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Here is what Kasten and I guess also the Lerners are telling us the Nats fan base..

If you people would just pay top dollar for a twice 100 loss team I would not have to sell at a discount to people from other cities, who are clearly preferred because their teams don't loose 100 games and so are happier because they are more likely to see their team win.

That the Nats management are no longer marketing to a NATS FAN but that they are presenting the team and stadium as a baseball fan fantasy camp. Come see your team win and get to bully the (few) Nats fans in the process.

WE DO NOT CARE if you do because we are tired of the moaning and complaining these people have been doing the last 5 years.

So remember if you buy a plan or package you are not there to be a fan of the Nationals, you are there so the Phillie or Redsox or Mets or whoever fans can abuse.

You get to be part of the Natstown experience.

Posted by: CBinDC | April 7, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

sec314 made sense to me. this whole thing feels like a very tempestuous british-afternoon-beverage container.

but in a larger sense i am glad to see so much anger at the nature of capitalism. "it's not a free country, it's for sale," seems to be what's bothering people. including baseball tickets by the busload.

oh well. you want to change the underlying reality, go out and organize politically. try to get one of the parties to reform how business is always done in every industry: you got the dough, welcome to our show.

meantime, you don't need to be sitting next to a nats fan to have a good time at a nats game, even if we lose. the game is what counts, not who's there, or even how it comes out.

spoken as a handicapped person who can't go at all and misses it...

Posted by: natty-bumppo | April 7, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

As owners, Major League Baseball showed more respect to Washington fans. I really cannot believe how clueless Stan Kasten is. If this continues, I believe the Nationals will move from Washington within the next 20 years. Perhaps that's what the Lerners want. Is this Bob Short all over again?

Posted by: cassander | April 7, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

The heart of the problem - that no one seems willing to put out there in plain Engligh - is that Philly fans are the worst. Not passionate, just classless. Bad losers and worse winners. The amount of Philly fans cursing loudly and looking for fights is 10x that of any other team including NY and Boston. In the final response from Kasten that is what he is alluding to.

Posted by: kevcam | April 7, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

""If Nats fans simply organized themselves into a group of 25 people, they can purchase group tickets just like all the other groups (including Phillies groups)," Michael wrote in an e-mail after we spoke on the phone. "So, if you are a fair weather fan that just wants to go to the important games, then you have no right complaining. ... The Nats ticket office doesn't do anything egregiously out of the ordinary. ... if you care enough about the team to go to Cincinnati game on July 21, then you'll find a way to get tickets to Opening Day (e.g. the Nats will offer them). If you don't care that much, then you can't complain about not getting to Opening Day."

The question that needs to be asked before coming down on Kasten for selling tickets to this and other Phillies groups is this: Before your group sales department started calling Philadelphia organizers, how many local bar owners and local group organizers from previous seasons did you contact and offer the chance to put together Opening Day packages for their bar patrons or organizations? If the locals were given the chance to organize themselves and failed to step up, then I see no problem with Kasten looking for business in Philly. If the local bars and organizations were never given their shot, then yes there is a problem.

The article talked about Baltimore not selling to groups for Opening Day. I bet that is only partially true. Opening Day is a longstanding tradition in Baltimore. I bet there are dozens if not hundreds of bars and organizations that have been offering their own Opening Day package deals for generations. Those are the same thing as group sales. The Nats unfortunately being new in town have none of that, and the local community in DC has never stepped up to get it started.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 7, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I think people prefer a conspiracy to a baseball game. Congratulations, the media will fill your hearts desire.

Posted by: longterm | April 7, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Obviously, Stan is clueless. Absolutely does not get it. Between putting a minor league product on the field and treating their fan base with disdain, Stan and the Lerners are killing baseball in DC. I am angry about my OD experience, but I am also just sad that this public trust was placed into these hands. Sad.

Posted by: NatsFly | April 7, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Adam: I don't know if you read my email to StanK (btw thats short for a foul smell) over on Steiners Blog, but so far zero response from him. This is a big deal and shouldn't for one minute considered be over becuase today is day 2, no way! There should be no doubt in anyones mind that the Carnie Barker and the Mall Rats couldn't care less. This is their version of payback for something none of us have ever done and that is turn our backs on a team that has rung up over 200+ L's in the last two years. The LernerStanKs beef is with the media, we all know that. Mark Lerner has been quoted numerous times about how unfair the media has been to his family. StanK had a running battle with Barry Svurluga and he has played the party line card w/Bozewell. They basically dismissed the idea of working w/the Sports Talkers and now have poor radio coverage and very little exposure beyond Stafford County south of DC in VA. Everything they claim to be doing is in fact a lie, go ask those kids who have been waiting 3 years for the DC Baseball Academy. The thing that galls me more then anything else is the disrespect they have for the city and the region in general. It was not a good day on Opening Day and the LernerStanKs can give us all the Red Carpet free tickets and Nats Bucks they want but that will never, ever suffice for the mayhem that we had to put up with on 5 April. SHAME ON YOU STANK!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | April 7, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I think it's clear at this point that this *is* the Lerner's business plan. Field the absolute cheapest team possible and fill the stadium with opposing team's fans. It really is that simple.

Posted by: ficta | April 7, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Stan, just because you are in DC doesn't mean you have to respond like a politician.

Posted by: berou | April 7, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gang...and once again, for those of you who insist that it's on Nats fans to support our team....when you have a wretched product and are fed the same claptrap about improvement...when one of the owners talks about "a sacred trust" and then refuses to translate these words into action......well, Stank said you get the attendance you deserve...only it's apparent that the Slow Lerners don't buy that-hence the Philies South Park.Thank God the Mets stink!
Now, I happen to like the Phils-boy was born in Philly-and the fans I interacted with were not too over the top. But it IS demoralizing to an already malnourished fan base to seem to have an ownership so completely tone deaf.Jeez-do we really need another Redskins? At least Dan spends SOME of his profits on the team.
Up until last year, I was a STH in with a group. Went to 30+ games each year, often with boy and his pals. Lots of dollars spent.After the 1st 100 loss season-and with the Slows holding back rent, no real offseason moves....that was it. While still a diehard, I couldn't in good conscience keep spending increasingly scarce dollars on a team that seemed oblivious on so many levels.But The Rizz was put in charge, and along with some other moves,I was feeling optimistic once again(well-I'm ALWAYS optimistic about the Nats-til I'm not)that FINALLY a major league team was back in DC.And when I couldn't get opening day tix-hey, MORE cause for optimism-other folks felt the same as me! Must have! A sellout...and none available through my bar owner back channels!Wow!
So...StubHub at inflated prices?What the hey, it's OD and I'm taking the boy!
He's 16, a first rate ball player-and even with his Philly roots, was rooting for the Nats!And as a 16 y.o, he was mighty underwhelmed by the crowd (and the play).
"If the owners don't care about the fans of their team, I may as well be a Phillies fan...I shoulda wore my '08 W.S. tee....."
How lifelong fans are made, huh?
The fans you deserve, StanK?
Sigh
Go Nats!

Posted by: zendo | April 7, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

"Also as anyone who has watched bad teams turn into good teams, in any sport, these problems dissipate as teams improve, as home teams followers get more numerous and more enthusiastic."

It all depends on what kind of fan base you are trying to build. Do you want to build a fan base with a solid core of deep, devoted fans? Or do you want to build a shallow fan base of fairweather fans that only comes out once (if) the team becomes good? If the latter, what happens when the team starts to decline again?

A huge problem with Kasten's approach is that he could be developing a core of deeply devoted fans NOW. Almost by definition, after the past two seasons, any Nats fan who was there this past Opening Day--or who wanted to be there but was shut out--could be a part of this core. And yet the Nats are alienating them with their policies and the consequent lousy ballpark atmosphere, and Kasten is turning them off even more with his arrogant, tone-deaf defensive responses. I'm one of those fans. And if they treat us like crap now when they should be desperate for loyal fans, it's pretty easy to guess how they will treat us if they ever turn things around on the field.

Also, this notion from Kasten that home-town fans should have to get together a group of 25 people if they want to go to Opening Day is ridiculous. Opening Day is for going with your family or your best friends. Home-town fans don't get together huge groups for Opening Day. I think Kasten is too smart not to get that but, as usual, he is just spinning and turning people off even more. The notion of contrition or regret is completely foreign to him.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | April 7, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, longterm, I'd have to agree with you. Here are the conclusions from all this:

1. Phillies fans are obnoxious and boorish

2. Stan Kasten is kinda a jerk

3. The Nationals-ownership wants to make a dollar any way they can

I can't say that any of those revelations are surprising. Almost all "dog bites man" stories. Let's not construe this to say I don't think they're justifiable, they all are pretty lame. I just can't get myself whipped into a frenzy about them.

Posted by: Section506 | April 7, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

The fact Phillies fans are the way they are only intensifies the problem. You can only take the cursing and mocking and "Nationals suck" so much until it really does ruin the entire Opening Day experience. To think otherwise is absurd.

Thousands of Nationals fans who paid good money had their experience ruined, and Kasten doesn't see anything wrong with it. He then even implies it's the fans' fault in his last paragraph. Insane.

Kasten is taking the easy route by welcoming outside fan bases to Nationals park in order to sell tickets, instead of actually putting out the effort to bring in Washington fans.

Posted by: jdwood84 | April 7, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Screw you StanK. I have been a season ticket holder from day 1 at RFK. This opening day game was by far the single worst sports experience I have experienced in my 38 years in DC. My ticket group paid the Nats $6500 for our four seats this season. I feel conned and won't be buying tickets again. Screw the Nats, StanK & especially the cheap skate Lerners.

Posted by: tylerdurden1 | April 7, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Section314: I split a full season plan with a few other guys and tried desperately to buy tickets to opening day. I even took the morning off from work to make sure I could call and use the website, since I was prepared for a large amount of people to want tickets and several times I got through via the website, only to get booted out when my tickets were processing.

I can get over not making it to opening day, and originally I thought they were holding back some tickets for partial and half season ticket purchases, but the thing that makes me the most mad is that as a season ticket holder who stays in the loop, I had no idea that I could purchase group tickets before March 2. I could have easily gathered 25 people together to purchase group tickets and yet I had no contact from my rep or any email saying that was an option.

As a fan in town, I really dont have a need for 25 tickets, but it looks like this is something you have to do to secure your tickets for important games.

Posted by: BigTrain | April 7, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I think there is a lot of anger over this stems from the facts that lots of us were shut out from buying tickets for this game. We were then shocked to see that the crowd was dominated by Philly fans, suggesting that something bizarre went on with the ticket distribution. I do not buy the group sales thing, my best guess is that there was something strange that went on with tickets going on sale. I would like to hear from more people on how they got there tickets and maybe we can figure this one out.


I think we need to send a message that next year this has to change. Lets open the season against the Marlins, then we know there will be no problem.

Posted by: Tom8 | April 7, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I second the notion that opening day was spoiled by the loud drunk hords from the north. I have a partial plan, and I will not attend those Philly games if this continues. They were so obnoxious we left early. You cant enjoy a day at the park with all that garbage going on. There are some things you do and some you DON'T Stan!

Posted by: 1of9000 | April 7, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

This is why we are in the last place. MONEY!!!! Kasten and Lerners have only one thought. MONEY!!! I was sick to my stomach on OD. All those Phillies fans. They ruined it for us. This was a day that was supposed to be a celebration of a new and improved Nats team. BULL!!! It was a way for the Lerners to make more money!!! I hate the Lerners. I hate Kasten. I paid 150.00 for a seat and I was surronded by Phillies fans. And they were making fun of the Nats. Kasten, is this what you wanted. YOU ARE A JERK!!! I want my money back!!!!

Posted by: eddie5 | April 7, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

If it makes you feel any better, many of them have to live in Philadelphia. Gross.

Posted by: Jeff_Jackson | April 7, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Stan still hasn't answered a basic question: when was OD sold out. He says it was sold out on the day of the game, but then he points to the 400 seats that are held out for day-of-game. My question is, apart from those held-out seats, when was the game sold out.

Posted by: luxetveritas | April 7, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

To me it's disappointing more than anything. I'm disappointed because this is the exact thing I've come to expect in a fan experience following this team. The worst part about it for me is that it plays just as bad on TV as it does in person. What I could stomach of Monday's game I watched on mute because it sounded like an away game. The only decent fan experience in the area is the Caps; and no the reasons for that are not lost on me. It's going to be several long and painful years of this nonsense while Rizzo attempts to build us a winner. We just have to hope that their PR dept matures at the same rate as the on-field product. It's too bad the Caps lost the person in charge of their gameday experience to, of all cities, Philadelphia and the hated Eagles.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | April 7, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Adam, Kasten just does not get it and the arrogance he carries on this topic is a bit much. The guy sees no problem at all in selling the game out to Philly. He thinks that it is just fine. Just fill the seats baby. No need to get DC people to the park, people are people and all of their money is the same color green. It was the easiest path to take the Phiily bus caravan and the Nats took it. They could have encouraged groups of DC fans to buy those group tickets in the winter, but they did not do so. They wanted the revenue of a sellout in their pockets as early as possible more than they wanted a good home crowd. Stan's imfamous pleadings to the Philly faithful to come on down and see their club in DC were telling.

He's not the right guy for this job anymore. And to quote him "It is that simple."

Posted by: dfh21 | April 7, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I now understand why there weren't alot of posts yesterday Adam -- you were doing actual reporting and you did a great job with the story in the paper and with this followup. So thanks for that.

The email exchange (which I assume was on the record, and if Stan didn't expect it would be published, he's even more clueless than he seems in the exchange) is very illuminating. You gave him every opportunity to explain or even apologize, and he steadfastly refused to do anything but make excuses. He even has the gall to shift the blame both to fans who couldn't get tickets and those who did but weren't "enthusiastic" enough. Incredible.

Here's what a team executive who was truly concerned about his fan base and the still brewing controversy might have said:

Adam, lots of factors went into what happened Monday including -- we played a nearby team with a very motivated fan base, we held back single game tickets when they went on sale so as to be able to offer Opening Day tickets to people who we were trying to entice to buy season ticket packages, we offered group packages in January and didn't put the tickets on sale to the general public until March. It's clear that our fans are upset about what happened and we're reevaluating all of our policies and plans with respect to Opening Day ticket sales to make sure that Nats fans have the opportunity to buy OD tickets next year. Obviously, we're not going to prevent people who cheer for the opposing team from coming, but we need to do better to make sure that our own fans can attend if they want to.

We're also going to make clear to our ushers that drunken behavior is not acceptable at Nats Park. We want to ensure a quality family experience for our fans, and reports that I have heard indicate that we didn't do a great job with that on Monday. On the other hand, I know that not all the Phillies' fans acted inappropriately (cheering for your team, even loudly, is of course acceptable behavior). So it's a difficult line to draw, but our ushers need to do a better job drawing it if they can. And of course, if we had played better we would have shut those obnoxious Phans up. We're working on that too.

We're looking forward to a great season this year, and I hope that what happened on Monday won't discourage our fans, who have been so loyal during some difficult times, from coming out to the Park. I can promise you it won't happen again. Thanks for the chance to deliver this message.

Posted by: Section222 | April 7, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-here's a thought:Any of you reading this work for the Nats Ticket Sales? Or know someone who does? We'd appreciate some honest "inside" information on how the sale of Opening Day tickets was approached.Just kinda curious what the "plan" was.
Sigh
Great way to start a new season of hope, eh?
Oh well....did we REALLY expect any more from the Slow-nah, make that NO-Lerners?
But it IS the game that counts, so......see you at the park tonight!
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | April 7, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

The Lerners need to cut Kasten loose before he drives off the local fanbase. What a complete moron.

Posted by: thom202 | April 7, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Adam:

There are really two separate issues here: (1) access to tickets for popular games and (2) crowd control.

Kasten addressed access to tickets- he apparently doesn't care who buys the tickets, as long as they get bought. It was shortsighted and counterproductive to marketing in my opinion when you're not giving locals a full opportunity to get tickets to what could be a great baseball experience right at the beginning of the season, that would make them want to come back and buy more tickets. (The whole "we didn't sell out until the day of the game" comment is flat-out disingenuous- anyone trying to buy tickets through the Nationals website in the weeks preceding was told that no tickets were available.) But the Nationals can sell tickets to whoever they want, and I'm just second-guessing business strategy at this point.

With regard to crowd control, though, Kasten's response is inexcusable. I guess the "tangible qualitative difference" between the Red Sox fans and the Phillies fans is that the Phillies fans were hostile and obnoxious? OK- so what did the Nationals management do about it? Absolutely nothing. I stood in a mob of Phillies fans outside the stadium who were drinking from open containers, yelling obscenities, chanting homophobic slurs at Nationals fans, and tearing down the team, the city, and the stadium. There was absolutely no team presence to try and control what was going on.

Read some of the comments on other blogs about kids begging their parents to leave early because they felt unsafe in the stands. And some are wondering why "fair-weather fans" left early.

I had already purchased tickets to one other game this season. My plan is to not spend another penny on this team until somebody apologizes and addresses what was a miserable experience for a large segment of the fan base. If they don't... well, Baltimore's only about an hour away. I liked going to Camden Yards before 2005, I'm sure I can get used to it again.

Posted by: mrhyde | April 7, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

While I agree with Kasten that things will get better as the team improves, he could have done himself a big service by acknowledging that the experience wasn't very good for the Nats fans, and saying something like, "We're going to have a look at our ticket policies, compare them with other teams' policies, and see what changes we might need to make." He doesn't have to make any promises as regards results, but he can at least acknowledge that maybe there's a better way to do things. Kasten should keep a PR person nearby 24/7, because he's clearly out of his depth in this email exchange.

Posted by: gilbertbp | April 7, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

i would have to agree with Natmeg on this issue. seems to me that this is a tempest in a teapot. business is business. i would say that if the nats had of started strasburg, there would have been more hometown interest in the game, but you can't tell them not to sell tickets to traveling fans. how do you think they are going to pay stras, or storen, when the time comes. then you would complain that they are cheap. business is business. root, root, root, for the home team, stop crying because the other teams fans were louder than you. that is your job as a fan in the stands. the job of management is to put a team on the field people want to see. philly has done it and their fans go when they can. bring up the young guns now, don't wait for business reasons if you want home team fans, because now is the time to grab them. not in june when the team is in last place sucking for air. that is the business model you are looking for.

Posted by: joerutgens72 | April 7, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

What is most frustrating to me about Kasten's glib response is how he ignores the steps other teams take to ensure local fans have an advantage in buying opening day tickets. He should appreciate how passionate we feel about this, and acknowledge some responsibility for what happened. Most of all, he should explain what steps he will take to make sure this will not happen again in the future if MLB schedules the Nats opener against a team that is within easy driving distance to DC, such as the Phillies or Mets. And finally he should explain why in the world the Nats signed Batista for long relief.

Posted by: Natsgal | April 7, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Kasten likes to say the Nats will get the crowd they deserve. What they are getting are the crowd the ownership deserves -- abusive, rude fans.

What about the crowd the PLAYERS deserve? What about the crowd the FANS deserve?

Monday was embarrassing -- for the fans who attended and for the players. It SHOULD have been embarrassing for the ownership.

Stan better fix this by next year. The "growing pains" excuse is getting really stale after three years.

Posted by: jimbo2541 | April 7, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

"root, root, root, for the home team, stop crying because the other teams fans were louder than you. that is your job as a fan in the stands."

Clearly, you weren't at the game.

"how do you think they are going to pay stras, or storen, when the time comes."

Ah, yes, it's up to us fans to enable ownership to be able to build a winner. Start the death spiral in 3, 2, 1...

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | April 7, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Nats fans filled up the stadium at a robust 54% clip last year, 69% (in a brand new park) the year before, and 53% in the last year at RFK...hmmm, I wonder why management is looking elsewhere to fill seats?

Posted by: mcasady | April 7, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Hey Uncle Teddy, hire Sec 222!

Posted by: NatsFly | April 7, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Again, it wasn't simply the *presence* of 20,000 Phillies fans that ruined the opening day experience, but the way they acted.

And while Saturday was an exhibition game, last summer's series against the Red Sox were not exhibition games, and the Red Sox fans, who clearly outnumbered the Nationals fans in the ballpark, politely rooted *for* their team, but not against ours.

And that's the difference. The Phillies fans were rude and obnoxious and unsportsmanlike, and I'm pretty sure there are at least rules in the ballpark about abusive language and people can and *should* be ejected for it, as Nationals Park is a family venue.

The worst of it, though, was when Zimmerman was being presented his awards for the 2009 season. We lost 103 games, so let us have our moment of glory, since we haven't had that many lately.

The Phillies won the NL East for the 4th consecutive year (and I'm pretty sure in 2007 they had *our* help in spoiling it for the Mets!) and the NL Pennant for the second, and will get *plenty* of recognition for it when they return home to Philly, so why rain on *our* parade? There's just no call for it.

So something needs to be done to address fan behavior and not just the number of visiting fans.

Posted by: zaph | April 7, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Adam,
A winning product on the field will resolve most of these issues (e.g. Caps having enough demand to keep out Pitt fans).

Overall, Monday was the worst professional baseball experience I've had in my life. It seems the front office feels no hometown obligation to its fan-base:

1. Totally felt like an away game (w/ the very "pleasant" Philly fans)
2. Obama's tasteless White Sox joke (Really??..nobody can step in here and advise him not to wear the cap??)
3. Sub-Par Product on the field (I know we have a "plan" in place but that looked like an AAA team against a ML club)

One last thing, how many years is it going to take before we can start filling the Diamond Club seats behind home plate? What is it going to take to lower the prices and get butts in those seats? Our team perception is bad enough, but when you perceive an empty stadium on top of that, it makes fans think twice about attending a game. I was at the game and watched the reply on MASN, you would have thought there were 15,000 people there instead of 42,000.

- Former season ticket holder

Posted by: gldenboy05 | April 7, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

mrhyde really nails it in his post and succinctly puts into words something that I was thinking about last night in talking with another Nats fan. Really are two main issues: 1) the whole ticket sales policy which Stan just doesn’t seem to get, and 2) the crowd control inside the park during the game. I’d love to have one of the Posties or some other writers ask Kasten about that. Heck, read back to him the club’s stated policies which are published all over the place, including in the Nats Park A to Z Guide. The ushers and other stadium personnel do absolutely jack when confronted with unruly, profane, and clearly intoxicated fans. Sure, sometimes there’s a fine line between “aggressive rooting” and loutish behavior but I don’t think anyone who was there on Monday can debate that there should have been some fan ejections fro clearly violating the club’s policies on crowd behavior.

And I wish Stan would quit it with this silly comparison of Monday’s exhibition and Opening Day. All he needs to do is look to last year’s O-Day against the very same Phillies. Remember? There was no where near the nonsense that went on this past Monday. The answer to the question of ‘why not’ would be very enlightening.

Posted by: gonatsgo1 | April 7, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I usually go to 3 or 4 Nationals games a year. This year I will go to 0. Atleast Snyder and Cerrato pretended to care about their fanbase.

Posted by: jdwood84 | April 7, 2010 9:37 AM
------------------------
See that is the problem. A guy that goes to 3 to 4 games a year does not support the fanbase.

We wouldn't have been over-run by Phillies phans if the Season Ticket base was over 25,000 and I am including partial plans that include the Opening Day ticket in there too.

I just can't stand people that complain from their couch.

As a town, we can blame ourselves because long before Lerner took over, April 2006 in RFK, the stadium was fairly empty.

Everybody wants to blame StanK or others, and sure they could have made it easier but everyone that I know who wanted to go got tickets. There were plenty on StubHub. Last minute we got 2 more tickets. When I got to the stadium at 10AM the $5 line was filled with Phillies shirts. Where were the Nats fans?

Posted by: dmacman88 | April 7, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

"See that is the problem. A guy that goes to 3 to 4 games a year does not support the fanbase." Some people have a lot of other commitments, or maybe it's not easy for them to get downtown. Even once a year is still supporting the team. Heck, with the Capitals, that's all I can afford since all the bandwagon fans drove the prices sky high. Can't get an $18 ticket anymore (or anything under $60 for that matter). I will go to a few Nats games this year (prob more after Strassburg makes it up) but I didn't get a 20 game plan this year; I didn't want to torture myself like that.

Posted by: futbolclif | April 7, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

StanK you are clueless and arrogant.

I'm going to the game tonight and trust me I will be starting some "Kasten Sucks!" chants tonight. If you are there please do the same.

Nats fans cannot let this issue die off, we need to let the tone deaf StanK and cheapass Lerner's hear how passionate we can be and they need to be called out.

Adam,

Please keep putting the pressue and StanK, he needs to be called to the carpet on this one.


"Kasten Sucks!, Kasten Sucks!"

Posted by: Section505203 | April 7, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

FWIW, all of the home openers (whether they occurred on the first day of the season or not) have drawn about the same crowd - 40,000 - with the exception of the first Nats home game in 2005, when they drew 45,000. The opponents have been Arizona, the Mets, the Marlins, the Braves, and now the Phillies twice in a row. Regardless, the attendance is always right around 40,000. This year, it was 41,290.

At first glance, that seems to indicate that, no matter how bad the team or the opponent that day, the attendance is going to be the same. In other words, there shouldn't have been a problem in selling those tickets to Nats fans (especially when the weather turned out to be as great as it was).

That leads to two questions:
1) Did the Nationals expect to have an especially tough time selling tickets to Nats fans for this Opening Day?

2) Or, did they just prefer to get the money up front from whomever they could, so they could have it in the bank, and, in the process, say "we don't care who shows up and who they root for, as long as they pay to get in?"

I could respect their decision more if they did it because they didn't think Nats fans would buy the tickets. But history says that's not likely to be the case. I think they wanted the money upfront, made a cold-hearted business decision and now they deserve the criticism they're getting for it.

As others have pointed out, did they actively target their group sales efforts to Nats fans and DC-area businesses first? Did they just put them on sale and wait to see who bought them? Or did they actively seek out Phillies fans to buy the tickets?

Posted by: baltova1 | April 7, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

"My question is, apart from those held-out seats, when was the game sold out."

It was actually not sold out until AFTER those 400 day-of-game seats were sold. As they did last year for Opening Day and the Red Sox series, they also sold standing room tickets the day of the game. A friend of mine has used standing room to get into Opening Day for each of the past two years. Lots of good standing room space in the park, too - and also easy to slide into a seat once people start leaving.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 7, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

@Section222: I am a PR professional and you got it exactly right.

How can no one in that organization figure it out? It's incomprehensible to me.

I don't mind the opponent's fans in the park. In fact, on the way in on Monday, I said to my friend how much fun that can be.

But selling tickets to busloads of them on Openind Day while stiffing your own fans (including season ticket holders who were unable to get extras) is just unbelievably stupid. Not just bad baseball; bad business.

Posted by: Meridian1 | April 7, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

you have become what you abhor.

Posted by: longterm | April 7, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I guess none of you have ever gone to an Orioles Yankees series in Baltimore?

Are you kidding me. There are 30,000 Yankees fans compared to about 5,000 Orioles fans. Then you have the Orioles Red Sox which is about 20,000 Red Sox fans compared to 7,000 Orioles fans.

I have a friend who sells all of his Orioles games vs. NYY and BOS which covers almost his full nut for the year.

I think the Nats next year should advertise well about Opening Day so DC fans are better informed about buying tickets.

Posted by: dmacman88 | April 7, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

What a d*ck.

Posted by: enstage | April 7, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

"We wouldn't have been over-run by Phillies phans if the Season Ticket base was over 25,000 and I am including partial plans that include the Opening Day ticket in there too."

Posted by: dmacman88 | April 7, 2010 10:49 AM
------------
All of the "Flex Plans" (buy 4 games, get a 5th game free) included opening day as one of the choices. And plenty of us were there. We outcheered the "Phans" when NyJer stole second and Zim RBI'd him home. But when we lost the lead, our folks bolted the park. By the start of inning five, NatsTown was Philly South.

No question we need a better product on the field. But that doesn't excuse Kasten's indifference. He needs to be called on the carpet for this. Section222 said exactly what Kasten SHOULD HAVE said; what any exec with half a brain WOULD HAVE said.

The more owners and execs make clear by their words and deeds that baseball is just a business to them, the closer MLB comes to having its anti-trust exemption revoked. Consider yourself warned, Mr. Selig. If the Lerners don't put Kasten in line, you'd better set them all straight.

Posted by: MikeH0714 | April 7, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I usually go to 3 or 4 Nationals games a year. This year I will go to 0. Atleast Snyder and Cerrato pretended to care about their fanbase.

Posted by: jdwood84 | April 7, 2010 9:37 AM
------------------------
See that is the problem. A guy that goes to 3 to 4 games a year does not support the fanbase.

We wouldn't have been over-run by Phillies phans if the Season Ticket base was over 25,000 and I am including partial plans that include the Opening Day ticket in there too.

I just can't stand people that complain from their couch.

As a town, we can blame ourselves because long before Lerner took over, April 2006 in RFK, the stadium was fairly empty.

Everybody wants to blame StanK or others, and sure they could have made it easier but everyone that I know who wanted to go got tickets. There were plenty on StubHub. Last minute we got 2 more tickets. When I got to the stadium at 10AM the $5 line was filled with Phillies shirts. Where were the Nats fans?

-------------------------------------------

You fail to realize that the vast majority of Nationals fans only go to 3 or 4 games a year. Call them fairweather fans if you want, but some people can't be season ticket holders due to family, financial, or job constraints. My point is, Kasten further alienating the fans (whether it be season ticket holders or those who go to those 3 or 4 games) and subjecting them to vast amounts of Philly fans can only keep them away at a future date. He can only do so much if they show up to buy $5 game day seats, but to contact them to come by the busload? Come on..

Posted by: jdwood84 | April 7, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Longterm,

You strike me as someone who would let a person punch them in the face repeatedly and not punch back. Have some flippin' backbone for crying out loud.

The facts that the owernship doesn't care about us fans are piling up. Can you not see that?

From the lack of payroll and awful 100 loss teams, to the lack of PR and customer service the evidence continues to mount.

Wake up and smell the java.

Posted by: Section505203 | April 7, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I've been a 20-game package holder since Day 1 and think Kasten's response and attitude is shameful. And don't think that this attitude, if not the specific ticket-selling plan, isn't fully supported by the owners. The issue isn't whether Philadelphia fans attended the game; the issue is that Kasten deliberately sold them seats through the tour packages that were not available to the rest of us.* For baseball to be successful, it must cultivate a sense of civic identity and some degree of loyalty. However, it appears that for Kasten and his ilk, loyalty is a one-way street. Opening Day is a ritualistic experience that is totally different from anything else in professional sports; for Kasten it's merely an opportunity to increase per capital alcohol sales.

* The potential availability of the $5 seats on game day is a red herring--who does Kasten think he's fooling with that, or with the comment that anyone could put a bus tour together and get tickets--that's so blatantly preposterous that I'd guess Kasten would not think that he would be quoted on this.

Thanks, Adam, for the verbatim quotes.

Posted by: chiefwj | April 7, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

WHERE ARE TED OR MARK LERNER? You know, the owners?

Posted by: enstage | April 7, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

"My question is, apart from those held-out seats, when was the game sold out."

It was actually not sold out until AFTER those 400 day-of-game seats were sold. As they did last year for Opening Day and the Red Sox series, they also sold standing room tickets the day of the game. A friend of mine has used standing room to get into Opening Day for each of the past two years. Lots of good standing room space in the park, too - and also easy to slide into a seat once people start leaving.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 7, 2010 11:06 AM
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Exactly. The extra 2 tix I got were SRO tickets and I think were $17 each.

There seems to be this sense of entitlement for people to get tickets. The entitlement should be for the Season Ticket Holders to get a priority for as many extra Opening Tickets as they want!

The people who should be pissed are the Season Ticket Holders that pay a ton of money to go to the party and feel over-run by the wrong type of crowd.

Posted by: dmacman88 | April 7, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"Exactly. The extra 2 tix I got were SRO tickets and I think were $17 each.

There seems to be this sense of entitlement for people to get tickets. The entitlement should be for the Season Ticket Holders to get a priority for as many extra Opening Tickets as they want!

The people who should be pissed are the Season Ticket Holders that pay a ton of money to go to the party and feel over-run by the wrong type of crowd.

Posted by: dmacman88 | April 7, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse"

----------------------------------------

Call me crazy, but as a Nationals fan living in the DC area, I would feel entitled to being offered tickets before a Phillies fan living in Philly. Selling out in 7 minutes says there is atleast a small demand for these seats.

It doesn't matter how many games you go to. Even if Opening Day is the only game a particular Nats fan will go to, he still deserves a better game day experience than was offered by his teams front office. This has nothing to do with those that are season ticket holders and those that aren't.

Posted by: jdwood84 | April 7, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

You fail to realize that the vast majority of Nationals fans only go to 3 or 4 games a year. Call them fairweather fans if you want, but some people can't be season ticket holders due to family, financial, or job constraints. My point is, Kasten further alienating the fans (whether it be season ticket holders or those who go to those 3 or 4 games) and subjecting them to vast amounts of Philly fans can only keep them away at a future date. He can only do so much if they show up to buy $5 game day seats, but to contact them to come by the busload? Come on..

Posted by: jdwood84 | April 7, 2010 11:13 AM |
-------------------------

Look, I lived through this as an Orioles STH. It sucked.

Opening Day 2008 against the Braves is the way you want it every season. Sold out with your fans.

It wasn't much different last year with the Phillies fans. I don't get why everyone is complaining. It is what it is.
The fans from Philly support their team. They found the tickets. They got in line early for the $5 seats and any they could grab up at the ticket window.

The way to change it for the future is to allow STH to buy over the winter UNLIMITED seats to Opening Day or for that matter to any game. That should be the payoff to STH. That is my suggestion.

Posted by: dmacman88 | April 7, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Ugh... Stan... what a lame response. As a STH I was furious at the experience my FAMILY had. Remember families? It was lovely having my kids hear chanted profanity and see drunken fans shout "Nationals Suck!" right in their dad's face.

I'll stubhub my seats on opening day before I return to such a pathetic display. And you know what? It's times like these that make me question why I am buying season tix to begin with. I'm sure you can sell my plan to some Phillies fan, right? They'll come to all those games this year.... right Stan? Yeah... I don't think so. Next time think of your FANS instead of the Lerner's back accounts.

And Lerners... you look like fools this week. We ALL know what drove this situation: MONEY MONEY MONEY. What's the matter... family can't afford another compound in the islands? A smart business team ownership model doesn't step on the necks of their biggest supporters... especially after putting out 2 seasons of the worst quality baseball in recent history. Shame on all of you!!!

Posted by: ubermunch | April 7, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I suspect all this is NOT the final word on this topic. Stan- if the Phillies are the OD opponent next year will you sell tickets the same way? I doubt it. Now man up and admit this was a bad approach.

Posted by: thegraneys | April 7, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

What a clueless, brusque wonder. What it does make me wonder is how Atlanta thrived most of the time under his reign. He's a problem, a big problem, with helping build the Nationals into something respectable.

But thanks to Adam for pressing him, even though StanK adroitly avoided answering his questions.

The more I read, the more torqued I am with this president. Still something rotten at the core of this team.

Posted by: samantha7 | April 7, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm a half-season STH, have been since '06... I was at Opening Day. A few points regarding the endless whining on this blog:

1) Stan Kasten is an arrogant jerk. Unfortunately, everything he said is right. I was at the exhibition Saturday too, with the "Red Sox Nation". The atmosphere was decidely different. If Nats fans don't buy tickets to games, other team's fans will. And if we don't buy them, the Nationals would be STUPID not to find someone to fill those seats. The Nationals are no more to blame than Snyder was when Pittsburgh fans turned Fedex into a Steeler home field last year. I get that our teams suck... but if we don't go to the games we can't very well complain about who does. Fans vote with their feet. The other guys, right now, have better teams AND better fans.

2) Fans of ANY Philadelphia sports team are rude, classless, and belligerent. Wanna keep 'em away from DC? Buy tickets!

3) Philly Phans or not, if the TEAM ON THE FIELD had won the game, we wouldn't be having this conversation. The guy Adam interviewed wouldn't have had the "worst experience ever". And there would have been a lot of of unhappy, obnoxious, idiot Phillie fans. We'd have been laughing our butts off! All the other whining and gnashing of teeth is secondary to the fact that winning is everything. Wanna keep other fans out? WIN! Wanna shut 'em up if they do show up in our house? WIN!

4) Even though the team's been here 5 years now, it's only year 2 in the stadium. We're still recovering from the Bowden debacle. Be patient! Soon enough, Phillie fans will go back to being drunken, boorish, ignorant fans of a crappy team. And we'll have Strasburg, Storen, Zimmerman and a host of fresh young talent to lead us to many, many happy victories.

So quit whining and get behind this team!!

Posted by: outsider6 | April 7, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse


This team is a joke. From the front office all the way down to the players. Just a joke. Another terrible season and this after opening. So disgustiing.

Posted by: efdelaney | April 7, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse


This team is a joke. From the front office all the way down to the players. Just a joke. Another terrible season and this after opening. So disgustiing.

Posted by: efdelaney | April 7, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Where are the Lerners and why don't they get actively involved in answering some of these Qs? They send out their classless shill, Kasten, who takes all their hits and lashes back at fans. Ted Leonsis would have picked up the phone and called Adam personally and answered his questions directly. The Nats are dysfunctional irt to ownership and management. 'The Plan', whatever that is, can't be hidden behind anymore. They have shown their 'true colors' and it isn't pretty. Selig picked the wrong owners. Take some big lessons from Ted Leonsis on how to run a team or sell it to him.

Posted by: Sojouner | April 7, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I couldn't read all the post in this blog and others but the simple solution would be to let individual tickets be sold prior to group sales on OD only.Let STH have first dibs; partial second and individuals third. Even if they don't sell out you could still leave sections for group sales available . If they fell short of a complete sell out by 5000 seats it certainally wouldn't be as bad as this OD debacle in PR. I am replacing StanK as the villian instesd of MBarry in the Washintonian magazines annual poll of Best and Worst.

Posted by: aspenbubba | April 7, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

"All he needs to do is look to last year’s O-Day against the very same Phillies. Remember? There was no where near the nonsense that went on this past Monday. The answer to the question of ‘why not’ would be very enlightening."

There were nearly as many Phillies fans in the ballpark on Opening Day 2009 as there were in 2010. Hell, they were unrolling huge Phillies banners in the outfield last year! So why did the Phillie fanbase behave better in 2009 than 2010? Three possible reasons:

(1) 2009 was not the season opener for the Nats or Phils, just the Nats home opener, while 2010 was the true opening day for both teams. Fans get more jacked up for the first game of the season than they do for the seventh game.

(2) 2009 was cold and windy, 2010 was perfect weather. It's easier to be obnoxious when you're barechested and wearing shorts than when you're all bundled up and the beer you drink has to serve as antifreeze too.

(3) Harry Kalas died in the press box before the 2009 opener. Drunks behave better at a wake than they do otherwise.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 7, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Why couldn't Malek get the team?

Posted by: S2DU | April 7, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Call me crazy, but as a Nationals fan living in the DC area, I would feel entitled to being offered tickets before a Phillies fan living in Philly. Selling out in 7 minutes says there is atleast a small demand for these seats.

It doesn't matter how many games you go to. Even if Opening Day is the only game a particular Nats fan will go to, he still deserves a better game day experience than was offered by his teams front office. This has nothing to do with those that are season ticket holders and those that aren't.


Posted by: jdwood84 | April 7, 2010 11:34 AM |
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I don't agree with the Group Sales route until the STH which is the foundation of every team is satisfied.

The best way if you can't buy a partial season plan is to get in with a group share deal. We have 3 in our group. As most people can't make 81 games and afford 81 games the share deal works great.

To me, anyone that has a full-season or partial-season plan deserves a priority.

If you bought even 4 games as you say you do then you could have gone on the FLEX PLAN which would have allowed you to have chosen Opening Day plus they gave you 1 game free!

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/ticketing/flex_plans.jsp

Posted by: dmacman88 | April 7, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I am a Nats fan living in Philly, so I believe I have a little bit of insight on this story that is unique. I think part of what magnified the attendance of Phillies fans is that it's near impossible to get Phillies tix at Citizens Bank right now. My wife and I bought tix for 3 games this year about a month ago - one in April, one in June, and one in September. Those games have since sold out. I'm not justifying a miserable experience for Nats fans in our own stadium, but I think this problem is a lot worse because Philly fans are desperate to see their team any way they can and to do that in Philly is really difficult. If they want good seats to a Phillies game, they are better off going to DC to do it. So I think people need to see the Philly fan's side of it, which is "our fans are so ravenous that you can't get seats in our own ballpark for the entire year, so lets go somehwhere where we can see them".

I went to a Phillies/Pirates exhibition in Philly last week. I called ahead of time and purchased tix. Guess what was available? The very last row only.

Kasten's view is harsh, but he's also on point. The team stinks and no one cares to see them. It was true of the Phillies a few years ago when I first moved here. I could show up and get any seat I wanted the day of.

Now I'm not saying it's okay for the Nats to be calling up Phillies groups to buy tix for Opening Day, but I just think there's some other stuff at play here...

Posted by: drobins7 | April 7, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm also not endorsing Phillies' fans' behavior. It's like they have a reputation for being obnoxious, and that's why they are being obnoxious now. Like it's a rite of passage or something. It's really really dumb.

Posted by: drobins7 | April 7, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

For those that have brought up the Camden Yards comparison with visiting Yankee and Red Sox fans (including a mention by Adam in this morning’s piece), there is zero, zilch, nada in common with what happened on Monday at Nats Park. No way.

Yes, I’ve been to dozens of Yankee and Red Sox games at OPACYs since 1992 (including playoff series in ‘96 and ’97 with NYY) and have found their fans to be passionate and loud but nothing like the louts who invaded here Monday. If you were there on Monday you know what everyone is talking about. No comparison.

Yeah, in both situations the sheer number of visiting fans is high – 12K, 15K, 20K, whatever. But the similarity ends there.

Apples and oranges.

Posted by: gonatsgo1 | April 7, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I have been to every opening day since 2005. This was, by far, the worst experience...and it wasn't because of all the Phillies fans. The Secret Service/DC Police screwed everyone parking in a nearby lot by closing off access to lots N, B and C at 11:30am. Not sure the Nats could have helped on this one, but it really sucked trying to find a place to put my car. The vending in the park is so suspect. They are clearly configured to handle around 20K fans and no more.

Kasten is arrogant. Make no mistake. But his focus should be on improving the experience for anyone who buys a ticket both in terms of improving the on-field product and park experience.

I have so many issues with the manager and his handling of the game, and the general manager for some of the personnel (I mean Miguel Batista is a swing man no one else wanted and for good reason). Drafting Detwiler over Heywood, etc. etc.

Once this team starts winning there will be far fewer P hats in the stands. I will not stop going to games, but I will stop paying for parking and stop buying anything at the park.

Posted by: weissa1 | April 7, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm a half-season STH, have been since '06... I was at Opening Day. A few points regarding the endless whining on this blog:

1) Stan Kasten is an arrogant jerk. Unfortunately, everything he said is right. I was at the exhibition Saturday too, with the "Red Sox Nation". The atmosphere was decidely different. If Nats fans don't buy tickets to games, other team's fans will. And if we don't buy them, the Nationals would be STUPID not to find someone to fill those seats. The Nationals are no more to blame than Snyder was when Pittsburgh fans turned Fedex into a Steeler home field last year. I get that our teams suck... but if we don't go to the games we can't very well complain about who does. Fans vote with their feet. The other guys, right now, have better teams AND better fans.

2) Fans of ANY Philadelphia sports team are rude, classless, and belligerent. Wanna keep 'em away from DC? Buy tickets!

3) Philly Phans or not, if the TEAM ON THE FIELD had won the game, we wouldn't be having this conversation. The guy Adam interviewed wouldn't have had the "worst experience ever". And there would have been a lot of of unhappy, obnoxious, idiot Phillie fans. We'd have been laughing our butts off! All the other whining and gnashing of teeth is secondary to the fact that winning is everything. Wanna keep other fans out? WIN! Wanna shut 'em up if they do show up in our house? WIN!

4) Even though the team's been here 5 years now, it's only year 2 in the stadium. We're still recovering from the Bowden debacle. Be patient! Soon enough, Phillie fans will go back to being drunken, boorish, ignorant fans of a crappy team. And we'll have Strasburg, Storen, Zimmerman and a host of fresh young talent to lead us to many, many happy victories.

So quit whining and get behind this team!!


Posted by: outsider6 | April 7, 2010 11:43 AM |
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Exactly. Point #2 is not entirely true. If Philly fans are few in number and dispersed they will keep their mouths shut. Bring them in by the thousands and give them beer on a bus and you got the makings of a typical Bad Citizens Bank crowd. Can you imagine what it would have been like if they had lost the game?

Posted by: dmacman88 | April 7, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

While we’re at it –

The concessions situation at Nats Park has yet to improve. Maybe some marginal changes, but overall they simply cannot handle crowds. As several others have pointed out, anytime attendance is over – pick your number – they are flummoxed. I’m thinking the break point is about 25K but that’s really irrelevant. Various stands run out food (hot dog buns), supplies (napkins), money to make change, water, beer, whatever. The Ben’s Chili Bowls, which are victims of their own success, sometimes are so disorganized that I have seen 10-15 fans waiting in line just leave en masse. NO SALE. Not picking on them but that’s one example I witnessed on Monday.

And you know what? This has been going on since RFK. And they’ve changed vendors and other providers, what, 3 times in 6 years?

C’mon Stan & Co. Is this any way to run a ball club?

Posted by: gonatsgo1 | April 7, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Stan Kasten has revealed himself to be either (a) extremely arrogant or (b) utterly clueless in the way he responded to those email questions. I was getting angry just reading his responses. Clearly, Kasten doesn't care about the experience and/or concerns of the Nats' own loyal fan base.

Posted by: DCHorseplayer | April 7, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a baseball fan and haven't been to a Nats game, but here's a thought. If the Nats were interested in building a long-term fan base so that people show up even for the games against cruddy, far-away teams, it would be in their interest to attract new fans on big events like opening day. In other words, sell few, if any, group packages on opening day and open up the number of individual seats for sale.

Sure, some of those will be fans of opposing teams or 'tourists' types who won't come back. But on opening day, the team has the opportunity to attract *new fans*--people who aren't yet interested in buying ticket packages but are curious enough to come check out opening day and see what the fuss is about. Opening day gets lots of publicity and is more likely to draw new people compared to some random game against the Reds in the middle of August.

That's assuming, of course, that the Nats are interested in building a true fan base rather than making a quick buck.

Posted by: acoberst1 | April 7, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

No, they'll still be drunken, boorish, ignorant fans of a winning team. And "whining" isn't it - Nats fans who put up with Monday's indignities have every right to WHINE, COMPLAIN, SPEAK about how Opening Day StunK.

(I'll give props to the Nats fan who lives in Philly who said it's more than just bad sales management, though. That's another perspective, how the Phillies are doing so well so their games are sold out.)

Boorish behavior doesn't stop here. A couple years ago, maybe the 07-08 football season, the Redskins made it into the playoffs. I remember reading how Skins fans who went to that playoff game in Seattle were greeted by Seahawks fans taunting them about Sean Taylor's death.

Posted by: samantha7 | April 7, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

..as one of the few Nats fans that sat in the right field section full of philly's fans....I have to say I was annoyed. But even more annoying was the Nats fan that sat next to me and napped! Not only did he NOT clap for the players as they were announced - he didn't even clap when we scored?!

I'll be back to more games this year cuz I'm a baseball fan. but would agree with comments that our fan base needs a little nurturing.

Posted by: AmyK318 | April 7, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Enough. I was at the Opener because I perservered and acquired a single seat ticket in the lower deck near behind the Nats dugout. Most people sitting near me were Nats fans and showed entusiasm during the few times the home team deserved cheering. I do not begrudge the Philly fans ANYTHING. They are long-suffering sports fans who finally have something to cheer about. They want to come to DC and spend money here, I'm all for it. If I was in a visitors park surrounded by my own fans, I'd be just as obnoxious (and proud) as they were. Stop worrying about hurt feelings. Go to Nats games, root for the home team, and be THANKFUL we HAVE a home team. That's my plan! GO NATS!

Posted by: DCNative611 | April 7, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Enough. I was at the Opener because I perservered and acquired a single seat ticket in the lower deck near behind the Nats dugout. Most people sitting near me were Nats fans and showed entusiasm during the few times the home team deserved cheering. I do not begrudge the Philly fans ANYTHING. They are long-suffering sports fans who finally have something to cheer about. They want to come to DC and spend money here, I'm all for it. If I was in a visitors park surrounded by my own fans, I'd be just as obnoxious (and proud) as they were. Stop worrying about hurt feelings. Go to Nats games, root for the home team, and be THANKFUL we HAVE a home team. That's my plan! GO NATS!

Posted by: DCNative611 | April 7, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

the only problem i see with this whole scenario is the management isn't putting the best team on the field because of financial reasons. i wasn't at the game so i won't speak of bad fan behavior. business being what it is, you have to put your best foot forward to attract customers. being in the position to showcase your best players is how to do that, especially if things have been rocky in recent history. you supposedly have the next coming of walter johnson playing minor league ball because you don't want him arbitration eligible until a certain date for financial reasons. maybe that's prudent, but it's bad if you want people to come to the stadium to see the team. fans in the seats arn't all you count on to make money, t.v. makes up a large portion of that. t.v. money is based on advertisers money. advertisers money is based on viewership numbers. people will watch on t.v. with those young guns, which will get more people interested in coming out to the park. it's a proven cycle. trying to save money by holding players back isn't good. listen now as everyone says "not again". as a business sometime you have to take a loss for future success. (see grand opening sales and the like) right now the nat's need a spark to start the season off right and he's sitting in the minor leagues to save money. may not be a good move from a business perspective after all.

Posted by: joerutgens72 | April 7, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

The synonym for StanK is half truth and deception.

Posted by: smirkman | April 7, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Samantha,

The Phillies window for being a top-flight winning team will close soon. Their young talent will soon be hitting the open market and they can't afford to keep 'em all. And what goes around....

As for the whining, I agree there's still a lot of work to do for the Nats -- on the field and off. But on Monday I sat in a beautiful ball park on a beautiful day with a cold beer (ok, several!). I saw the President throw out the first pitch, thus continuing a long-held tradition that clearly and undeniably reaffirms that baseball is our national pastime (you don't see the Chief of State doing the coin flip at an NFL game or handling tip-off duties for the NBA!!). All in all, a very good day, despite the unfortunate but predictable classlessness of the Phillie phans.

On a side note, I really don't get the booing of the President. I didn't vote for the guy and I'm strongly against most of his actions in office thus far. But the man who strode to the mound in the Nationals jacket is the American president. And he was there to honor OUR game... the greatest game ever invented. Politics are left in the locker room. The leader of the free world kicked off another baseball season in our capitol. Democrat, Republican, or independent -- you'd think the one common denominator in the park that day was a love for the game. Even if he throws like a girl, he should be cheered by EVERY baseball fan!

Posted by: outsider6 | April 7, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Nice. Read Adam's article in today's paper and online about this very issue. About 1/4 in, a Phillies fan who organizes bus trips mentions how a Nationals account executive called him over the winter to see if he wanted to get tickets to his favorite team. He also says how dealing with Mets ticket office personnel was too "annoying". Great. We reached out to them. Maybe good in a business sense, but if all Nationals' upper management is about is the business, we're in for many more years of this nonsense. Or however long the team stays around and becomes another home for other teams' fans.

Posted by: samantha7 | April 7, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Here's an exercise. I called the Nats and went through my ticket plan and asked about specific games in the future (i.e. Phillies) and if there were group sales in my area. They were very cordial...

Posted by: AustinKearnsOutMachine | April 7, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Dear Stan:

You have 81 home games to sell. Philly fans can only help you sell 9. NY fans, another 9. Cubs fans, 4, maybe? Who's buying the other 59?

It won't be me. I'm telling you to go to the NY and Philly and Cubs fans you love so much. They didn't build your stadium (that the team skipped on paying rent for year one), but I guess you don't care about that anymore.

PS Your Opening Day didn't sell out until game day because you put the worst team this side of Pittsburgh on the field. Who's fault is that?

Posted by: gbooksdc | April 7, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

oh my god, enough already. do you realize people in Philadelphia are laughing at you? my buddy from philly goes to georgetown and he got to that $5 ticket window at 8AM. Which was two hours after we started driving down from philly, even though we had no idea if we'd even get tickets.

but you know what? it was a beautiful day and we all took off work and we were going to have a great time in DC whether we had tickets or not. But luckily for us, my friend had no trouble getting the 4 tickets we needed and he told me the ENTIRE line was phillies fan.

where do you get off complaining about your ownership selling tickets elsewhere, when the 400 seats they reserved for you to buy cheap on game day went ENTIRELY to phillies fans.

WE DROVE FOUR HOURS to beat you guys to line that was in your own backyard on opening day.

stop whining, you may have a terrible team, but at least they show up and work hard, you don't even deserve them your fanbase is so pathetic

Posted by: pennquakers | April 7, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

oh my god, enough already. do you realize people in Philadelphia are laughing at you? my buddy from philly goes to georgetown and he got to that $5 ticket window at 8AM. Which was two hours after we started driving down from philly, even though we had no idea if we'd even get tickets.

but you know what? it was a beautiful day and we all took off work and we were going to have a great time in DC whether we had tickets or not. But luckily for us, my friend had no trouble getting the 4 tickets we needed and he told me the ENTIRE line was phillies fan.

where do you get off complaining about your ownership selling tickets elsewhere, when the 400 seats they reserved for you to buy cheap on game day went ENTIRELY to phillies fans.

WE DROVE FOUR HOURS to beat you guys to line that was in your own backyard on opening day.

stop whining, you may have a terrible team, but at least they show up and work hard, you don't even deserve them your fanbase is so pathetic

Posted by: pennquakers | April 7, 2010 12:52 PM |
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THERE YOU GO! THE MAN IS TELLING THE TRUTH. I had to go to Will Call to get some tickets. There was a long line that started at 5AM for the $5 tickets. There were a few Nats fans but most were Phillies fans.

So my question is, what is wrong with the people in this town that couldn't get into the line early. There was 400 easy tickets for the taking. $5 each!!!!!!!!

Also, the FLEX PLAN, buy 4 games and get 1 free and 1 of the games was Opening Day. It doesn't get any easier than that.

This team has made it so simple to get tickets. It used to be that you would have to buy a 10 game plan at the minimum for a shot at Opening Day. Now you can get it for a 4 game plan.

Again, this feeling of entitlement is ridiculous.

Posted by: dmacman88 | April 7, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

The amount of feigned outrage here is ridiculous. Anyone who goes to Nats games regularly knows that the visiting fans outnumber the home fans in NL East matchups against the Phillies and Mets. It is naive, at best, to expect that to be different on Opening Day, which really is just one of 81 home games in a long season. Fans also know that this ballpark will be empty in a couple of months, so the front office has to get as much revenue as they possibly can now. They'rejust doing their jobs to ensure that they increase their revenue from season ticket sales, and they have sent fans a barrage of emails explaining how to get opening day tickets. This isn't a charity, guys. I preferred it when the Nats' players were the laughing stock, rather than their fans.

Posted by: bv2112 | April 7, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

DCnative611 pretty much sums it up for me. With all the whining & crying I have read about in regards to Philly fans taking over the stadium I can't wait to see how many Nats fans will be joining me at the stadium tonight. Unfortunately, I am sure we already know the answer to that question. As for the game yesterday I had a great time and I was sitting in the middle of about 400 Phillies fans. There was funny bantor back & forth but they were not mean or threatening. At no point during the game did I fear for my safety. They did not Boo Zimmerman although they did participate in the sucks chant. If U have been to any hockey games this is a common occurrence. I didn't think it was that offensive but the volume of it in the stadium was overwhelming. When the guy next to my son jumped out of his seat to celebrate Ryan Howards home run he dropped his hot dog with mustard on my sons white Nats shirt. After apologizing numerous times he insisted on purchasing a new shirt for my son. Instead of buying him a t-shirt he actually bought him a Nats jersey. I couldn't believe it. My son was overjoyed & quickly donned his new jersey. My son had such fun with the group of Phils fans around us that the Phils fans actually invited us to the Phils/Nats game at Citizens Bank Park on April 12th. All of my friends & family told me not to believe it since it's the Phils home opener and has been sold out for weeks. As promised, I rec'd an email this morning with 2 E-tickets to the game. I know the my experience is definitely not the norm. I'm not going to trash a fanbase and their city for coming out to support their team. I mean really, who are we to trash another city. Did U not see the abadoned buildings on the way to the stadium covered in graffiti? I am more upset by the disrespect the President showed the Nats by wearing his White Sox hat than the fan behavior. If we want to stop the takeover of visiting fans then we need to show up at the games and support the team. I hope Nats fans grow a fire inside them, a passion, if they truly believe in the comments they have posted. Passion for a team can fuel a fan base & help it grow. We have a lot of growing to do.

Posted by: jbon | April 7, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

DCnative611 pretty much sums it up for me. With all the whining & crying I have read about in regards to Philly fans taking over the stadium I can't wait to see how many Nats fans will be joining me at the stadium tonight. Unfortunately, I am sure we already know the answer to that question. As for the game yesterday I had a great time and I was sitting in the middle of about 400 Phillies fans. There was funny bantor back & forth but they were not mean or threatening. At no point during the game did I fear for my safety. They did not Boo Zimmerman although they did participate in the sucks chant. If U have been to any hockey games this is a common occurrence. I didn't think it was that offensive but the volume of it in the stadium was overwhelming. When the guy next to my son jumped out of his seat to celebrate Ryan Howards home run he dropped his hot dog with mustard on my sons white Nats shirt. After apologizing numerous times he insisted on purchasing a new shirt for my son. Instead of buying him a t-shirt he actually bought him a Nats jersey. I couldn't believe it. My son was overjoyed & quickly donned his new jersey. My son had such fun with the group of Phils fans around us that the Phils fans actually invited us to the Phils/Nats game at Citizens Bank Park on April 12th. All of my friends & family told me not to believe it since it's the Phils home opener and has been sold out for weeks. As promised, I rec'd an email this morning with 2 E-tickets to the game. I know the my experience is definitely not the norm. I'm not going to trash a fanbase and their city for coming out to support their team. I mean really, who are we to trash another city. Did U not see the abadoned buildings on the way to the stadium covered in graffiti? I am more upset by the disrespect the President showed the Nats by wearing his White Sox hat than the fan behavior. If we want to stop the takeover of visiting fans then we need to show up at the games and support the team. I hope Nats fans grow a fire inside them, a passion, if they truly believe in the comments they have posted. Passion for a team can fuel a fan base & help it grow. We have a lot of growing to do.

Posted by: jbon | April 7, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

DCnative611 pretty much sums it up for me. With all the whining & crying I have read about in regards to Philly fans taking over the stadium I can't wait to see how many Nats fans will be joining me at the stadium tonight. Unfortunately, I am sure we already know the answer to that question. As for the game yesterday I had a great time and I was sitting in the middle of about 400 Phillies fans. There was funny bantor back & forth but they were not mean or threatening. At no point during the game did I fear for my safety. They did not Boo Zimmerman although they did participate in the sucks chant. If U have been to any hockey games this is a common occurrence. I didn't think it was that offensive but the volume of it in the stadium was overwhelming. When the guy next to my son jumped out of his seat to celebrate Ryan Howards home run he dropped his hot dog with mustard on my sons white Nats shirt. After apologizing numerous times he insisted on purchasing a new shirt for my son. Instead of buying him a t-shirt he actually bought him a Nats jersey. I couldn't believe it. My son was overjoyed & quickly donned his new jersey. My son had such fun with the group of Phils fans around us that the Phils fans actually invited us to the Phils/Nats game at Citizens Bank Park on April 12th. All of my friends & family told me not to believe it since it's the Phils home opener and has been sold out for weeks. As promised, I rec'd an email this morning with 2 E-tickets to the game. I know the my experience is definitely not the norm. I'm not going to trash a fanbase and their city for coming out to support their team. I mean really, who are we to trash another city. Did U not see the abadoned buildings on the way to the stadium covered in graffiti? I am more upset by the disrespect the President showed the Nats by wearing his White Sox hat than the fan behavior. If we want to stop the takeover of visiting fans then we need to show up at the games and support the team. I hope Nats fans grow a fire inside them, a passion, if they truly believe in the comments they have posted. Passion for a team can fuel a fan base & help it grow. We have a lot of growing to do.

Posted by: jbon | April 7, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

DCnative611 pretty much sums it up for me. With all the whining & crying I have read about in regards to Philly fans taking over the stadium I can't wait to see how many Nats fans will be joining me at the stadium tonight. Unfortunately, I am sure we already know the answer to that question. As for the game yesterday I had a great time and I was sitting in the middle of about 400 Phillies fans. There was funny bantor back & forth but they were not mean or threatening. At no point during the game did I fear for my safety. They did not Boo Zimmerman although they did participate in the sucks chant. If U have been to any hockey games this is a common occurrence. I didn't think it was that offensive but the volume of it in the stadium was overwhelming. When the guy next to my son jumped out of his seat to celebrate Ryan Howards home run he dropped his hot dog with mustard on my sons white Nats shirt. After apologizing numerous times he insisted on purchasing a new shirt for my son. Instead of buying him a t-shirt he actually bought him a Nats jersey. I couldn't believe it. My son was overjoyed & quickly donned his new jersey. My son had such fun with the group of Phils fans around us that the Phils fans actually invited us to the Phils/Nats game at Citizens Bank Park on April 12th. All of my friends & family told me not to believe it since it's the Phils home opener and has been sold out for weeks. As promised, I rec'd an email this morning with 2 E-tickets to the game. I know the my experience is definitely not the norm. I'm not going to trash a fanbase and their city for coming out to support their team. I mean really, who are we to trash another city. Did U not see the abadoned buildings on the way to the stadium covered in graffiti? I am more upset by the disrespect the President showed the Nats by wearing his White Sox hat than the fan behavior. If we want to stop the takeover of visiting fans then we need to show up at the games and support the team. I hope Nats fans grow a fire inside them, a passion, if they truly believe in the comments they have posted. Passion for a team can fuel a fan base & help it grow. We have a lot of growing to do.

Posted by: jbon | April 7, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Phils fan and I desperately want to go to Opening Day in Philly next week but tickets are impossible to get (except at a high markup).
So I did the next best thing, I got tickets to the Season Opener in DC at face value. Halladay on the bump, sun shining bright.
I had a great time, I'll be back for more Phils games in DC. It's only a short 3 hour shot down 95. Easy in, easy out.
Nats fans, just start buying tickets. Every ticket you buy is one less Phils (or Mets, etc.) fan in the stands.

Posted by: seraphina2 | April 7, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Blech. Go Twins.

Go to hell, Katen.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 7, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

As one who remembers seeing Roger Wolff pitch the opener in 1946 (my first), and seeing the rookie Mickey Mantle in right field for the Yankees in the 1951 opener, I don't remember anyone other than hometown fans in the stands. We didn't have a good team then either, but we had a lot of dedicated fans who longed for eventual success. We sat in the bleachers at Griffith Stadium for $.90, we listened to Arch McDonald on the radio broadcasts, we read Shirley Povich's and Bob Addie's comments and we never gave up.
I saw all those Philly fans on Monday. They were pretty obnoxious. I longed for the good old days.

Posted by: jackalmac | April 7, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Unreal!!! Well, not! Same old stuff: lousy owners and lousy management makes for a lousy team. We deserve better. Too bad fans can't fire owners.

Posted by: mcjr | April 7, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I've never had less fun at a sporting event in my life. It's one thing to market to an opposing fanbase. It's another thing to market to the most obnoxious fanbase in sports. And it's an entirely different thing to market to them before tickets have gone on sale to the public. They sold out in 8 minutes! So it isn't as if you needed to worry about selling the game out. It was soldout last year, and less than half of the fans were Philly fans.

And Kasten loses all credibility when he tries to use the $5 tickets as a crutch. So what if there were 500 nosebleed tickets left? The fact remains that the rest of the stadium was sold out almost instantly because of your act of selling Nats fans up the river.I've already bought a 5 game package, and I'm considering selling the rest of them.

From top to bottom it's clear that the people running this franchise are either a.)inept, b.)don't care about building a loyal fanbase or c.)both. From this debacle to the Natinals episode to the fact that they can't sync up two clocks, this team can't get the big things or the small things correct. Don't even get me started on the fact that they used the Capitol view to sell season tickets then throw a tent on top of the one garage that would block a bunch of those views. The Natinals are EASILY the worst run franchise in all of baseball with only the Clippers competing for that honor in American sports.

Posted by: Eroq95 | April 7, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

What do you expect from the Hebrew Nationals.

Posted by: urallimbeciles | April 7, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Hey bopper, that Jersey Shore cast is from NYC. Of course if we want to point fingers, you don't need to point beyond Washington. Need a reminder of the Cap fans throwing cups onto the ice during a Jeff Carter interview after the game 7 loss in '08?

I think some egg just met your own forehead, hypocrite.

Posted by: isotla | April 7, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Whenever StanK or Mark Lerner is begging for ticket buyers in the summer of a 90 loss season, you know what my answer will be? "Go ask the Philly fans."

This, from someone who went to MTL to see the last Expos game AND went to PHL to see the first Nats game AND had 4 1/2 season tickets year one. I can't imagine what more they could have to alienate someone who followed Washington baseball since the 60s Senators. They can win 10 games, they can win 100, they are dead to me.

Posted by: gbooksdc | April 7, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Each year the team loses more games, gets more hopeless. Then, finally the Lerners and Kastan clean house a little, spend a lot of money on a long shot (Strasburg) and a bit more money to obtain solid veterans, including one spectatacular one (Pudge), who are too few in number to make enough of a difference (witness: 11-1 on Opening Day) and nonetheless past their peak. Meanwhile, since opening day, customer service has continually declined, reaching a nadir on Monday for season ticket holders, not to mention the lucky few 400 who bought the tix in 7 minutes (seems like pretty steep demand to me - they probably could have sold 4,000 tix in 2 hours at that rate). On the bright side, putting the nats fans in the back rows behind the Philly fans saved them from being hit by Philly fan debris. In all seriousness, only the team winning consistently, and I mean at least 50%of all the games between Monday and the World Series, only that will convince me that it's worth it to (1) watch them on TV, (2) listen to the game on the radio, (3) go to a game and (4) be treated by the owners and management with massive disrespect for my money, time, and desire to root for the home team. I have the utmost respect for Riggleman and the guys on the field. They and their fans, and the DC Government (which basically gave the ballpark to the owners for free) deserve vastly better performance from the Lerners and Kastan.

Posted by: prq98 | April 7, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Each year the team loses more games, gets more hopeless. Then, finally the Lerners and Kastan clean house a little, spend a lot of money on a long shot (Strasburg) and a bit more money to obtain solid veterans, including one spectatacular one (Pudge), who are too few in number to make enough of a difference (witness: 11-1 on Opening Day) and nonetheless past their peak. Meanwhile, since opening day, customer service has continually declined, reaching a nadir on Monday for season ticket holders, not to mention the lucky few 400 who bought the tix in 7 minutes (seems like pretty steep demand to me - they probably could have sold 4,000 tix in 2 hours at that rate). On the bright side, putting the nats fans in the back rows behind the Philly fans saved them from being hit by Philly fan debris. In all seriousness, only the team winning consistently, and I mean at least 50%of all the games between Monday and the World Series, only that will convince me that it's worth it to (1) watch them on TV, (2) listen to the game on the radio, (3) go to a game and (4) be treated by the owners and management with massive disrespect for my money, time, and desire to root for the home team. I have the utmost respect for Riggleman and the guys on the field. They and their fans, and the DC Government (which basically gave the ballpark to the owners for free) deserve vastly better performance from the Lerners and Kastan.

Posted by: prq98 | April 7, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Holding back 400 tickets out of 41,000 so you can say you sold out the game only at the last minute is a joke. Buying tickets to a Nats game is not fan friendly. Remember, they charge you to print your ticket on your computer with your ink to save them money. What a joke of a ticket operation.

Posted by: interactingdc | April 7, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I was with a group of Phillies fans on Monday. Just to put it in perspective, no one contacted us. When we realized that the Phillies opening day was in DC and not home, we decided to put together a group to get tickets, as did many other Phillies fans. We contacted the group department and got no special treatment when we said we were coming from Philadelphia. Basically, we were treated the same as a group from DC, but none of them bothered to call. Perhaps next year, the management should update their group policy, but the Nats "fans" should also get off their lazy butts and get their own tickets instead of complaining when the other teams fans were more proactive.

Because if you had, the Phillies fans booing and screaming would've been drowned out by the dominating Nats fans. And you would have nothing to complain about today. Well, other than how your team is playing.

Posted by: Philsfan | April 7, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

As a Phillies fan, I've suffered at many Mets/Phils games in Philly where the Mets fans outnumbered the Phils fans in our own park. I feel your pain. I do, I really do. But the heart of that matter was that the Phillies weren't doing well at that time, and the Mets were doing well. The argument then was if the Phillies fans had cared, there wouldn't have been any tickets for the Mets fans to buy. Same is true with the Nats/Phils game on Monday. As the Phils fans have seen in recent years, success fills the seats. Once the Nats improve, they will fill their own seats, just like the Phillies are doing at their park...and there are a lot less Mets fans in Philly!

Posted by: Acadia3 | April 7, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Have to second Acadia3's comments...it is true that winning clears out the opposing teams' fans.

An important comments: every single DC-area fan is disingenuous if they say they were "shut out" from Opening Day.

I simply signed up for the Nationals e-mail newsletter, and received a Nationals Insider code in early February. When the insider sale began one day in February, I was ready to purchase my two tickets to the game. Any human being can sign up for the newsletter, obtain the insider passwords, and buy tickets ahead of the general sale. Nats fans simply didn't do this.

May I suggest that it is the relative inexperience of the DC-area fan that may have led to confusion this Monday?

My nine year-old son enjoyed the game immensely from the section directly behind the Nationals dugout, and I would say that only 25% of the fans in our sections were Phillies supporters. Most of the Phillies fans were not at field level; they were in the outfield and upper tiers.

After a century of futility, Philly fans have been remarkably restrained in their behavior -- I have vivid accounts of Red Sox and White Sox fans who were much more boorish and rude in the wake of their respective WS wins. Philly fans have "grown up", so to speak. The PhilliesNation caravan is evidence of that.

Posted by: bmiz | April 7, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Since this team moved I have been to approximately 10-20 games a year with and without a season ticket plan. I listen to the remaining 142 - 152 games on radio or watch them on TV. I have been to every Opening Day. I have never been in as angering and depressing an environment as what my wife and I endured on Monday. I don't care if opposing fans chant "Let's go [insert team name here]!". If they support their team vocally but in a way that doesn't ruin the game for everyone else, then go ahead and get as loud as they want. What I do care about are the following things I witnessed Phillies fans doing:
1. Slapping a kid 7-8 years old wearing a Nats jersey on his forehead while walking in the area near the Nats store on the lower concourse behind the Diamond Club.
2. Phillies fans starting a classy "Yankees suck!" chant in the middle innings.
3. A Phillies fan held up a Yankees sign while his "angry" friends pretended to rip apart the sign. This led to a 2 minute long chant of a-hole by the entire outfield section including some Nats fans (not pretending we're perfect either). Number of people ejected for unruly behavior for this event: 0.
4. 2 Phillies fans smoking in the stairwell over by Five Guys in the third inning. They were polite enough to tell every Nats fan using that stairwell that Nationals suck a** and f*** the Nationals. When my wife and I informed the security guard at the bottom of the stairwell we were told to keep moving and not use the stairwell.

Stay classy Nationals staff and Phillies fan. And Stan Kasten's response to all of this was pretty much makes me want to ask for a refund on my ticket package. What a nice way to encompass Marge Schott and Dan Snyder together in short and rude responses.

Posted by: dcdiesel82 | April 7, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that Phillies Nation guy has no clue. His myopic self actually said that "Phillies fans care and we fill stadiums both home and away." Are these the same amazing fans who drew 22K for a 2nd place team in 2001 and averaged in the 18K-22K range leading up to their new place opening? Even their 2006 2nd place team and 2007 1st place squad in the new place drew 32K and 33K, well short of selling out. Anyone can draw on a team filled with proven All-Stars, a World Series win and two pennants in a row. Let the team get banged up and stumble, and we'll see how amazing their fickle fan base is.

Posted by: one2 | April 8, 2010 2:36 AM | Report abuse

Kasten is probably worried for his job, and rightly so. He should know what to expect from Philly fans who are famous for Booing even Santa Claus.

But Mr.Selig and the schedule maker are the real villains here... It should have been obvious that NL Champion Philly needed to have their home opener on OD or somewhere too far for this kind of fiasco. The Nats front office just took full advantage of the Commissioners office mistake to make cash. They were too short sided to realize that they were going to sell out because they thought they were pulling a fast one - probably never dawned on them.

the silver lining is....at least you have other options. Down in the south its Braves or an eight hour drive to the next park! They aint too thrilled with fans of visiting teams neither, unless they have already been knocked out of the race and Braves fans have stopped coming.

lastly, must be nice for Philly fans to get two opening days. Maybe when the Nationals do finally get that great team stan says is coming the Phillies will invite them to Philly on OD to return the favor!

Posted by: southernguy | April 8, 2010 4:17 AM | Report abuse

The home team fans are to blame!

I was able to buy Nationals season tickets in a very good location for a fraction of the cost of my Phillies season tickets. I plan on attending 12+ games this season in addition to the Nats/Phillies games. The fact that those season tickets are avail speaks volumes about the fan base in DC. In Philly you can't even purchase a SUnday package anymore because everything is sold out.
You can't blame the Nats front office for selling me aor anyone else tickets because that is their job, SELLING TICKETS! So stop crying and buy tickets. And for the record when I visit DC I will be spending money in your city at your ballpark. Oh yeah, and when they are not playing the Phillies I will be cheering for the Nats.

Posted by: southjerz | April 8, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Hey Kasten..
For years,I've had a partial season ticket plan with the Orioles. The Yankee & Red Sox fans flood Camden Yards and are so obnoxious, that I eat the tickets rather than go to the games. I go to the games for fun and loud fans rooting for the visiting team isn't my idea of fun.
rjoseph1

Posted by: rjoseph1 | April 8, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

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