Surely by now you have heard that the Nationals are doing a special pre-sale for the May 4-6 series vs the Phillies. This deal gives consumers with a DC, VA, or MD credit card the opportunity to purchase tickets for the series a month in advance to the general public. The window is part of a wider campaign to "Take Back the Park" from the Phillies fans that routinely travel down from Philly in charter buses to essentially put lots of money into the Nationals coffers.
Now, I have several thoughts on this whole thing:
1. I have met several knowledgeable Phillies fans in my years of Nats baseball (and some not so intelligent ones as well), and I always enjoy having a few of them in the park - just a few.
2. If you check out film of previous Nats' Park Phillies games, you will see drunk Phillies fans in the 100s section - unavoidable. Think about that. Those tickets are not cheap, nor are the $8 Bud Lights they guzzle down. All that money is going to pay the Nats' salaries.
3. I don't think that Nats fans are all of a sudden going to come out of the woodwork and buy tickets for this specific series, if you do think so then you are quite naive, because it takes winning. I thought all along that this would probably just embolden Phillies fans to buy more tickets (which, if you remember bullet 2, is more money for the Nats).
That leads us to today, when one of PA's two US Senator's decided that this would be a good time to use his considerable clout to write a strongly worded letter to Ted Lerner and Bud Selig. The illustrious Bob Casey apparently thinks that pre-sales deny everyone the opportunity to buy tickets. Oh by the way, as of this writing there are over 5,000 tickets available solely on StubHub - which doesn't engage in such "unfair" practices, in Sen. Casey's words.
I'm not going to knock the guy for wasting his time when there are obviously more important issues for a US Senator to deal with, but c'mon man. Really? You, and all of Philadelphia, took the bait? Wow. I expected more from you.
This was obviously an attempt by the Nationals to drum up a little bit more of a rivalry between the two clubs; and a brilliant one at that, because it clearly worked. Those Nats fans that bought tickets to "Take Back the Park" obviously harbor some resentment towards Phillies fans. There will be Phillies fans that feel slighted by the Nats for their ticket practices that will buy tickets in droves (once again, money for the Nats). Should create a fun atmosphere in the park for the three game set.
Most reaction I saw on Phillies blogs and in response to Nats blogs claimed that the Nationals "team sucked so bad" they had to resort to such underhanded tactics. I don't recall anyone bringing up the fact that the Nationals won the season series 10-8 last year, including 5-4 at Citizens Bank Ballpark - or Nats Park North.
There is an unwritten code on blogs; don't feed the trolls. Meaning, when someone comments something so absurd on a post just leave them alone and don't acknowledge their presence. Phillies fans (and a US Senator) just fed the troll and the Nationals got exactly what they wanted.