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Thursday, May 03, 2012

Van Riper: Bryce Harper Shines, D.C. Fans Yawn

All while pandiculating their lead in the NL East!

After enduring so many struggles since moving to D.C.’s RFK Stadium in 2005, the Nationals would seem to finally be where they want to be. A beautiful ballpark, highly touted young phenoms in Harper and pitcher Stephen Strasburg, and a 15-9 start to the 2012 season that’s got them in first place. Owner Ted Lerner has also shown fans he’s willing to spend on players, supplementing the young studs with eight-figure veterans like pitcher Edwin Jackson and outfielder Jayson Werth.

And yet, fans in the Capital yawn. A market that lays claim to being baseball’s second-wealthiest and seventh-largest (that’s as it stands on its own, separate from Baltimore…viewed as a combined market, Baltimore-D.C would rank as the fourth-largest) has not been kicked into gear by an improved team dotted with appealing, high-curiosity players.  The Nats’ 23,800 a game through their first 12 dates ranks 21st in baseball.

...Also an issue: Nationals Park sits in a lonely industrial spot off the freeway.“There were big redevelopment plans for the area, but the recession put a lot of that on hold” says Shawn McBride, a Senior VP at Ketchum Sports & Entertainment and a former D.C.-area resident for ten years.

Baseball failure is a tradition in Washington – two versions of the Senators (one became the Minnesota Twins in 1961; their replacements became the Texas Rangers in 1972) consistently flopped on the field and at the gate before leaving for greener pastures. When the city was up for an expansion team in 1991, Mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon’s most compelling pitch was: “what is the capital of America without baseball?” The sentiment made sense – all that U.S. history mixing with the national pastime, etc., but the National League turned her down, granting its expansion clubs to Miami and Denver. Yet when MLB was desperate to get the Expos out of Montreal seven years ago, the nation’s capital got another chance. The third time hasn’t been a charm – the Nationals have been consistent attendance laggards whose only real contribution has been to drain fans away from the Baltimore Orioles and providing fun road trips for fans of the Phillies and Mets.

Repoz Posted: May 03, 2012 at 03:53 PM | 77 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nats

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   1. Guapo Posted: May 03, 2012 at 04:07 PM (#4122804)
Yes, after 7 years of terrible baseball, I can't believe the fans in Washington haven't reacted to this 24 game stretch by immediately selling out the stadium for the rest of the season.
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 03, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4122814)
I am a bit surprised they only drew 22k for Harper's home debut, then 16k the next night. This is a guy people should be excited about, you'd think there would be a sizeable walk-up crowd for his home debut.
   3. Esoteric Posted: May 03, 2012 at 04:21 PM (#4122820)
The Capitals are currently sucking up a huge amount of oxygen in Washington, DC right now -- last night featured an epic triple-overtime loss to the Rangers in a second-round playoff series that was tied 1-1. In addition, Guapo's point can't be ignored: it's been SEVEN YEARS OF CRAP BASEBALL. Give it some time.
   4. zack Posted: May 03, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4122822)
Harper has been up for four games, two at home, on a tuesday and a wednesday, immediately following a string of unseasonably cool days, in the middle of a 5 game losing streak. I'm not sure how fast things are supposed to pick up, though I bet it does over the next month.

Also the Nats offense has been god-awful lately.
   5. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 03, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4122826)
Matt Wieters owns the region
   6. TerpNats Posted: May 03, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4122827)
These things take time. It didn't help things that the Nats had been swept in a weekend series in Los Angeles, leading some to think the bloom was already off the rose.

One problem is getting the considerable black community in metropolitan D.C. interested in baseball again. Washington has a fine Negro League heritage (read "Beyond The Shadow Of The Senators" for proof), but once the Negro Leagues fell by the wayside, neither the Griffiths nor the expansion successors did much with it. (Like George Preston Marshall, the Griffith Senators were reluctant to aggressively sign black players for fear of weakening their large southern-based radio network.) The Nationals need to work hard in the black community to spur interest.
   7. zack Posted: May 03, 2012 at 04:30 PM (#4122831)
Also, the Nats have the 4th largest attendance gain in MLB compared to last year, behind the team with a new stadium, the best team in baseball, and the team with the biggest winter. Just ahead of the reigning champions.

So basically, this article is full of ####.
   8. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 03, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4122839)
It's not that easy to get the transients to shed their prior allegiances, but it's a lot easier if the new team is successful. That was the Redskins model in the 1970s through the early 90s. Of course, Extra Innings & MLB TV allow folks to hold onto their old team in a way that was unavailable just scant years ago.

In any event, the Nationals are likely to set an attendance record if they remain in the race all season. Way too early to suggest the fans will not respond to on-field success.
   9. sjberke Posted: May 03, 2012 at 04:41 PM (#4122846)
When Alex Ovechkin came to the Capitals in fall 2005, the team was mediocre and continued to be so, and you heard echoes in Verizon Center. This state of affairs continued until the spring of 2008 when, after Bruce Boudreau had taken over for Glen Hanlon after 21 games and the team had played exciting, winning hockey for three months, Verizon Center started selling out and has ever since. It takes winning and ti takes time to get the turnstiles spinning in DC (unless of course the team in question wears burgundy and gold, and helmets and shoulder pads--but don't get me started on that!)
   10. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 03, 2012 at 04:43 PM (#4122849)

How well publicized was the fact that Harper was debuting that day? I feel like there was less advance notice than there was with Strasburg's debut (for the obvious comparison, although there's obviously something different about going to a starting pitcher's debut than a position player's).
   11. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: May 03, 2012 at 05:00 PM (#4122857)
Yeah, if they were only as grateful as these fans on this day.
   12. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: May 03, 2012 at 06:11 PM (#4122909)
It takes winning and it takes time to get the turnstiles spinning in DC (unless of course the team in question wears burgundy and gold, and helmets and shoulder pads--but don't get me started on that!)

This. If the team is still playing really well in a couple of months and looks like a legitimate playoff contender, people around here will start jumping on that bandwagon so fast that heads will spin.

EDIT: By the way, the Nationals are outdrawing Tampa by three thousand fans a game. You may possibly have heard of the Rays: first place in the A.L. East with a great team, made the World Series four years ago, made the playoffs three out of the last four seasons...
   13. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: May 03, 2012 at 06:23 PM (#4122923)
The Capitals are currently sucking up a huge amount of oxygen in Washington, DC right now -- last night featured an epic triple-overtime loss to the Rangers in a second-round playoff series that was tied 1-1. In addition, Guapo's point can't be ignored: it's been SEVEN YEARS OF CRAP BASEBALL. Give it some time.

This, and the not-exactly-ideal location of the ballpark. But I'm pretty sure that we can bet that like every other city in baseball not located in Florida, Washington fans will support their team in proportion to its long range and short range success.

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

One problem is getting the considerable black community in metropolitan D.C. interested in baseball again. Washington has a fine Negro League heritage (read "Beyond The Shadow Of The Senators" for proof), but once the Negro Leagues fell by the wayside, neither the Griffiths nor the expansion successors did much with it. (Like George Preston Marshall, the Griffith Senators were reluctant to aggressively sign black players for fear of weakening their large southern-based radio network.) The Nationals need to work hard in the black community to spur interest.

I totally agree with you here, but that "reluctant to aggressively sign black players" when applied to George Preston Marshall has got to be one of the politest euphemisms I've ever seen on this site. (smile)
   14. McCoy Posted: May 03, 2012 at 07:18 PM (#4122960)
Gotta touch first base in the bigs
   15. Greg K Posted: May 03, 2012 at 07:24 PM (#4122964)
Gotta touch first base in the bigs

I tuned in after the play and only got the audio (as in literally all I know is that Harper is out for not touching 1st). What happened? A double and he was a bit to eager in getting to second?

EDIT: If so what is that scored as? 9-3 Groundout or something?
   16. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: May 03, 2012 at 07:26 PM (#4122967)
The only downside of the Nationals having such a dynamic young player is that he's going to help usher in a new era of unbearable commentary from the team's TV broadcast team, the likes we did not think was possible.

Nationals' broadcasters have been delusional with regards to some truly horrific teams. I shudder to think what it will be like if the Nationals don't fade as the season progresses.

On the Upton home run last night where Harper clearly had no idea where the ball was, the PBP guy speculated that Harper was just "deking the runner." There was nobody on base, so unless Harper was just trying to speed up Upton's home run trot, that theory makes no sense.
   17. Dr. Vaux Posted: May 03, 2012 at 07:32 PM (#4122969)
On the Upton home run last night where Harper clearly had no idea where the ball was, the PBP guy speculated that Harper was just "deking the runner." There was nobody on base, so unless Harper was just trying to speed up Upton's home run trot, that theory makes no sense.


Might it have been a joke?
   18. Dan Posted: May 03, 2012 at 07:32 PM (#4122970)
It wasn't a double, it was a comebacker to the pitcher and Kennedy made an errant throw.
   19. Greg K Posted: May 03, 2012 at 07:39 PM (#4122976)
It wasn't a double, it was a comebacker to the pitcher and Kennedy made an errant throw.

Ah, so it ends up being a disappointingly conventional 1-3.

Re: home run. I suppose it's possible Harper was kiddin but if so he really sold it. The clip. He looks genuinely lost and frustrated.
   20. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: May 03, 2012 at 07:39 PM (#4122977)
Might it have been a joke?


I thought so at first, but then he repeated it. Maybe someone who was watching can weigh in, but it just sounded like he was covering for Harper looking like a deer in the headlights.
   21. McCoy Posted: May 03, 2012 at 07:42 PM (#4122981)
No hitter through three.......
   22. fra paolo Posted: May 03, 2012 at 07:53 PM (#4122988)
We have a game chatter in the Game Chatters. Feel free to join us there.
   23. McCoy Posted: May 03, 2012 at 08:02 PM (#4122996)
Through four.....
   24. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 03, 2012 at 08:34 PM (#4123024)
How well publicized was the fact that Harper was debuting that day? I feel like there was less advance notice than there was with Strasburg's debut (for the obvious comparison, although there's obviously something different about going to a starting pitcher's debut than a position player's)


Well Harper had already been in the big leagues for a few days - he debuted on the road in LA.

I get the mediocrity and all that, I just would have thought the home debut would have warranted a large walk up crowd just out of curiosity to see this new baseball freak of nature.
   25. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: May 03, 2012 at 08:41 PM (#4123033)
I shudder to think what it will be like if the Nationals don't fade as the season progresses.

Yep, that's right; you'd better get used to it, because this team is only going to get better and is going to be a very good team for the next few years.
   26. Rafael Bellylard: A failure of the waist. Posted: May 03, 2012 at 09:00 PM (#4123052)
Yep, that's right; you'd better get used to it, because this team is only going to get better and is going to be a very good team for the next few years.


I'm fully expecting to see that three year string of Nationals-Rays World Series' starting soon.
   27. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 03, 2012 at 09:47 PM (#4123090)
The Nationals heavy promotion of the upcoming weekend series with the Phillies probably cut into the market for the mid-week series.
   28. OsunaSakata Posted: May 03, 2012 at 10:42 PM (#4123115)
Don't you understand? RGIII is coming! RGIII is coming! Praise the Lord, RGIII is coming!
   29. Mattbert Posted: May 03, 2012 at 10:47 PM (#4123117)
Sounds like it's time to move the moribund Nationals to a bigger, more exciting market that will support the club. Montreal, for example.
   30. TerpNats Posted: May 03, 2012 at 11:30 PM (#4123136)
This, and the not-exactly-ideal location of the ballpark. But I'm pretty sure that we can bet that like every other city in baseball not located in Florida, Washington fans will support their team in proportion to its long range and short range success.
Give the neighborhood a few years to fill in with housing, restaurants and move. There was virtually nothing but offices nearby when the park opened in 2008, and despite the lackluster economy, considerable progress has been made to the neighborhood. More housing is being built, a Harris Teeter supermarket will open a few blocks from the ballpark in late 2013, and so on. Like the ballclub, it's been a long-term development process.
   31. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 03, 2012 at 11:38 PM (#4123141)
In addition to the other things mentioned, getting nearly 24,000 per night through the first month of the season really shouldn't be considered an embarrassing attendance figure.
   32. bobm Posted: May 04, 2012 at 01:09 AM (#4123194)
Harper batted third tonight. Here are other players who started batting third before their 20th birthday (since 1918, sorted by youngest first appearance):

                                                                   
Rk                Player        #Matching  PA   BA  OBP   SLG   OPS
1                Mel Ott    70 Ind. Games 315 .325 .421  .513  .934
2        Brooks Robinson     1 Ind. Games   5 .000 .000  .000  .000
3           Ed Kranepool    33 Ind. Games 140 .183 .239  .270  .509
4          Cass Michaels     4 Ind. Games  20 .150 .150  .350  .500
5           Reno Bertoia     1 Ind. Games   1 .000 .000  .000  .000

6             Tex Nelson     2 Ind. Games   8 .000 .375  .000  .375
7        Phil Cavarretta    42 Ind. Games 197 .243 .294  .359  .653
8         Whitey Lockman    24 Ind. Games 108 .354 .404  .448  .852
9        Bobby Del Greco    12 Ind. Games  53 .182 .321  .250  .571
10           Rusty Staub    12 Ind. Games  53 .122 .189  .143  .332

11      Harmon Killebrew     1 Ind. Games   5 .750 .800 1.500 2.300
12         Gene Stephens     4 Ind. Games  17 .200 .294  .333  .627
13          Cesar Cedeno     4 Ind. Games  17 .235 .235  .294  .529
14       Tony Conigliaro    11 Ind. Games  43 .325 .372  .475  .847
15           Ken Griffey     4 Ind. Games  16 .333 .375  .600  .975

16          Andruw Jones     2 Ind. Games   8 .000 .000  .000  .000
17             Jim Small     2 Ind. Games   8 .000 .000  .000  .000
18         Mickey Mantle     8 Ind. Games  35 .222 .382  .370  .753
19        Elbie Fletcher     3 Ind. Games  13 .167 .231  .167  .397
20           Tommy Brown     2 Ind. Games   8 .375 .375  .375  .750

21            Elmer Valo     1 Ind. Games   4 .667 .750  .667 1.417
22      Johnny Lucadello     1 Ind. Games   4 .250 .250  .250  .500
23        Ed Kirkpatrick     1 Ind. Games   5 .000 .400  .000  .400
24             Lee Walls     1 Ind. Games   4 .250 .250  .250  .500
25           Brock Davis     1 Ind. Games   4 .250 .250  .250  .500

Rk                Player        #Matching  PA   BA  OBP   SLG   OPS
26           Tony Horton     3 Ind. Games  12 .545 .583  .909 1.492
27           Dale Coogan     4 Ind. Games  18 .286 .444  .357  .802
28            Earl Clark     2 Ind. Games   8 .375 .375  .375  .750
29         Charlie Grimm    18 Ind. Games  73 .182 .229  .212  .441
30            Jack Clark     1 Ind. Games   5 .500 .400  .500  .900

31   Claudell Washington     1 Ind. Games   3 .000 .000  .000  .000
32           Sibby Sisti     2 Ind. Games   8 .500 .500  .750 1.250
33        Travis Jackson     1 Ind. Games   4 .000 .000  .000  .000
34         Lou Klimchock     4 Ind. Games  20 .474 .474  .632 1.105
35            B.J. Upton     1 Ind. Games   4 .500 .500  .500 1.000


Source: B-R PI
   33. boteman digs the circuit clout Posted: May 04, 2012 at 01:18 AM (#4123197)
I never heard of half those guys.

This one's dead!

Scratch him off, then.
   34. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: May 04, 2012 at 02:07 AM (#4123212)
I think we've all been waiting a long time to see who the next Lou Klimchock is going to be...
   35. Dr. Vaux Posted: May 04, 2012 at 04:25 AM (#4123223)
I was afraid that with the pre-season hype and the hot start tickets would start getting hard to get, so I'm glad they're not.
   36. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: May 04, 2012 at 07:55 AM (#4123244)
This, and the not-exactly-ideal location of the ballpark. But I'm pretty sure that we can bet that like every other city in baseball not located in Florida, Washington fans will support their team in proportion to its long range and short range success.

Give the neighborhood a few years to fill in with housing, restaurants and move. There was virtually nothing but offices nearby when the park opened in 2008, and despite the lackluster economy, considerable progress has been made to the neighborhood. More housing is being built, a Harris Teeter supermarket will open a few blocks from the ballpark in late 2013, and so on. Like the ballclub, it's been a long-term development process.


The neighborhood will certainly see more development, but you've still got two sticking points in its relative isolation from the rest of the developed city, and the problem of weeknight rush hour traffic.** A winning team will take care of most of that, but even from Montgomery County, it's kind of a pain in the butt getting there if you don't live near the Metro.

**The Verizon Center fills up, but that's in a much more central location with easier Metro access from more points, and it's also got a much smaller capacity.
   37. Belfry Bob Posted: May 04, 2012 at 08:41 AM (#4123270)
All the apologists aside, this is yet another of the many moments (not selling out Opening Day a couple of times, anyone?) that demonstrate that basically DC doesn't give much of a rip about the Nationals.

I know Wieters' debut was later in the season, but I was there for that night, and the Yard was electric and full of fans.

If the O's had gotten off to same kind of start with a young club of exciting players, there's no way there aren't more fans turning out.

The traffic issue is one of the many reasons I thought a DC team was a really bad idea. and that's never going to get better. A winning team isn't necessarily going to 'fix' that.
   38. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: May 04, 2012 at 10:22 AM (#4123359)
If the O's had gotten off to same kind of start with a young club of exciting players, there's no way there aren't more fans turning out.


The O's and Nats have identical W-L records, and virtually identical attendance figures (23,517 per game in DC; 23,193 in Charm City). I guess the problem is that Baltimore is winning with old, boring players?
   39. Cowboy Popup Posted: May 04, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4123379)
I know Wieters' debut was later in the season, but I was there for that night, and the Yard was electric and full of fans.

And when Strasburg debuted, Nats stadium had a legitimate playoff atmosphere. I don't know why Harper didn't generate that kind of buzz, maybe because he wasn't performing all that well in the minors, but the DC fans absolutely shown a lot of support for stud prospects coming through the system. Basically everything Harper does on the field elicits a cheer from the crowd. Not showing up in force for a Tuesday night isn't indicative of the fan base's enthusiasm.
   40. zack Posted: May 04, 2012 at 12:12 PM (#4123453)
Might it have been a joke?


Unfortunately not. Carpenter and Santangelo are unabashed homers, of the worst kind. Desmond could airmail a throw 30 feet over the first baseman's head and all they'll talk about is how strong his arm is.
   41. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 04, 2012 at 07:26 PM (#4123744)
According to BB-Ref, Nationals attendance is up almost 5,000 fans per game (before tonight). I suspect that figure will go up considerably as the year goes on.
   42. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: May 04, 2012 at 10:40 PM (#4123879)

This, and the not-exactly-ideal location of the ballpark.


No, but don't overstate - it's metro accessible and walkable from Capitol Hill, and there's plenty of parking (albeit expensive).
   43. JJ1986 Posted: May 04, 2012 at 10:46 PM (#4123885)
Most popular in sports in the Washington Post:

1. Redskins kick off rookie minicamp
2. Everything you were wondering about Robert Griffin III's contract
3. Robert Griffin III isn't a sure thing, but his foundation is solid
   44. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 04, 2012 at 11:12 PM (#4123916)
34,377 paid at the park tonight.
   45. TerpNats Posted: May 04, 2012 at 11:18 PM (#4123921)
Heck, WTEM and WJFK may actually talk about the Nats for the next few hours.
   46. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: May 04, 2012 at 11:38 PM (#4123942)

This, and the not-exactly-ideal location of the ballpark.

No, but don't overstate - it's metro accessible and walkable from Capitol Hill, and there's plenty of parking (albeit expensive).


It's somewhere between the Verizon Center and FedEx in terms of convenience, but on weekday evenings getting there by car from the North can be a mess, what with Rock Creek Parkway inaccessible until after 6:30 and the main North-South arteries jammed with rush hour traffic. I can see why even with sellouts the park doesn't fill up by the time of the first pitch.
   47. BourbonSamurai Is a Lazy Nogoodnik Posted: May 05, 2012 at 01:23 AM (#4123989)
Yes, what a shock that the legendary football team with 3 super bowls is more popular than the six year old team that's done nothing but suck.

The atmosphere was great tonight. Probably my 25th or so Nats game and the first time I've been at Nats Park and felt like I was in a stadium full of people truly invested in the outcome. I'm going back tomorrow.
   48. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: May 05, 2012 at 01:52 AM (#4123994)
Yes, what a shock that the legendary football team with 3 super bowls is more popular than the six year old team that's done nothing but suck.

Let's not go overboard with the Deadskins talk though. The club has been horrid since their last Super Bowl appearance, a generation ago. Yeah, it's good to see the Nats finally receiving a little more attention.
   49. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: May 05, 2012 at 07:29 AM (#4124015)
Redskins fans can be described very simply: They're like Charlie Brown thinking that this year Lucy isn't going to pull away that football. OTOH they've never lost a game in April, which apparently is enough to make their clueless fan base keep coming back for more.
   50. DKDC Posted: May 05, 2012 at 08:48 AM (#4124023)
Yes, remaining supportive of your team when they are losing is the classic hallmark of a shitty and stupid fanbase.

What a bunch of loyal saps! Personally, I change my rooting interests pretty frequently to avoid the embarrassment of rooting for a loser.
   51. TerpNats Posted: May 05, 2012 at 09:20 AM (#4124038)
Yes, remaining supportive of your team when they are losing is the classic hallmark of a shitty and stupid fanbase.

What a bunch of loyal saps!
It's not that their team is losing, it's that the Redskins fan base is so gullible, so susceptible to sizzle without steak, which is all Snyder knows. Just give those people a quarterback, and they think all their problems are solved. (The next time a QB wins a Super Bowl all by himself will be the first.)
   52. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: May 05, 2012 at 09:58 AM (#4124066)
All the apologists aside, this is yet another of the many moments (not selling out Opening Day a couple of times, anyone?) that demonstrate that basically DC doesn't give much of a rip about the Nationals. I know Wieters' debut was later in the season, but I was there for that night, and the Yard was electric and full of fans. If the O's had gotten off to same kind of start with a young club of exciting players, there's no way there aren't more fans turning out. The traffic issue is one of the many reasons I thought a DC team was a really bad idea. and that's never going to get better. A winning team isn't necessarily going to 'fix' that.

Is that you posting under a sockpuppet handle, Peter Angelos? Orioles fans have been telling the world before nearly every season for years about how they're a young club full of exciting players, and yet we're outdrawing you guys.

Why don't you all give it a rest with the whiny little Baltimore persecution complex already and try enjoying the hot start you're off to, like we are down here. Who knows, it just MIGHT even be legitimate this time.
   53. DKDC Posted: May 05, 2012 at 09:59 AM (#4124068)
#51,

You may socialize with a lower IQ set, but that doesn't describe any Redskin fan I know. There's definitely a lot of excitement around RGIII and what he could eventually be, but I don't know of anyone who thinks he'll immediately lead the Redskins to the super bowl, let alone the playoffs.

The only time in recent memory I've seen Redskins fans buy the hype is with the return of Gibbs, who did lead the team to two playoff appearances in 4 years, but still fell well short of hopes and expectations.

   54. Xander Posted: May 05, 2012 at 10:31 AM (#4124078)
34,377 paid at the park tonight.
Seemed like there were more on TV. Good number though. MLB needs to treat all Strasburg starts like NBC did with Jordan in the 90's. It needs to be an event; especially since there is the added bonus of Harper on the field.
   55. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: May 05, 2012 at 10:33 AM (#4124080)
Yes, remaining supportive of your team when they are losing is the classic hallmark of a shitty and stupid fanbase.

What a bunch of loyal saps! Personally, I change my rooting interests pretty frequently to avoid the embarrassment of rooting for a loser.


Sorry, I guess I should have been more explicit. It's not rooting for the Redskins that makes them suckers. It's investing any of their expectations or money in any team owned by Dan Snyder.

Rooting for the Yankees may be like rooting for Microsoft. And rooting for the Expos or the pre-Strasburg Nats may be an admirable sign of loyalty. But rooting for the Redskins is like rooting for a bank that gives you a free toaster and then charges you 23.5% interest and $10.00 transaction fees.
   56. McCoy Posted: May 05, 2012 at 10:40 AM (#4124086)
I've been to two Nationals' games already this year and will be going to my third one in two weeks (against the Pirates). The only reason I didn't go more often in the past is because of the ticket price but thanks to stubhub that is no longer a problem. My total ticket cost for the Pirates game is $15.45 for a ticket that normally goes for around $40.
   57. with Glavinesque control and Madduxian poise Posted: May 05, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4124096)
There's definitely a lot of excitement around RGIII and what he could eventually be, but I don't know of anyone who thinks he'll immediately lead the Redskins to the super bowl, let alone the playoffs.


I think the phrase ought to be "I don't know of anyone who thinks he'll immediately lead the Redskins to the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl." The idea is that we can 'let alone,' or not talk about, the Super Bowl, because no one even thinks they'll get to the playoffs, and the Super Bowl is harder than the playoffs.
   58. Kurt Posted: May 05, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4124143)
You may socialize with a lower IQ set, but that doesn't describe any Redskin fan I know. There's definitely a lot of excitement around RGIII and what he could eventually be, but I don't know of anyone who thinks he'll immediately lead the Redskins to the super bowl, let alone the playoffs.

I don't know if it's "socializing with" so much as "hearing on talk radio", if his experience is anything like mine. Did you know RGIII will be a disappointment if the Skins don't make the Super Bowl in the next two years? It was news to me too.
   59. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 05, 2012 at 03:50 PM (#4124321)
39,496 at today's game. Not bad at all.
   60. God Posted: May 05, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4124323)
How much of a factor are the demographics of D.C.? I don't have any numbers to back this up, but it seems like D.C. Is an area where most people are transplanted from somewhere else and already have their own team to root for. Like the Vegas problem, but to a slightly lesser degree.
   61. Cowboy Popup Posted: May 05, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4124343)
Gio has struck out 41 in 36 IP with 13 BBs and no HRs. Is it too early to believe he's gotten better? His velocity is up a bit, so is his swinging strike percentage.
   62. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 05, 2012 at 05:19 PM (#4124347)
How much of a factor are the demographics of D.C.? I don't have any numbers to back this up, but it seems like D.C. Is an area where most people are transplanted from somewhere else and already have their own team to root for. Like the Vegas problem, but to a slightly lesser degree.

There are a lot of transplants, as well as transients who pass through with the political winds, but that's not an insurmountable problem. Supposedly 60% of the Nationals attendance comes from Northern Virginia, so there is room for growth in DC & MD. Winning regularly will do wonders for attendance.
   63. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: May 05, 2012 at 05:19 PM (#4124349)
How much of a factor are the demographics of D.C.? I don't have any numbers to back this up, but it seems like D.C. Is an area where most people are transplanted from somewhere else and already have their own team to root for. Like the Vegas problem, but to a slightly lesser degree.

The biggest demographic factor in DC that affects Nats attendance is that 27% of the DC Metro population is African American, and attracting African American fans to baseball is a problem that's endemic throughout the entire sport from top to bottom. The transient factor is there, but it's never stopped the other three major pro teams from drawing when they had winning teams.
   64. McCoy Posted: May 05, 2012 at 06:35 PM (#4124378)
Supposedly 60% of the Nationals attendance comes from Northern Virginia, so there is room for growth in DC & MD. Winning regularly will do wonders for attendance.

DC is not that big of a city. I doubt they could get much more from within the city than they already do.
   65. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 05, 2012 at 07:09 PM (#4124389)
DC is not that big of a city. I doubt they could get much more from within the city than they already do.

Unless one assumes that the problem alluded to in #63 is permanent, about 60% of DC is a mostly untapped market. In any event, the metro area is certainly large enough to support the Nationals, and I think that will be a lot clearer by season's end.
   66. TerpNats Posted: May 05, 2012 at 07:41 PM (#4124402)
DC is not that big of a city. I doubt they could get much more from within the city than they already do.
One wonders how much of the Nationals' fan support from the District comes from east of Rock Creek Park or from Anacostia, which is just across the river from the ballpark.
   67. TerpNats Posted: May 05, 2012 at 07:50 PM (#4124406)
39,496 at today's game. Not bad at all.
Particularly with a Capitals home playoff game at the same time. One guesses the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro station near the Verizon Center, transfer point between the Red (from Montgomery County, Md.) and Green (to the ballpark) subway lines, were jampacked today. (And that brings up another point -- both ends of the Green line are in Prince George's County, Md., a relatively non-affluent county with a large black population. Other than College Park when students are in session, probably not the optimal audience for a one-seat ride to a baseball game.)
   68. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: May 05, 2012 at 08:03 PM (#4124410)
Particularly with a Capitals home playoff game at the same time. One guesses the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro station near the Verizon Center, transfer point between the Red (from Montgomery County, Md.) and Green (to the ballpark) subway lines, were jampacked today. (And that brings up another point -- both ends of the Green line are in Prince George's County, Md., a relatively non-affluent county with a large black population. Other than College Park when students are in session, probably not the optimal audience for a one-seat ride to a baseball game.)

And don't forget about this weekend's ONE-tracking on portions of the Red, Blue, and Orange Lines ... as well as station closures on the Green Line in PG County.
   69. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: May 05, 2012 at 08:13 PM (#4124417)
34,377 paid at the park tonight.

39,496 at today's game. Not bad at all.


What % Phillies fans? I didn't get a good look at either game, so it was hard to tell.

I've been there several times in the last 2 years and 40-50% of the fans were from Philly.
   70. McCoy Posted: May 05, 2012 at 09:58 PM (#4124446)
Unless one assumes that the problem alluded to in #63 is permanent, about 60% of DC is a mostly untapped market. In any event, the metro area is certainly large enough to support the Nationals, and I think that will be a lot clearer by season's end.

DC isn't that big so 27% of isn't that big is not a whole lot. It isn't like suddenly everybody in DC is going to be buying a ticket to go see the Nationals every single year if they market properly. It will most certainly help them at the turnstiles and with revenue but the realy growth and real revenue potentials lies outside of DC.
   71. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: May 05, 2012 at 10:27 PM (#4124455)
Unless one assumes that the problem alluded to in #63 is permanent, about 60% of DC is a mostly untapped market. In any event, the metro area is certainly large enough to support the Nationals, and I think that will be a lot clearer by season's end.


DC isn't that big so 27% of isn't that big is not a whole lot. It isn't like suddenly everybody in DC is going to be buying a ticket to go see the Nationals every single year if they market properly. It will most certainly help them at the turnstiles and with revenue but the realy growth and real revenue potentials lies outside of DC.

I'm not exactly sure what that first sentence means, but just to be clear, 27% of the DMV Metro area population is African American. Inside the city limits it's 51%, and in Prince George's County it's 65%. That goes a long way to explaining why such a big percentage of the Nats' attendance comes from Northern Virginia.

Not that this doesn't leave plenty of non-black people to fill up the ballpark for a winning team, but it's still crazy to neglect marketing to 27% of your local population base.
   72. McCoy Posted: May 05, 2012 at 10:35 PM (#4124458)
Are their baseball commercials anti-black? Do black people speak a different language? The answer to both is a no so they aren't neglecting 27% of their market. What are they supposed to do? Put photos of ballplayers on bottles of malt liquor?
   73. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: May 05, 2012 at 11:48 PM (#4124489)
Are their baseball commercials anti-black? Do black people speak a different language? The answer to both is a no so they aren't neglecting 27% of their market. What are they supposed to do? Put photos of ballplayers on bottles of malt liquor?

Yes, another helpful suggestion from Sherman's baby brother.
   74. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: May 06, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4124662)
Are their baseball commercials anti-black?

Yes, they are. "Ignite your Natitude" is a little-known secretly encoded catchphrase that actually means "Whites only".
   75. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: May 06, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4124683)
from east of Rock Creek Park


This is a pretty strange geographic distinction to draw.
   76. McCoy Posted: May 06, 2012 at 11:29 PM (#4125123)
Jayson Werth broke his wrist tonight. Out at least 6 weeks. Good-bye season?
   77. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 06, 2012 at 11:56 PM (#4125140)
Jayson Werth broke his wrist tonight. Out at least 6 weeks. Good-bye season?

If Zimmerman & LaRoche come back from the DL this week they could be OK since the'll also have Morse back in June. That assumes the stellar pitching continues.

33,058 at tonight's game.

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