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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Philadelphia South

Quite a long day yesterday in Citizens Bank Park - you know, the southern version of it located on South Capitol Street in Washington, D.C.

Uncle Stan must be thrilled that so many Phillies fans took him up on his invitation to come on down! They were everywhere. Saw four buses worth of them tailgating in a parking lot between games. Went over to The Bullpen (oldest person there by at least 25 years) and did not see a single Nats fan.

Riding the escalator down in the rain, a young woman behind me asked her friend, "Are there any Nationals fans here?" I waited out the rain with my friends Kristen and Stephanie from We've Got Heart in the Red Porch. We tried to put a number on the percentage of Nats fans in the park (this while every table around us was filled with Uncle Stan's phriends with Ps on their hats). 40? Probably too high.

I had interactions with two groups of Phils' fans. One group of guys was watching the Preakness with me in the Red Porch bar. Nice conversation about baseball and other stuff. One asked - does it tick you off that there's so many Phillies fans here? Well, yeah, I said, but not because of those fans. They have as much right to be Phils fans as I do to be a Nats fan (and more brains, clearly). They have as much right to buy tickets as I do. What hacks me off is they are so available. Five years in, two years into a new park, it would be lovely if we had the kind of team in D.C. that would draw tons of people wearing Ws and make it difficult for fans of any other team to get tickets. But that's not THEIR fault. They are available. Buy 'em up. Stan loves you. It is the Nationals' fault for fielding a poor product in year five.

Walking back to my car in the rain, I fell in with two Philly dads and their teen-age sons. Nice folks. They wanted to get their bearings on where they were in relation to the White House, etc. We actually stopped in the rain and talked for a while. "Please hurry up and get good," one dad said. "This could be a great rivalry. We could give each other hell for three hours and then go drink some beers. We'd much rather have the rivalry with you than the Mets." Hey, we'd love that, too. "Gotta work on that pitching!" he said. Uh, yeah. One of the kids said he was disappointed he didn't get to see Flores, he really liked him. The dad then came back with, "By the way, as Flyers fans, the Capitals really ticked us off. The Penguins!?!" As Capitals fans, we pretty much feel the same way.

I said it on my interview with Byron Kerr and I said it to these guys: The most frustrating thing as a fan is I really don't think the Nats are as far away as it looks. So near, yet so far.

A few other odds and ends from yesterday:

*MASN invited bloggers to be their guests at the day game, like the game a makeup from the original schedule. It was a fun afternoon putting names and faces to the many great blogs about the Nats. MASN took us to the booth, took us to the truck and let us hang out in its suite. Rob, Bob, Debbi, Ray, Johnny - met them all and they could not have been more gracious, especially considering that we sometimes get a little irrascible with our posts. Some Nats officials showed up, too, but not Uncle Stan or Rizzo. Thanks, MASN, for your hospitality and putting up with this rowdy band of miscreants. Those wings were money.

*When it rains hard and the wind blows, the upper concourse is not a good place to be. Tough to find a place to stay dry unless you want to hang out in the head. And I don't. Raining at my house as I type and it makes me wonder if it's just going to rain forever.

*The happiest about the rain? Ron Villone's perfect ERA. Ryan Howard up, no outs, the bases loaded - that ERA was about to get real fat. I don't think anyone in the park doubted the ball was going to fly out of there. The only question was where and how far. Howard and Raul Ibanez are probably going to cry when they have to leave Nats Park. Here's a suggestion: How about just not pitching to Ibanez? I think one of his home runs yesterday landed in my back yard. I'm about to go look.

*Interesting call on the spot starter, with Ross Detwiler targeted for tomorrow night's game. Brian over at Nats Farm Authority is much more qualified to analyze who is in the best position to move up but he mentioned some things yesterday about others being out of the picture for tomorrow because of when they've thrown recently. I saw Detwiler pitch a fine game for Potomac last season but that's a long way from the big leagues. We'll see. I guess if he does well, he could earn more "spot" starts with Olsen going on the DL. Martis on Tuesday, followed by Lannan, Cabrera, Zimmermann and Detwiler again. Nobody pitches on short rest. Best thing about that is I miss Cabrera on my next two visits. Not sure I can handle watching much more of that.

*I promised myself I wouldn't rag on Cabrera today so I won't. Any more. My guess is he'll take a couple more turns while Olsen is out. When Olsen returns? Maybe that'll be the end of the grand experiment.

*I won't rag on Cintron today either. I won't ask one single time why he's taking up space on the 25 man.


DeezNats said...

I had the mispleasure of attending both games, as well. In the first game, I estimated it at 60% Phillies fans, 20% Nats, and 20% indifferent. In the 2nd game, it was more like 80% Phillies, 10% Nats, and 10% indifferent.

I wish my encounters with the Philthy fans had been as pleasant as yours. In the next section over to my section where I have season tix, a group of about 30 loud, obnoxious, drunken Philthy fans came in and from the first pitch were screaming, yelling, and being openly confrontational with the only Nationals fans in sight (me and my son). After about an inning, I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and walked around the stadium the rest of the game.

While I know they are not all bad, as a group I found them to be a bunch of classless creeps. I have always disliked them, but they have definitely become worse now that they won a championship. Also, I've noticed that the Philthy fans we get on weekend games, where you get actual Philthadelphians driving down, is much worse caste of characters than weekday games, where I think you get mostly transplants who live locally (most of which probably have a post-secondary education and a job).

Of course, as you articulately state, the thing that is saddest to me is that it was so easy for them to come into our park & do this. Shame on you Stan Kasten, Mark Lerner, and Jim Bowden. Shame on you all.

DeezNats said...

I forgot to mention that yesterday was the low point of being a Nats fan for me. I am a 5 year season ticket holder & I just found the state of our team & fan base to be horribly depressing, as someone who cares so much about baseball & the team.

bdrube said...

Given that the attendance was only 19K for the first game and 23K for the night cap, I guess we should be GRATEFUL for all the Philly fans. The alternative of drawing less than 10K each for two games on a Saturday would be downright Expos-ian.

My prediction for the starting rotation by next week:


Four rookies as a second year guy combined with a flammamble bullpen and no closer. That's a recipe for 110 losses no matter how good the offense might be.

Tim said...

Hey Mike...

I feeling what you are feeling! I think I was in the Philly area up in 222u!. The most interesting moment was the fight I witness in the 12th!

Anonymous said...

Vote now! Should Adam Dunn send Sunshinemeg to a National's game? Every vote helps!

El Rey said...


I personally witnessed the ineptitude of the National's grounds crew on Saturday as they attempted to cover the infield with a tarp when it started to rain. If it wasn't for a bunch of civic minded Philly fans who ran onto the field to assist the grounds crew, the tarp would have never have been properly placed. I have seen enough; the Nationals are an unmitigated disaster from the ownership on down. Even the Presidents Race has become stale. Speaking of Philly fans, they outnumbered Nats fans by 2 to 1 by my estimation. As I walked from my "reserved" parking space at the Navy Yard onto M street, I felt like I was in Philadelphia. There were Philly fans everyway. I was just glad I was wearing my South Park hat instead of my Nats hat because I might have gotten beaten up. The parking lot across from the Navy Yard was full of drunken Philly fans tailgating. Jeez, Stan should just build a Gino's or Pat's cheese steak kiosk at the stadium for them. During the game, I was serenaded by two drunken Philly gumbas singing Queen's "We are the Champions" all night long. I hate that song. Queen's Fat Bottoms Girls is much better :O)! Baseball's return to D.C. has become a bad dream.