Something was pretty evident for anyone watching the Phillies season opener in Washington, D.C. -- Phillies Nation had taken over our Nation’s Capitol.
There were probably as many, if not more, Phillies fans in Nationals Park than fans of the home team. And, some D.C. writers are pretty peeved that their organization could let that happen and even promoted the invasion from the north.
The main reason Washingtonians were so angered was that the Nats put no restrictions on the amount of group tickets could be purchased, according to the Big League Stew’s Duk.
The process for Phillies fans to get group tickets even seemed pretty easier, according to Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore.
Plenty of Philly groups pounced on the chance to see Roy Halladay and the Phillies likely pounce the Nats (They did just that winning 11-1). PhilliesNation.com, PhillyTailgate.com and others sent busloads of Phightins fans to D.C. to root, root, root for the road team.
Want proof of how many Phillies Phaithful likely made the trip down I-95? Just check out the swarms documented by Michelle O’Malley of BLS.
The Philly invasion made for some uncomfortable moments (like when the Nationals’ equipment manager was announced pregame and was greeted by a loud Philly, “Sucks”) but there was also a positive to having an out-of-town invasion -- MONEY.
Thousands of out-of-towners extended Easter weekend by spending Monday spending cash in the District and at the Nats’ ballpark -- why wouldn’t Nationals ownership want that or Washington as a whole?
Also, it’s not like Nats fans were likely to buy up tickets to see President Barack Obama throw out the first pitch. Even with the influx of Phillies fans the Nats still only filled 98.6-percent of the park. And, last season the Nats only mustered 22,715 per game (just 54.2-percent capacity).
Simply put, D.C. doesn’t support their Nats. By not showing up to the park on a daily basis they allow other cities’ fans to take over sometimes. And, the Nats being terrible isn’t enough of an excuse -- fans from other towns with terrible teams in 2009 like Baltimore, Seattle, Toronto and San Diego drew more fans on average than Washington.
Let’s be honest even here in Philly we suffer similar fan defeats sometimes when teams like the Red Sox, Yankees or Mets come to town. It’s part of the proximity factor along the Eastern seaboard.
But, the Nats should probably get some of the blame for allowing this to happen because they went out of their way to let the Phillies fans feel at home. At one point late in the game they even used their own high-def jumbotron and public address system to announce that anyone riding back to the City of Brotherly Love with Philly Tailgate needed to get on the bus.
Don’t expect to see that courtesy the next time the Mets are in Philly.