City Desk

Admit It: You Didn’t Care About The Nats

As the Nationals' first season in its new and very expensive ballpark is about to come to a close, Marc Fisher tries to figure out why the team wasn't more of a success in attracting fans.The team is lowering ticket prices next year for some seats, but that may not be enough to create Skins-style buzz.

Who am I kidding? Of course the team will not reach the mania surrounding the Skins. The team has fallen short of what politicians promised would be a windfall for the city. After opening day, the team pretty much stayed off everyone's radar.

Is there a local sports team that has less of an ardent fan base? I only went to one Nats game this year and was shocked at how empty the stadium seemed. And the ones that attended the game did not seem to know what to do, what to cheer, and how to cheer. Even something as basic as the P.A. blasting the call to yell "Charge!" evoked the limpest, most confused response. Oh, and they don't show up on time. [Then again, I only went to one game].

I can count on two fingers the number of friends that are super Nats diehards. That's it. Everyone else I know never talks about the Nats. It's not like the team isn't getting covered. At one point, the Post sports section used to give semi-equal billing to the Nats and the Orioles. Now not so much. It seems like only the Nats make it to the front of the sports section.

Then again, the Nats seem like they only have a marginal presence on sports talk radio. I only listen to Sports Talk 980. And I admit, I only listen in the car to and from assignments. Maybe a reader can set the record straight — but I never hear the station talk Nats news. Maybe the Nats need a cagey, experienced, and highly opinionated veteran like the Redskins have (Doc, B-Mitch, and of course, Sonny).

Or the Nats need an actual marquee player as Fisher suggests!

*please note how often I use the word "seem" (three times) and "maybe" (several). Editors frown on using "seem" and "maybe" as they are wishy-washy and lame. This is because I don't care at all about the Nats but felt compelled to blog about the team after reading Fisher's unusually brutal assessment of the franchise's future.

*photo by Darrow Montgomery.

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  • Reid

    Fischer is just trying to make up for the fact that he was one of the biggest boosters of the stadium and the team. He's all flinty-eyed towards DC and its history of waste, but he goes all to mush when it comes to baseball sentimentality.

    Just look at the differences between his ra-raing of the trainwreck that has been the entire Washington baseball enterprise and his nearly mean-spirited criticisms of DC United, who probably have a more devoted fan base. Neither stadium deal is good for the city, but there's no way that Poplar Point stadium would have been nearly as bad as Nationals Park. He's simply not nostalgic about soccer, so he reverts to his flinty-eyed waste-hawk.

  • Grumpy

    Nats stadium has great sightlines, convenient via Metro, plenty of amenities, etc.

    What it lacks is a baseball feel. The 2 times I've been there, it's like the game is an afterthought.

    I can't explain it except to say that the buzz died down when a few past players left and perhaps, a bit of karma at how Frank was treated by the club.

    I know there was more excitement when they played at RFK. For that matter, the excitement at RFK when DC U plays is mad crazy...that's just a great old place to watch a game.

    Maybe the Lerners will learn a lesson or three...

  • David

    "[RFK] is just a great, old place to watch a game."

    Yes I agree.

    And a sewage treatment plant is just a great, old place to have a picnic. And an abandoned mental hospital is just a great, old place to take a first date.

  • Arjewtino

    This is a very well-written and interesting post but this sentence kind of answers your own question:

    "I only went to one Nats game this year and was shocked at how empty the stadium seemed."

    You can't go to only one game and then complain that no one went. It's like being in a crowd of people and complain about how packed it is.

  • Stating the Obvious

    It's only underperfoming if you don't count the fact that the entire hellhole that was the area around the Navy Yard will soon be higher-tax paying real estate.

  • DC Dominican

    the Nats were even dissed by Nader.

    NADER: why wont you motherfuckers cover my campaign?

    WA-POST: sorry dude your campaign is irrelevant so that is why were not covering it.

    NADER: so why are you covering the Nationals?

  • David

    Ha! Did he really say that? I'm assuming you're paraphrasing there because I doubt Nader would drop an f-bomb in a meeting with Post editors.

  • DC Dominican

    Dude, I shit you not.

    Nader recounted a recent meeting with editors at The Washington Post, who he said told him the paper wasn’t covering his campaign because he had no chance of winning. According to Nader, he replied: “Then why are you covering the Nationals?” a reference to Washington’s long-suffering baseball team.

  • al gonzales

    Nats stink. The cheapass Lerner family stinks, too. The Lerners took a competitive team & made it a minor league team, refuse to pay rent, refuse to pay any big money to players, meanwhile taking the largest net profit of any MLB team, according to Forbes.
    Any fool who spends any money there is only supporting the cheapass Lerner family. I've gone to eight games this year on free tickets & don't spend a dime on beers or food inside the stadium.
    The DC government ought to evict the cheapass bastards.