City Desk

Oprah Offered Refunds, So Shouldn’t the Lerners?

fantasia11Fans booed at Nationals Park when the curtain went up and they learned that Miguel Batista would be playing the role of Stephen Strasburg for last night's performance against the Braves.

Batista delivered a line as well as Strasburg would have: Five innings, no runs, three hits, six Ks.

I wasn't there in person and hadn't paid for a ticket. I was "watching" the game on's amazing "Gameday" set-up when Strasburg wouldn't be in the cast. But I was right there with the boo birds. I hadn't had that sinking feeling since finding out Fantasia sat out a night of "The Color Purple" and Saycon Sengbloh was foisted on the fans.

The musical's producer, Oprah Winfrey, offered refunds in Fantasia's absence. That's entertainment. The Nats do not give money back if the star doesn't perform.

'Course, "inflammation in the shoulder" was pegged for Strasburg's absence; Fantasia benched herself because her boyfriend was in town. But still...

The Nats ran commercials on MASN for days leading up to the Atlanta game that Strasburg was going to pitch. If you're going to promote a guy like he's in the lead role, and a standby fills in, shouldn't folks get their money back?

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  • Karl

    No. That's why on the lineup they're listed as "probable pitcher."

  • Old Timer

    No. You bought tickets to a baseball game, and a baseball game is what you got (and a good one at that). If you're a startf----er, not a baseball fan, then don't spend your money on baseball tickets.

  • Jamie

    This is a joke, right? Slow news day?

    Nationals fans got something that's a lot more difficult to predict than when Stasburg will pitch: a victory.

  • Dave McKenna

    Karl, Oldtimer, Jamie: how many kids do the Lerners have, anyway? i would normally agree with everything said by all of you, except in print. butt seriously: strasburg is a special situation, and the Nats know that and are promoting his appearances unlike any appearances by any pitcher in the history of baseball. so, old rules don't apply. Karl, if it said "probable" on that MASN commercial i saw touting strasburg's start, it was in print finer than my wife on her wedding day. and Oldtimer, who you callin' a "startf----er"? And what the hell is a "startf----er"? this one's got me stumped, and i'm pretty good at Wheel of Fortune™. but thanks to all for Playing the Feud™!

  • JohnD

    Dave, I guess you really don't know baseball. Starters are always understood to be probable. You never know when something like what happened last night will happen during warmups. Also, he could have started in the first and gotten hit by a line drive and been out the rest of the game. That stuff just happens in sports. What did the fans expect, that the Nationals would still start him with shoulder tightness and risk his entire career for one game? Get real.

  • Dave McKenna

    JohnD:"you really don't know baseball!" and "get real!" in one post! i likey!let me take the first insult first, JD: from what i know about baseball, there's never been a pitcher promoted by a team the way the Nats promote Strasburg. Your encylopaedic knowledge of the game means nothing in the post-Strasburg world, JD. i guess you really don't know MASN commercials. Say the Nats had promoted Stephen Strasburg Bobblehead Night with the same verve, and then told people when they showed up to the stadium that the Stephen Strasburg Bobbleheads weren't going to be given away. I would bet good money there'd be some sort of effort to make the disgruntled fans whole. Go look up the MASN commercials and explain to me what's the diff! NOW!

    As for Insult #B: "Get Real!" Well, JD, that's a good one. I got no comeback for "Get Real!" In fact, I must thank you for coming into my house with your bad attitude. Because of you I just went and looked up "Get Real," a 1993 tune by the great Kelly Willis, late of Annandale High and the D.C. Space rockabilly act "Kelly & the Fireballs." My god, that's a great song, as great as I remembered it. go listen to it and get back to me, JD. NOW!

    and i can't let you go w/o saying: Thanks for Playing the Feud™!

  • NY

    I agree with the first three guys, no refunds in baseball, or any sport. Stars get injured all the time, are you going to give a refund every time a star player sits one out due to some small injury?

    But it is wrong for MASN running ads based on the starting pitcher. I have been watching Yankees for ever and usually the will advertise you to watch a number of players, but mainly it is the Yankees against whoever they are playing.

    Even right now I do not see YES advertising viewers to tune in to watch AROD hit number 600, they may be, but I have not seen it.

  • Dan

    When you buy tickets to a baseball game, you should understand that until he's actually on the mound, there's no guarantee the probable pitcher will actually pitch.

    If you don't understand that you should be given a circumcision so you can't reproduce, not a refund.

  • Dave McKenna

    Dan: your wish that my naughty bits be roughed up confused me fabulously -- where you live circumcisions equal infertility, Dan? you from Sudan? but, given the unprecedented marketing of Strasburg's starts by the team, I stand by my bobblehead night example.

  • Randy_Hawkins

    As much as I support Dave in his fight against Snyder and his minions at Extremeskins, I have to agree with most of the other posters here. While the Nationals can advertise Strasburg as the probable pitcher, they do stress the word "probable". There is no guarantee that he will start.

    It's like betting on a horse at Laurel that has 1/5 odds, and every other horse has 10/1 or longer odds. Odds are that the 1/5 is going to win, but there is always that chance that he won't. Something happens, and you're out whatever you laid down on the 1/5, and you're left thinking, "I thought it was a sure thing".