Thursday, March 01, 2007


After returning from New York City late last night on The Acela Express Train, I jumped into my car parked at Union Station. As usual, my car radio was tuned to WTOP. The sponsor on last night's WTOP sportscast was The Washington Nationals. The team has finally started their advertising campaign that has been basically non-existent during the first two seasons of Baseball In Washington.

The first ad I heard concerned the pride of Washington's Head Groundskeeper in taking care of the field at RFK Stadium. At the end of the 30 second spot, the announcer says "He (Groundskeeper) has 'PLEDGED HIS ALLEGIANCE' WILL YOU?" It was interesting.

But, then about 10 minutes later was the "DORIS" ad, which I got a kick out of. Its well known that many fans over the first two seasons of Nationals Baseball, those that are not season ticket holders, have poached some of the better seats on those days attendance has been light at home games. At times, its a problem, when folks buy $5 seats and come sit in some of the best seats in the house. Every once in a while, I don't mind someone doing this. But, I know, for a fact, there are many others that do this for 40-50 games and year. And, as a Full Season Ticket holder for two full seats, The African Queen and I don't wish those carpetbaggers consistently getting in on the cheap and sitting a few rows away for us. That's unfair to many of us who fully support Our Washington Nationals. We pay $6,000 for our seats. Why should some sit next to us for $200.

"Doris" is a supposed USHER at RFK Stadium. And, in this radio advertisement, "Doris" has 'Pledged Her Allegiance' to keep the poachers away and in their originally purchased seats during the 2007 season. Last September, in a "Round Table" discussion between Team President, Stan Kasten and Season Ticket Holders, which Sohna and I attended, this subject was one of the topics.

I was very pleased that Our Washington Nationals are taking this issue seriously. Its only fair to those that support the team the most--with their wallets and pocketbooks.



Anonymous said...

I can not tell you how happy it makes me to hear that something is finally being done about the poaching. As a season ticket holder who bring his family of fourto nearly every home game I am SICK of being stuck with drunk rowdy poachers stepping all over me and my kids. The ushers for the last two years have been less then worthless! It is so bad tht we almost did not renew our tickets this year.

Chris said...

Go Doris!

SBF, thanks for the excellent reports.

Anonymous said...

I actually stopped going to ball games at RFK because every time I arrived at my seat a poacher was plopped there. The ushers at RFK are totally worthless until two seconds after the game is over. Then, they wake up and rudely kick everyone out.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to see things from the other side.

These guys shouldn't swoop in until the third inning or so. And if the actual ticket holder comes in, they should leave immediately. But, really, if no one bought a ticket for a certain seat, should it simply go empty? Or if someone bought a ticket but couldn't bother to show up?

But I'm not really one of these guys... the most I've done is swoop from the 500 to front-row 400 after it stopped raining and no one wanted to move back out from the awning. I've never changed decks, though I might if there was an hour or two rain delay and most people left the stadium.

Simon Oliver Lockwood said...

OTOH It's especially frustrating to see some of the primo seats going empty. Here's an idea -- have the Nats sell raffle tickets -- say for a dollar or two a pop or five or ten for a family -- that would allow the winners to move down in the 3rd or 4th to some of the premium seats if they're empty. The money could go to the Nats Foundation or some other charity. Or it could go to the team.

Downtown 6th and D said...

Our season tix are in section 313 We put in our order as soon as the team would allow it. Still, we were aced out of the super premium seats by Washington's elite. Those are the very seats that go unused. Shame on the no-shows. The empty seats at RFK look very bad on TV. I don't want this town to lose yet another ball club.

Anonymous said...

Ok I live in Richmond, VA and come up to Nats games once a month and usually I come up during a Saturday or a Sunday game. I buy $7 seats and sit in the top deck the first 6 innings and then after the 7th inning stretch I go down to the lower bowl and why not. I am a college student and can't afford the better seats but I do my best and support my team with my "thin" disposable income. Don't forget I have to pay gas and DRIVE 2HRS to pay to park my car at the stadium or a metro stop.

What I am saying is that I believe if the crowd is really thin and I mean like really thin I think you should be able to sit where ever you want. If its a nice packed crowd like the Yankee games last year, let the ushers be slack during the 7-9th innings. We all payed to get in RFK and don't forget you season ticket holders get special privileges like discounts in the team store and other cool stuff.

Don't forget about the other people that also love this team as much as you do who can't afford the AWESOME seats.

~college student Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)

JayB said...

SBF....this is a divisive topic clearly....based on your recent postings and most favored fan standing with the Nats you are loosing some perspective. In my two years (soon to be three) of attending games on season tickets I only moved around in rain delays from the upper deck. I have purchased great seats when I really wanted and could afford to sit down close. I understand the issues but.....just because you chose or can afford to spend $6 K does not make you a better fan than anyone else.

On a practical matter.....given the poor talent on this year's team and the recently admitted Jim B quotes to Thom L....The Nats are Plan is to loose this year and they are going to succeed at that goal......Your so called real supporters down low are going to stop coming very quickly and the seats on TV are going to look very bad....I would prefer you all came to the game but if your not there I would be a little or friendly to those who are (equal or better fans if you ask me!)

Screech's Best Friend said...

jayb--I would never say I am a better fan than anyone else. That would be wrong. Being a fan of the team has nothing to do with the amount of money one can or will spend at the park. I clearly understand this topic is a divisive one. Although I doubt I am losing perspective. I, like you, and many others are showing our opinions. That's good, healthy and always worth reading and commenting on.

The African Queen and I have dealt with some very obnoxious folks who PLAN each and every game to buy a cheap seat and sit in the best seats in the house. For them, its the norm. As I said in the original post, if people move around every once in a while, and after rain delays, like the student who posted a comment from VCU.that's OK with us. But, folks who are truly taking advantage of the situation need to be stopped.

We feel strongly about that.

JayB said...

SBF - Thanks for your clarification on several points. If these are the same people and they are coming to sec 320 at the start of the game, I see your point....and if people are "very obnoxious folks" then they need to be removed from any with me or high dollar with you!

What do you think the answer if for all the empty seats we say at the end of last year….before the upper deck moved down in the 5th inning? It does seem a waste and poor for image and moral of the fans to see so many of the high dollar seats go un-used for at least one more year (I hope not any longer than that, but watching that game yesterday made me think we Stan and Jim are very good salesmen but talent is way off at 1st, SS, CENTER and LF, especially CENTER!).

6th and D said...

I think it is paramount to fill RFK no matter what someone paid for a ticket. If you show up and someone is in your seat, ask them to get up and move. As a DC kid of the 1960s and a "new" Senators fan, and now a current Nationals season ticket holder in Sec. 313, I don't want to lose another ball club. The no shows are a huge problem. I know several members of the Washington 'elite' who, back in '05, snapped up 4, 6, and 8 premium season tickets - seats in the 100 and 200 level - who come to opening day and that's it... Drunks are unpleasant anywhere you go and feel the publicly intoxicated should be removed by the police. Let's let people fill in the empties. ON ANOTHER NOTE, does it concern anyone but me that OPENING DAY isn't sold out for a second straight year??? We have big problems in DC.

VCUKyle said...

I mean I agree about not having Opening Day sold out that is a problem. You don't want to be giving away seats at RFK but you got to do something. Again I live in Richmond, and you can't watch the games on COMCAST here. Fredericksburg and other are not that fair away. Being a Advertising major I think the Nats need to expand marketing their brand all the way down here in Richmond. You would be suprised to see how many folks would hop in their car on the weekend if the offer was good!

I also say let people move down for the 7-9th innings after the bottom of the 6th!