Monday, September 13, 2010
Disgraceful & Simply Not Right
Sohna and I will never forget Fan Appreciation Month at Nationals Park celebrated in September 2009 when, then Stadium Hostess, Yolanda gave out $200 Oakley Washington Nationals Edition Sunglasses to two lucky fans--neither of whom were wearing a single item representing Our Washington Nationals--and one whom was sporting a Baltimore Orioles Cap. The kicker came when Yolanda thanked those two guys on the HDTV Scoreboard for "Getting Their Red On!!"
We were incredulous. So were many other fans that day. If your Season Ticket Holders are the life and blood of any team--you better respect them. None were that day in September, 2009. And that disrespect played out at a whole new level on Sunday, September 12th at Nationals Park during the continuing 2010 Fan Appreciation Month.
During the middle of the game, Stadium Hostess Rachel and the Nat Pack gave $25 Visa Debit Cards to two Season Ticket Holders sitting in Section 128 as part of the month-long promotion. Fine--that's great and both were deserving. In fact, we know one of those full-season ticket holders personally. Better yet, each fellow was wearing their Nats Gear.
But then, not 15 seconds after that presentation--Stadium Host Clint is standing in the back row of Section 403 with two young ladies, who are clearly questionable regular season ticket holders of The Nationals. They are not wearing ANYTHING NATIONALS. And it really made you wonder--are they really fans? Why have they been chosen? Especially when Clint hands over to these two women two free round trip tickets, each, to ANYWHERE AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIES.
And thanks them for "Getting Their Red On!!"
Honestly, you could hear a collected gasp from Season Ticket Holders sitting in Section 218 at Nationals Park. Clearly, there had to be hundreds, if not a thousand more dedicated Nats fans, more deserving of those rewarded items yesterday. Later on, we spoke with a fellow long-time season ticket holder that sits below us on South Capitol Street. He was also discouraged by Clint giving two primo roundtrip airfares away to questionable non-season ticket holder fans.
In fact, the first thing this man said upon starting the discussion over the incident was: "I immediately wondered whether Clint personally knows one of them outside the park."
Good question. And it's a fair one.
The press release promoting Fan Appreciation Month clearly states these promos are to give thanks to Nationals fans "for their continued loyalty and commitment to this team."
Here is that press release:
To celebrate their most loyal fans, the Washington Nationals have teamed up with numerous corporate partners to recognize September as Fan Appreciation Month during the final 16 games of the season at Nationals Park (Sept. 6-8, Sept. 10-12 and Sept. 20-29). The team and its sponsors will thank fans and season ticket holders for their unwavering support through a variety of surprise giveaways as the 2010 season comes to a close.
“The 2010 season has been quite a memorable one for the Washington Nationals,” Nationals President Stan Kasten said. “We take great pride in being able to give our fans an extraordinary experience here at Nationals Park and we want to join our corporate partners in thanking fans for their continued loyalty and commitment to this team.”
During every home game throughout the month, Nationals fans will have a chance to receive various Random Acts of Red, including but not limited to Nationals merchandise, autographed items from Nationals players including baseballs and lineup cards, tickets to the 2011 Dream Gala, tickets to upcoming home games, sets of Lexus Presidents Club tickets and the use of a suite for the final game of the season.
Sorry, but giving two free round trip airfares to two people that are not wearing anything Nationals, not "Getting Their Red On!!" and certainly questionable Season Ticket Holders is a total slap in the face to every single Nationals Fan that supports Washington Major League Baseball with their money, their commitment and their devotion, all season long, win or lose, good or bad.
Whose loyalty is really being rewarded here? Friendships or fandom?
The problem here is that two stadium hosts are apparently given carte blanche to decide which fans get appreciated or not. And if that means some of their friends might benefit from the team's hospitality--apparently so be it.
"To celebrate their most loyal fans" is the theme of Fan Appreciation Month. Not doing so is disgraceful and simply not right when it comes to the big prizes.
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