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!!"

That's disgraceful.

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.

All Photos Copyrighted--Nats320--All Rights Reserved


An Briosca Mor said...

Ahem. It's Fan Appreciation Month, not Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Month. And not People Dressed in Nats Gear Appreciation Month either. These people were at the game, presumably they paid their way in, and if so there is no reason at all that they should get a nice prize. Basically, they got a door prize, and if other people there who happen to be season ticket holders object to that, I say they're totally off base. And I'm a season ticket holder myself.

There are plenty of other benefits and rewards out there that season ticket holders get while others don't.

Unknown said...

Sorry but the Nats marketing department is falling apart. I am sorry but we have had Clint way too many years now and I am getting pissed as a season ticket holder to see him giving things away to nothing but 20s nice looking woman.
How come woman like my wife, who is 50 never gets a chance to particapate? Why doesn't Clint give things away to men like myself?
If this was a "random act of Kindness" it should of been announced before the game that they were giving away airline tickets and then said what seats they were giving it out to.
One other thing, look at the picture. Clint was in the back row of section 403, you won't find any season ticket holders there, that is the $5 tickets.
Again everything is going wrong from the Nats, first on the field, then with those that manage the team and now the marketing department.
Nats better be careful, there are only about 9,000 season ticket holders, they could lose another 2 or 3,000 with all of these screw ups, I am wondering if I should give up my tickets and just buy the tickets the day of the game for half price on Stub Hub

Laurie said...

Season ticket holder sitting in last row of 402? hmmmmmm

AVM221 said...

Since you brought up the subject of random acts of red and other giveaways. Is there a reason why they never come to the Infield Club or First and Third Base Club?

Laurie said...

The club section is supposed to be SOLD OUT of season ticket holders..imagine you could find LOTS of season ticket holders there..just my guess..since I am in CLUB! :)

wick said...

Season Ticket Holders - get over yourselves. Seriously. You struck a bargain with the team back in February for your seats. Case closed. The Nats must ultimately live or die by the good graces of casual fans. Should the Casual Fan be excluded from promotions? Is that what you are saying? If your answer is YES - than great. We'll shrink the park to 5500 seats and have a grand old time. Oh wait. That's the Frederick Keys.

I had the very opposite reaction in the last game of 2005 - when the players came out of the dugout and handed Jerseys to everyone in the front two rows. It was a very public display of "let them eat cake" to those of us who save up for weeks to attend a ball game.

Yolanda Makle said...

I'm sorry you feel that what happened was a disgrace but please allow me to correct you on one point. The fans that were given the Oakley's by me during Fan Appreciation Day in 2009 were in fact season ticket holders. They are still season ticket holders this season and their seats are now one section over. Like yourself, they were nothing but kind to me during my time at Nats Park and have been great supporters of the team.

The Nat Pack is a great bunch and have rewarded many season ticket holders with give-a-ways over the years. However, as another poster stated, it is "Fan Appreciation" and not just "season-ticket holder appreciation." Unfortunately, you can't please everyone all of the time but I know the Nationals staff does their best to treat all fans equally.

jw said...

This - -
is a link to the list of benefits season ticket holders receive.
I see "opportunity to receive in game promotional items", but I don't see anything that says other ticket holders won't (much less shouldn't) also have a similar opportunity.

I think it makes sense for the team to use the spontaneous, in game, promotions to build good will among any attendees at a given game. I was at Sunday's game, and I was glad to see the Nats staff try to give some reason for excitement. Unfortunately, it didn't appear (apart from Pudge's excellent put out) that the Nats players were trying to do so.

paul said...

Wow, Clint and Terrence in the crosshairs. (And no sex scandal denial yet.) What's next, criticizing Willie Harris?

The bottom line is: Do I, the fan, feel appreciated? I think the answer is definitely yes. The ushers are unfailingly nice. The food and drink people are not efficient, but they are always nice. The greeters when they come and go: they are nice to me. They give free stuff to me all the time. I am going to break in my Nats' logo outside coffee cup tomorrow, and even though the Nats are in last place for the fifth time in six years, I am actually going to enjoy using the cup.

Could the Nats do more? Yeah, they could sign a manager for more than one true year. But believe me, they appreciate us for showing up. (And I predict that next year they are REALLY going to appreciate us.)

Unknown said...

Anybody who has to sit through a Nationals game deserves compensation. I'd suggest a refund.

Deez Nats said...

Wow. I am a long-time season ticket holder and I was at Sunday's game. Quite frankly, it never occurred to me that I should be offended or feel slighted by the in-park giveaways.