Washington, DC is known as a city of flip floppers. So it's no surprise they were for bringing Phillies fans to Nationals Park before they were against it.
Much has been made in the past week or so about the Nationals' campaign to "Take Back the Park," an effort to keep Phillies fans from taking over their ball park by limiting individual ticket sales for the first month or so to only residents of DC, Virginia, or Maryland.
It wasn't too long ago, just three short years to be precise, that representatives from the Nationals organization were reaching out to Phillies fans to try and assist them in bringing as many Philadelphians down to DC for a game as we could round up.
The following is an excerpt of an email sent to Matt and myself from a Washington Nationals employee attempting to help us organize a group of The700Level.com readers making it down to Nationals Park to watch our Phillies. We removed the emailer's name because he was a friendly guy.
Hey Enrico and Matt,
My name is [redacted] and I work for the Nationals … [sentence deleted] I recognize your influence in the Philly sports scene and I know how hard it will be to get tickets to CBP this summer.
I was wondering if you all might want some assistance in planning a group that would want to do a trip down to Nationals Park for the first home series here against the Phils. (4/13, 4/15, 4/16). The 700 Level would get a huge shout out at the game and there are some special things we could put together for you all. Those games are during the week, but I’m sure there are a ton of diehards that will want to make the short trip down. I’m sure you all would love to see a bunch of Phanatics overtake DC.
Let me know.
Washington Nationals Baseball Club
1500 South Capitol Street SE
Washington, DC 20003-1507
And we no doubt took advantage of the hospitality shown to us, organizing a small group of Phillies fans in an outfield section -- we even helped their local economy! -- of what we now often like to call Citizens Bank Park South.
Sadly, that was the same series that Harry Kalas passed away at, but Phillies fans still showed their love.
It's too bad the Nats organization appears to have changed their tune on how to handle Phillies fans wanting to see the class of the NL East play down in DC. As I mentioned before, the effort to keep us away by making it tougher to purchase tickets will be fruitless in the end.
If anything, it could just further stir up the rivalry in a negative way; there is enough fan-on-fan issues in sports today. Hopefully this doesn't create another.