A 700 Level photo showed a bare section 104 at Nationals Park, just before game one of the Saturday doubleheader between the Phillies and Nats. Fast forward some six hours: The place looked like Citizens Bank Park.
One of the themes carried on from the Phils four-game sweep in Washington was the sheer volume of Phillies fans at Nationals Park. In fact, Saturday night’s game was the second-largest crowd at Nationals Park this season (after opening day, against the Phils). What I’m taking away from that? We did well. Very well.
First off, I want to thank all of you who came to Nationals Park with us Saturday. Our trip was a success — from the tailgate to the game, we had a great time despite the rain throughout the evening. I hope you all had fun. It seemed like it — out in the crowd, we put together some impressive “Raaauuuuuul!” chants, and altogether seemed to dominate the D.C. audience.
And that’s what happened — on the television broadcast, we really came through loud and proud. It wasn’t just Phillies Nation’s group; thousands of Phillies fans roared with each big play. It was clearly a home game.
It was the best kind of home game, too.
Of what we know, there was no violence. There was no fans with broken bottles thrown at their heads. There was nothing thrown onto the field. There was no cursing. No badmouthing. No, this wasn’t a Phillies-Mets special at the Bank, this was a wonderful gathering of devoted Phillies fans. And that’s the difference.
The media slams Philadelphia sports fan behavior because a select group of crowd members get too drunk, too rowdy and too unhinged at Citizens Bank Park or Lincoln Financial Field. It happened at Veterans Stadium often, and at Eagles games, because Eagles games were methods of stepping outside of reality for many Philadelphians. These days, Phillies games have become fan Petri dishes, but because they’re more excuses for idiots to drink and express themselves outside of everyday life. Watch who gets involved in rowdy activity at a Phillies game — tell me that person isn’t someone with confidence issues, and I’ll buy you a hoagie.
We drank Saturday. We cheered and hooted and hollered Saturday. But nobody became intense, nobody became violent. Those of us at Nationals Park wanted nothing more than to visit a new ballpark and cheer their team, not start fights.
So while Nationals Park sounded and looked like Citizens Bank Park, and sections 103, 104 and 105 were filled with Phillie fans galore, be proud that you came across as true fans. Be proud that you represented Phillies nation … and Phillies Nation … incredibly well.