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“Take Back the Park” Has Intended Effect

Game on Andy Feffer, game on.

The Washington Nationals stirred up some publicity earlier this morning by beginning the sale of single-game tickets for one singular series, May 4-6 versus our beloved Fightin’ Phils. It wasn’t the odd practice of only releasing one series’ worth of tickets to the general public that caught headlines, it was the fact that these tickets were limited to folks with credit cards from the DC-metro area, intended to “Take Back the Park” to block out Phillies fans.

The Nationals are quietly stockpiling nice, primarly young and developing talent to help them ascend to the top of the NL East. And that ascension may come quicker than Phillies fans realize: just yesterday, Buster Olney tweeted that the Phillies would win the NL East and that the Nationals would win one of the two Wild Card spots. As teams like the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A’s have found, making the playoffs does not always fill up the stadium. But announcing a rivalry with the top dog and telling their fans they can’t come to the games? That will grab headlines and that will fill the seats.

The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg commented that he, and the rest of the Nationals fanbase, hated seeing rows and rows of Phillies shirts and jerseys.  He interviewed their COO Andy Feffer who said “Forget you, Philly. This is our park, this is our town, these are our fans, and it’s our time right now.” Feffer addressed this e-mail to folks who bought tickets with the Nationals in years past:

Dear Nationals Insider,

Let’s work together to keep Phillies fans out – it’s time to TAKE BACK THE PARK!

Starting today, single game tickets for the May 4-6 Nationals vs. Phillies series will be made available only to Nationals fans who reside in Washington, D.C., Maryland or Virginia.

To take advantage of this offer, click on the green Take Back the Park button below to register. Upon successful registration, you will receive an email with a one-time-use password to complete your purchase. Nationals fans may purchase up to eight tickets per game in one transaction, while supplies last.

We invite you to show your Nationals pride and TAKE BACK THE PARK!

Sincerely,
Andrew Feffer
Chief Operating Officer

And to that I say, thank you.  The Phillies head into 2012 with five straight Division titles and an experienced core. A little competition has never hurt anyone and this may help light a fire underneath the Phillies to have them remain competitive.

A competitive, young Nationals team will help the Phillies remain competitive and respond positively to change. And a competitive and successful team in DC, no matter if they block out Philadelphia-area credit cards or not, means more relatively local baseball to see on a consistent basis. As for Feffer’s comments, they’ve had the intended effect: people are talking about the Nationals and locals will buy tickets and even further engaged Phillies fans will find ways to buy them. A competitive Nationals team helps the entire baseball fanbase and may help the Nationals turn the corner much like the Phillies did in 2007 when Jimmy Rollins proclaimed they were the “team to beat” heading into the season. For the Phillies sake, I hope this is not the case.

What are your reactions Phillies Nation?

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