The Washington Times - February 3, 2012, 09:16AM

When the Philadelphia Phillies come to Washington, generally Nationals Park is full. It’s full, however, mostly with Phillies fans. You’ve noticed it, I’ve noticed it, the players notice it — it’s not all that hard to spot. Ever since former team president Stan Kasten invited all the rivals’ fans to make the trip and fill the seats, it’s been a bit of a bone of contention with Nationals fans. The same thing happens in Baltimore when the Red Sox and Yankees visit and, I’m sure, at other parks around the country where the tickets are relatively affordable and the distance to travel isn’t too great.

But this year the Nationals are at least trying to do something about the influx. Starting at 8 a.m. today (Friday) they’re holding a special ticket sale called “Take Back the Park” where only fans with a credit card billing address that registers in Maryland, D.C. or Virginia can purchase single-game tickets to the first series of the season vs. Philly: May 4-6. The tickets will be on sale here before other single-game tickets go on sale to the public.


Season ticket holders will also be able to apply their discount for single game tickets during the pre-sale.

For all of the details and how to purchase tickets, go to

With spring training just more than two weeks away, I think it’s become pretty clear to most fans that the Nationals won’t be having a FanFest prior to when pitchers and catchers are reporting to Viera, Fla.

In 2011, the Nationals held their FanFest at Nationals Park on the day before Opening Day. Unfortunately, rain forced most of the activities inside, but the plan was to do something like that again this season. Scheduling conflicts, though, prevented that this year. The Nationals won’t arrive in D.C. until Tuesday, April 3 — the day they will play the Boston Red Sox in an exhibition game — and will be leaving town immediately for a workout in Chicago before Thursday’s Opening Day at Wrigley Field against the Cubs. When the team returns home it will be just in time for the home opener and for the full grind of the baseball schedule to begin.