When the Washington Nationals announced a new ticket initiative for the first home series of the 2012 season against the Philadelphia Phillies, aimed at stopping the onslaught of Philadelphia fans who overtake Nationals Park each summer, they were met with mixed reviews.
Some Nationals fans liked the team’s attempt to fire up the fanbase and allow a pre-sale for local fans for single-game tickets to that series. Others were puzzled why there still appeared to be plenty of tickets already on the secondary market for group trips to Philadelphia.
Either way, one thing is for sure: the ticket initiative certainly got under the skin of the Philadelphia fans who’ve made it an annual pilgrimage to Washington to root on their team. Things reached what one can only assume is an apex on Thursday with U.S. Senator Robert Casey sending a personal letter to Nationals owner Ted Lerner in protest of the presale. The letter was also apparently copied to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig as well as Nationals COO Andy Feffer.
Presented below without comment is that letter, courtesy of Philly.com:
Dear Mr. Lerner,
I write regarding the recently announced “Take Back the Park” ticket policy
at Washington Nationals Park and to respectfully request its elimination. I
am concerned that dedicated Philadelphia Phillies fans will be unfairly
denied access to games when their team plays against the Nationals.
It has come to my attention that residents of Washington, DC, Virginia and
Maryland have been given special priority access to tickets sales on the
dates in May when the Nationals and the Phillies compete. According to the
team’s website, only credit card billing addresses from these two states and
the District of Columbia will be processed for the presale, effectively
blocking thousands of Phillies fans who root for their team by visiting
Nationals Park. I appreciate the desire to enjoy a home field advantage, but
this unprecedented policy solely and unfairly targets Phillies fans.
As the Nation’s capital, Washington DC uniquely plays host to visitors from
across the country. In addition to the fans who visit exclusively for
Phillies games, tourists from the Commonwealth who hope to include a game on
their Washington, DC itinerary could be blocked from attendance. In the
spirit of good sportsmanship and healthy competition, I urge you to
reconsider the policy and immediately allow Phillies fans equal access to
ticket sales at Nationals Park.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator
cc: Allan H. Selig, Commissioner, Major League Baseball
cc: Andrew Feffer, Chief Operating Officer, Washington Nationals