The Washington Times - October 29, 2008, 03:34PM

If you’re a Nats fan who had season ticket in 2008, you probably have already received a packet of information about renewing for 2009. If you haven’t received it yet, you should in the next week or so.

From what I’ve been told, fans can spread out the cost over three payments but the Nationals are asking for 20 percent by Nov. 21, with the remaining money due in two more installments in December and January.

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Any fan who pays in full by Dec. 12 will get a free crystal ball with a curly “W” logo.

Some fans said they saw this as a change in policy from last year, when only a $300 deposit per seat was needed up front to lock in a renewal. But a team spokesman informed me that last year’s $300 deposit was to secure a spot for relocation into the new ballpark. Desposits for the tickets themselves were spread out over three even payments.

Obviously, getting 20 percent together in less than a month could prove challenging for many fans. I spoke to one season ticket holder who said she was unaware of the Nov. 21 deadline until she called the Nationals asking when her renewal package would arrive.

“It just totally took my by surprise,” she said.

Now she needs to scrap $1,800 together in the next few weeks at a time when economic conditions are getting tough for some people. 

Nationals spokeswoman Chartese Burnett said the team had not yet heard any complaints from fans, but that officials were curious as to how fans would respond given the economic climate.

Also, it’s worth pointing out that plans now include 82 games instead of 81, as the pre-season exhibition game with the Orioles is now part of all season ticket packages.

Are there any other fans out there caught by surprise? And are there any fans who have decided not to renew?

We’d love to hear from you. Shoot me an email at tlemke@washingtontimes.com if you want to share your experience.