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Another step forward

Aug 21, 2011, 11:51 PM EST

US Presswire photo
Ryan Zimmerman is congratulated after scoring the winning run in the 10th.

In terms of sheer drama, this hardly stacked up to Ryan Zimmerman’s walk-off grand slam Friday night. Really, walk-off hit-by-pitches don’t make for timeless highlight videos.

“I mean, you can just walk home,” said Zimmerman, who had the honor of doing just that when Brad Lidge drilled Jonny Gomes in the left elbow with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning late Sunday afternoon. “But, a win’s a win.”

Actually, this was more than just a win for the Nationals. This 5-4, 10-inning victory over the Phillies may well have represented a significant moment for this franchise.

Coupled with Zimmerman’s flashier heroics on Friday, this win ensured a series victory for the Nationals, spoiling the weekend for the tens of thousands of Phillies fans who invaded South Capitol Street. And combined with the results of some previous encounters between the reigning kings of the NL East and the division’s up-and-comers, the Nationals and their fans can at last crow a little bit.

Yes, the Nats have now won five of their last seven meetings against a Philadelphia club that has flat-out owned them over the last four seasons. There may not have been a majority of Nationals fans
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120 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Aug 21, 2011 at 11:58 PM

    So well put, Mark. This is a significant franchise milestone. First, we took two of three from probably the best team in baseball. Second, we beat Halladay, or at least knocked him out with the help of that rain. Third, we didn't give up even down to our last strike in the ninth, Fourth, it was the kids — Desmond, Espinosa, et al who had the big hits. Fifth, Werth shows he can be clutch. And last but not least, we shut All Those Philthy Phans up, allowing them to drive their rusted-out 1978 Olds 98's back to South Philly in a daze. As Gomes said, "Old fashioned dirtbag baseball."

  2. Anonymous - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:01 AM

    Awesome game. While i can't physically keep the philly fans out of our park our outboo them, i CAN retaliate by rubbing it in their faces on their blog message boards. what a glorious day! see and go to the story on todays game

  3. natsfan1a - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:09 AM

    Very well put,indeed. I would add only this statement to the Phans Phrom Philly:

  4. Anonymous - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:21 AM

    I still think that were the records reversed, the shoe would be on the other foot, yadda, yadda, and this crew would be quite familiar with every inch of pavement between here and Philadelphia. I don't begrudge 'em coming here. Heck, I've even been to a Redskins game up there. [But not recently. LOL]

  5. Joe S. - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:24 AM

    This looks like the seeds of a beautiful rivalry. Considering that the Orioles aren't going up, and the Mets are going down, this might be the best rivalry we'll have for awhile.And everybody remember: 2013=1924!

  6. A DC Wonk - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:29 AM

    DJ critics might want to take note of Davey's "don't sacrifice" call to Werth. DJ never said he would never bunt, he just said that he didn't like it. Today was a good example of Davey's "I'm not thrilled with the bunt" style.

  7. Drew8 - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:29 AM

    In fact, tonight I wanna party like it's 1924.

  8. Grandstander - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:47 AM

    DC WonkIf Davey had bunted there, you likely would have had the same situation. If Werth gets it down clean, and that's a big "if" for a guy who doesn't bunt often, they would have simply walked Espinosa to get to Gomes with the bases loaded and 1 out.On the flip side, it's not like, out of the question that Werth single could have been a double play ball.I agree with his attitude about bunting, and I think it was a good call considering the circumstances, but it's not like it was some great vindication of why bunting is not something teams should do so often.

  9. Grandstander - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:49 AM

    Joe S., the Braves factor into this situation pretty highly. I actually think they have a better chance to win the WS than the Phils because they have a lights out bullpen. They are also much younger with a stacked farm. I think you'll a return to the days when they owned the division in the early 90s the next few years.

  10. Anonymous - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:59 AM

    To rain on the parade…. Werth is just a disaster. $126 million guaranteed to a guy who begs for a walk every time. People are giving him love for a crappy slow roller? Please. Since we are stuck with him, we just need to bat him 2nd where he can hunt for his walks or 8th where we can bury his 1st pitch and 3rd called strikes in the least damaging spot in the lineup. I was hoping to love this guy. But after watching almost every at-bat of his this year, I just hate watching how he goes about his business. One of the worst signings in history. Philly is much happer to have Pence, and Werth wil be clogging up our outfield, payroll, and prospect pipeline for the better part of a decade. OTOH… Zimmerman is just a Superstar! Lock him up.

  11. A DC Wonk - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:01 AM

    Grandstander said… If Davey had bunted there… I agree with his attitude about bunting, and I think it was a good call considering the circumstances, but it's not like it was some great vindication of why bunting is not something teams should do so often.I think we agree. I don't think this is some great vindication, either. Rather, I think this is a great example of Davey's style (and Earl Weaver's) vs Riggs' (and probably most other managers') style.FWIW, (in response to other comments) I absolutely agree with Bo Porter playing it conservatively. No reason to make the first out at home. You gotta figure that out of the next two batters, *somebody* will either get a hit, walk, or outfield fly ball.

  12. flynnie - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:04 AM

    Jimmy Rollins is on the DL with a strained groin he suffered in today's game. As we saw with Zimm, that's not an injury that you just bounce back from good as new. How will the Phillies do in the playoffs without a shortstop? They'd give a lot for Ian Desmond now, but Pat Gillick burned down the farm to bring home the World championship.

  13. FS - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:05 AM

    Grandstander, I agree with you about Braves having better chances of winning WS this season than Phillies. They may not have a lineup as good as Phillies, but their pitching is superb, bullpen and starting. I think they can be this season's Giants and get hot at the right time. They also have lots of pitching in minors ready to help them soon. However, I don't agree that they will return to the dominance of 90s. I honestly see Nationals as a better candidate to rule NLE for rest of the decade than Braves. We could soon have a lineup featuring players like Rendon, Harper, Ryan, Werth, etc and rotation of SS, JZ, Purke, and co. One possible future FA acquisition is off the market now since Weaver signed an extension with Angels for five years.

  14. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:11 AM

    I couldn't read his lips, but I assumed, seeing Werth going over to the dugout before that last at-bat, Davey told him "Bunt? No, I want you to hit a three-run home run."

  15. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:16 AM

    The Phillies will be good for a few more years, if not at their WS level. The Braves are going to be good for a while. The Nats are not that far behind them–maybe a year, maybe two. The Mets are a mess, but the Marlins have a way of turning up when you least expect them. This could be a very interesting division indeed for the next several years.

  16. Dave - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:19 AM

    "They've stuck with us through a lot of tough times in the last three or four years," Zimmerman said. "Now we're finally starting to show them that we're getting close."Okay, Ryan, so you stick with us, too! (Pay the man, Rizzo!)

  17. Natslifer - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:19 AM

    Mark got my sentiment right on. Just a great win and an awesome series win. I've been watching since Day 1 and this is one of my Top 10 moments easy. This is way it should be – lots of those moments coming in one season – this is the way it's going to be for a while. I'm so bullish right now. Bring on the D'backs.

  18. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:21 AM

    OK, I took a little trip over to the Fillies blog and there was a Dirty-Backs troll on there, so I gave it some what for: Do NOT forget Arizona! Let's smack the Dirty-Backs (is that terminology okay?).

  19. flynnie - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:28 AM

    I like D-Bags better, but that's just a personal preference.

  20. Nats Outsider - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:31 AM

    My somewhat fuzzy memory thinks that Sean Burnett has now had two or three good outings in a row. Is that right? If Burnett is getting back to being a dependable option in the bullpen, than might be almost as significant for the rest of the season as the win tonight. Up to now, the appearance of anyone other than Clip and Store generates nail biting. If we can have confidence in Burnett again, that would be really great news.

  21. flynnie - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:32 AM

    @Dave – It's not just the wealth of Caesar that the Yankees will offer Zimmerman. It's 162 sold out stadiums with 45,000 fans lionizing you, and millions more watching your canonization on "Yankeeography" broadcast on the team's network. If I owned the Marlins, I'd move them to Brooklyn, charge 1/2 price and sell out every home game. New York is the National Capitol of Baseball.

  22. flynnie - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:34 AM

    @ Nats Outsider – Charlie said Burnett had three good outings, and this must be counted as 4. He was magnificent against Utley. I truly thought he was going to lose the game.

  23. Nats Outsider - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    "Burnett had three good outings, and this must be counted as 4." Thanks!! That's really wonderful. I hope it means that Storen and especially Clippard can avoid being burned out as the Nats march toward a winning season.

  24. Anonymous - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:41 AM

    I love this team. This team has a HUGE heart and Desi's HR really showd it.We have unfinished business with the D-bags. Get ready for a brawl.

  25. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:41 AM

    Don't agree that we can declare Werth a "disaster," based on 1/2 of 1 season of a seven-year contract. His record for 31 games in the 2nd half of 2011 is .263/.364/.430 with OPS of .793. I admit to previous total aggravation at his taking 1st pitch strikes. However, even Davey called him out for swinging on a first pitch, not to mention several other players with that tendency– including our hero Ian Desmond in the bottom of the 5th today when it was INEXCUSABLE and could have cost us the game right then and there (if the game had not resumed after the rain delay).So I'm coming around to Werth's approach, though it still "feels" like he's giving away 1/3 of his at-bat when he takes the first strike. In contrast to Anon's view, I'm starting to believe Werth is one of the smartest guys out there in terms of baseball IQ.As far as taking the 3rd strike, that happens. Today, he took a called third strike that was a ball for the rest of the game.

  26. A DC Wonk - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    flynnie said… @ Nats Outsider – Charlie said Burnett had three good outings, and this must be counted as 4.I heard Charlie say that, but I think he's mistaken. See On 8/17 he pitched to four batters, and got one out.Looking at "WPA" — it seems that in his last eight appearances (not including tonday) he alternated: hurting the team four time, and helping the team four times. (So, yes, if you include tonight, he's helped the last three out of four).

  27. Joe Seamhead - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:53 AM

    Jason Werth is the Labowski of MLB.He's just The Dude.

  28. Dave - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:08 AM

    @flynnie, it is the New York game, after all.But that doesn't mean I have to accept that New York is the ultimate end of the road for every great player.

  29. sjm308 - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:14 AM

    I always try and look at something no one else has touched on. Tonight in a critical game Davey did NOT use a reliever for more than one inning. Not sure about Gorzo but just the one batter was fine with me. Coffey in the 7th, Clip in the 8th, Storen in the 9th and Burnett in the 10th means ALL these guys will be available tomorrow! That could be huge, plus we will have HRod, and Matheus even fresher. I really do think Davey has the bullpen thing down and I am looking forward to these last 40 games.I appreciate posters like Mike giving their opinions and leaving a name (unlike the neganons) but I totally disagree about both Werth and Desmond. I have been a big fan of both and neither is having a great year. I still think they are a big part of our future and sure loved the roles they played today.go nats

  30. David - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:15 AM

    "The Dude abides"

  31. Joe S. - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:20 AM

    @Grandstander:I agree with your point: the Braves will likely be the team to beat by 2013. (And the Nats might beat them!) My point was different: the rivalry will be with the Phillies. They're nearby, and they will likely remain a good team, even if they age out of greatness. Rivalry needs proximity, and a good reason to hate. Phillies players and mgmt aren't very hateful, but Phillie fans are. Apart from the Tomahawk Chop, it's hard to hate the Braves or their fans.

  32. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:30 AM

    I HATE THE MARLINS HATE THE MARLINS HATE THE MARLINS!!!!Also not fond of the Dirty-Backs.Neither team in close proximity. Hatred knows no limitations.

  33. flynnie - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:33 AM

    And let's not forget Atlanta's failure to sell out the park, even in the playoffs. My theory is that the Southern economies will not support attending pro sports (except for Texas, the U.S. Saudi Arabia.) There's not enough rich people. Arthur Blank had to offer $5 seats to fill up Falcons games, and that's fuball, the Official Sport of the South.

  34. Nats Outsider - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:54 AM

    flynnie said, "fuball, the Official Sport of the South."Slight correction, flynnie: the Official Sport of the South is COLLEGE football. Always has been. In fact, until pretty recently (maybe the 1970's?) pro football was never as big a draw as the college game. Even the first several Superbowls did not sell out. Pete Rozelle was a marketing genius and was a major reason that pro football turned into the juggernaut it is in most markets. But there are still plenty of areas where college football is king.

  35. CBinDC - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:55 AM

    Well I get off the internet for a day and see my name being batted about and not sure why ……oh well …. Great ending to the lowest point of the managements efforts to build a fan base. Boswell has a piece today that tries to address the issues brought up by this weekend but Mark really hit the high point and the only true point ….this invasion was the result of the Nationals management and Stan Kasten as the primary culprit and they have done nothing to repair the damage. But for the players and the team GREAT RESULT you have started to turn the corner and Davy is starting to win me over that maybe he could have a positive effect . At least the last three day have been the most honest talk I have heard from a Nats manager.

  36. DCGuy7 - Aug 22, 2011 at 3:15 AM

    i was at the only bummer of a loss of the weekend saturday night, and i gotta say – still a great weekend! gyfng.

  37. Anonymous - Aug 22, 2011 at 3:17 AM

    Just wanna say, If Mike Morse is hit by a pitch again intentionally or as a result of excessive pitching inside, there better be repercussions for the other team or else i am…. I know we have been in tight ball games and walking someone may be disastrous, but we cant just accept Mike being hit by pitches over and over again. He does not even stand that close to the plate like Espinosa and he is still being consistently hit.

  38. Gonat - Aug 22, 2011 at 3:26 AM

    "Anytime you can beat what I consider the best team in baseball, it's a plus," manager Davey Johnson said. "There were a lot of good things we did. And we learned a lot. That's a fine ballclub out there. We had them on the ropes a couple of times. They had us on the ropes. We came back. There's just no give-up in this ballclub. And it's always fun to beat the best."________________________________This team with Zim and Morse clicking together is the better than what Zim had with Dunn behind him. Werth is making his hits count though Werth is still inconsistent. Lets hope Espi is going on a hot streak. Desi came up big on Friday and today.The Nats won't see Collmenter in this 4 game series. JZim matches up with Ian Kennedy on Tuesday which is Ace on Ace.They were clicking with Justin Upton and have Goldschmidt at 1st so I expect a different offense but we can thank Atlanta for cooling them down.Would love to see a long winning streak to get above .500

  39. Anonymous - Aug 22, 2011 at 3:47 AM

    Sure looks like they could finish above .500 and if they do they would have accomplished quite the feat. That would be huge gi-normous improvement over last season. Just another month or so … sure hope they can go it!

  40. Grandstander - Aug 22, 2011 at 3:55 AM

    Of note for some here, Felipe Lopez has been DFA'd by the Brewers. Probably the ex-Nat I hate the most. Glad to see his career is coming to a close.

  41. SBrent - Aug 22, 2011 at 4:23 AM

    As of now, the Nats are 8th out of 16 teams (top half) in the National League, and overall 17th out of 30 MLB teams. Not flashy, maybe, but definitely in middle-of-the-pack respectable territory. That in itself is a big improvement over previous seasons. We're on the way up!

  42. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 22, 2011 at 4:32 AM

    natsfan1a said… Very well put,indeed. I would add only this statement to the Phans Phrom Philly:, in addition to the organist playing (Kiss Him) Goodbye, maybe we could play this on the scoreboard. Several times. Just for the Phillies games, mind you. It would go a long way to make up for inviting them down in the first place, wouldn't it?

  43. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 22, 2011 at 4:34 AM

    But I think this pretty much sums up our visions of revenge:

  44. Mary in Springfield - Aug 22, 2011 at 4:49 AM

    Grandstander, "hate" is a very strong word and is one that I rarely use, but I admit it: I hate Phillies fans. Not the Phillies team itself or their individual players, just their fans. As for former Nats, I can't say that there's any that I "hate". As for "least-liked" former Nat, though, mine would be Odalis Perez.

  45. Anonymous - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:00 AM

    Espy and Desi have thrived ever since Davey decided to move Espy back to the role he likes to play – as the 6-7 slot RBI man with men on base. And Desi is much happier hitting at the top of the order than at the bottom. Davey should never have moved Espy to the 2 slot and Desi to the 8 slot. He may have cost Espy ROY honors, not to mention how Espy's collapse affected overall team performance.With Espy hitting again, and Desi contributing at the top of the order, this team will score runs. Zim is a monster, and Morse a beast.I like this team. Davey seems to be abandoning his role to play genius, and just manage the talent he's got. Let them do what they do best, and stop trying to mold them into what he wants them to do best.

  46. baseballswami - Aug 22, 2011 at 11:29 AM

    One thing I have noticed — Zim and Morse are in the mix and on base every time I look up. But — when someone, anyone, gets on ahead of them and Werth does anything at all behind them, good things happen. Friday and Sunday – Zim and Morse ( and I include Morse getting hit or walked because he is just that good) are right there, but when Jayson Werth did his job in the Friday 9th and the Sunday 10th – the offense clicked. Nice to see Desi with the xbh and Espi smoking the ball. Now on to the whiny, baby D-Bags.

  47. gonatsgo - Aug 22, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    So – are we going to see Justin Upton hit the deck like a Brazilian soccer player in this series, Swami?

  48. baseballswami - Aug 22, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    gonatsgo — I think you can count on it. He can't go 4 games without acting.

  49. Anonymous - Aug 22, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    Flop – dfa's yet again – is there a record for # of dfa's in any period of time? Couldn't happen to a nicer guy ๐Ÿ˜‰

  50. Joe Seamhead - Aug 22, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    I left the ballpark giddy.I went to sleep giddy. I woke up giddy. It must be love.GYFNG!

  51. Richard - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    I'm with you, anon at 11:17. If Morse gets hit again, somebody on the other team has to pay, either the clean-up hitter or the pitcher. Enough is enough. Let's clear the benches and start swingin', if that's what it takes. Morse has been hit 11 times this year and Espinoza 16 and they don't appear to be standing that close to the plate.

  52. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    Yeah, somehow Espi didn't get hit that much during his slump, now did he? Funny he got HBP 16 times, and none of them were in the last 28 days. Hmmmmm….

  53. Feel Wood - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    Of note for some here, Felipe Lopez has been DFA'd by the Brewers.They had to DFA him now because with his notorious lack of hustle it was the only way they could guarantee he'd have all his personal effects out of their clubhouse by the end of the season.

  54. sjm308 - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    I think its a guarantee that if Morse gets hit when Livan is pitching that something will happen. He is old school (hell, he is old) and won't ignore it. Not sure what JZimm will do or if Davey will actually order it. What would be great is if he saves HRod for the job at hand and has the first one hit the backstop at 101 mph and then has him plunk the hitter in the hip with his 83 mph slider.That would keep everyone loose if nothing else.Of course this has to happen when we are up 7-0 so that the win is still intact. Hell, I dreamed about a series win against the Phillies, lets see if I can conger up a sweep of the D'Backs.go nats

  55. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    Feel Wood, you are a funny guy (person).

  56. Nats Outsider - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:34 PM

    Richard, except in the case of a actual beanball, I think retaliatory hbp is foolish. It might relieve some frustration temporarily, but it puts an opposing player on base. Worse, that player is most often the pitcher. Instead of an out, you then have a runner on first with the top of the order coming up. Wholly apart from not showing any class, giving the other side a free base is not the way to win games.

  57. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    The first guy plunked tonite is Wilson Ramos for the slow waltz he did around the bases last month in Arizona during his extra inning HR. Not that I'm into showboating but he did take a full 60 seconds to round the bases. (And I enjoyed it.)

  58. natsfan1a - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    Speaking of beanings, follow the link below and scroll down to "minor league OF uses head to make strange triple play." Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "keep your head in the game." a Nats note, I don't really have a beef with the Diamondbacks. Well, maybe a little with their manager if he's the one who began the plunking war. However, I'd be happy if my Nats took several games from them and, in the course of doing that, happened to help my brother's SF Giants as well.

  59. Richard - Aug 22, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    Yeah, hitting a guy may make winning harder (puts a guy on base) and be classless (if you assume the other guys are people of good will and aren't trying to intimidate your hitters — what's that, an incoming call from Bob Gibson? I'll take it.) but (1) may allow Morse or Espinoza or others to be better hitters b/c they're less concerned with being hit (that will make winning easier), and (2) may save them from injury (if they're hit less).

  60. Anonymous8 - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    How nice to look at the standings this morning and see the Nats 3 games under .500 after a 3 game Phillies series with Halladay and Oswalt starting. Based on Nats performances recently with bases loaded, uh correction, choking with bases loaded, we could have been 7 games under .500 this morning. Now the Nats are embracing bases loaded. Thriving with bases loaded with the game on the line. Not swinging on the first pitch they see.Maybe they are learning from their leader by example Ryan Zimmerman "the pressure is on the pitcher".

  61. jd - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    I wanted to share an incident with the regulars and I am hoping someone has an idea on what one should do: My son and I made our annual pilgrimage to Nationals park this weekend and witnessed the philly invasion for a second year in a row. Fast forward to yesterday's game top of the ninth. The stadium is rocking with 'lets go phillies' and everyone is standing as the phillies take the lead. Now it's the bottom of the ninth and the invaders are in standing and in full force again anticipating a sure strike out of Desmond and a happy ride home. Now it's the bottom of the 10th and Zimmerman has just doubled. My son and I are standing (The only ones in section 135) and cheering the Nats to an anticipated improbable win and guess what?An usher comes over and asks us to sit down to which my son replied:' you can ask but we're not going to'. She became very insistent completely ignoring the fact (which we pointed out) that everyone was standing last inning. We also told her that if the Philly fans wanted to see they can stand up as well. We remained standing through the end of the game and after the game we had one more heated discussion with the same usher + one of her colleagues. I am sharing because Nationals park feels like one of the least 'home' stadiums anywhere and Nationals management needs to train their staff that muzzling one's own supporters is not a good way to go.

  62. jd - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    I think that it's important to admit that the philly invasion is not managements or ownership's fault. If Nats fans don't want to be overwhelmed by Phils fans they need to buy tickets and make less tickets available. This would not happen anywhere else.

  63. Anonymous - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    JD,You need to report that incident to Nationals' management. Last year at a game late in the season, my dad caught a home run ball hit by the opposition and threw it back. The usher promptly kicked us out of the game. Ironically, it was the least attended game since baseball came back to DC, and here they were kicking out some fans who were actually rooting for the Nats. My dad wrote an email to some team official (don't remember who), and the official responded that he was embarrassed and offered free tickets to make up for it. I'm sure that the Nats organization would like to be made aware of situations like yours as well. There seems to be a disconnect with the ushers out there. I don't get it.

  64. CBinDC - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    Jd: I feel your pain really feel your pain ….I think you should try and tell the powers that be again again again and see if NOW you get a response……I tried all last year and still have not heard back about my complaints on the invasion and the vile people they invited but I think you did right thing. I have had it myself and really do not need to return to Nationals Park for those games …they can deal with the horror they have brought on themselves….I will wait go to other games …but I am sure the Lerners do not care since their silence is deafening….even if the team has a great result in a rare away at home series they seem to not care

  65. Gonat - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    jd said… I think that it's important to admit that the philly invasion is not managements or ownership's fault. If Nats fans don't want to be overwhelmed by Phils fans they need to buy tickets and make less tickets available. This would not happen anywhere else. August 22, 2011 9:23 AM ______________________________Ding ding ding, we have a winner!

  66. Anonymous8 - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    Can you all imagine next year with Strasburg pitching in a Phillies game that the bandwagon Nats fans will show up but they wait last minute to buy their tickets. The Phillies fans buy once tickets go on sale.By the way, the Phoolies loved the free beer when you buy Diamond Club tickets.The Nats need to change their approach on Phillies games next year. The only easy answer is NO group sales outside of the area and market hard to the locals and season ticket holders to buy early. The theme is "to take back our stadium".

  67. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    Anon 9:28 — the Nats are not the Cubs and it clearly states in the program and in the pre-game announcements that you cannot throw objects (including balls) onto the field. That said, it seems like a warning would have been sufficient.

  68. CBinDC - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    The point on buying tickets is that the Nationals have held out tickets to selling to brokers in Philly and did so since OD 2009 when "WHAT I DID SOMETHING WRONG" Kasten organized this invasion ….so if you were a Nats fan you would have had little chance to buy the ticket since they sold them in a presale ….. but the point well documented is the NATS FO created this and has done nothing to correct it …..Teddy responded to Caps fans complaints and look how well that has gone and just like you experienced this weekend how can you comment to more games if this is how you treat YOUR fan base…..this is no different then a bar that suddenly finds a gang invasion …you could say to the regulars well if you stay longer or showed up more they would not be here but really in the end the reasonable go home or to another bar and the gang trashed the place and the bar closes or is sold to another owner…(this used to happen a lot in this area and maybe still does)

  69. Joe Seamhead - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    Ding ding ding, we have a winner!I agree! You go jd!I agree. To the rest of you that won't go to "those" games, I say, "Here, kitty, kitty."

  70. Richard - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    Thanks for sharing that JD. Attitude is a big problem at Nats Park, IMO.

  71. Anonymous - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    JD, your experience with the usher was outrageous. I hope you do take this up with Nats' management. They need to be trained better.On the other hand, I buy tickets that I can afford and frequently move in the third inning or so to seats that I wish I could afford. Any big increase in usher competence might make that move impossible. Just saying.

  72. jd - Aug 22, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    Mark, CBinDC, anyone else, Who should we contact to complain? I want to make sure that this is not ignored.

  73. OPACY - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    This would not happen anywhere else. August 22, 2011 9:23 AMOh, if only I could believe that …

  74. Nats Outsider - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    One reason that so many Phillies fans come to DC to watch their team is that they can't get tickets to home games. Not only do the Phils sell out every game, they set a cap on season ticket sales this year at 28,500. As early as last spring, they had a *waiting list* for 2012 season tickets.So, I don't begrudge the fans' desire to come to DC. As JD and Seamhead have said, the answer to being overwhelmed at Nationals Park is in our own hands (or wallets).

  75. Nats Outsider - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    JD, try these people for your complaints:Vice President, Ballpark Enterprises & Guest Services Catherine Silver Director, Ballpark EnterprisesMaggie Gessner Director, Guest Services & Hospitality OperationsJonathan Stahl Sr. Manager, Guest ServicesCynthia Goins Manager, Customer Service & TrainingRobert Asperheim Coordinator, Guest ServicesBilly Langenstein As a pure guess, I would start with Cynthia Goins or Robert Asperheim.All of them can be reached at the Nationals Executive Offices.Washington Nationals Nationals Park 1500 South Capitol Street, SE Washington, DC 20003-1507 202.675.NATS (6287)

  76. natsfan1a - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    We interrupt this episode of Phillies Phan Point/Counterpoint to bring you the following PSA.Voting is still open for the local blogger poll, the Insider is among the contestants, and one can vote once per day until early September. now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

  77. natsfan1a - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    (September 9, to be precise, now that I've looked it up.)

  78. Nats Outsider - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    Thanks for the reminder, 1a. We are naturally excited about the Nats' emerging respectability, but we should all take a moment to acknowledge the consistent excellence that Mark Z achieves every day.

  79. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    100% agree if they are going to enforce a "no standing rule" — and I don't think there is one — they should enforce it FIRST on Fillies fans. Probably was a Fillies fan that complained.I used to scream "Willeeeeeee" when he was here. The only instrument I used was my voice (you are not allowed to use vuvuzelas) but I got warned about making too much noise. So there ya go.

  80. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    Can I please interject a plug for the job C.M. Wang did yesterday? If Espinosa makes a clean pick in the second inning, the worst he does is give up two solo shots to the Phillies.And the ball hit by Utley was a pretty good pitch.I think we have a keeper for a quality #5 guy.His strength has improved immensely since early June and he seems to be getting stronger.He's made a believer out of me. He even got a few swings and misses yesterday with his 2 seamer.

  81. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    Here are the Nats policies about "guest" (fan) behavior in the park. FWIW

  82. CBinDC - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    You can try 202.675.NATS and see if you can phone tree your way through. They use to have a full phone directory but that has disappeared ….. the email I had is for someone who is no longer there but they never responded anyway …would love to know what is your success. We have been talking about a season ticket package but really gun shy to comment so much to people who seem to not care and I am tired try to find out right now

  83. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    NatsJack, I'm with you on Wang, and have been since I saw him pitch in Chicago. Davey said he would have let him go for 100 pitches if not for the rain delay.Now, if only we can sign him for a reasonable price, bearing in mind that other teams can see what we see.

  84. N. Cognito - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    NatsLady said… "Anon 9:28 — the Nats are not the Cubs and it clearly states in the program and in the pre-game announcements that you cannot throw objects (including balls) onto the field. That said, it seems like a warning would have been sufficient."They've been throwing people out for that since Nats Park opened – a truly stupid policy.

  85. Mark Zuckerman - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    JD: The email address for pretty much everyone who works for the Nats is: firstname.lastname@nationals.comI think if you try some of those names Nats Outsider gave you, you'd be successful.

  86. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    N. Cog — I don't agree, sorry. Throwing balls on the field can be dangerous. Even if you say that after a HR outfielders should be aware, it can still happen that they get hit (and did, I believe, a few weeks ago, can't recall the teams involved). Remember, if you throw a HR ball hit by the opposing team back into the field, you are throwing it at OUR outfielders.

  87. Nats Outsider - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    NatJack–If Davey stays as manager, the real question about the back-of-the-rotation guys is who can do long relief as well as spot starts. He has been clear that he wants a lefty and righty as long relievers. The Nats have a ton of unproven prospects and maybe-good-enoughs, but I don't see really strong candidates for ##4 and 5. Next year's rotation has to start with Zimmermann and Strasburg (in that order, since the pattern with TJ recovery is that the pitcher is rocky at first). After that, maybe Lannan. And then, well, pick 'em. Livo? Wang? Gorzy? The minor leaguers? On top of that, it's hard to get good looks at long relievers at the end of the season. The starter has to be in trouble early.

  88. Feel Wood - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    The Nats need to change their approach on Phillies games next year. The only easy answer is NO group sales outside of the area and market hard to the locals and season ticket holders to buy early. The theme is "to take back our stadium".This so-called "easy answer" is not only not so easy, it's wrong. No group sales outside the area? Fine. Do you know how many Phillies fans live in the DC area? Lots of them. They are the ones who pack the stadium for weeknight Phillies series. Weekend series like this past one are what draws huge numbers of fans down from Philadelphia. (Also Opening Day, since that's an "event".) So if you force a group to play their DC card in order to get into those games, there are plenty of Phillies fans who have that DC card and they will play it. Likewise, there's no way to prevent Phillies fans from buying single-game tickets once they go on sale. And face it, the Phillies fans are willing to buy those tickets and pay for them months in advance. They're not waiting around to check the weather forecast. Any Nats fan who's complaining about not being able to buy two seats together at the last minute for the Saturday night Phillies game is seriously deluded. It's not realistic or even possible for the Nats to make tickets available for sale to the public and then try to forbid Phillies fans from buying them for months at a time just on the hope that some Nats fans might decide to buy them.Bottom line, if you're one of these so-called "diehard Nats fans" who refuses to go to any game vs the Phillies because their fans take over the stadium, you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

  89. Ztown - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    Great Win! Great job Burnett, Desmond, Espinosa, et al. So glad the phillies are leaving and we dont have to hear about philly invasion anymore

  90. Gonat - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    Nats Outsider said… One reason that so many Phillies fans come to DC to watch their team is that they can't get tickets to home games. Not only do the Phils sell out every game, they set a cap on season ticket sales this year at 28,500. As early as last spring, they had a *waiting list* for 2012 season tickets.So, I don't begrudge the fans' desire to come to DC. As JD and Seamhead have said, the answer to being overwhelmed at Nationals Park is in our own hands (or wallets). August 22, 2011 10:02 AM ____________________________I agree. I didn't go this weekend. I think when the Nats put in an effort to the fanbase to assure us that we will be at least the majority there, who wants to feel like we are in someone else's park during the 9 games with the Bad Citizens.

  91. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    Here is an article (by a Fillies fan, sorry) supporting my position on throwing balls back., remember this?

  92. baseballswami - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    I think it's kind of funny that we think this invasion couldn't happen anywhere else because it DID happen regularly and it happened in Philadelphia and within the last 10 years. The Phils were not a good team, they did not have all of their bandwagon fans and the Mets used to bring a stadium full of fans down from New York, which is closer to Philly than we are. The fans who have been around up there since before they were any good talk about it all the time. I am afraid we are going to start getting into Dodgers/ San Fransisco type stuff, though, when we get to be even more of a challenge and there will be dangerous incidents.By the way, my Philly relatives are really not having a good Monday, :)

  93. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    I'm with NatsLady…. ANYBODY throwing ANYTHING on the field deserves to be tossed.

  94. natsfan1a - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    You're welcome, Outsider (and in case y'all are wondering, no, I'm not Mark's mom – I just appreciate what he's created here).Have to say that I agree with NatsLady about throwing balls back on the field (sorry, fellas).But as for telling home fans to sit down or not to cheer so loudly…um…AFLAC?

  95. Anonymous - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    FeelWood is also correct. Very hard to stop them but maybe you don't allow Group sales at all on those games. The reason Nats fans don't go is because of how it looked on Saturday. A sea of Phoolies.

  96. jd - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    Thanks everyone for your replies. We are certainly going all the way with this. If this is going to be our team in DC then the team employees have to get with the program first. Nationals fans can't be treated like second class citizens in our own park.

  97. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    On the Fillies invasion: 1)It was miserable on Saturday night, especially at the end when they were on their feet in the bottom of the 9th and the final cheer erupted.2)It was glorious on Sunday evening, when they were on their feet in the bottom of the 9th and Desi hit that home run.You take the bad with the good. It'll get better.

  98. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    Swami, you are right. Several Fillies fans told me the same over the weekend, and the Mets invasion is not a happy memory for them ("obnoxious" "overran the park", etc.). By the way, miserable as I was on Saturday, there were many polite and friendly Fillies fans, knowlegable and entirely willing to concede that we have the up-and-coming team and theirs is aging. In particular there was a lady with her family who was in HEAVEN on Sunday when I told her how to find the Kosher booth and get a Shwarma (the best in the park– a combo of yummy stuff in a pita).

  99. Traveler8 - Aug 22, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    I've been wondering, does anyone know if the Phillies fans have comparably been invading Citifield in the last couple of years?I was at the ballpark on Friday night and the worst people in my section were Nats fans who insisted on yelling things just to bait the Phillies fans (Your city S#$ks, etc. – plus other stuff that seemed pointless – Royals S#$k when Red Sox went ahead – all this going on with a family with children sitting two rows behind them) – while the Phillies fans in our section were loud about cheering for their team, they did not rise to the bait and were not booing the Nats.

  100. jd - Aug 22, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    NatsLady, I agree with your overall observation. My one on one experience with most Philly fans was not bad and for the most part the groups were not out of line at all. I don't believe that the answer is to change the reality by decree or for that matter by some sort of marketing ploy. There needs to be a culture of going to baseball games and overall community buy in with the team; I didn't see it this weekend, not at the ball park not at the hotel not really anywhere we were. The hope is that a great young team will create this following from the kids up. Frankly; I am not so sure I believe this will happen in DC.

  101. Anonymous - Aug 22, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    Here's another way to look at the Phillies fan invasion. Their fans are spending big money on tickets and concessions nine times a year. The Nats use Phillies $ to acquire better players and to pay their existing players top dollar. Nats fans suffer through the invasion period but over time the Phils fans help to fund the Nats improvement. Nats get better, Phils age and get worse, Phils fans invasion stops (hopefully) and Nats fans, after the team becomes a perennial playoff team, begin invading Nationals Park North nine times a year.

  102. jd - Aug 22, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    I have been to many a ball park and I've seen large contingents of out of town fans in many places. There are always tons of Yankee fans wherever they play, similarly Red Sox fans. I have never seen a situation where 40,000 out of 45,000 fans were supporting the visiting team (And these are not outrageous exaggerations, that's how it was this weekend).

  103. Section 222 - Aug 22, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    Thought I'd share this report from one of my ticket partners who had our seats on Saturday night: "I chose the wrong game to attend this weekend! Boy, those Phillies phans are obnoxious! As I was entering the stadium, a guy pointed at me and yelled โ€œThereโ€™s a guy in a Nationals shirt. Boo that fan! Boo that fan! Boo that fan!โ€ And a chorus of boos erupted all around me."Winning the series, especially in such dramatic fashion was very sweet indeed. Look forwrd to hearing from the Nationals what they intend to do to try to reduce the hostile atmosphere in the park during Phillies games. [Crickets chirping]

  104. FS - Aug 22, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    What is wrong with throwing a HR hit by opposition back on the field? Personally I would give it to a fan of opposition, but if a home fan wants to throw it back, I don't see anything wrong.Anyways, we have 37 games left. We need to go 20-17 to get .500 and guess # of home and away games left, 20-17. Very doable to get .500 or better. After DBacks and Reds series, we have 30 games in 30 days. WOW, good luck guys.

  105. Section 222 - Aug 22, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    And for those who say there's nothing the team can do and Nats fans are on their own to take back their house, I beg to differ. With apologies to folks who saw my comment yesteday around noon until it mysteriously disappeared, here's a summary:1. Stop selling groups of tickets to out of town ticket brokers before the season even starts. I was in Philly this weekend and saw a popup ad from a ticket broker offering a pair of tix to Saturday's game for $99 each. 2. Increase security during Phillies games and eject anyone who is beligerant, violent or threatening. Put reminders and warnings on the scoreboard between innings. Enforce the rules. That will deter bad conduct.3. Publicize the text address that fans can use to reach security during the game — do this between every inning, not just once before the game like they do now.4. Refuse to sell alcohol in the park to anyone who is obviously intoxicated. It's undoubtedly true that most Phillies fans in the park this weekend were from the DC metro area. Even 20 tour buses would bring only 1,500 or so fans to the area. But these steps might at least help with the hostile atmosphere in the park that is keeping Nats fans away from games against this particular team.

  106. N. Cognito - Aug 22, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    Agree1. Might be a little tough. At least do not contact them, and also, treat them as in #5 (below). Essentially, NO MARKETING TO PHILLY (if it's still being done – thanks Stan!)3. Maybe have the number on the back of every ticket.5. Remove Philly area e-mail addresses from e-mail distribution list(s), if they haven't ordered tickets or if they've only ordered tickets to Phils at Nats games (said data can be mined). That way, they will no longer get all the promo e-mails the Nats send out.6. No group tix for home opener until x number of days after single game tickets go on sale, giving Nats fans ample time to buy up the tickets. Groups that have bought non-Phils games in the past and STH, through their ticket reps, excepted.7. Place extra security in areas wwhere needed.8. After arrest, release Philly fans in the Trinidad section of town.

  107. Joe Seamhead - Aug 22, 2011 at 5:33 PM

    We sit in sec 311. At least in that section, and I would include virtually all of the 300's seats under the press box, it was at about 75% Nats fans yesterday. Maybe most of those are season ticket holder's seats. We got down to the stadium quite early, 2 and 1/2 hrs before the game, and was surprised that all of the gates were already open. Though I'm a little slow to figure things out sometimes, I realized that 27 bus loads of Philly Phans had money in their pockets and were there. So when we went in, we felt like we were out numbered 99-1. But by game time time, I honestly think that it was about 60-40, advantage Phillies.

  108. jd - Aug 22, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    Joe, I spent about 15 minutes counting people walking in from of me at about 12:30 (just by the gear they were wearing) and by my count it was 88% Philly fans. Throughout the game they were thunderous chants of 'Lets go Phillies' . there was never one 'lets go Nats'. Philly players were given standing ovations when introduced and National players were loudly boo'd especially Werth. Sorry, There is no way in the world it was 60 – 40. If it was 20% Nats fans I'd be pleasantly surprised. BTW Saturday night was a lot worse.

  109. jd - Aug 22, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    Nats Outsider, My son emailed the 2 people you suggested a letter detailing our experience yesterday and he specifically requested that they not compensate us in any way but that they should address their employees and train them to treat real Nationals fans with some respect.

  110. jd - Aug 22, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    In Davey's press conference yesterday he was asked: 'how did you feel when the stadium was rocking with standing Philly chants just prior to the home run and how did you feel when Desmond hit the home?' Davey: "I felt they were all gonna have to sit down'. Perfect !!!

  111. gonatsgo - Aug 22, 2011 at 5:58 PM

    I am not sure that we can do anything at all to prevent this right now. But what can be done is to police the terrible behavior. There needs to be serious attention paid to the over-serving of alcohol. These are not our honored guests, they paid their money, but they have to behave. This is our homepark. I think in general, the text number needs to be prominent and some attention needs to be paid. I am not sure if the organization really gets that it's not just annoying, but getting more serious. I hope all fans who had bad experiences report them with as much detail as possible. You don't get any attention by sitting back quietly. Mark – any chance you might collect some anecdotes, interview some people and write an article?

  112. N. Cognito - Aug 22, 2011 at 6:41 PM

    jd said… "My son emailed the 2 people you suggested a letter detailing our experience yesterday and he specifically requested that they not compensate us in any way but that they should address their employees and train them to treat real Nationals fans with some respect."Playing Devil's advocate here – perhaps the only reason the usher said something to you and not to all the Phillies fans was just a numbers issue. When the Phils fans stood up, it would look to her as if pretty much everybody is standing up – doesn't seem like a problem. When "you people" stood up, you stood out.But agree, the usher needs to learn to understand the FULL situation and that at certain points in the game, people will stand up.I've had Nats fans tell me to sit down when just about everyone in the ballpark was standing and cheering on a potential final out and subsequent Nats win.

  113. Sam - Aug 22, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    In case anyone is curious, here is the letter I sent to the Nationals' management (as referenced by my father, jd):

  114. N. Cognito - Aug 22, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    jd said… "Throughout the game they were thunderous chants of 'Lets go Phillies' . there was never one 'lets go Nats'.""Let's go Nats" chants are pretty rare almost every game.

  115. N. Cognito - Aug 22, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    The Caps have a Fan Advisory Board, though I don't know how affective they are – except for yearly playoff collapses, some perceived money grabbing ventures by Ted, and a few minor things, he's already been pretty receptive to fans' game day needs.Perhaps the Nats should consider having one.

  116. Feel Wood - Aug 22, 2011 at 6:50 PM

    You guys need to knock it off with all these complaints about the Philly fan invasion. There is literally NO WAY it will ever stop, even once the Nats achieve parity on the field. Oh okay, it may stop once the Phillies become a terrible team once again, but that will take years – if indeed it ever actually happens. Meanwhile, implementing any or even all of your proposals for what the Nats should be doing to solve this "problem" and make Nats-Phillies games "safe" for Nats fans to attend will not change a thing. The best that could happen is that the "problem" would be contained a bit, but it will never be eliminated. Which of course makes all the things you want management to do basically meaningless. It would be far better if they used that energy to make the overall fan experience better for everyone, no matter which team they support. Faster food lines, enforce the "no walking in the aisles during play" rule, etc.I agree that no one should be taunted or bullied when attending a game, no matter whether they're in their home park or not. But boors and bullies are a fact of life. There's no way their presence can be prevented before the fact. And there's a very simple thing that anyone can do when taunted or bullied that will get them to stop almost every time: don't engage with them, just ignore them. If that doesn't work, or if someone is truly being obscene or offensive without letup, then get stadium security or the ushers to deal with it. That's why they're there. Quit expecting Nats management, security and ushers to act like kindergarten mothers helicoptering around to make sure their little Nats fan charges have a safe time at the big bad ballgame. It's just not realistic.

  117. jd - Aug 22, 2011 at 6:50 PM

    N.cognito said…"Let's go Nats" chants are pretty rare almost every game. That's a problem ….

  118. N. Cognito - Aug 22, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    jd said… "N.cognito said…"Let's go Nats" chants are pretty rare almost every game.That's a problem …."Yes, but it's the nature of the fanbase – mostly white collar, and probably the fact that there hasn't been a whole lot to cheer about. If memory serves me well, it was whole lot louder in 2005.

  119. jd - Aug 22, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    N.Cognito, We are about 1.5 seasons away (IMHO) from having a real strong team which should contend for several years. Let's observe how the fanbase reacts. BTW; don't kid yourself, the NY fanbase is also white collar; mostly dictated by high ticket prices and $20 hot dogs.

  120. Navy Nats Fan - Aug 22, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    "but it's the nature of the fanbase – mostly white collar, and probably the fact that there hasn't been a whole lot to cheer about."Sorry, but I disagree – the above statement is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I was at yesterday's game and I am completely hoarse today from yelling so much. And I got many of the mostly white collar Nats fans around me (sec 312) yelling too. In fact, we made so much noise that Clint and the Nat Pack came over at the end of the game and gave us tickets to the Journey/Night Ranger/Foreigner concert next weekend (just what I wanted – right…). And our cheer of choice – "Let's Go Nats"Bottom line – the only reason Nats fans don't cheer, is because they don't cheer. There IS PLENTY to cheer about these days – it only takes a few to get it started, and they eventually will catch on. Go to the Phillies games!Cheer like you mean it!Support the team!GYFNG!



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