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Time for Nats to market winning baseball

Jan 5, 2012, 12:00 PM EST

US Presswire photo
The Nationals have highly recognizable players who should bring fans to the park.

You don't have to be an avid sports fan to know that the state of athletics in Washington right now absolutely stinks.

The Redskins just wrapped up another lousy season — did you know they've averaged a pathetic 6.8 wins over the last 20 years?! — and don't appear on the verge of a major turnaround anytime soon. The Capitals had high hopes a couple of months ago but have already fired their coach and until a recent four-game winning streak ranked 11th in the 15-team Eastern Conference. And the Wizards … well, the lockout could never have ended and their win total would remain the same.

Ah, but there is one glimmer of hope amid this vast wasteland of sporting ineptitude. Yes, your Washington Nationals stand poised to take this town by storm in 2012 with a legitimate shot at success that heretofore was not within the realm of reason.

The question is: Does anyone outside of the Nationals' loyal fan baseRead more »

195 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. MicheleS - Jan 5, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Mark, you are preaching to the choir on this one. Any chance the Lerners or anyone in the Nats organization is reading?Aren't even the PATHETIC Orioles having a winter fan fest?Shouldn't they also be selling Spring Training? Come so Sunny, Warm Viera! There has to be golf courses close by!

  2. MicheleS - Jan 5, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    "Come to Sunny Viera" not Come so…

  3. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    Anonymous said… Fielder, 7 years, 23M a year plus incentives.This.

  4. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    And the WashPost needs to stop crapping on the team too. There have been several stories lately lumping the Nats in with the rest of the DC sports teams instead of acknowledging that the Nats are on the cusp of greatness (or the very least incredibly improved). We need our local journalists to tout our team too. Thank god we have Mark to write more realistic, positive stories.

  5. N. Cognito - Jan 5, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    FanFest should be held in late January when the days are getting noticeably longer. It would also be a great time to begin single game ticket sales.I do not have a problem with the Nats trying something different – there were a lot of sparsely attended events in the past, but a Fan Fest in the few days before opening day is a big nothing.

  6. NatStat - Jan 5, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    So who is responsible for marketing the Nats, with all their ham-handed approaches??Hope it isn't Rizzo!

  7. Steady Eddie - Jan 5, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    Seven is too many years for Fielder. 5years @$26m, higher AAV than Pujols, his opt-out after four (or add a sixth year and a team buy-out after five).

  8. Natslifer - Jan 5, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    There's some hope on the Marketing side. I've been a full STH since day 1. This year, they held a series of promotional events starting with a "ballpark dinner" in the Stars & Stripes club for Game 1 of the WS. I went about 4 weeks later to an event where I took my kids to a reception inside the Nats clubhouse. They got to take BP in the indoor cages and I spoke with Bo Porter for about 30 minutes. Good swag at the end too. All of it done in the spirit of fostering loyalty in their STH base and getting them to re-up. Nats had never been done anything like it before – It's a start. I would love to see a FanFest over the winter now…

  9. BinM - Jan 5, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    Anon@715 – That was apparently a tweet from someone with no knowledge, just pure speculation. Patrick over at FederalBaseball has already shot it down.

  10. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 5, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    MicheleS…. there are 2 golf courses within 3 miles of the Stadium and upwards of 20 courses within 25 miles.And include the Orlando Metro area, you can add another 50 or so. And I didn't even mention Scott Boras.

  11. gonatsgo - Jan 5, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    It's unfortunate that all of the local writers ( yes, Mark, I have to include you) are entrenched in the mindset that the entire metro dc area cares about what happens with the local nfl team. I live in northern virginia and find that my co-workers, neighbors, etc are very eclectic in their sports tastes. Very few care about the football team, in fact, the others kind of make fun of them.There is almost universal disgust with the extensive coverage in the post and on 106.7 of one sport, one team. The dc team I hear the most about is the caps – on a daily basis i hear things being discussed that show a knowledge of what's going on. As to Nats marketing – one thing that seems to be working ( no sales facts to back it up) is that a lot of people are wearing curly W's – it seems to have become stylish. They are being seen in many other cities, too. I also have noticed that baseball fans that I know in other cities are aware of a buzz here – even the filthy fans are starting to sit up and notice.Of course, due to the nature of our area, many people are dual fans – they follow their original home team and also are becoming more and more Nats fans because they are exposed more – let's face it – it's tough to follow a team when you can't watch on tv or go to games. I would love to see more joint marketing — caps/nats, for example.

  12. MicheleS - Jan 5, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    NatsJack.I figured there had to be a ton… They should have some of the Guys (Storen/Clip/Zim/Stras-whoever), Playing golf and talking about the great weather and that pitchers and catchers report in 45 days!!!Good Lord – we haven't even mentioned the Svrluga Booth at the Panera! That alone would bring people down!

  13. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    Good point Mark, but they should certainly wait until the Prince situation resolves before putting together a cohesive marketing strategy.

  14. Nattydread - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Make no mistake. Overuse of "make no mistake" is a mistake (whether in Obama speeches or blog posts).Otherwise, nice post Mark. Just some friendly editorial advice.

  15. The Choir - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Preach it, Mark.

  16. natsfan1a - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Not sure about the Metro platform part (per my Phoolies Phan/Zimmerman platform pic experience as recounted in previous posts). Maybe the ad could be on the wall or inside the cars. Loving the rest of it, though. Maybe we should all email links to the Nats FO, or tweet them, or whatever it is all y'all techno types do these days. :-)

  17. joemktg - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Not talking about finding STHs, but building the Nationals awareness vis-a-vis competitors. Couple of things:1) There is disparate marketing between the Nats and MASN. Getting them to sign off on a coordinated plan where both are singing from the same hymnbook is a start.2) Social, social, social. Social marketing is not tweeting or FB'ing or WordPress. It's a well thought out plan with targets, metrics, timetable.3) And to that end…reach the individual, not the collective. Billboards ain't going to cut it. It's a multifaceted effort that uses very targeted tactics to reinforce the overriding message.4) Lastly, build the sport. Baseball at the grass roots level is losing out to that game with sticks and a net at the end. And to the multi-layered soccer community (from clubs to academies). Embrace youth, high school, travel and showcase ball. Demonstrate interest and support.What else do you want to know?

  18. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Gonatsgo — I agree. The Nats are it for me. And all year long the Post and sports radio talks Skins and almost nothing else. And when they do go off football, it’s rarely in depth. The guys on 106.7 have no clue about MLB or hot stove terminology or who the movers and shakers in MLB are. If you called in and said "How about Scott Boras . . ." they'd be scrambling on their laptops looking for his name on Mel Kyper's draft board. I get that the NFL is the king sport in America, fine, I am not complaining. But, the local media obsesses over it to a nauseating extent. In a couple of months ST will start and the Nats will be coming together and we’ll be super eager for information and insight and the Junkies will be talking about some safety from Iowa State who surprised the pundits at the NFL combine and whomever insulted and/or dated Tony Romo that week.dfh21

  19. natsfan1a - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Agree with joemktg. Nice to keep the STH happy and all, but this is about *growing* the fan base. imho.

  20. Tim - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    I think star-power is a factor, albeit winning is the biggest factor. Stras, Zimn, Zimnn, Werth (yes, him), Espinosa, Harper… all have star power. Add Fielder to the mix and I think you'll have a nearly sold-out stadium each night… and not with just Philthy fans.

  21. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    I was surprised Zuck did not mention Jayson Werth as a guy they should market. He's making all the money, he's going to finish his career here, he's vocal, he's got an athletic, highlight reel kind of game (we hope). dfh21

  22. Stew Magnuson - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Another example of poor marketing judgment: Giving away bobbleheads on Saturday nights when teams such as the Cardinals or Phillies are in town.Huh?The result: thousands of Phillies fans go north to sell theirs on eBay or toss them when they should be sitting on the shelves of D.C. area kids. I know this is not what you are talking about as far as marketing the team itself. But bobbleheads are a draw. Give them away on a Tuesday when they are playing the Marlins. (like other teams do) It's just common sense.

  23. Tim - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Just read a post on MLBTradeRumors.com that the Rangers are concentrating on signing Darvish right now. They have 12 more days to do that. The post quotes a Rangers source saying that if they don't sign him, their attention might turn to Fielder.What that tells me is: There won't be any deal done for Fielder while Darvish remains unsigned. Boras will wait and see what happens to Darbish and see if the Rangers might be a suitor for Fielder before he makes any deals elsewhere. Sit and wait, Nats fans.

  24. Mark'd - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    Mark, Im glad you wrote it. Someone mentioned a few days ago that the Nats should've brought YOUNG Bryce Harper around to schools especially in the suburbs. What a novel idea. You build the fanbase from the youth up. A handshake from Bryce Harper could make them a fan for life. Something in each of our lives made us fans. Problem with traditional marketing is you get the bandwagon fan that comes for the party when its the hot ticket in town.

  25. Ray - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    Your overall point Mark is a good one but you're too dismissive of the Caps. They had a slow start, but hired a Caps legend as a coach and are beginning to play excellent and interesting hockey. The building is still sold out and buzzing every night. And Ovechkin is still recognized as the best player in the world. The point is that the Nats should be doing the same thing as the Caps. The Caps have an off season fanfest in July. The Nats have no fanfest until three days before the season. There is no marketing of the team during the off season at all. The team store was closed over the holiday season. I don't know what the other STH is talking about regarding off season events. I've been a full STH since day one as well, and I've heard nothing from the team since the season ended. Perhaps those events are for President's Club/Diamond Club members only. I am holding my breath that they do NOT sign Fielder. If they do, it will be so long Zimm at the end of 2014. And that is insane.

  26. natscan reduxit - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    … very good point, Mark. As an Expos fan, I drove a thousand kilometres through a Canadian/Quebec winter to attend the Expos Caravan held each January in the bedroom communities around Montreal. And that was in the heart of the regular Habs season, when all sports minds were fully engaged with hockey. … but as we all know, baseball is a different kettle of fish, an entity all by itself. If Canadian fans would endure winter to show their Expos colours, surely DC fans would do the same now.Go Nats!!

  27. sjm308 - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    I am another who is totally frustrated with the lack of coverage on talk radio. What will piss me off even more is when we do start to win and that means this year, they will ALL jump on the bandwagon. It will be like they invented the game. I remember when the Caps were losing on a consistent basis and got absolutely no coverage. Now every station has an expert. It must drive Mark crazy talking to people like Andy & Steve who have no clue, or Kevin Sheahan who admited he didn't even play catch with his boys as they grow up. Are we sure these guys are American? If Kornheiser continues to call us the "natinals" one more time I am turning him off as well. Its just sad that we are absolutely the last resort on local talk radio and I am now done with my rant.

  28. natsfan1a - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    I guess that might bother me, too, if I listened to sports talk radio.

  29. natsfan1a - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    (Oh no, I didn't. :-))

  30. Feel Wood - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    This Nationals organization has never been particularly adept at marketing itself. It always seems to be a day late and selling the wrong message. Why stage a fan fest on a weekday afternoon right before Opening Day when fans are already geared up for baseball, as opposed to an otherwise dead weekend in January when you have the opportunity to get people excited well in advance of the first pitch ever being thrown?Complaining about marketing in the offseason is as misguided as complaining about the hitting coach when the team isn't scoring enough runs. You're trying to find an easy scapegoat when things aren't happening to your liking, when in reality that scapegoat can't do anything to change the situation because it's entirely influenced by other factors. For the hitting to improve, the individual batters need to improve, and aside from encouragement there's nothing a hitting coach can do about that. Likewise, for this improved Nationals team to truly take over the town, there is no way to do that other than for them to start playing and start winning. If they do that, people will come out. If they don't, people will stay home. What is the point of running a marketing campaign now when there is no way for new fans to respond to it until April? All it would do is create a buzz and give current STH and fans a warm fuzzy. New fans aren't going to respond to a buzz about games that don't happen for months yet. Even if single game tix were on sale now, the only people buying them would be people who would be buying them later anyway. New fans are going to wait to see if the buzz pans out before they put their money on the line. Similarly, a winter fan fest only services existing fans, it doesn't pull in new fans. Look at the winter fan fests they held in the past. 99% of attendees were decked head to toe in red. Those aren't potential expansions of the fan base, are they? The point of doing the fan fest right before the season is to pull in new fans to see a product that they can buy into now. It's unfortunate that it has to be on a weekday, but they can't do anything about the MLB schedule. It is what it is, so you have to work around it. Likewise, last year's April fan fest got rained on, so it's hard to claim success or failure for it. But a winter fan fest would not have attracted any more new fans than that anyway.Bottom line, the people who claim that marketing is inadequate are really complaining about servicing of existing customers. "The Nats aren't making me, the STH, feel wanted. They aren't giving me, the fan, a big enough buzz about the season, because I need to see that other people are as excited as me, or my excitement isn't validated." That's not marketing, folks. Marketing is expanding the customer base, and although they could spend money now to try to do that, the large majority of it would be wasted. The marketing push needs to come once they start playing and once they start winning. When that happens, people will come. Just you wait and see.

  31. joemktg - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    One more thing about building the sport in this area…The Boss spoke about winning putting fannies in the seats, and stars put fannies in the seats. But what he knew, and marketed the hell out of, was the rich history of the Yankees.You don't have that in NoVa/DC/SoMD. But what you do have, baseball wise, is some incredible baseball talent. Forget that UVA is a powerhouse, and JMU led the NCAA in hitting. Did you know that two of the nation's top 10 baseball showcase organizations are in VA? Did you know that top level championship travel teams are coming out of VA and MD? Did you know that USA Baseball's North Atlantic teams are primarily made up of players from VA and MD?Building a sustainable fanbase is a long term effort, and it starts with youth and families. It is damn close to irresponsible for the Nationals not to take advantage of the fertile bed and leverage it: it's right under their noses! So saddle up to the Little League and Cal Ripken organizations. Support HS ball in the area (public and WCAC). Support the collegiate summer baseball teams in the area. More importantly than HS ball, partner with showcase teams, the NVTBL, D1 Draftable, Dynamic Showcase, the ODBL, ODL, etc., etc.Building an DC baseball academy is a great gesture, but there's a whole world out there to leverage.

  32. Theophilus - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    This is a small part of the history but I think much of the 2010-2011 post-season was soured by Nyjer Morgan. Fans were outraged by his conduct (and his poor play) and also ready to punish the team for seemingly being unable to do anything about it. It's hard to get enthusiastic about paying $30+ a ticket to watch an idiot. At the moment, they're in pretty good shape on the idiot front but all of the excitement about Upton is unnerving.The fan base for baseball in Washington is very fragile. With the exception of people such as those on this list, the season ticket holders are overwhelmingly corporate. This means (A) the same people ARE NOT in those seats night after night; (B) their purpose in being there is not necessarily baseball-related. They are not fanatics (unlike the idiots in Philadelphia who have nothing better to do w/ their alleged — and demented — brains). In this respect, the Nats are disadvantaged vis a vis the Redskins and Capitals. I also don't find Nats Park very fan-friendly. Parking is over-priced, Metro crowded and smelly. The holes in the ground are unattractive. The prices are jarring. Food is mediocre (espec. when contrasted w/ the opening few years at Camden Yards). Lines are long (20 minutes for a $9.75 block of NaCl @ Shake Shake); different venues on different levels; long obstructed walks from one side of the stadium to the other. Ushers check your ticket and point, don't show you your seat let alone wipe it down. They cut out the Friday night fireworks, which often were the only balm for a crappy game.Under those conditions, marketing is not the answer; the only solution is sustained winning — and not just competitiveness St. Louis-style but actually making the playoffs year after year. I don't think an 86-76 team would draw 3 million. And that, along with uncertain TV deals (that are never going to compare w/ the major markets), is why the Lerners are justified in being cautious. The Marlins and Rays have shown there are safer ways to the playoffs than just backing up dump trucks full of cash. If you're absolutely certain the money you're spending will make you a playoff team for a long, long time, go ahead and spend it.

  33. lefty1950 - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    Nats anticipation keeps us Washington sports fans warm doing this long winter of our discontent with the Redskins, Wizards, and even this year the Capitals. Only 45 more days until ST. I can’t wait to seen the next move Rizzo will do in setting the ST roster. Mark, I look forward to your columns because after I am sick of reading and hearing about the Deadskins.GO Nats!

  34. sm13 - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    Couldn't agree more, Mark. The Nats have never covered the basics of marketing the team in the DC metro area. The O's used to do this well – a highly visible team store in downtown DC, an annual fanfest in Farragut Square, player caravans and mall appearances. I also want to second the motion on going back to a January fanfest at Nats park. The one on 2010 was well-attended and helped bridge the winter baseball gap. Holding the event in April on a weekday really makes little sense for fans.

  35. BullpenCatcher - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE CENTURY: "This Nationals organization has never been particularly adept at marketing itself." Number one way to market to the fans is take a page from EVERY OTHER major league team and sell partial season ticket plans in ALL sections of the Stadium. Also offer more than a couple of choices, how about a dozen plans some including weekends so for weekday fans that way the stadium is full instead of 10K on a beautiful night in May!! the Nats marketing and sales department should be fired every last person because some of them have been there since 2005 and they still do not understand customer service EPIC FAIL!

  36. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    The Nats should not wait until the season starts to market the club. They should be selling Stras to the masses right now. Sunday packages, 15 games plans and the lesser packages should be flying off of the shelves with Strasburg, Zim, Werth and Davey Johnson all over them, but they are not available yet. Why wait? Nothing is happening in DC sports right now, DC United is likely going to be out there doing more than the Nats to push its product. Not sure why the Lerners have taken such a passive approach to selling this club; it's not good business.dfh21

  37. Binx Bolling - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Food, refreshment and especially beer prices are way too high. Most disgusting is the mindnumbing, supersound on the public address system. Sounds like a hip-hop joint. May as well go to the game with ear plugs.

  38. JamesFan - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Winning is the best marketing. I would market this team in DC, the very close northern suburbs, then go more aggressively and more broadly south and west, including moving the AA team to Richmond and AAA to Norfold if the opportunitie come up. Something has to be done about that awful stadium for the P-Nats.If they sign Fielder, there should be a huge roll-out in a winter fan fest in the stadium.Radio talk is all football and that won't change until they get ratings for baseball discussion. Again, that takes winning.Slow down on Harper or these young guys who have not proven themselves. In Harper's case, over-hyping sets him up for failure. Stras is more mature, but still. Market stars individually (Zim, Morse), youngsters as a group.

  39. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    In due time the fan base will spread. I moved to Western MD. 10 years ago from the DC area. I became a ticket package holder on the day they became available and drove the 200 miles round trip to watch my Nats. My point is I think I was the only Nationals fan west of Frederick in a mostly Orioles territory. Now there is a growing fan base in the western part of the state. I see more and more uniforms and hats in this area than ever before. I think even more than Orioles gear. I remember sitting at a little league game one day shortly after Strasburg came up to the majors. All of the fielders kept calling their pitcher Strasburg throughout the game. I don't why but that gave me goosebumps. Perhaps I sensed a winning team was not far off.If they sign Fielder, that will be the one piece that would put this team over the hump with regards of stealing away the fan base from the Orioles and other local teams. Can't wait for spring so I can rack up some more miles on the old Jetta.

  40. The Joker - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Rumor has it that Fats Fielder, the Prince of Pigs, might play for the Redskins as a DT every fall and that Dan Snyder will pay half his Nationals salary.

  41. Theophilus - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    A couple of things no one has mentioned: (1) no Nats Fan Store outside the stadium. Why the hell doesn't Lerner lease himself some space in Tyson's II? I tried to buy my daughter a Pudge jersey for her birthday and couldn't find anything except Werth, Zimmerman, Harper and Strasburg in any sporting goods store; had to settle for MLB's retarded online store with its three-week delivery times. (2) It is impossible to have a telephone conversation regarding tickets with anyone in the Nats' office; unless you are buying season tickets you get the voice mail of some yay-hoo who doesn't return calls.

  42. PAY TO PLAY - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    @Theophilus said… This is a small part of the history but I think much of the 2010-2011 post-season was soured by Nyjer Morgan. Fans were outraged by his conduct (and his poor play) and also ready to punish the team for seemingly being unable to do anything about it. It's hard to get enthusiastic about paying $30+ a ticket to watch an idiot. ———————–Yes, but I pay $125 a ticket to watch a hockey game where the players under acheive and while there isn't any one player that meets Nyjers behavioral issues to be the villian, it is still a game that 8 of 15 teams make the Post-season and they haven't done well in the post-season. When the bandwagon fans jump off of that train, then all those that buy to scalp won't have a reason to buy tickets any more either.Winning brings them out, the belief in winning will keep them for a while.The popularity of baseball is still 20,000 strong each night on average and that would fill up Verizon Center. Its still not achieving anywhere close to capacity on average for Nats Park of 40,000.When the place starts selling out like Bad Citizens in Philly, then it will be the hottest ticket in town because people want the hot ticket.

  43. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    The Joker said… Rumor has it that Fats Fielder, the Prince of Pigs, might play for the Redskins as a DT every fall and that Dan Snyder will pay half his Nationals salary.That's not a rumor. If Deion Sanders and Bo can do it, so can Fats.

  44. Diz - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    Quick question for everyone on the PF issue.Seems like every time I listen about the PF topic and the Nats, I hear how if we get PF, then Zim is gonzo in 2014. Even on MLB Hot Stove last night, they were talking about how the Nats wouldn't keep $65M tied up in 3 players (PF, Werth, Zim in '14).So, my question is if this is the case, would you still want PF knowing we will lose Zim after two years?After the Kasten commments, I don't see how this happens unless it's the deal of the century.Also, as an afterthought, Zimbrano to the M&Ms is great. Can't wait til that cancer infects their clubhouse after another one of his tirades due to an 8-run 2nd inning. HA!

  45. Jim Webster - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    Feel Wood gets only part of it, saying:"Bottom line, the people who claim that marketing is inadequate are really complaining about servicing of existing customers." True, but not enough. For several years we had a summer place near Ocean City and I had to agitate with local cable company to add MASN and MASN2. No hope for Dave & Charlie unless you bought XM. No Nats pennants or banners in sports bars. Some sports bars didn't even know what channel to look for, but you could get plenty of Os and Phils, even some NY games. Radio coverage still is uneven, not covering well even inside the Beltway and lousier outside. Mark hits it on the head, overall. Both for keeping STH buyers happy (I regret that my partial plan didn't qualify for the goodies Natslifer got) and to expand the market requires a good marketing plan and followthrough on all fronts.

  46. Steve M. - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Yes, I will take Fielder now and worry about 2 years, 2 years from now and bask in the glory of at least a playoff run and maybe more.I don't buy the bull of not having 3 $20 mill players because the Nats can backload salaries and revenues will skyrocket when winning is a normal part of the equation. The Nats can easily exceed the revenues of Philadelphia based on the wealth demographics alone.$10 million to $15 million a year is sitting there for NAMING RIGHTS. Zim is making $14 mill next year so you are talking a $6 million raise. Naming rights will more than cover that increase plus all the arb money to Strasburg. There's easily another $20 mill out there for fan generated revenue that will pay for JZim, Gio, Espi and Ramos.The TV revenue increase will pay for Fielder. The post-season revenue is for ownership for a job well done.

  47. MicheleS - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    For those of you (like me) that don't like the high prices of the food. I bring my food and water in and it is much better than what is served at the park (and cheaper). If I want a beer, I usually have one at the Bullpen before I go in or suck it up and buy inside. But that is all I spend for the most part. Parking is about the same at most parks $20 per pop in some of the "non team" lots.

  48. natsfan1a - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    For the record, I've not had this problem when I've called to put together my lowly flex plans (in February, if memory serves). Wish that the team would offer those plans earlier but I'm guessing it's a matter of seeing whether they can sell bigger packages (i.e., more games) in those sections first. That said, I believe that until a couple of years ago such plans weren't offered until later in the season, so I suppose I should be glad that's changed.==== (2) It is impossible to have a telephone conversation regarding tickets with anyone in the Nats' office; unless you are buying season tickets you get the voice mail of some yay-hoo who doesn't return calls. January 5, 2012 9:23 AM

  49. Feel Wood - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Jim Webster wants Red Sox Nation for the Nats, saying that the Nats should have a marketing plan that's heavy on servicing people in far-flung areas like Ocean City and keeping their existing STH as happy as possible at all times. That's fine as far as it goes, but before focusing on that they need to maximize the number of fannies in the seats at Nationals Park. You don't build out the suburbs until the city is full, or you end up with a perpetually decayed inner city. And you don't billboard the hell out of your product hundreds of miles away unless your product is truly worthy of it. Otherwise you're South of the Border.Now the MASN issues, that's another story. But there's really nothing the Nats can do on that front. It has to be done by MASN. One would hope that the increased rights fees they'll be paying will force them to seriously up their game in order to recoup those moneys.

  50. NatsNut - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    I love this. I would add that just showing the players' faces isn't enough. I want their characters and quirks out there too. It's how you get attached to them and want them to do well as individuals, not just as a team. -Morse's goofy singing of "take on me" on Intentional Talk but hitting bombs left and right; -Clippard, with his nerdy goggles and knees but pitching like a stud;-Strasburg's quiet intensity -Storen looking like a little kid, but still throwing "man pitches" -Espinosa's bazooka arm and/or having the best average against Cliff Lee (or was that Halladay?)This stuff makes them that much more loveable.Lastly, I can't say this vehemently enough or often enough: LOSE THE TEDDY LOSING SCHTICK. PLEASE. The Presidents are actually funny and adorable and there are at least a dozen cuter ways to get the crowd invested in that race. For anyone who goes to more than one game a year, the Teddy losing schtick is just STUPID.

  51. natsfan1a - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    I also bring my own water and sometimes my own food as well. I'm part of the smelly Metro crowd, so neighborhood parking costs aren't an issue. :-)

  52. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Complaining about the marketing is complaining about the marketing, it is not only about service to existing customers. The cub has never been very good at PR, the ad campaigns have been iffy at best and the radio and TV broadcasts each have their issues. The Nats have not been good at STH relations (prices are very high, service is not great, most perks were non-existent until recently) over the years AND they have not been good at selling single game tickets AND they have not been very good at pushing the broadcasts. They relied on the new park to sell itself, then they sold the park to the fans more than the product (all of Stan's efforts were on the game experience, not the game itself, the values of the Red Porch were pushed harder on the fans than the value of Drew Storen). Of course, if they start winning a bunch people will come, but they certainly could be doing more to drive the consumer in the mean time. Nats management has just not done well marketing MLB baseball in DC.

  53. phil dunn - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    The Nationals are totally clueless when it comes to marketing the team in both DC and Viera. For seven seasons, I have regularly purchased tickets on-line and at both of those ball parks. Even though they have my mailing address, I have never received an advertising mailer from the Nationals.

  54. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Steve M said …$10 million to $15 million a year is sitting there for NAMING RIGHTSI think $15M might be a bit on the optimistic side. IIRC, when they opened in 2008 without having already sold the rights, which is how it's usually done, the estimates were more like $8MM-$12MM, and I would guess it's gone down, if anything, since then. But still, $8MM would go a ways toward those expenses. Your point, that there is plenty of money still on the table, I agree with.

  55. joemktg - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    phil dunn: did they ask you for your email address? Have you received any email promotions as a result?

  56. MicheleS - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Phil Dunn.. RE: nats mailer. I don't get them either and I bought tons of tickets online. Weirdly, I STILL get the Caps and O's (UGH) and I haven't bought from them in years.

  57. Feel Wood - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    Steve M said …$10 million to $15 million a year is sitting there for NAMING RIGHTSYeah. They should retain Scott Boras to market the naming rights. Then we can all go to games at MYSTERY TEAM PARK. Because in this economy, that's who's out there to pay that kind of money just to stick their name on a building.

  58. Eugene in Oregon - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Steve M (@ 9:42) is exactly right. There's no reason the Nats can't put themselves in the $110-120m/year range in terms of payroll, which leaves room for most — if not all — of the projected contracts Mr. Zuckerman discussed here just a day or two ago.Moreover, by adding Mr. Fielder, the Nats will increase ticket sales immediately and will be soon be generating all the other income streams that come with a playoff-contending team.There's a good article over at Baseball Nation:http://mlb.sbnation.com/2012/1/4/2681815/best-fit-prince-fielder-cubs-nationals-marinersthat, inter alia, addresses the 'marginal economic value' of additional wins for a playoff-contending team and concludes that Mr. Fielder is the best fit for the Nats for precisely these reasons.

  59. A DC Wonk - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    The Nationals are totally clueless when it comes to marketing the teamYep. Agreed. The laundry list is even too long to mention.Side topic: I've been scarce around here during the off-season (I need _some_ time to get actual work done! ;-). I've been reading the stories, but not so much the comments.Was there a thread where people were "introducing" themselves, or something like that? Where could I find it, and is it too late to add in?

  60. Steve M. - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    I used $10 to $15 million as the range and while $15 mill is on the high side I read Sports Business Journal where they see an upward movement for naming rights for the NFL and MLB and thinking that if the San Diego Chargers move to LA they are told they can get $20 million per year for 8 games a year. 81 games of Bryce Harper and Prince and Zim(s) and Stras has value for advertisers.

  61. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Make beers at the stadium much cheaper, it will make ballgames an attractive social event for the most casual of younger fans and then expose them to the much more exciting talent this team has.as for Bryce Harper doing outreach to local High Schools, you know he is a drop out right? Probably not the best message.Though Prince Fielder could make for an excellent ambassador for not just the nats but the game of baseball in the DC black community and help increase little league participation and community engagement.

  62. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    I bought tickets online to the first series, in Philly–the game Wilkerson hit for the cycle, as it happened. I still get promotional letters once or twice a year, from the Phillies. For one game, going on seven years ago.

  63. natsfan1a - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    On the other paw, I've consistently received both snail mail and email solicitations from the team.DC Wonk, there wasn't a formal post on that subject but a discussion popped up late in the comments section of the "strangest moments" post at the end of December. A few such comments were also posted to the thread immediately following it as well.MicheleS said… Phil Dunn.. RE: nats mailer. I don't get them either and I bought tons of tickets online. Weirdly, I STILL get the Caps and O's (UGH) and I haven't bought from them in years. January 5, 2012 10:05 AM

  64. natsfan1a - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    The team in my case being the Nats (daggone postus interruptus).

  65. On second thought, maybe not - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    Make beers at the stadium much cheaper, it will make ballgames an attractive social event for the most casual of younger fans and then expose them to the much more exciting talent this team has.There's a thought. Market it in Philadelphia, while you're at it.

  66. NatsLady - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    Bob Carpenter will be back, per Ladson tweet.

  67. natsfan1a - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    hmmm…maybe not. Just thinking out loud here, maybe a Disco Demolition Night? Or not.

  68. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    as for Bryce Harper doing outreach to local High Schools, you know he is a drop out right? Probably not the best message.OK, that's just …He graduated early by getting a GED in what would otherwise have been his junior year, to go to college sooner. As you certainly know.

  69. Feel Wood - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    I used $10 to $15 million as the range and while $15 mill is on the high side I read Sports Business Journal where they see an upward movement for naming rights for the NFL and MLB and thinking that if the San Diego Chargers move to LA they are told they can get $20 million per year for 8 games a year.Of course there will be numbers like that bandied about to try to induce a team to move to a new city. But they don't come from anyone who will actually be paying that money. Recall that similar numbers were thrown about before the Nats moved here, including speculation that the likes of Lockheed Martin would be jumping all over the naming rights. That didn't happen. And back then, Lockheed Martin was running ads on the nightly news to promote their brand. "Lockheed Martin, we never forget who we're working for." They're not even doing that any more, why would they drop $10-$15M/year on naming rights?There is no market for naming rights now, unless you count the yearly flip of the name on that stadium where the Marlins aren't playing any more. And I bet that a lot of the companies that currently have naming rights deals would back out of them in a flash if they could.

  70. natsfan1a - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    Okay, I got it! A baseball giveaway night. Uh, or not. p.s. That's good news, NatsLady! I kinda liked Bob and FP together. (Ducking and covering now.)

  71. Jenn Jenson - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    Amen, Mark. It's no secret that I have been frustrated forever with the Nationals' shortcomings in marketing and customer service. The personal strategy I have been trying to implement (not necessarily successfully) is to let it go because the Nationals have shown me over and over that they're not all that concerned about passionate fans and customers. I've stopped hoping for better because it's a recipe for disappointment.After a lot of soul searching, I renewed my 3 full-season, dugout box tickets because I love baseball and I want to cheer for the kids I have been following and the players who are yet to join my team. I cheer for the Washington Nationals as a team primarily because I live in DC, but I don't see myself becoming a lifelong fan. If I move to another city for work or to be closer to family, I will adopt a new team because I am not a fan of the Washington Nationals organization.Additionally, I have no idea what Natslifer is talking about when he mentions offseason activities. In my case, the Nationals are well-aware that they were very close to losing this STH over some outrageous customer service issues. I didn't get invited to anything this year, at a time when the Nationals might have been interested in mending fences.

  72. The Joker - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Nats Marketing possibilities:1) Sign Prince Fielder and have him date DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier.2) Stage a "Throw a baseball like President Obama" contest before one of the games.3) Have third inning races between Casey Crab, Rocky Rockfish, Debbie Deer and Molly Muskrat.4) Have a three inning game pre-game between the two 100 loser Nats teams. There should be at least nine on each team who are totally out of baseball or are languishing at Syracuse.5) Any old Washington Senator who dies gets to lie in state near the Barbeque pit for three days.6) Award gift certificates to Hyattsville's Italian Inn for the winner of a Nats trivia question.7) Give out one weekend trip for two to Smith Island every time Ian Desmond walks.8) Award a weekend for two to Fells Point every time John Lannan makes it out of the sixth inning.9) Give out blow up dolls of Hillary Clinton, Barbara Mikulski, Michelle Obama,and Nancy Pelosi to the first 15,000 to Monday night games.10) Hand out head-bobbers of Marion Barry snorting crack to the first 25,000 to attend a Nats-Orioles game.11) Conduct a Harry Thomas Appreciation Day.12) Conduct a Corn-on-the Cob eating contest between ten fans, Prince and Cecil Fielder.13) Conduct a contest where four lucky fans spend a night all-expenses paid at Camelots with Ryan Zimmerman.14) Hand out DC United jockstraps to the first 1000 fans attending a Nats game who can name one DC United player.15) Conduct a players kayak race on the Potomac and Anacostia from Bladensburg to Nats Park.

  73. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    I think it's not the article you referred to, but here is an interesting roundtable discussion of the naming rights market, from a few months ago.Short version: The market is evolving in terms of what they sell, not just how, or for how much. But generally, it's a tougher sell, and for less money, especially for existing buildings.captcha: "cryin"Whether that's "cryin poor" or "for cryin out loud," I can't say.

  74. NatsLady - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    Here is an article in support of eliminating the online blackout of local games. Get with the program, MLB and Nats. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120104/06070417275/dear-pro-sports-leagues-can-i-watch-game-please.shtml

  75. DC Tom - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    What's missing from marketing the Nationals is a strong media outlet that has a strong financial interest in marketing them. We don't have that with MASN.I don't think the MASN contract and relationship is sustainable long-term, especially with the Nats about to become more expensive for MASN to carry and with them also poised to be the bigger draw of the two franchises. I predict the whole venture will be broken up and sold to Comcast within a year or two.If the five-year rights negotiation/arbitration process works this year and gives the Nats what they finally deserve, a rights fee in the $50-70M range, MASN could face collapse. Angelos owns 85% of MASN and will need to generate revenue from Nats broadcasts to cover that rights fee. Were MASN independent, *they* would have a direct financial interest in building and plugging the Nats brand, in order to drive viewership and advertising revenue. This happens in other markets (and even with the Caps and Wiz), but it doesn't happen here.I simply don't see Angelos doing that — not because he's evil, but because he's a rational economic actor. All of that Nats-plugging activity that MASN would need to do — even little things like moving the Nats off MASN2 — to cover the Nats rights fees would effect the Orioles adversely.The fact is, a fair rights fee for the Nats would inevitably result in MASN being more valuable to an independent network owner/operator like Comcast than Angelos. The efficient result after arbitration would be for Comcast to jump in and buy the network. I think that result is inevitable, and it would be transformational to the Nats' business economics and marketing strategy.

  76. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    natsfan1a said… Okay, I got it! A baseball giveaway night. Uh, or not. They'd have to pick a night with Joe West umpiring. Could work.

  77. natsfan1a - Jan 5, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    teehee, they might need to give the item to players and managers as well in that case. Oh, I know! A Joe West County Music CD Demolition Night. :-D

  78. natsfan1a - Jan 5, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    Oh, yeah. Here's the link for my last post.

  79. natsfan1a - Jan 5, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    Oh, and make that "Country" not "County." Dang.

  80. Feel Wood - Jan 5, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    Here is an article in support of eliminating the online blackout of local games. Get with the program, MLB and Nats.As long as local broadcasters are paying tens or even hundreds of millions to teams for their broadcast rights, and as long as MLB retains the internet broadcast rights for all teams instead of letting individual teams sell theirs separately, that ain't gonna happen. While it would be possible, as the article advocates, for local providers to stream games and monetize them via advertising, not all local broadcast rights holders would have the wherewithal to do this – especially in small markets. What MLB has done by consolidating the video streaming into one operation is to guarantee all markets a piece of the pie. Big-market teams are not making as much off this as they possibly could, but small market teams are able to share in the revenue when if they had to do it themselves they might have no revenue from this at all. The local blackouts are in place to protect the local TV broadcast rights revenues, since as I've said previously without these blackouts the local broadcast rights payments would decrease substantially.You and the article writer can complain all you want, but I doubt this arrangement will be changing any time soon, if at all.

  81. slidell - Jan 5, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    My regular newspaper doesn't publish on Mondays so I buy a WaPo for that day. Rarely during the off-season does the word "baseball" appear ANYWHERE in the Sports section. There are 4 to 5 PAGES dealing with the dead Skins, 2 or so pages on the rest of the NFL, a page each on the Wizards and the Caps, then about a page total on the various peripherals. Rarely a single word about the Nats.Regarding the ticket situation- I would love to see a mini-plan offered for the 1st and 2nd level dugout bowl. Almost all the seats here are Full Season only. I know there are lots of available seats because a few rows back of the dugouts, the crowd predominantly sports opposition wear. Reserving a certain percentage would get more Curly W's in there. My sister and I get to 10-12 games a season; it would be 21 at least if a mini-option was there.

  82. greg - Jan 5, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    add me in on the "let teddy win" bandwagon. it was cute for a season. maybe even two. now it's just hackneyed and pitiful. and werth is right, it's a tradition about "losing." time for him to start winning, like the rest of the team is ready to.

  83. MicheleS - Jan 5, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    1A.. I lived in Chicago when they did Disco Demolition night (I was a wee babe of course), and it was Hilarious and Scary at the same time!

  84. MicheleS - Jan 5, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    NatsLady.. good news on Carp! (and I will duck and cover with 1A)Captcha "hodini"!!!!

  85. natsfan1a - Jan 5, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    That's awesome, MicheleS. :-)And fwiw, as noted in prior posts, I'm in agreement with Mark, Greg, and others re. Teddy and a winter fan fest.

  86. natsfan1a - Jan 5, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    Quote fail alert: My 'awesome' related to Michele's Disco Demolition post. Thank you for reading. I'm natsfan1a and I approve of this comment.

  87. NatsLady - Jan 5, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    I'm a pretty good techie. I'll stop complaining and find a way around the blackout (actually…). So will other people until, like downloads of music, it's easier to pay than cheat.100% agree on the bobbleheads… Saturday nights are already a big draw, don't need to give out "prizes."Beer is pretty cheap before games and that's fine.* You are getting a good crowd of young people who go for a Friday or Saturday night "date," and hang. I don't think the price should be lowered during the games. There was a book out that related the low price of beer at Cubs games to the losing attitude there, meaning fans don't really care if the team wins or loses as long as the beer is cheap. People should come to the game for the game.(*I don't drink, however, because beer makes me sleepy and I like to pay attention to the game.)

  88. slidell - Jan 5, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    Ah Greg, the Presidents Race! I wonder if the 20 or 30 somethings who dreamed this up would think it was such a good idea if the folks being represented were those of more-modern historical figures? How about JFK, Reagan, et al? Or, how about contemporary politicians? It becomes decidedly less amusing the closer one comes to the present day. At least for those of a certain age, the concept demeans those who arguably had a most extraordinary positive effect on the course of our country. and who coincidentally are not able to defend themselves against trivialization.

  89. Wally - Jan 5, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    NatsLady said…Bob Carpenter will be back, per Ladson tweet. January 5, 2012 10:26 AM Damn, I was hoping for a change.You know, I hope that the Nats aren't waiting for the Fielder situation to resolve itself before figuring out what to do with the OF and bench. Something needs to happen regardless of whether Prince signs or not (I am not too excited about a Bernie/Cameron platoon for CF), and I would hope that they are being proactive about it, but options are coming off the table (Scott Hairston re-signed with NYM).I still think Cody Ross fits well, if we don't get a permanent CF>

  90. MicheleS - Jan 5, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    has anyone heard what is going on with the Big Pot of Coffey? or Pudge/Livo?

  91. Nat A Chance - Jan 5, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    - Worst marketing idea ever: this talk of trading Ryan Zimmerman. It is insane. He is more important to this team (including its culture, history, and fans) than any player in any sport on earth. When he is retired, he may be the best clutch hitter in MLB history. It is ESSENTIAL to the Nationals' history and development that he retire in a Nats' uniform and that we all attend the unveiling of his statue in the outfield plaza.I believe Mark Lerner understands all this and will never approve a Zimmerman trade.

  92. Feel Wood - Jan 5, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    It is ESSENTIAL to the Nationals' history and development that he retire in a Nats' uniform and that we all attend the unveiling of his statue in the outfield plaza.Let's start the over/under now on how many arms that statue will have.

  93. The X Presidents - Jan 5, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Maybe we'd better just not tell him. He'd be offended.ah, what the hey…

  94. greg - Jan 5, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    slidell, i don't think it matters what presidents are in the race. the "losing" thing is just old, tired, and stale. you're probably just overthinking it. ;)nat a chance: while i would love to see ryan spend his career in a nats jersey. it's more likely than not that ryan will not spend his entire career in a nats uni. if you let yourself tie your undershorts in a knot over that idea, you'll never be happy. the sporting world just isn't the same business it was even 10 years ago and it's very rare that players will or can do that. even pujols moved on, and i thought he was as close to a lock as there was to stay long-term today.

  95. MicheleS - Jan 5, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    Kilgore has a post on Carp coming back for 2012, nothing set beyond that yet.

  96. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    The time for the Nats to go for winning baseball as its marketing anchor was in 2008 when they opened the new park, but they chose to lose instead. Sad stuff. Kids all over our region should have years' of great memories of the club contending in their heads right now, but the Lerners went cheap. Now, the plan will be to market the winning club and cash in on the fans' excitment over it, but how in the Hell did Ted Lerner not see that scheme as the go-to game plan 4 years ago? Every other club goes big with a new park, but not Ted. The Nats low budgets are artificial, self-induced — this aint Oakland, Tampa, KC or Pitt. And the new park was publicly funded and though revenues radically increased, they kept that payroll nice and low. And kept on losing. had they built a qulaity product, they likely would have been more successful trying to sell it.

  97. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Feelwood — "Let's start the over/under now on how many arms that statue will have."Not sure, but most of them will be throwing under-hand as that is Ryan's pension. Zim's days at 3B are numbered folks, so get to the games now before his glory days at the hot corner are spent. He's going to be playing 1B or LF sooner than later.

  98. JamesFan - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    I'm not in the Zim a Nat for life crowd. If he gets hurt again this year or if he doesn't produce defensively or offensively up to par, it then depends on what the Nats can get for him. He is not headed for the hall of fame yet. Until he fits into that mould, he is expendable for the right deal.

  99. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    Mark, you are preaching to the choir on this one. Any chance the Lerners or anyone in the Nats organization is reading?WELL WE DO know they read Thomas Boswell and the Post. Maybe Boz ought to do the Povich / Siegel thing on that score. Kerzel isn't going to do it for them, he's an Orioles fan. MASN would have to be considered at the forefront of Nats marketing and they are pro-Orioles and perhaps like the Orioles owner perhaps at times inclined to sabotage the Nats marketing efforts. Gone is the Jim Riggleman small/smart ball commercial (thank god) but in its place we get Showalter! Showalter! Plus Povich/Siegel were good at marketing the game of baseball as a whole not just the team. Almost "holistically".

  100. Wally - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    Changing topics, here are our favorite fans from Philly distinguishing themselves once again. I hope they are identified and caught.http://espn.go.com/new-york/nhl/story/_/id/7426297/video-shows-philadelphia-flyers-fans-attacking-new-york-rangers-fans

  101. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    I'm thinking Zimm won't need a pension, even without the contract extension.

  102. DCJohn - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    I like to think that Nat fans are among the most loyal and knowledgeable fans anywhere. Just not that many of us, yet.I love the Nats. I love talking about the Nats. And I would like to educate my friends, neighbors and others.So, maybe using the social network, we can organize "Know Your Nats" seminars. Educate our fellow citizens on why Brad Peacock wore number '41. Why on the best thing to happen to this organization was Drew Storen signing his contract and going right to work to become a big leaguer. How gloriously flawed the '07 team was. The importance of Ryan Langerhans trade was. Overall, get people familiar with the back stories that make going to ball park so much fun.So, if anyone agress with me that Nats fans can play a role in marketing the team, e-mail me at haverhillroad@yahoo.com. Go Nats

  103. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    The time for the Nats to go for winning baseball as its marketing anchor was in 2008 when they opened the new park, but they chose to lose instead.Certainly true, but as you say, it was four years ago. Svrluga made this point in 2006 or 07, sometime, also. Over/Under–water under the bridge/over the dam.

  104. penchant - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Was somebody looking for me?

  105. Actually yeah there is a chance sea Rendon. - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Worst marketing idea ever: this talk of trading Ryan Zimmerman. It is insane. He is more important to this team (including its culture, history, and fans) than any player in any sport on earth. Worst marketing idea EVER iS NOT having some African American players in the starting lineup. Rick Ankiel over Bernadina? I'm still not convinced that Riggleman was right about that. AND that may just be one of the top 3 reasons to sign Prince Fielder. And later to trade for or sign BJ Upton. And while they're at it take a swing at David Price. Zim is always listed as a top 3 franchise player by Fangraphs almost consistently. At his age. So, yes it does make sense to resign him and have one or the other play 2nd base. BUT, its likely the more marketable commodity will be Espinosa not Desmond. And doubtless they could get Upton right now if he were a part of the deal. But then? Zimmerman at third base/2nd base, Rendon at 3rd base/2nd base. Still a smooth fielding lineup from 2nd to 3rd.

  106. take two - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Um, me

  107. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    Wait, Desmond isn't African-American?? Seriously, I thought he was.And Bernadina IS American?? I thought he was Dutch, from Curacao.

  108. UNTERP - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    DCJohn said… I'm giving a presentation at work Monday morning at our staff meeting about the Nationals. Since I have a couple of season ticket plans in the $10 seats sect, I can extend gifts of up to $20 value gifts to my colleagues. Also, I've called for an emergency meeting in my neighborhood community for next Tuesday night and can expect an overflow and eager crowd. The topic: Occupy Nationals Park…

  109. The Great Unwashed - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    Slidell,Great idea about having recent presidents in the presidents race. They could have an Obama one wearing a White Sox hat. Just sayin'.

  110. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    I am also not in the Zim must remain a Nat camp. The Nats cannot conjure some lifelong Nat hero if it makes more sense to trade the guy. He's a great player and I am not looking for hte club to move the guy or anything, but he's not essential by any means.dfh21

  111. NatsLady - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Mktg: Make sure the local gyms and sports bars play the Nats games on their big-screen TV's. Make sure they know what channel the games are on, give them a TV schedule with the channel numbers on it!! Promise them ad buys in return, e.g., Gold's Gym. Why not have Curly W M&M's or lollipops or something like that, and put them in every doctor's office, etc. (Subject to licensing, I'm sure.) Same with towels and other stuff that people use in their everyday lives. One of the problems with TV access is the channels jumping around. No one has heard of MASN in this football town. Since MASN isn't going away right now, get the name out there and the channel numbers for each cable/satellite system. This is the time now to start printing a laminated TV-channel guide/schedule and get it out to local bars and gyms.

  112. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    Sec3 — Roger is indeed from Curacao and Ian is caucasian, I think. Morse might be bi-racial, not sure.

  113. baseballswami - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    I would have to agree with one ( of the many) of the posters earlier this morning who talked about knowing the players as people. The online videos of Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard's apartment just crack me up. They seem more real to me and so when I see them come out in the game I want to root for them even more. I know that Zim has the Zims foundation and his story is so very personal. Does anyone know if any of our other players are involved in any particular causes?

  114. Alan_A - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    Speaking of marketing – how about making the game of baseball as presented in the stadium the main attraction, as opposed to some boring embarassment that the organization feels apologetic about, and slathers it over with cruise-ship entertainment. I'm talking about Clint, the T-shirt cannons, Kiss Cam, Boogie Shoes, the whole works. Plus the fact that the scoreboard is too busy showing ads and cuteness to tell you, say, what relief pitcher just came in. I think back fondly to the '80's in Shea Stadium (hard to be fond about Shea Stadium, but work with me here), where the main pregame entertainment was This Week in Baseball – it started an hour before gametime, when fans were actually in the park. I'd love to see the team drop all the current hoopla and instead give us some baseball atmosphere, baseball lore, baseball stats – anything baseball. Right now the signals are that they want us to come out to the stadium and spend, but not spend a minute thinking about (or even being aware of) the game./rant off

  115. Alan_A - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    My captcha for the previous entry: kyladd (as in, kill ADD?)

  116. Section 222 - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    Nat A Chance said… [Zimmerman] is more important to this team (including its culture, history, and fans) than any player in any sport on earth. When he is retired, he may be the best clutch hitter in MLB history. Wow. Talk about overstatement. I doubt that even a bare majority of people on this board would pick him as the most untouchable Nat. Ever heard of Stephen Strasburg? Now try this thought experiment. Knowing the Nats' needs, and the depth chart, would you trade Zim straight up for Matt Kemp? How about Justin Verlander? Jacoby Ellsbury? And that's not even considering the packages of prospects or younger players that might be appealing at some point if offered, if Rendon develops as hoped. Zim is a great player, the FOTF, good for the community, etc. etc., but he's not untouchable, nor is he the best player in baseball.

  117. bobfromalexandria - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    These posts are so good reading them may put my job in danger!Love Mark'd's idea of Harper in the schools — that's how you create magic OMG moments and would surely move my son off rooting for the Rangers. That's how you create fans for life.when MLB was considering which ownership group to award the Expos franchise to, one of the groups proposed playgrounds and baseball fields around the DC area, especially in Anacostia. The group lost, but the idea is important. The Nats support of Little League etc could be bigger. Regarding the endless fascination with the Deadskins, it's a male thing, a macho thing, and it may be ending. they won't have a winning season for 2-3 more years. As the Nats come along they will equal the Deadskins in popularity, as it is in other big cities with pro teams. People in the DC metro area have a hard time as thinking of themselves as part of a larger entity. That's one reason Metro funding is so hard to come by, nobody thinks the other sections matter to them and won't contribute to it. You wouldn't see that in the 5 boroughs in NYC. Also, re Skins, for the longest time the Skins were the only NFL team south of Philly on the east coast. People remember …And they may also remember the paucity of African-Americans on the Nats, as Actually Yeah suggested, and wonder if that was deliberate. I don't think it is, but it is of concern.

  118. Sean Kelly - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    One note on Harper working with youth that I thought should be out there. Before I got married in Greensboro NC, Harper was visiting the Grasshoppers and my entire family got to see him play. Since I had seen him a few weeks earlier, I knew where he would go to sign autographs and told my sister to take my three year old nephew to that spot.Off they went with my little buddy in a Zimmerman Jersey and hat with an old baseball I caught as a kid. A little while later they came back with a signed ball and story (I was too busy entertaining wedding guests to see it). Harper not only came over to my nephew immediately and signed his ball, he took a few minutes to chat with him and some other young kids. Then he brought him over to the dugout so he could take a look and see other players (I'm sure the only full Nats outfit helped). Needless to say, he was smiling ear to ear, but the final thing that struck me was a man came up to my sister as they were headed back to their seats. Harper's dad was in attendance and made sure that his son saw my nephew and signed a ball for him. They let him know that he went above and beyond for the young fans and he was apparently quite proud.It's stuff like this that was going on while he was getting all the negative press last year and I fully believe he is doing his part to impact young fans and make them lifers like myself. Let's just get marketing to back him up!

  119. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    I understand one of Michael Morse's parents is Jamaican.

  120. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    … but I like my boogie shoes … not so much clint, loser teddy,etc…(I also did not like replacing the dancing girls with country music)

  121. Why the Nats will sign Prince Fielder... - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    Ted Lerner's date of birth: October 15, 1925.

  122. Alan_A - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    Anon @1:57 said…… but I like my boogie shoes … not so much clint, loser teddy,etc..________________________OK, I'll give you the Boogie Shoes (in '86, we had the Curly Shuffle in the 8th, though that started as a team thing…)The point is – eyes on the field, please. And no more, "we're so sorry about the baseball – let us entertain you!" Y'know?

  123. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    Wait, Desmond isn't African-American?? Seriously, I thought he was.And Bernadina IS American?? I thought he was Dutch, from Curacao.Desmond is like Obama. Obama is 1/2 white Kansan. BUT HE DOES LOOK THE PART even if he doesn't always think that way … and Desmond does not. Get the difference sec3? This IS MARKETING. NOT accurate and anal fact finding.

  124. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Umm. No. But that's OK.~~backs away slowly~~

  125. MicheleS - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    Wow.. didn't realize that Ted Lerner was that old.

  126. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Wow.. didn't realize that Ted Lerner was that old.He invented the Mall/Plaza shopping center concept in the late fifties. Starting with the Wheaton Plaza in Wheaton Maryland. He goes back aways.

  127. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    Umm. No. But that's OK.~~backs away slowly~~A picture is worth a thousand words. Ever hear that one?

  128. MicheleS - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    and our latest Jon Heyman post…http://jon-heyman.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/33714192/34205722

  129. Jenn Jenson - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    @alan_a Agree 100% on the need to focus on baseball, especially better use of scoreboards. Other parks seem able to provide a lot more baseball information on their scoreboards, and the marginal cost of improvement in this area would be close to zero for the Nats.Of course, I'm not hopeful. I had an occasion to mention my idea of improving scoreboards to Andy Feffer, and I'm convinced he has an awful lot of wax in his ears. I told him about all the pitching information on the ribbon boards in Pittsburg, and all of the batting and scoring information on and around the main scoreboard in Phoenix (two parks I visited last year). Feffer flatly told me, "You're wrong. The Nationals have the best scoreboard in baseball." Ugh!

  130. Feel Wood - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    Now try this thought experiment. Knowing the Nats' needs, and the depth chart, would you trade Zim straight up for Matt Kemp?If you think you can't afford to give Zimmerman a 7 or 8 year extension at $20M+ per year, how does trading for Matt Kemp and his 8 yr/$160M contract help you any?

  131. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    Look up OBTUSE in the dictionary and you will find a picture of Andy Feffer!

  132. Since we're on the topic of race - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    I have always wondered if part (not all, but part) of the Nyjer Morgan meltdown occurred because of the limited African-American presence in the clubhouse.

  133. Hopeless2012 - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    Alan A @ 144pm – AMEN, Alleluia, do the Yankees have this crap before cames NO, even the Orioles don't! You forgot to mention the STUPID fans who dance to BOOGIE SHOES along the RF line, IDIOTS, also the idiot Nat Pack which incites people doing THE WAVE (a football thing not a baseball thing) when the are down 6-0 and in the field…WTF!? Finally, the dancing ushers should be fired immeditately, they do not do their jobs to start and are too focused on hamming it up. I was glad to see late in the season that IDIOT #1 Coach stopped dancing and singing at games, even my wife who is not the biggest fan thinks his antics are hokie and just plain dumb! ARE YOU LISTENING NATS PR, cut the BS and give us a game to watch!!!

  134. Feel Wood - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    The problem with the scoreboards is not what information is displayed on them. That's fine, even if it doesn't include every individual fan's favorite newfangled statistic. The problem with the scoreboards is that they needlessy remove that information between innings and at other oddball times in favor of ads or slogans like "Two Strikes" or "Show Us What You Got, 10th Man!" (What I've usually got then is no clue as to what the count is.) I can sort of understand them doing that in favor of an ad, because in theory someone is paying them for it. But it makes no sense to me that they need to take away the out-of-town scoreboard to display the same slogan that's on a ribbon board or the big scoreboard that you don't even need to turn your head to see. They could put the slogan on one board and leave useful information on other boards without lessening the slogan's effect. (Which is marginal at best anyway.) And they can't counter that the system is only capable of operating all the boards in lockstep, because there are a lot of times when they don't. Feffer may be right that they have the best scoreboards in baseball. That's not the problem. The problem is how they use them.

  135. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    Hey you kids get off my lawn!and we must remember that sometimes that is what the Nats are doing.. playing to the kids to get them into the game!

  136. natsfan1a - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    Re. TWIB, I've actually seen it being replayed on the scoreboard at Sunday games on more than one occasion. Of course, I couldn't hear it because of the LOUD music that was being played and…hey you, kids, get off my lawn!! :-)Alan_A said… Speaking of marketing – how about making the game of baseball as presented in the stadium the main attraction, as opposed to some boring embarassment that the organization feels apologetic about, and slathers it over with cruise-ship entertainment. I'm talking about Clint, the T-shirt cannons, Kiss Cam, Boogie Shoes, the whole works. Plus the fact that the scoreboard is too busy showing ads and cuteness to tell you, say, what relief pitcher just came in. I think back fondly to the '80's in Shea Stadium (hard to be fond about Shea Stadium, but work with me here), where the main pregame entertainment was This Week in Baseball – it started an hour before gametime, when fans were actually in the park. I'd love to see the team drop all the current hoopla and instead give us some baseball atmosphere, baseball lore, baseball stats – anything baseball. Right now the signals are that they want us to come out to the stadium and spend, but not spend a minute thinking about (or even being aware of) the game. /rant off

  137. DC Tom - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    I don't think extending Zimmerman is a big deal.For the next two years, the Nats will pay Zimmerman $12M and $14M. That salary is slightly below market, but not really all that far from what the Mets are paying David Wright, what the Brewers are paying Aramis Ramirze. It trails A-Rod obviously but not, by comparison, Michael Young ($16M) all that much. It's a fair salary…he is not being underpaid by all that much.If the Nats extend him now, they would be making a deliberate decision to *overpay* him for the next two years in the hopes that you would be *underpaying* him in 2014 to, say 2017.What is the point of doing that?If you think you are close to building a winner here in the next 2-3 years, wouldn't it be better to invest those same dollars in 2012-2013 into the flexibility to acquire another starter, another bullpen arm, a center fielder, either in mid-season or next offseason?I say let the chips fall where they will. When the 2013 offseason rolls around, work hard to re-sign Zimmerman then. If he stays healthy, make it your top priority. But you don't need to do it now.At the same time, let's also remember that Zimmerman would have to agree to an extension. The 2013 offseason might be his last chance at a big free agent payday. To deny him that opportunity would cost the Nats a great deal of money right now — not really sure it's the best thing for either side to pursue.

  138. natsfan1a - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    I seem to have achieved a mind meld with Anon @ 2:56. hmmm…not sure how to feel about that.

  139. greg - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    feelwood said: If you think you can't afford to give Zimmerman a 7 or 8 year extension at $20M+ per year, how does trading for Matt Kemp and his 8 yr/$160M contract help you any? feelwood, i think the point that was being made is that zimmerman isn't untouchable. and yes, if i was going to pay someone $20m/yr for the next 8, as much as i love zimm, i'd make that deal.

  140. Jim Riggleman FAIL. - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    I have always wondered if part (not all, but part) of the Nyjer Morgan meltdown occurred because of the limited African-American presence in the clubhouse.Take this event along with the Marquis altercation in the dugout along with small ball is smart ball, "respect the game, respect the veterans" no prospects allowed in games, his bizarre 'resignation' and you have the title above.

  141. Unkyd - Jan 5, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    "Not sure, but most of them will be throwing under-hand as that is Ryan's pension."Pension….(he does it on purpose….I know he does….Just to bug me….)

  142. Young Pitchers - Jan 5, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    you know what would immediately absolutely tank Price Fielder's value? nats extend Zimm for 8 yrs. oh, how Scot Boras would love that!

  143. Jenn Jenson - Jan 5, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    @Feel, We agree that the problem is use.Both Pittsburgh and Phoenix have dedicated scoreboards that *always* have the score (and additional, useful information), as you suggest would be helpful. It's not that hard, and it would make *baseball* fans happy. Even if Feffer were right about having the (technically?) "best" scoreboard in baseball, which I question, he was wrong to react in way that made it clear he was not about to listen and learn something from a customer.

  144. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    Ha, it is someone's penchant to misuse the word pension?On the park experience, I hate me some Clint. And the sound to video delay for him on the big screen makes his whole half-hearted and staggeringly predictable the Bachelor meets Ryan Seacrest meets Monty Hall schtick even worse.dfh21

  145. Young Pitchers - Jan 5, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    (minor edit on pp…)you know what would immediately absolutely tank Price Fielder's value? nats extend Zimm for 8 yrs THE NEXT DAY TEX SIGNS DARVISH. oh, how Scot Boras would love that!

  146. Alan_A - Jan 5, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    Re: getting the kids off the lawn…Yeah, I hear you. At the same time, I just don't think it's such a stark either/or – either you have baseball info and culture for the fogified, or Clint and the wave for the kids. I think it's possible with some cleverness and some creativity to provide entertainment that's more aligned with the game, doesn't get totally in the way of the game and most importantly, doesn't apologize for the product. At the end of the day it's a baseball stadium – the kids who supposedly want to be entertained can more easily find entertainment without bothering to go to the ballpark at all. What you're telling everybody via the current approach is that you're embarassed by baseball, you're sorry there has to be baseball, it's sort of a necessary evil because of the big field and all, but don't pay attention to that. It's not a winning formula.Here's an analogy from way out in left field – the Met Opera under its current GM, Peter Gelb, is doing a good job of modernizing the product (HD telecasts into movie theaters with sports-style commentary, shorter shows, hiring top-notch theater directors to do productions). But the product itself doesn't change – it's very good, straight ahead music. There's no one saying sorry, we've got to do all this awful stuff in a foreign language with a big orchestra but stick around for intermission, you can do the wave while we shoot T-shirts at you.Smart baseball presentation, si. Non-baseball presentation, non!

  147. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    On the park experience, I hate me some Clint.I have yet to encounter anyone who doesn't hate Clint. Of course, I haven't met his mother. Not that I'd want to, mind you, because even if she's hot once you get involved with her you'd be involved with Clint.My favorite Clint memory was at the exhibition game the day before the new stadium opened, when all the STH were let in free to get our first peeks at it. I'm sitting in my brand new seat way up in the upper infield gallery, and Clint pops up on the big screen doing his thing. Some 20-something woman several rows back from me says loudly "That douchebag is back AGAIN?"The sad thing is that was four years ago and he's still there. But they did seem to be toning back his presence last year, so maybe there's hope…

  148. Section 222 - Jan 5, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    "Feel Wood said… Now try this thought experiment. Knowing the Nats' needs, and the depth chart, would you trade Zim straight up for Matt Kemp?If you think you can't afford to give Zimmerman a 7 or 8 year extension at $20M+ per year, how does trading for Matt Kemp and his 8 yr/$160M contract help you any?""greg said… feelwood said: If you think you can't afford to give Zimmerman a 7 or 8 year extension at $20M+ per year, how does trading for Matt Kemp and his 8 yr/$160M contract help you any? feelwood, i think the point that was being made is that zimmerman isn't untouchable." Um, exactly. Thank you greg. @FeelWood, I guess I should have made my comment much longer by noting in the fine print that the thought expermitment was only about evaluating how essential it is to keep Zim, not comparing his likely long term contract to the contracts of other superstar players. Anyway, I do think the Nats can afford to give Zim that kind of extension, though I think that would be significantly overpaying him. But I agree with greg, if I had an 8 year/$160 million deal to give either Kemp or Zim, I'd choose Zim, wouldn't you? Of course, teams don't trade one superstar for another. They trade a superstar for a bunch of other players, sometimes including prospects. Such a deal for Zim may or may not make sense depending on who is offered, and what our short term alternatives at 3B are. Right now, I wouldn't do it because Zim is a crucial piece of what could be a playoff team in 2012 or 2013. But once we have a better idea of how good Rendon will be, it very well may be that a viable deal could be presented. And with Zim becoming a FA for 2013, I certainly don't think he's untouchable.

  149. Section 222 - Jan 5, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Ooops, I mean, I'd choose Kemp.

  150. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    It's hard not to take Kemp over most guys.Clint does not know it, but I helped saved his life once. Summer 2008, at the Third Edition in Georgetown, me and several buddies half, ok more than half, cocked after yet another Nats loss, at which game we were all bemoaning Clint's clintness, and then all of a sudden: Clint is there at the Tiki bar working some very hot coed. My pal Joe, a very big, Boston kind of always angry guy, realizes Clint is among us, within reaching distance, no security cameras, no police protection present . . . took me and 2 other guys to restrain him. I lie awake at night sometimes deep in regret.dfh21

  151. The Joker - Jan 5, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    Reportedly Jan Vescey requires a whiter presence in the Wizards locker room to live up to his billing as the Dirk Nowitzki of Chinatown.

  152. NatsLady - Jan 5, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    Who is Clint?

  153. natsfan1a - Jan 5, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    The young man who does the pregame and in-between innings promotions/quizzes in which he interacts with fans.

  154. natsfan1a - Jan 5, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    I'll be danged if he doesn't have a website.

  155. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    Its obvious the Nats Marketing Director/Management have no idea on how to sell their team. They must have been hired through the "good old boy" network. I have travelled through both Major & Minor League Parks and have seen it all. Give me a shot at the Management team; gaurantee I can increase revenue and fan base.

  156. Roberto - Jan 5, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    Bravo, Mark! If I were asked to make a presentation on why the Nats should sign Fielder, I would build it around three numbers: 5, 11, and 25. The first two are. of course, the Redskins' record. The third is the over/under age of any Washingtonian being able to actually remember the Redskins actually mattering in the NFL. An entire generation of Washingtonians have grown up with knowing what it is to root for a winning team. (I know that the Caps have been good but hockey is a niche sport.) The Nats have a chance to do what was previously unthinkable: dethrone the Skins in the hearts of an entire generation of fans. Sure, older fans will, like Andy Pollin and the folks at ESPN 980, obsess over the Skins' backup LG, but younger fans will gravitate to a winner, especially one with a trio of marketable players like Strasburg, Harper and Fielder. Question is: do the Nats dare?

  157. NatsLady - Jan 5, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    You guys paid enough attention him to know his name???? Wow.

  158. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Amen mark! There needs to be a winter fan fest on a weekend. Fire Clint, but keep the pretty blonde sidekick. Drop the Teddy losing shtickAnnounce the Nats batters in a normal voice. Get pix of the stars up all over the area, even intoColumbia, MD.

  159. natsfan1a - Jan 5, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    Not really, but I've heard his name bandied about on the interwebz quite a bit. :-)

  160. Section 222 - Jan 5, 2012 at 10:27 PM

    @NatsLady — It's hard not to know his name, when Jerome says "Take it away Clint" three or four times a game. I've had several interations with him during games over the years and he's a very decent guy. I think he has taken the criticism of his over the top boistrousness and has toned it down quite a bit the past few years. He works hard, seems to care about the team and the fans, and treats all varieties of goofball fans with respect. Plus he has a really good arm when you think about it. Heaving those t-shirts as far as he does into the stands can't be easy. I started out disliking him and decided to cut him some slack. There are plenty of better things to be pissed off about in the world.

  161. greg - Jan 5, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    as far as marketing goes, you left something out. embrace the past more. which, to some extent, means mostly one thing: bring back hondo. i've never understood why the nats haven't been able to get frank howard to be a part of some of their marketing.

  162. Another_Sam - Jan 5, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    As the first ccomment said: preaching to the choir. I've opined here before on this. How about a Nationals store in Tyson's [the Lerners have a history there] analogous to the Orioles store that was once on Farragut [sp?] Square? And some events suggesting that it's cool to go to the games? Like the Orioles used to do in Faragut Park at lunch during the week? I still remember seeing players milling around FS when I'd sneak out of the office on promotion days. Watching Duke Ziebert and Morrie Siegal chat it up added to the fun. [That's how old I am.] Come on, Lerners; promote that it's cool to go to the park.

  163. Another_Sam - Jan 5, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    As for promoting spring training: I'll do that. Let's go. See you there, Mark, NatsJack, JaneB, et al. spring training is so much fun: go once, and you'll try to go every year. Even to the Space Coast area. LOL

  164. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    I wonder how many teams have a winter fan fest? The Nats can't be the only ones that don't.

  165. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jan 5, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    Kids, banners, more African-American players, discounts for STHs, education of the casual fan, sacking Clint, fanfest in dead of winter, social media, and everybody else's two cents are all great ideas.Think anybody in Nats marketing department is reading?Think there is anybody in Nats marketing department?I don't see any evidence of it. Starts at the top. Uncle Teddy is a shopping center/cement/cheap real estate guy. Old school. Views advertising/marketing as wasted dollars, cutting into profit margins. This team will only turn the page when the Lerners sell out and move on to the next carnival.

  166. Anonymous - Jan 5, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    Sec222 is right. As much as I do very much hate me some Clint, I'd probably miss him if he was gone. And once the club starts winning a bunch I am guessing that I will find him far less problematic. That girl he was chatting up at Third's back in 08 was wicked hot and she was not hating on Clint one bit, btw. I am guessing that it does not suck to be Clint. Good for him.dfh21

  167. Nats' marketing department/manager - Jan 6, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    Anonymous said… Its obvious the Nats Marketing Director/Management have no idea on how to sell their team. They must have been hired through the "good old boy" network. I have travelled through both Major & Minor League Parks and have seen it all. Give me a shot at the Management team; gaurantee I can increase revenue and fan base.You're hired. Send us your resume (but have somebody proofread it first).

  168. Feel Wood - Jan 6, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    Clint is like Riggleman. By all accounts a nice guy, but the wrong guy for the job. And in Clint's case, he's the wrong guy for a job that doesn't need to be there in the first place.

  169. JaneB - Jan 6, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    I am with NatsNut, all the way. I just asked my husband to switch the contact as STH to me, from him, because I keep hearing about opportunities for STH that I only hear about after the fact.I have been 110% against signing Prince. And yet… I find myself checking often, to see if we have. And wanting us to. Hmmmm.Michelle (or NatsLady — I forget who asked) I start my day looking for news of Livan signing with someone, even before I come here (gulp). And that is how I found a fascinating analysis of how truly wiley my (our) Livan is, because he gets so many strike calls that weren't actually strikes. So everytime we all said, "oops, he isn't getting the calls tonight," turned out we were right about something. I'll dig it up if s done wants it.Finally, we could talk about the paper towels in tne rest rooms at Nats Park, and I'd be thrilled to read it and then hear what the rest of you have to say. And to watch that number, up,there at the top, go down.

  170. Anonymous - Jan 6, 2012 at 12:54 AM

    Andrew Feffer is a flat out joke! He has offered nothing unique to the ballclub and should be fired immediately. No, his "upset stomach" sub horn and Manhattan burgers matter little to this fan. Doesn't one of the Lerner daughters have a big hand in this sham of an advertising campaign? They are really, really bush league the way they market this team.

  171. Feel Wood - Jan 6, 2012 at 1:01 AM

    I actually like the sub horn much more than the fireworks. The fireworks you saw if you were in the stadium, and that was it. The sub horn you hear in the stadium, on TV, on radio, and most importantly every single time they replay a Nats home run anywhere, any time. I can't tell you how many times I've heard that horn on MLB network when they include Ramos's walk-off HR or one of Morse's blasts in their 2011 recap lists.May we hear lots and lots of sub horn in 2012 and beyond.

  172. Another_Sam - Jan 6, 2012 at 1:16 AM

    JaneB — I'm watching that number go down as well. The days are already getting longer.And yes on Prince. I wasn't for it either, but I keep checking.Nice to see some lineups posted here recently. And some likely rosters.

  173. Jim Kurtzke - Jan 6, 2012 at 3:14 AM

    The Nats need to define who their fan base is. Is it: a) well-off, Capitol Hill lobbyists; or b) long-time government workers? The former are transient and have other fan loyalties. The latter are less well off, but make up most of the population and — wait for it — actually build roots here. As BullpenCatcher rightly points out, requiring full-season plans to sit between 1st and 3rd reflects a lobbyist fan approach. But how has that worked out? Given all the empty seats, not too well. Time to change focus on what will attract your typical government worker to stay downtown for a few hours after work. Also, since many gov't worked get off work in the mid-afternoon, the Nats should open the gates and do more pre-game events well before 5:30.

  174. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jan 6, 2012 at 4:01 AM

    If the Nats decide their fan base is made up of government workers, maybe they could offer the following promotions:1. Free tickets for the slowest walker in the stadium.2. Specials for showing up at work after 10 a.m. and leaving before 3 p.m.3. Free Kleenex for all the whining about "only" getting 2 percent step raises every year.4. Worker who spends the least on his/her wardrobe gets free Nats T-shirt5. No games on Mondays, Fridays and all Tuesdays following government holidays.

  175. Alan_A - Jan 6, 2012 at 5:58 AM

    That's odd, Sunshine – the goverment worker I'm married to doesn't seem to live life that way. Maybe you're hanging out with the wrong government workers – you should try meeting some real ones for a change.

  176. Alan_A - Jan 6, 2012 at 6:04 AM

    Just got the STH mailing today. An odd package – it included an invoice with no record of any payments I'd made, a flyer about benefits, and a letter signed by Rizzo and Pfeffer touting our exciting up-and-coming prospects like Milone, Cole, Peacock and Norris. Oh, and it seems there's a new advertising theme for the year. Are you ready? It's "Natitude." Everything that happens in the stadium will have Natitude.Get ready for Clint with edge, I suppose…

  177. Feel Wood - Jan 6, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Hey, I'll take "Natitude" over "Off the floor in '64" any day.

  178. Jenn Jenson - Jan 6, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    The letter in the STH package was almost the exact same letter they sent (in December, I think) with the renewal package for spring training season tickets. The only difference was an added paragraph, mostly about food at Nationals Park. You'd hope that when they added the paragraph they'd at least proofread the rest. And if the letter was written months ago, go crazy and proofread it before you mail it. Oh yea, high-quality communications is not a priority.My instinct is that "Natitude" is going to become yet another mockable slogan, like "Expect It" and "Let Yourself Go".

  179. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 6, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    "The Nats will Evolve In Twenty-Twolve"

  180. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 6, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    "The Nats will be Great in DC-Year-Eight!"

  181. natsfan1a - Jan 6, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    otoh, the slogan could be a reminder to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Nah. :-)

  182. natsfan1a - Jan 6, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    "Off the Shelves in Twenty-Twelve"?Rhyming needs work."Steel Yourselves in Twenty-Twelve"?Sounds too ominous. Plus, you know, the rhyming.

  183. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 6, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    We'll Delve for Wins when 2012 Begins!

  184. natsfan1a - Jan 6, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Very nice. I couldn't come up with a slogan using "delve." (Must. Have. More. Caffeine.)

  185. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 6, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    (That.Was.The.2008.Slogan) I think.

  186. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 6, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    capcha: "redsm"There's an edgy slogan: "Red S/M" Sorta does the Giants "torture" thing one better. "Nats 2012–This time, we're bringing the pain!"(cue "to the pain!" clip)

  187. natsfan1a - Jan 6, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    I LOL'd (at the slogan, not the team).Sec 3, My Sofa said… (That.Was.The.2008.Slogan) I think. January 6, 2012 1:00 PM

  188. Anonymous - Jan 6, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    Please, Nationals marketing department, NO MORE bobblehead days when the Phillies are in town. Also, how about a fans festival in January next year? We're really missing the ball on that one.

  189. natsfan1a - Jan 6, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Yeah, that might work better if we still had (the) Marquis.Sec 3, My Sofa said… capcha: "redsm" There's an edgy slogan: "Red S/M" Sorta does the Giants "torture" thing one better. "Nats 2012–This time, we're bringing the pain!" (cue "to the pain!" clip) January 6, 2012 1:05 PM

  190. Jenn Jenson - Jan 6, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    From a friend, I just learned about the Senator's Hot Stove Dinnerhttp://app.bronto.com/public/?q=preview_message&fn=Link&id=fs072b19r42ee8ze&t=6If only the big club would do something like that. As I recall, it was very popular…

  191. Jenn Jenson - Jan 6, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    *Senators'

  192. natsfan1a - Jan 6, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    In other news, I received an email touting the P-Nats hot stove banquet on January 29. Only thing is, there was nothing in the body of the email (the other info having been in the subject line). I've not followed up as I have other commitments for that weekend.

  193. natsfan1a - Jan 6, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    The P-Nats site has more info about the banquet up now.

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ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
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