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10-3 start validates Nats’ confidence

Apr 19, 2012, 2:14 PM EDT

If you read or heard anything that came out of the Nationals' clubhouse this spring, you know this team wasn't lacking in confidence entering the season.

Davey Johnson insisted there was more potential on this roster than his Mets clubs of the mid-1980s. Brad Lidge (who pitched for three pennant winners) insisted this was the most talented team he'd ever been on. Others openly said this club should be good enough to make the playoffs.

All of which would've looked quite foolish, of course, if the Nationals came stumbling out of the gates as they so often have during their eight seasons in the District. That, as surely you know, hasn't happened. And if you check the standings this morning, you'll see there's only one team in the National League with 10 wins right now. (Is it too early to talk about home-field advantage in the playoffs?)

OK, let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. There are still 149 games to be played, and who knows what those 5 1/2 months will have inRead more ยป

146 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. sm13 - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Davey is known for getting his team off to quick starts and those teams usually go to the playoffs. Listening to MLB radio this morning, the thought was that the May 4 Nats/Phils series could be make or break for the struggling Phillies. Let's break 'em!! Go Nats!

  2. Tcostant - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Hard to remember back in the spring when we lost something like 8 in a row. This team is fun to watch and ever pitch means so much!

  3. MC 703 - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    It would be great to reward Zimmerman's loyalty with a solid year. Screw that a solid next 5 years!

  4. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    "Listening to MLB radio this morning, the thought was that the May 4 Nats/Phils series could be make or break for the struggling Phillies."There's not a whole lot of thought there.

  5. Maijo - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Sorry, but I have to file this one under — getting way ahead of ourselves. Yes, it's great to get off the line quickly, and the pitching has been even better than we could expect, but our hitting has been so anemic we are lucky not to have dropped about five of those early wins. Can't wait for the Beast to get back.

  6. Doc - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    Good thought to hold Tcostant. As long as our Nats can play the game, pitch by pitch, we should be good. I like the way the vets can keep the game in perspective.

  7. Brad - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    sm13, you should probably stop paying attention to anyone who says that three games in May are "make or break" because they have no idea what they're talking about. Still would be nice to sweep though.

  8. Bueno Bryce - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    For all those that think the Nats offense has been lacking (and it has), take a look around the National League, offense is down.

  9. Atlee - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    No way this is sustainable with the lack of offense, but if the pitching can carry us until Morse comes back, and Zimmerman starts to hit, this could be a fun summer.

  10. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Yes, the season is early, this doesn't yet mean much, yada, yada yada.But let it now be pronounced throughout the Land, that on this day, April 19, 2012, this one day, the Nats have the best record in the National League. I think that is something that has NEVER happened before (since they were in the American League for so long, way back when).Rejoicing is allowed, even if on a small scale.

  11. pauloyd - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    This sure is fun for now. And hey, Davey's 86 Mets were 10-3. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN198604260.shtml84 and 85 Mets were 9-4. All one at least 90 games. Although 84 Mets Pythagorean W-L: 78-84. That is a serious over perform.

  12. sm13 - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    Brad – I didn't mean to get hyperbolic. I just liked the idea that the Nats are seen as a real test for the once invincible Phils. I'm just enjoying the ride

  13. The Joker - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    Just think how much better the Nats would be if Elijah Dukes could be persuaded to come out of retirement and play centerfield.

  14. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    I will rejoice with the 10-3 record, sure beats the opposite 3-10 start that we would be pulling our hair out over. GO Nats. 4 series won now. Lets make 1 a sweep.

  15. Section 222 - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    For a 90 win season, the Nats just have to go 80-69 the rest of the way. If they simply play essentially .500 baseball — 75-74, they will win 85 games. Did I really predict just 85 wins? Darn!A lot of people are saying that we can't sustain this with the current state of our hitting. Very true. The rotation is fantastic, but it's not going to pitch like this for the whole year. But the hitting isn't going to be like this for the whole year either – -Morse will be back, Zim will undoubtedly improve. Espi and Ramos should do better. More importantly, while our staff might not have a 1.92 ERA for long, it's very easy to imagine it staying in the top 5 in the league. Such a luxury.

  16. Steady Eddie - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    Summary: enjoy the moment, recognizing it's just a moment.

  17. Bowdenball - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    All the people who think our hitting has been so putrid so far need to take a look at the numbers. We're towards the middle of the pack in the NL in run production: 9th out of 16 I think. Second in the NL in OBP. Our only problem is power- we're 11th in slugging and near the bottom of the league in home runs. But that was always going to be a problem without Morse, and we've only played in neutral or pitcher-friendly parks so far. Zimmerman lost two HRs to the Wrigley wind on Opening Day alone.We really don't even need to pick up the pace, other than the natural increase in runs that comes with warmer weather. If we stay 9th in runs scored and the pitchers stay healthy, we'll make the playoffs. Average on one side of the ball and great on the other side is a sure-fire recipe for success.

  18. The Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    There is so much whining out of Philly about missing Ryan Howard and Chase Utley and I look at the Nats who are missing their best offensive player in Michael Morse and never filled the void in CF.The way I see it, Ruben Amaro and the Philthies went the route of the "over the hill gang" and just like the Redskins under George Allen are paying the price for the earlier successes. They still have Halladay and Cliff Lee who are the best Righty/Lefty tandem next to Strasburg/Gio as I can't say Lincecum/Cain at this point.The Nats are doing it on pitching and timely hitting to squeeze out these 1 run games. Michael Morse can't get back soon enough and hoping the CF situation is solved on July 31st.Looking ahead to the next homestand. The Nats host the DBacks and Philthies. The DBacks hottest hitter Chris Young won't be playing as he just went on the 15 day DL. The Phillies will hopefully still be in last place in the NL East when they leave Washington DC on May 6th.

  19. The Great Unwashed - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    People were moaning about the poor umpiring that hurt the Nats during the last series, but in the 8th inning Werth should've been called out on strikes and instead drew an RBI walk to tie the game. Where are all the complainers now?

  20. natsfan1a - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    I'm gonna go with on the Astros board. :-)Where are all the complainers now?

  21. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    MarkZ, enjoyed the video (even though you didn't answer my questions). Keep up the good work.

  22. The Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    The Great Unwashed, I don't agree. That was a ball all game on the knees. Pitch track showed part of the ball under the strike zone.It could have gone either way. The good teams get those breaks against the 106 loss teams. It wasn't long ago the Nats were consistently on the other end of that type of call.

  23. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    Stats Question: For pitchers, how much stock can one put in Game Scores? Are they considered a reliable means for evaluating performance? If so, the Nats currently have four pitchers in the top 20, which I think would qualify us as having a top 5 pitching staff! (StL has 3, Det 2, Phi 2, Az 2, and SF 2)

  24. Candide - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    Bill James wrote 'way back when about "signature significance." If a team gets off to a 3-0 start, is that significant? Is there enough information there to project that the team is going to have a great season? Obviously, no.Last year's Nats won eight straight at one point. So did the '08 Nats, and the '07 team won seven straight at one point.Statistically, any poor-to-mediocre team is going to rip off 7-8 straight wins at some point. So winning eight straight is significant of nothing (they're also going to lose 7-8 straight at some point, too).James used the '84 Tigers as an example of signature significance. They came out of the gate at 35-5. The odds that against a mediocre team doing that at any point in a season are overwhelming. A start like that is a good indicator that your team is going to have a great season, which the Tigers did that year, winning 104 games and the World Series.So 10-3 for the Nats is encouraging, but far from settling the issue of how good the team is. If two weeks from now they're 20-6 (same winning percentage), we can start thinking that the team really is this good.

  25. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    The 'Stros got hosed, there. Balls one and four were both in the zone. The Nats get it some days, and will again.

  26. I'm Happy NOW - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    I've been to every game but one (and the Bosox game). I LOVE this. It is SO much fun! If I am down and out when they're losing, dammit, I am going to be HAPPY when they are winning!

  27. fast eddie - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    I live in SC and haven't missed an inning this season on TV. I'm concerned about all those empty seats I see. Last night, there were 14K fans.I was in Viera for spring training and plan to attend games in DC and Atlanta this season. When can we expect the "casual fans" to start showing up? The noise and additional buzz should fire up the team even more.I'm all for welcoming anyone wanting to join the bandwagon, no matter how late.

  28. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Our Pitching Staff also currently ranks #1 in ERA, BAA, OBP, SLG, WHIP, and SO's.Not too shabby…

  29. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    haha, there were nowhere near 14k last night. not even close. i was there. rough estimate – 5-7k fans.

  30. alexva - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    What will not change is that this team will go as far as the pitching will carry them. With the staff they have assembled this bodes well. The batting lineup remains flawed but ironically the strength thus far is OBP at the top of the order, not sure this will be sustained. Defense will have to continue to be good though there are a few areas of concern.My main area of concern is Werth, I don't think he put his bat on a fastball last night and his walk was a gift from the man in blue. All that being said, wins are wins and 10-3 shows they have the confidence to win close games, that never hurts.

  31. The Great Unwashed - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    Ghost of Steve M. (clever!), maybe you're right about the call being given all night, but you must have super-human eyes. When I saw the pitch in real time as it happened, I thought it was a strike all the way. F.P. then went through the pitching sequence instead of just that last pitch, but right as that final pitch was shown they had to cut away for the next batter. Pitch track was on the screen for less than a second for that last pitch, but it's my recollection that it was fully in the lower part of the zone. It doesn't matter, though. My point is sometimes they'll get the calls and sometimes they won't.Fast Eddie, the casual fans will start showing up when the Nats start getting showcased on ESPN. Sad to say it, but it's true. And right now, they're flying under the radar. ESPN is drooling over the Rangers and hovering over the underperforming Angels and Phillies. The bottom line is the Nats are not playing exciting baseball right now if you look at it in terms of offense.

  32. sjm308 - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    fast eddie – while the ability to get a beer quickly and be back in my seat without missing a pitch is welcome, I also wish we would have a little more support. Last night was not a great night, drizzle and rain right up to the game. Tonight we have that sport where everyone wears a jersey going on so I am guessing attendance will be down again. I am hoping when school lets out and it warms up that we will see crowds over 20,000 as a norm.1a – can't find a whisk broom, will save that idea for next christmas but I think FeelWood saved me the loss of a good broom so thanks for that. I keep telling myself and others who ask that it is early but damn this has been fun. I used to just rationalize that I was watching major league baseball but watching winning major league baseball is even better. I do realize that these streaks play out both positively and negatively and I do remember our collapse in 05. That team simply ran out of pitching and we will definitely not have that issue.Go Nats!!

  33. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    Section 222 said… "For a 90 win season, the Nats just have to go 80-69 the rest of the way. If they simply play essentially .500 baseball — 75-74, they will win 85 games."There were a lot of similar statements in 2005.

  34. Constant Reader - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    I know I am not the only one on the board who has been here since Day One and grasps the remarkable statement below. Keeping the exuberance rational, but holy cow it has been a long time watching bad teams.Nationals (are) now a healthy seven games over .500 for the first time since Aug. 18, 2005.

  35. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Phil Wood made the analogy between the Nats of the past and the current Astros. The Astros are what the Nats were just last year! Its ironic given that they picked up both JMax and Bixler … perhaps Lannan is next? (Lannan did finally do the job with a 2 hitter (1 home run) …)Or you could compare to the reversed mirror image Syracuse Chiefs who are 3-10. Their bullpen imploded in the 11th. First Josh Wilkie and then Hassan Pena. This too used to happen to the Nats with the Vilone's, the Bruney's. etc. Clearly, Syracuse's weakness is the Nats strength: pitching. The Chief's pitching was far better last year with the plethora of top prospects including Meyers, Milone, Peacock, and Stammen.The hitting issue? Just look at the ISO's of the 3,4.5 hitters. Almost PATHETIC! And why Tyler Moore is in left field 1 out of 3. Another irony. The Nats appear to be playing Riggleman "small / smart ball" except without the constant, insane double switches and bunting.

  36. UnkyD - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    Pretty Freakin' Bueno….

  37. Bowdenball - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    I agree with sjm- I think last night and tonight will be the two least-attended games of the season. Mid-April weekday games are always bad draws, plus the opponent offers nothing and there was bad weather yesterday and a Caps game tonight. Let's see what happens this weekend, although weather and a Caps conflict will come into play again, and then when the club gets back from the West coast in the first week of May. Then I think we'll get a better feel for whether the improved play is generating more interest.

  38. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    sjm308 is right, once school is out, the stands will consistently be above 29k a game, like last summer. If I say Nats fans are fair weather fans at this point, I only mean they are not yet rabid enough to come out in inclement weather. That will change, though.This is the first year since 2005 that there is reason to be enthusiastic starting in the early part of the season, and not just for this year, this time, but for the next several years. One of the good signs emerging is that fans are starting to get enthusiastic by mid-game (rhythmic clapping, standing up and cheering in tight situations BEFORE 2 outs in the ninth inning). Things that elite ballclubs take for granted but that have not been happening until now.Just wait–I have every confidence that by late May, if the club remains remotely as good as it is now, you are going to be seeing crowds of 30k every game.

  39. Get some offense - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    Can we draft some of these guys?Kent State beats Bowling Green, 31-20.OK, maybe not.http://www.sidearmstats.com/bgsu/baseball/scoreboard.aspx

  40. Theophilus - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    Note also that the "healthy seven games over .500" in 2005 didn't turn out so healthy. Notwithstanding, I think people have underestimated the quality of the pitching on this team. It seems likely the starters will produce quality starts maybe 70 percent of the time, saving immeasurably on wear and tear of the bullpen — which is critical because I can't imagine Lidge and Rodriguez holding up for 15 saves apiece until Storen returns to form. I thought, coming into ST, 85 or 86 wins was the ceiling but now I think anything less than 90 will be a disappointment.

  41. Feel Wood - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    I am guessing attendance will be down again.But attendance has NOT been down. Attendance per game over the first seven games is UP 3,151 from last year. Granted, this is paid attendance, not butts in the seats. But my empirical observation, having been at three of the games so far, is that with the exception of last night's bad weather the percentage of ticket buyers who actually come to the games is much higher this year than it has been in past years. The announced crowd is not that much higher than the actual crowd, meaning that the energy in the ballpark for an announced crowd of 15-20,000 is night and day different from what it was in 2008, 2009, 2010 and even 2011.People (especially the press) need to quit comparing the attendance with what they think it SHOULD be, and instead pay attention to what it actually IS. But that wouldn't let them write their doom-and-gloom stories, now would it?

  42. Mark'd - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Theophilus, agree with you. First of all, before the season started it was noted that the Nats needed to jump on the friendlier April schedule and the Nats have done that.It has been a thing of beauty how the pitching has neutralized all comers except one blip in Chicago and Dets 2nd start.

  43. sjm308 - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Feel – totally agree with you on the energy of the crowd – lots more staying until the end and cheering each pitch, especially when our guys get two strikes on a batter. Of course winning will do that but we used to have people headed for the exits no matter who was winning. It is only going to get better if we keep this up

  44. A DC Wonk - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    To you yes, and to you, yes.I.e., it's time to bring out that old saw again:A team is never as good as it looks during a winning streak, and is never as bad as they seem during a losing streak.Although my own response to that is: OK, I'll concede: that Nats are not a .750 team, but they're still PFB . . . Another prediction: the next time the Nats lose, the neg-anons will come out of the woodwork to say: "see, I told you they can't win without hitting better." I'll probably skip that comment thread entirely when it happens.

  45. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Aahh, the insanity, hyperbole and utter misunderstanding of this sport started off quick on this post."Make or break" games in May? Please just stop paying attention until September if you're going to be acting like this.

  46. Erik - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    The lack of attendance at Nationals Park is rather depressing. The team has the best record in the NL and the lackluster support from Washington area fans really stinks. The Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs draw close to 10,000 fans a game and we can't even get that in a Major League park with a 1st place team. I am starting to think that they really dropped the ball with that stadium. I have been to 17 other current stadiums around baseball and all are nicer than Nationals Park with the exception of whatever they are calling Comiskey these days. I mean, nothing at Nats Park is specifically that bad, but the place just has ZERO atmosphere in and around the stadium. Hopefully this will change one day, but right now it is keeping casual fans away because the prices are too high for the demand and there is nowhere to pre-game/post-game besides an eyesore of shipping containers. There are probably about 10 teams that sell out most every game. 10 teams that get close to 30,000 a game and 10 that are well below that. The Nationals fall into the 3rd category along with all of the bad small market teams. We are a good team in a big market, so what am I missing? I know it takes time to build a fan base, but these last 3 games have been abysmal. The Orioles sold out every game for 11 straight years after Camden Yards was built…how can there be such a difference here in DC after a new stadium is built? I love baseball and go to about 40 games per year regardless, but attendance depends on the casual fan, and right now at least, they are not showing up.

  47. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    There are plenty of places to pre/post game if you aren't terrified of walking a few blocks. How about Barrack's row – plenty of bars and some that offer free shuttles to/from the game.

  48. sm13 - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    The hopeful sign on attendance was the reported 6,900. gate sale tix bought on Saturday. We need to wait a bit to see if we are, hopefully, building a sustainable fan base.

  49. Section 222 - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    Interesting Fangraphs piece about ALR's importance to the Nats' good play. Make sure to check out the comments in response to the author's assertion (based on fielding metrics I guess) that ALR is a "below-average" defender. There is no doubt that you can't bank on anything in baseball, least of all a team that gets a fast start going on to win a pennant. (Where did Manny Acta's team end up last year again?) But I think we can pretty confidently say that while this team might not have a bunch of long winning streaks as its luck in one run games turns, it almost certainly isn't going to have long losing streaks either. We have three "stoppers" and the other two slots in our rotation are filled with very good pitchers. Pretty hard to imagine a four game losing streak, isn't it?

  50. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Following up on FeelWood's comments, avg attendance per game is up by 3,151 fans over last year through this first home stand. This rise is far greater than the MLB average of +994 fans per game and ranks the Nats increase 11th overall.- BullMoose

  51. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    Eric, it does take a long time to build up a fan base in a town that had no team for a generation and a half, but it takes even longer when you botch the job, and that's what they're dealing with now. If they win, people will come–2005 proved that–but now they will have to win something besides a few games in April to compete with a generally much-improved nightlife scene in DC and Northern Va. Plus, the park really is pretty meh, design-wise. It'll take years to build character into that place.

  52. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    I haven't been to a lot of stadiums, and I really like Nationals Park.Target Field – very nice. Really good job there in a new stadium.Wrigley – despite the "atmosphere" dark and cramped. Camden Yards – absolute YUCK!!! (I've expressed the details several times).I would say for a "casual" fan who doesn't take the bus or Metro, the problem with Nats Park is the parking. It's spread all over the place, you can't tailgate and it's not well-marked what the pay lots are and what are for ticketholders. They used to have the Nats Express bus from RFK, so people could tailgate there and hop the bus to Nats Park. It was free, but even if they had charged I would have done it for the convenience. The only problem was on days when there was soccer game.

  53. Binx Bolling - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    I would have to agree with Erik. It is a severe disappointment that attendance has been so low for a fine team and warmer than normal weather. Inner-Washington may not be a particularly strong area regarding baseball fans. There's a lot of out-of-towners on Capitol Hill. Having the stadium so deep in the center of the city might not have been wise. You're pretty much writing off the outer suburbs and exurbs by having the stadium near Capitol Hill. Does anyone think that fans in Leesburg or Vienna or Annapolis or Springfield will readily attend night games during the week?

  54. JamesFan - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    A great start is certainly better than the alternative. I see it as a cushion against a hopefully brief downturn which is inevitable or two in the course of the season. This weekend's games with the Marlins are very important as an early indicator. Subsequently, let's get the Phillies while they are down

  55. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    Then there's the whole "things to do nearby" stuff that ain't happened yet. What is around seems to be geared to 20- and 30-somethings on dates (or looking for one), which is OK but not a draw for the rest of us, people with kids, people who cannot walk several blocks comfortably, or have to drive and park. It's just not inviting, as is, and the onus is not on the customer to suck it up and pay money to be uncomfortable.

  56. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    NatsLady,As a Redskins season ticket holder,I actually think the fact that tailgating is not a big part of Nats experience is a GOOD thing. No tailgating means leans less drunk obnoxious fans and, more importantly, forces fans to head to the stadium to hang out… which is great! It's why the Half Street Fairgrounds, Red Porch, and Scoreboard Walk are so fun before a game!

  57. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    You're right, they should have put the stadium in Leesburg.Seems like the Caps are doing fine in Inner-Washington.

  58. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    But this is only one homestand, and not even all of that one, yet. Yeah, games won in April count as much as games won in July, and so do tickets bought in April, but it's a seasonal game–no rational person expected this team, this year, to sell out all its games–and the big season here is when the weather improves.

  59. Section 222 - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Piling on with FeelWood and BullMoose, the Nats first seven home games last year were against the Braves (3), Phillies (3), and Brewers (1). I think we'd all agree that those teams are much better draws than the Reds and Astros. The three games against the Phillies at the stadium sometimes known as Citizens Bank Park South drew only 13,400 (!!), 16,800, and 24,900 fans.Yes, you read that correctly. All three games against the Astros this week, with the Caps and the weather and everything else dampening attendance, outdrew that first game against the Phillies. Complaints about attendance at this stage of the season about almost as ridiculous as complaining about Zim's hitting. Give it time.

  60. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    Does anyone think that fans in Leesburg or Vienna or Annapolis or Springfield will readily attend night games during the week? It's not "deep in the city" for one thing–it's right on the river, and attendance is a "known known." Those fans do, in fact, attend, and DC residents are a much more viable fanbase now than they were 10 or 20 years ago.

  61. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    222, excellent point.

  62. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    Let's not get too excited, yet. The Nats have faced 4 clubs that were losers last year and while the club is pitching very well it is not hitting well. Let's see how the Nats do against the Marlins, Phils and Braves. I am excited at the hot start and love to see them taking every series so far, but I think that the club needs to focus on how lucky they have been to win these tight games and start making adjustments in order to start scoring runs in bunches.

  63. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    Anon@1:03 yes and no. I wasn't thinking of football-like tailgaters.The tailgaters I observed at RFK were mostly families with children. Of course, there are a lot of picnic tables at the park, but they don't open until 1.5 hours before game time. Also, if you ever observed a DC United Soccer game, whole extended families come and make a party of it. So if you want to make a family day at the park, say, for one of those 4:05 Saturday games, or a weekday, there isn't much facility to do that.

  64. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    Why wouldn't fans in Vienna attend a weeknight game? Head over after work, you are done by 10:00, and metro home. Yes, it's a late night, but where is it they were going to put the stadium that would make it easier? Put it in Vienna so you have Beltway traffic, or better still 66-traffic?

  65. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    NatsLady,Fair points re: pre-game family friendly activities… although I've heard The Yards Park is great! Give a picnic in the Park a whirl if you haven't already…!- Anon@1:03PS: I'd also point out that a Nats game by itself is MUCH more family friend than drunken Skins games!

  66. The Great Unwashed - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    Erik,You seem to be forgetting that the Nats have been a bad team for a long time. They've only recently started to turn the corner, and 13 games in, the jury's still out. When it's June and they're playing good baseball you'll see an increase in attention and attendance, but right now you can't expect people to start coming to games in droves as if you just turned on a light switch. And casual fan means just that — they don't follow the team like we do.

  67. A DC Wonk - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Complaints about attendance at this stage of the season about almost as ridiculous as complaining about Zim's hitting. Give it time. Well put. As for "give it time" the Nats are _already_ doing better than last year. Feelwood already noted that: "Attendance per game over the first seven games is UP 3,151 [per game] from last year." And note that this is true despite the fact that that their home games haven't even included any in-division rivals! Despite the fact that we were playing the likes of the Astros, compared to, last year at this time, when we were playing the Phils and Braves.Sheesh.For those complaining about attendance, I'm going to ask the same question as I did two days ago: "compared to what?"And I'm also going to ask: are you the guys who ask "why is the glass 5% empty"?

  68. MicheleS - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Binx..Umm.. i am coming from Ashburn and the friends that i know that go to games are from Gainesville/Manassas/Centreville/Fairfax.

  69. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Morgan just got to first on a Dodger error.Cubs have gone ahead 3-2 after Samardzija gave up two in the 1st. I love MLB.tv, watching two games at once.I guess your strategy with kids is to go to all the activities (which are many) when the gates open and then settle in for a picnic when the picnic areas open.

  70. whatsanattau - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    Attendance is a bigger issue when the lack thereof results in a lack of spending. That's not currently a problem. Attendance is still important for all kinds of reasons, but attendance will go up as the weather warm, college students come home (May), public school students finish classes (June), and winning continues. When attendance starts to drag in other cities because they have fallen out of the race (July/August), the Nats will still be on an upward arc reaching an apex at the end of the Season (September/October) at which point you can divide total attendance (2M-2.5M plus) by games played (81) to deterimine if attendance for the year was good, really good, or record setting for DC. Until then, a four game set in mid april against a bad opponent in mediocre weather during a flat economy and the Stanley Cup Playoffs is just an expected low data point on a graph of higher points.

  71. A DC Wonk - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Does anyone think that fans in Leesburg or Vienna or Annapolis or Springfield will readily attend night games during the week? Yes.Because:(a) it's right near a Metro stop; and(b) a lot of those folks work in DCDude, consider this:1. I live in Fairfax, I work in DC. I went to the game on Monday night.2. My 17-yr old daughter was in Maryland in that afternoon — she Metro'd to the game — we met her at Navy Yards Metro3. In the past, we've done with some of our neighborhood kids — they drive 5 minutes to Vienna or Dunn Loring, and they Metro in.See — real simple. Better than fighting the awful traffic of, say, going _from_ DC to anywhere in Virginia, where you have to fight absolutely miserable rush-hour on either I-95 or I-66.

  72. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Yes, a long, long way to go. This up-coming West-coast swing should expose some issues. But you can already see the ability to rise above challenges, stare opponents down without blinking and deliver with their backs against a wall.You can also see very clearly no team in either league would want to face these guys in a best of 5- or 7-series. IF they get there, we may be watching history not seen since 1924. Still a long, long way to go. And every step worth watching.

  73. MicheleS - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    The Great Unwashed makes a valid point about the lack of coverage. Just think of all the times that we can't hear a Nats game on the Flagship. As we know, very few of the sports talk stations have people that actually know about baseball. For the most part they only care about the Skins and only if the Caps are in the playoffs. We could be 20 games over .500 in August, but the lead story around here will still be a 3rd string backup gets a hang nail at training camp.

  74. Erik - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    Well DC Wonk, if the glass were Nationals Stadium it would be more than 5% empty now wouldn't it? ;)…about half empty (or full as you would say).

  75. whatsanattau - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    I was out and about at lunch today and the XM crew talked non-stop about the Nats and the "controversy" of whether Rizzo should be setting limits of Strasburg's availability in October now. (Because, you know if the Nats fail to advance to the World Series when Strasburg does not pitch in the playoffs then it will be all Rizzo's fault). So cool. Rizzo built a team to get to the playoffs and now he will be at fault for not getting beyond the playoffs. When I fail, can I stop at the playoffs?BTW, Strasburg pitches on Saturday; Gio on Sunday. Get your tickets now!

  76. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    Will be going on Sunday, already exchanged my Wednesday ticket (sorry about that down tick yesterday's attendance as a result of my absence).

  77. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    if the glass were Nationals Stadium it would be more than 5% empty now wouldn't it?That depends on your definition of full, doesn't it. As whatsanattaU so trenchantly articulated, they don't need to fill the place in April to have a very good season indeed, and they *are* trending up.It's like retail–they make their money at Christmas, not in February.

  78. MicheleS - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    Here is a good story about Pudge

  79. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Not impressed with Giancarlo Stanton as a fielder today. He lobbed a ball in letting Starlin Castro get safely to third, and missed one just now (and then Emilio fumbled on the backup).

  80. natsfan1a - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    I went to a number of pregame tailgates in games in the RFK Nats years, and I don't recall seeing obnoxious drunks. Maybe I was running with the wrong crowd. :-)Anonymous said… NatsLady, As a Redskins season ticket holder,I actually think the fact that tailgating is not a big part of Nats experience is a GOOD thing. No tailgating means leans less drunk obnoxious fans and, more importantly, forces fans to head to the stadium to hang out… which is great! It's why the Half Street Fairgrounds, Red Porch, and Scoreboard Walk are so fun before a game! April 19, 2012 1:03 PM

  81. Section 222 - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    In the Department of Ex-Nats yesterday, in the Twins-Yankees game, Jason Marquis got the win and Matt Capps got the save. I was going to say, "what is this, 2010 all over again?" and then I remembered that Marquis didn't get any wins that year until long after Capps had departed (and Ramos had arrived!). Also, Nyjer Morgan scored the winning run in a walkoff Brewers win over the Dodgers. He scampered home from third on a short sacrifice fly to CF, ignoring the stop sign from the third base coach and beating the throw from uber-star Matt Kemp. The play at the plate was very close; he may very well have been out. But the legend of Nyjer continues.

  82. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    MicheleS, nice article, thanks! Hanley just dropped down one of the best bunts I have ever seen for a hit and then stole second. That is his 14th SB.

  83. Bowdenball - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    Rare to see a non-anonymous poster offer as many complete falsehoods as Erik's post. We can't draw 10,000? Ten teams sell out most every game? Neither of those things are even close to the truth. And why compare Nats Park now to Camden Yards when the Orioles were consistent contenders? How about telling us how the attendance looked last year?

  84. UnkyD - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    Natslady: way to hand it to Wendy, at fangraphs… WTH metrics could make a below average defender out of ALR, anyway…BRAAP!!! ;-)

  85. natsfan1a - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    Awesome pull on the Phillies attendance stats, sec222.On suburban fans, I think it's difficult to generalize there (as it is anywhere, but I digress). I work at home in southern Fairfax County. My husband commutes to the Dulles area, and he often doesn't get home until 7:30 or 8. We don't tend to attend weeknight games, but I'm aware of other NoVa fans who do. Re. The Yards Park, I haven't done a picnic there but have walked around after day games. It's very nice.Re. this weekend, my ticket is for Sunday. Yay, Gio! (But I'd be happy to see any of our guys pitch.)

  86. Tcostant - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    I was reading my Sports Weekly at lunch and took a look at the MLB Power Ranking and they had the Nationals at 7 (I think, somewhere in the Top 10). It noted they lead the league in ERA!Good times!

  87. natsfan1a - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    Haven't followed the link yet but atta way, NatsLady. (And have you been getting into the Kook-Aid again, Unk? :-))UnkyD said… Natslady: way to hand it to Wendy, at fangraphs… WTH metrics could make a below average defender out of ALR, anyway…BRAAP!!! ;-) April 19, 2012 1:52 PM

  88. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Thanks, Unkyd. I'm a terror when I'm bored! Samardzija just gave up his fifth run, including an RBI-hit by the pitcher Nolasco and only got out of the inning by an excellent catch in the outfield.Where was this Samardzija when we were in Chicago?

  89. A DC Wonk - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    Bowdenball, I'm confused. Do you mean this:2011: Orioles 1,755,461, Nats 1,940,478Or this?2012: Orioles 166,099; Nats 177,685Or back further, like this:2010: Orioles 1,733,019; Nats 1,828,066(Note to Binx: perhaps Orioles would draw better in Columbia, or Timonium — who wants to go downtown in a weeknight?)

  90. natsfan1a - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    Don't recall seeing this posted here, a Ken Rosenthal piece about MASN negotiations.

  91. Bowdenball - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    DC Wonk-I meant all of that, of course.The Orioles have had almost 60 years to build a fan base, have won multiple World Series, play in what's universally regarded as one of the best stadiums in the world of sports, and play almost 25% of their home games against the Yankees and Red Sox. Yet the Nats outdraw them. With all that in mind how can anyone possibly compare the Nats unfavorably to the Orioles when it comes to attendance?

  92. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  93. Erik - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    Bowdenball-You are a moron and prove that time and time again with your posts. There were NOT 10,000 people in the seats last night…maybe 8,000 counting all of the ushers. As for the 10 teams that sell out most every game:YankeesRed SoxCubsCardinalsGiantsPhilliesRangersTwinsBrewers AngelsPlease big-mouth Bowdenball…give me your response so you can show everybody how stupid you are. All of those teams sold 90% or more of their tickets and 4 of those sold 99%.

  94. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Nyjer just misplayed a ball and the catcher got a triple.

  95. Mark'd - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    Sec 222, Nyjer batting .118 and that's while only starting against RH pitching. Wazzup T Plush

  96. Theophilus - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Maybe you catch me in a bad mood today but there's not much I can say about Nats Park that's nice. The one thing positive is that the sight lines from the seats seem really good. But otherwise, the experience is pretty blecch. Cost aside, the food shouldn't be served in school cafeterias. The "premium" stuff wouldn't make Food Network's "Worst Cooks:" Shake-Shack burger was a $9.75 block of sodium. Nats pizza on Wednesday was fresh at Sabarro's on Monday; popcorn from recycled paper, and so on. From the mezzanine (200s level), have to go up, then down to get to the other side of the stadium; on the main level, the interior concourse is a reclaimed DC trolley tunnel. (This is one quality that clearly distinguishes Nats Park from Camden Yards, which is open and connected to the rest of the world.) Half of the ticket takers are friendly, the other half act like they're there doing community service.In short, if the team can't keep your interest past the fourth inning, there's very little reason to go. I'm thinking of asking my kids for an iPad so that I can drink an $8 beer and look at pictures of food.Last year was more enjoyable because they were competitive; am looking forward to this year because the odds, most night, favor a win. Until they start winning consistently, many fans will show up disguised as empty seats.

  97. A DC Wonk - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    All of those teams sold 90% or more of their ticketsLet's see…Miller Park, home of the Brewers. Capacity is 42,500; average attendance last year: 30,502.That works out to just under 72%. That's just the first one I checked.Look, Erik — it's one thing (annoying) to be wrong while trying to call out others in being wrong.But it's a real drag to start calling people stupid and other names. We don't like that on these here blog. If you're going to engage in infantile name-calling, take it somewhere else, please.

  98. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    Samardzija coming out, not sure if it's because he got hit by a comebacker (he stayed in) or because he's getting shelled. So he lasted 4.2 innings and left men on 1st and 3rd for the reliever (who got a flyout to end the inning).That's a cool thing they have in Milwaukee, a big glove kids can climb on.

  99. Erik - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    DC WonK and Bowdenball-The Orioles had 5 losing seasons in that 11 year stretch and averaged about 3.5 million fans in those 5 "contending" seasons of 74-88 that you speak of so highly.

  100. Feel Wood - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    What is around seems to be geared to 20- and 30-somethings on dates (or looking for one), which is OK but not a draw for the rest of us, people with kids, people who cannot walk several blocks comfortably, or have to drive and park. It's just not inviting, as is, and the onus is not on the customer to suck it up and pay money to be uncomfortable.Except for weekday day games (like Opening Day) when Lot HH ($5) is unavailable because it does double duty as a commuter lot, there is tons of parking – both team lots and commercial lots – within a 10 minute walk of the stadium. And the Metro station is a short block away from the main stadium gate. Ever been to Fenway Park? There is virtually no parking anywhere nearby, and it's a good 10-15 minute walk from the nearest T stop. Also, the neighborhood around Fenway is no more "inviting" than the neighborhood around Nationals Park. Yet Fenway is one stadium that actually does sell out virtually every night. So it must be something other than parking, transit access and "inviting" area that's responsible for that, wouldn't you say?

  101. Mark'd - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    Nick Johnson 0-17 with his 1st RBI on a groundout.

  102. A DC Wonk - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    Theophilus said… Maybe you catch me in a bad mood today but there's not much I can say about Nats Park that's nice. Maybe you can call me sheltered, but I stopped going to Baltimore when Angelos started blocking DC baseball in a big and overt way. (I still boycott them).So, for the last 8 years or so, the only MLB ballparks I've been to, to watch baseball have been RFK and Nats Park. (Before then, other than Baltimore were: Fenway (awesome of course), Shea Stadium (full of nice memories, but old and tired), and Veterans Stadium (couldn't get past the neon-green-artifical turf)So, here's another nice thing you can say about Nats Park — it's a whole lot better than RFK! (And Shea, and the Vet).

  103. Erik - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    Bowdenball-Try using this site…you might have heard of it…ESPN…http://espn.go.com/mlb/attendance/_/year/201137,918 in Milwaukee…not your made up numbers!!!You started this whole thing Bowdenball…I am just finishing it!!!

  104. A DC Wonk - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Erik said… DC WonK and Bowdenball-The Orioles had 5 losing seasons in that 11 year stretch and averagedWho's talking about an 11-year stretch? The Nats haven't even been around for 11 years, and they've _never_ had a winning record.So, that's completely incomparable.Perhaps the last few years (when oth teams had long records of futility) are comparable, but, as I showed above (Nats drew more) I can see why you want to stay away from that more comparable comparison.

  105. Bowdenball - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    Erik-If you want to count people actually in the seats at a Nats game, then you need to do the SAME for the minor league team to whom you are comparing them. Did you go to Lehigh and do a visual count? Or, as I suspect, are you using their average reported attendance figure and comparing it to something other than the Nats reported attendance figure? Are you familiar with the phrase "apples and oranges"?And while we're talking about apples and oranges, the full 2011 figures obviously include playoff runs. If you want to compare the Nats' attendance in this 10-3 start to other teams, use the 2012 figures, not figures that include the summer attendance boost and playoff races. Again, apples to apples comparisons. If you had done so, you'd see that there are only 6 teams that have drawn over 90.5% of capacity in 2012, and that one of them is the Tampa Bay Rays who played only three home games, all of them opening weekend, all of them against the Yankees. Of the other five teams, four have won a World Series in the last five years, and the fifth plays in a stadium that only holds 25,000.At first I was upset that you were trashing the Nats so angrily and unfairly. But now I'm just happy to be in their company. Despite what you think, we're both doing just fine.

  106. Bowdenball - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    Sorry, that should say over 90%. Only six teams have drawn over 90% of capacity this year- four recent series winners, a team who has played only one three-game home series against the Yankees, and a team reporting a stadium capacity of 25,000.

  107. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    There isn't anything nice I can say about Camden Yards. Dark and smelly, seats under an overhang (what sight lines????), staff (when you can find them) ignorant of location of seats or offices and unpardonably rude, food terrible (except the $25 crab cakes) and served by unsanitary vendors. Parking VERY far away and no shuttle or pedicabs, no assistance for handicapped, I could go on and on and on.

  108. A DC Wonk - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    people with kids, people who cannot walk several blocks comfortably, or have to drive and park. It's just not inviting, as is, and the onus is not on the customer to suck it up and pay money to be uncomfortable.I don't get that. I came last year with my 80+ year old in-laws. I dropped them off on North Capitol right in front of the Stadium (right near the elevator — where "O" St hits N. Capitol), then drove like 3 blocks went to Lot HH to park for $5 and walked back. If you don't want to drive, the Metro exit is about 100 yards from the entrance to the park!What more can you want vis-a-vis accessibility? A Metro exit _in_ the park? A bike cage? (ohh, wait, they already have that). Bus stops right there? (oh, wait, they already have that).

  109. Section 222 - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    There were NOT 10,000 people in the seats last night…maybe 8,000 counting all of the ushers.Wow, you counted the ushers too? Where were you sitting that allowed you to be so certain of your estimate? Or were you just watching on TV and looking at the Prez Club seats? And did you count actual attendees at all those parks where you claim that most games are sellouts?You are a moron and prove that time and time again with your posts. Pot calling the kettle black I'm afraid. Tone it down a bit please. Perhaps you don't realize it, but you're embarrassing yourself.

  110. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    And yes, you can walk around the concourse at Camden Yards–IF you want to walk on cracked cement, stumble over cables and look up at beams instead of serenely out at a river or the Capitol or the hills.

  111. Bowdenball - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    I don't know why you keep talking about 2011 while complaining about the Nats attendance in 2012, Erik. But your analysis has multiple errors even in that respect. For example you claim 10 teams sold 90% or more of their tickets. I count six. And the tenth best team in 2011 in terms of percent of stadium capacity is Detroit at 79%.

  112. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    I also agree with Erik and am not even sure what people are griping about regarding his comments.The team has the best record in the NL and the lackluster support from the Washington are really stinks. Notice he doesn't say the Nats fan base – yeah we are pumped – but he says the Washington area, so think about WJFK still resorting to talking about whether Jason Campbell should have been sent out of town or not after all these years, about whether they need a right tackle or a safety — day after day — or think about the scores and scores of people that would rather have their petty red/blue political snark fests than discuss what lefthanders we need in the bullpen. The people of this area might "go to a ballgame or two" this summer, but they do not regularly support this team.Why? Again, I agree with Erik. They really dropped the ball with the stadium – nothing at Nats Park is specifically that bad, but the place just has ZERO atmosphere in and around the stadium. And this is coming from someone who has been to 25 major league parks and an additional 120 minor league parks. So why not just stay at home with better beer and watch?

  113. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    The popcorn at Nats Park is pretty bad, I'll give you that. (I like the Shack burgers, but I don't eat much salt except at the Park, so I don't mind the sodium. It's like calories, I watch 'em like a hawk except on baseball days.) They are trying to improve the food, not sure they are succeeding. Also, they promised the vendors would be able to handle crowds over 30K and I don't think they have succeeded in that either. But if you have run into rude or indifferent staff, I'd like to know where. That has never been my experience. And I'm not sure what you mean, "keep my interest past the fourth inning" because if you are leave in the fourth inning you are missing the bulk of the Nats runs. :):)

  114. Section 222 - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    What more can you want vis-a-vis accessibility? A Metro exit _in_ the park? A bike cage? (ohh, wait, they already have that). Bus stops right there? (oh, wait, they already have that).How about a Capitol Bikeshare station within walking distance of the Park? (Wait, there are three of those.) Pedicabs to take you from the parking lots to the park? Check.I'm not the biggest fan of Nats Park. They could have made it much more visually appealing. (If you wonder what they could have done, take a roadtrip to PNC Park in Pittsburgh.) But accessibility is simply not a reasonable complaint. Lots of fans around the country would kill for a subway stop near their ballpark and as much parking as we have.I also don't get the complaints about the food and development around the park. Lots of plans were deep-sixed when the economy tanked. The Fairgounds are providing more food options. Levy Restaurants is trying with the expanded Taste of the Majors. You're allowed to bring in outside food. Things are picking up on the development side too. I hear that several watering holes will open along the waterfront over the next year. I don't think it's reasonable to expect that they not be aimed at 20-30 somethings though. That's where the money is.

  115. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    .. and as someone who has had to by standing room only tickets at a multiple Lehigh Valley games, yes, they have that many people in the stands. It really is a great place to watch a game!

  116. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    Yes. Radio is bad here. I was at the 106.7 The Fan stand, and they said, Oh, yes, we talk baseball from 10-12 every weekday morning. So I switched off Mr. Tony the other day and got a LONG LONG LONG dose of analysis and call-ins about the Deadskins 2012 schedule. Yeah, that's talkin' baseball all right.

  117. A DC Wonk - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    The team has the best record in the NL and the lackluster support from the Washington are really stinks.Context, people, context.The Nats have existed for 7-8 years. In that entire time, the Nats have had "the best record in the NL" about 7-8 days. If that.Stuff like this doesn't change overnight.If we still have the best record in baseball in June, July, the attendance will change. In a big way.

  118. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    222, I am longing to try PNC Park or a couple of the others that look great on TV (Denver, San Fran).

  119. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    Also, those 20-30 somethings will eventually have children and they'll know how to get to the Park…

  120. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    In the absence of high profile free agent signings, a significant bump in attendance always lags behind success, usually by a year or more.

  121. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    I've yet to see a post by Erik that was worth reading.

  122. Knoxville Nat - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    Erik,I thought the subject here was about comparing attendance in a new Nationals Park vs. the first few years of Camden Yards? Those 74-88 seasons the Orioles played in Memorial Stadium as Camden Yards did not open until 1992.

  123. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    The Attendance Discussion is getting old… and the numbers pretty clearly speak for themselves – The Nats are doing better this year, especially given our opponents, but we're not yet in the upper echelon of teams.The Ballpark Discussion is old too. It's not a gem like Fenway, Wrigley, PNC, or Camden Yards(sorry to all those Camden nay-sayers, it's a great ballpark that became THE standard for every new ballpark since), but bottom line is that Nats Park is a heck of a lot better than RFK, is in a good location (accessible by highway, metro, biking, walking, AND ferry!) and makes watching a game easy and fun, even if it isn't a home run. Let's move to another topic…. like tonight's game maybe?

  124. erocks33 - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    Complaining about not having anything to do around the stadium before/after the game can only be blamed on the economic downturn. By the time the stadium was to open in 2008, the plans were there to have restaurant/hotel/residential/retail all around the area. But the economy tanked and no one was willing to spend money (or lend money) to build anything anywhere. Now, slowly but surely, there has been movement on new building around the stadium. It just takes time.As for the attendance … 7 good games can never overtake 7 bad years of baseball. Ever. It will take time for the masses to come out night in and night out (regardless if it's April or August). Just because the Nats are in first place 2 weeks into the season doesn't mean that everyone will automatically stop everything they're doing just to go to the game. One thing I can say, though, is that I routinely go out proudly wearing my Nats gear (t-shirt, jersey, jacket, cap, whatever) and each day I have been approached by complete strangers willing to talk about how great the Nats are doing. That never happened before this year.Finally, as for the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Cardinals, Giants, etc having 90% ticket sales (or whatever you all were arguing about), do keep in mind that all of those cities have had DECADES of continual baseball in their cities. And most of those teams you listed have been to the playoffs and/or World Series within the past 7 years. And if you're old enough to remember, every single one of those clubs listed have had good, long stretches where they couldn't give away tickets to see them play at home. Winning will always bring out the fans. Even to the Bronx or Boston.Off my soap box now.

  125. Section 222 - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    @NatsLady — PNC Park is a beauty. I can't compare it to AT&T Park, or Petco, which I understand is lovely too, but it's stunning both by day and by night. And you can get a seat behind homeplate for $30 and park just across the Roberto Clemente Bridge for $5. Amazing.Unfortunately, for the first time in several years the Nats series there will be during the week, so I won't be going. Hopefully they'll have a weekend series next year. One other thought on attendance — To go from 1.94 million (which is what we had last year) to 3 million fans a year is just a boost of 13,000 a game. I can easily see the 20,000 games becoming 33,000 if we keep winning. But the most reliable long term and probably the easiest way to boost annual attendance it seems to me is to go from 12,000 STHs to 25,000. That's why the failure to capitalize on the new stadium by spending to get some good players was such a mistake. Attendance went from 2.3 million in 2008 the first year to 1.8 million for the next two years and 1.9 million last year. If we had just kept pace with 2008, the increase for the last few years, the necessary increase would be a lot less daunting. Of course, being lousy in 2008 and 2009 got us Strasburg and Harper, so there's that.

  126. A DC Wonk - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    Anonymous said… In the absence of high profile free agent signings, a significant bump in attendance always lags behind success, usually by a year or more.Yep. And, in our area with the media completely obsessed with the Deadskins — the media isn't helping matters much, and it might be an even slower increase.I'll not soon forget, it was right around the time the Nats contended for 1st in 2005. Mid-summer. I jokingly told me wife, "Finally, the Nats will be 'above the fold' on the sports section of the Wash Post." I got the paper that day, and, there, in the top headline was: 'Redskins summer camp starts today.'Ughhh.

  127. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    Anon@3:15Good call! New topic…how about this:We are 10-3 and the best three pitched games of the year came from guys not named Stephen Strasburg. (Ejax complete game, followed by Gio's last two starts).-BullMoose

  128. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    the Metro exit is about 100 yards from the entrance to the park!200 yards, actually, but fair enough. More elevators/escalators would be nice, but the accessibility isn't so bad, and better than a lot of places. I don't think it's fair to compare a new park in a redeveloped area to one a century old in a neighborhood, like Fenway or Wrigley, so I won't. I should have been clearer about the parking thing–I meant if you want to go to places with shopping, food, or bars, they aren't in easy walking distance, and so to drive there and then go to a game is harder, all of which would be solved by the development they did intend for the area, but which has not happened yet, for economic reasons mainly, as you said. I would like a place to park motorcycles and scooters close by, but I'm spoiled that way. For the record, I explicitly wasn't complaining about stuff for young urban professionals, only that it wasn't a draw for others, and the stuff that would be isn't in place yet. Yes, they are a big part of the fan base. But golly, for a team that's drawing (and they are), and winning (sustainably, I may add), people sure are getting testy.

  129. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    OK, in the time it took me to read intervening posts and type that, we changed the subject. And rightly so. On to tonight's game. And GYFNG.

  130. Feel Wood - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    For the record, I explicitly wasn't complaining about stuff for young urban professionalsGood, because to cater to young urban professionals we'd need a retro 1990s ballpark. Do yuppies even exist any more? I thought they were all metrosexuals now. Do metrosexuals dig the long ball?

  131. UnkyD - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    Lol, IA… BRAAP!!! Is my personal raspberry to "advanced metrics", when they fly in the face of what seems obvious to the observer (or when they are cited at sufficient length to glaze my eyes over). I mean no disrespect to the stats, themselves, it's just that one gets the impression, sometimes, that some folks would be disappointed in a WS Championship, if the stars didn't line up, sabremetrically….————– (And have you been getting into the Kook-Aid again, Unk? :-))

  132. Scott from Burke - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    you get out of the metro and right across the street is..what exactly? a strange vacantish lot with sotorage containers, some beer taps, a stage, and a few food trucks..i like the food trucks, but bump it up to 15, not 3 or 4…that lot, if you enter and turn lot, is a few feet from the entrance..that's prime real estate, right? right? yeah, it's a recession, but 81 dates a year plus the occasional concert and religious revival, couldn't someone take a shot there? a big sports bar, cheesecake factory, an enormous Popeyes (love that chicken)…a food court with lots of vendors..it's so ghet-toe right now…and so many friendly scalpers to greet you

  133. Section 222 - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    I'm good with changing subjects. Check out this video of Prince Fielder stealing a base last night. And he did a head first slide. Ouch.Now no one can say I never make a worthwhile post!

  134. Scott from Burke - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    turn left..proofreading..damn

  135. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    I think it'd be an 80s park, even. Well, they're young (the ones under 40), they are urban (if they live in DC), and most of them are professionals. That is why I spelled it out, though–what *do* they call them, now?I don't think it's desperados anymore.

  136. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    Desperado, why don't you come to your senses? You been out ridin' fences for so long now Oh, you're a hard one I know that you got your reasons These things that are pleasin' you Can hurt you somehow Don't you draw the queen of diamonds, boy She'll beat you if she's able You know the queen of hearts is always your best bet Now it seems to me, some fine things Have been laid upon your table But you only want the ones that you can't get

  137. Binx Bolling - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    For those who disagree with me, let the arrows fly. The debate is interesting. And a few points back:1) Anyone can anecdotally say they know people who go to weekday night games in April or go themselves. My point is that with the team surging, even with Steven Strasburg pitching, the Nats can't get much more than 15,000 to attend a game on an April weekday evening. The Nats LOST money the last time Strasburg pitched.2) With metro DCs terrible traffic and 1+ one-way commutes to work, tens of thousands of potential fans don't have the energy to go to night games. For instance my situation. I'm 50, I love the Nats, but I have a 1 1/2 hour one-way commute. There is no way I'm going to a night game on a weekday.3) A final stat. The Seattle soccer- yes, Soccer- team drew 38,000 albeit on a Saturday night. The same night DC United drew 10,000. Last night the Nats drew 14,000 and the albeit pathetic Wizards 14,000. So we tied Seattle 38-38.

  138. Scott from Burke - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    attendance is not good..if they're there (how's that for writing?)in September/October they should do well..every team can say that (do teams talk?) but so what? you have to do it..now it's a Sunday playoff game and the 2-0 Skins are home vs. Dallas..both night games..robert griffin is off to a red hot start..do the Nats sell out?

  139. UnkyD - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    Amazing. 10-3, with the best pitching anybody's ever seen…and some folks can't help but get blue in the face, running down the ballpark experience….How miserable are you clowns….

  140. Scott from Burke - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    Yeah..you want to come to a game with your family and not see 15 scalpers as soon as you step off the metro..take em for aplace to get a snack so you dont have to pay ballpark prices….YOU HAVE SOME NERVE!!! now get a ticket, go inside, shut up and enjoy the game

  141. Scott from Burke - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    check your facebook page Unky

  142. natsfan1a - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    NatsLady, haven't been to Denver but have visited and loved PNC Park and AT&T Park (for different reasons).NatsLady said… 222, I am longing to try PNC Park or a couple of the others that look great on TV (Denver, San Fran). April 19, 2012 2:52 PM

  143. natsfan1a - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Yes, I remember when that usage, er, popped up back in the day, Unk. I was just funnin' you. :-)UnkyD said… Lol, IA… BRAAP!!! Is my personal raspberry to "advanced metrics", when they fly in the face of what seems obvious to the observer (or when they are cited at sufficient length to glaze my eyes over). I mean no disrespect to the stats, themselves, it's just that one gets the impression, sometimes, that some folks would be disappointed in a WS Championship, if the stars didn't line up, sabremetrically….

  144. natsfan1a - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    Don't know what the young 'uns are called now, sec3, but I always liked this desperado.

  145. Scott from Burke - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    Dodger Stadium…Fenway…RFK…Candlestick…Seattle (when they had the dome)…Shea..Yankee…Phill Vet…Rangers new and Astros old…Kansas City..Nats…Camden…PNC…Oakland…to me the best, my favorite memories, are memorial stadium in B-more..that place was cool

  146. natsfan1a - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    I like Wrigley, too, even if it is cramped.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 55 44 --
ATLANTA 55 47 1.5
MIAMI 48 52 8.0
NEW YORK 48 54 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 44 58 12.5
Through Thursday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
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