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On last night’s attendance

Sep 5, 2012, 2:21 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Few were in the stands as Edwin Jackson pitched last night.

It was impossible not to notice as the best-in-baseball Nationals took the field at 7:05 p.m. last night to face the Cubs. As the ballpark PA announcer implored the crowd to greet "your Washington Nationals," the ensuing roar might not have been loud enough to wake a sleeping infant.

Huge swaths of the lower deck were empty. You could count the number of fans in many upper deck sections on two hands. A few were completely vacant.

Official paid attendance: 17,648, the fourth-smallest crowd of the season on South Capitol Street and the smallest since May 2.

Where'd everybody go?

Theories immediately were proposed. It had been the first day of school in Northern Virginia, where the majority of Nationals fans live. The muggy weather was a turn-off. Tons of locals had been out of townRead more »

109 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. adam - Sep 5, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Sure made getting home on the the Metro a lot nicer than usual last night.

  2. Clip&Store - Sep 5, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    good points and its relieving to know it wasn't just us. i was extremely disappointed at the time about the crowd, but all things considered, i guess it does make sense to have been a lightly attended night for baseball in general.still would've thought we could've broken at least 20K though..

  3. bowdenball - Sep 5, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    Great perspective, Mark.I'm worried that this "problem" is going to get worse Friday and Sunday during the Red Line shutdown and RGIII's debut. Thankfully there's a bobblehead game on Saturday to balance it out and hopefully give the Nats a decent average for the weekend.

  4. Natslifer - Sep 5, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    First class analysis Mark.

  5. freshee - Sep 5, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    Are Nats season tickets priced similarly relative to box office price as other organizations? I've never been a season ticket holder, but when I looked into the possibility I was annoyed to find season tickets are priced within a dollar of what I can pay at the box office the day before a game. I posed myself the question, "Why would I buy tickets in advance when I can get them for the same price the day before a game and get to pick and choose my own schedule of games I attend?"Of course, being a season ticket holder has other perks (pride, events, post season priority). But still, Nats Insiders season ticket holders: how do I convince myself it's worth it?

  6. NatsNut - Sep 5, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Unless you were on the red line. adam said… Sure made getting home on the the Metro a lot nicer than usual last night.

  7. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 5, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Didn't we have this exact discussion about the season ticket base needed to return to 2005 levels?

  8. JamesFan - Sep 5, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    This attendance obsession has become as boring as the Strasburgh debate. Why is the Washington media so defensive over this? This game was against the CUBs, a dismal team on a threatening night after Labor Day. Plenty of stadiums in pennant races have low turnouts on the Tuesday night after Labor Day. Attendance is an individual decision. You can't shame people into supporting a team or generate tickets by whining. I do not see a problem, but if there is one, let the Lerners figure it out.I just think we have better issues to debate.

  9. natsfan1a - Sep 5, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Thanks, Mark.

  10. bowdenball - Sep 5, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    freshee-The price difference is more stark as the seats get better. There's no reason to get season tickets if you're happy sitting in the $10-$20 seats. However, they don't even really sell single game seats in the lower level sections between first and third, or the upper level sections directly behind the plate. Those are basically filled with season ticket holders. Sometimes you can get them on stubhub for close to season ticket price, but sometimes you can't.So long story short, whether season tickets make sense for you depends on where you like to sit.Of course the area of the stadium where you can't get single game seats from the club is going to be a lot bigger next year, so there's also that. Plus the Nats are really going out of their way to get season ticket holders playoff ticket priority.

  11. joemktg - Sep 5, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    "It had been the first day of school in Northern Virginia, where the majority of Nationals fans live."Ding, ding, ding: winner winner, chicken dinner.Not season's tickets holders, but we go to games. HOWEVER, first day of school for two high schoolers and one in elementary school? Not going to happen. School nights are a no-go.

  12. BigCat - Sep 5, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Yes Joe……exactly. Same thing with the P-Nats. They don't draw anything until school lets out in June.

  13. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2012/09/05/christian-garcia-makes-debut-after-long-road-to-majors/A guy you want to root for. NatsJack as always was spot on. I do agree that he could be one of the "extras" to make the post-season roster.

  14. Section 222 - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Freshee – My take on your questions is that from a purely economic perspective, right now it makes little sense to be an STH. Sure, the per ticket price is cheaper than the gate price (by $4 in the Infield Gallery, by $15 for seats behind the dugout.) But between 2 for 1 nights and $2 Tuesdays, Groupon and Harris Teeter promotions, StubHub fire sales etc., you can almost certainly save money by buying on a game by game basis if you're willing to put the effort in to find the best deals. The STH discounts might add up to an advantage if you plan to see over 30 games a year, but I still think with careful planning you can probably save money by buying game by game.But here's some things you get as a STH that are not always available to the per game purchaser:1. Generally a better seat than you'd get at the gate. StubHub sales are often STH tickets, so you can do pretty well there, but you won't always have great seats to choose from, at least not at bargain prices.2. Guaranteed good seats for popular games — bobblehead nights, postgame cohcerts, things like Strasburg's debut, Opening Day, the Yanks or BoSox, weekends in June and July.3. Single ticket presales of big events — Opening Day, Yanks or BoSox, other events in the park like the Springsteen concert. This can be a great asset if you're part of a STH group that has more members than tickets.4. Playoff ticket priority — this is pretty huge I think. Those games are going to be sold out and are already expensive for STHs. It's not going to be easy to find a single ticket at any kind of reasonable price.And of course, as the STH base grows, as it undoubtedly will over the next few years, and as ticket prices rise, as they undoubtedly will starting next year, it's going to be more and more expensive to buy game by game. But in the end, being an STH is an investment in the team and the game we love. It might not make pure economic sense, yet, but the day is coming when the place is packed night after night and you'll be glad you're there.

  15. alm - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    I was a full season ticker holder in 05 and 06. Went to 70+ games both seasons. O5 was magic but a disappointment post July 4. In 06 I couldn't give the tickets away. Dropped them in 07 because my son started college full time.I go to 10-15 games each year since o6 including opening day, last day, all bobble days and most of Stras's starts, including Miss Iowa game.I've been to 10 games this season and have bought 4 more, including this Friday – Black Strasmas, Saturday – have to get the 3rd Zimm bobble and Sunday — Go Giants tonight.I am considering buying season tickets again to get the post season tics.Go Nats!

  16. Section 222 - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    Rereading your post freshee, I wanted to add one other benefit of being and STH. You mentioned being able to pick and choose the games you attend. You can pretty much do that as a 20 or 40 game package STH since the Nats are very liberal about exchanging future tickets for other future games. Your ticket rep is your best friend and he or she will work with you to make sure you can go to the games you want to see.

  17. Joe Seamhead - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    freshee, we are partial plan season ticket holders and sometimes I ask myself why. For me, I like being in the same seats, but I have found that I can get deals for comparable seats for much less on Stub Hub. I also renewed for next year because of the post season priority consideration, and quite frankly, the Infield Gallery seats under the press box where we are are pretty much sold out most of the time. We're not well-to-do, but my wife and I love baseball and are foregoing a real vacation for the second year in a row because we would rather do the games. We usually end up going to about 30 games a year. [I am trying to get it together to go to Cooperstown after this season, but it will be a road trip].

  18. Feel Wood - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    Are Nats season tickets priced similarly relative to box office price as other organizations? I've never been a season ticket holder, but when I looked into the possibility I was annoyed to find season tickets are priced within a dollar of what I can pay at the box office the day before a game. I posed myself the question, "Why would I buy tickets in advance when I can get them for the same price the day before a game and get to pick and choose my own schedule of games I attend?"True, the ST price and day-of-game price are only a dollar or two apart for "value games" – but there are only a handful of those games each season, against dreg teams like the Astros. For "regular games" (the majority of games) the difference is three or four bucks, and for "prime games" (weekend games against Phil, Mets, Atl, etc) the difference gets bigger. For "marquee games" (Yankees, Red Sox, etc) it gets bigger still. And with the market-based pricing that's in effect, if a series is hot they will jack up the prices even more. And the availability for last-minute purchases goes down accordingly.But as a STH (even a 21-game plan) you can go to the box office at any time during the season and buy tickets for that day's or a future game at the STH price, no matter what the box office price might be. And there is also opportunity to exchange future and unused game tickets from your plan for other games – subject to availability, of course, which might become an issue as attendance increases. But nevertheless, if you are someone who goes to 20 or more games a year you are spending way too much money if you aren't in a season ticket plan.

  19. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    Season tickets will get bought up when the entrepeneurial types believe they can buy the 81 games and take the games they want and make a few bucks selling the rest on eBay or StubHub.That same system has worked in Capaloozaland and used to work that way and in Charm City as you could sell your NYY & Bos tix for huge profits and supplement the other games but that has changed as it only works where demand exceeds supply.The tix in Nats Park that almost always sell are those dugout $60 seats and as mentioned, those are sold-out.http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/ticketing/2012season.jsp

  20. BigCat - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    Yes NatsJack, you had Garcia pegged early on. I see Karns and Skole are Minor League Pitcher and Hitter of year for Nats organization.I noticed Rob Wort back in 2010 as a guy with a very live arm. Skinny as a rail, but very lively FB. Had ok year last year at Pot but opened some eyes this year I'm sure with 12 saves and a 2.38 era with 95 k's in 50 innings!

  21. mick - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Nats have drawn 1.9 million as of now which is 14 of 28 clubs, the O's ha ha 1.6 million which is 23 out of 28 clubs. You have to love that! Also, we have more home games left, meaning we have played fewer than the O's.I think Nats organization should be happy with this, I believe within 5 seasons Nats will be in top five in attendance, consistently.

  22. Joe Seamhead - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Another thing for us: By buying the package for the season, we have pretty much committed to going to all of those games, that is, if we didn't have the tickets it can be harder to make the decision to go so often.

  23. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    freshee: What Bowdenball said about guaranteed seat location, but with a couple of additional points:– Become part of a season ticket group. For me, when I still lived in DC, it was an eight-person group, sharing two tickets. That meant I got 10 games that I knew about well in advance (we had a ticket 'draft' before the season) in excellent seats. With the second ticket, I mostly took my daughter, sometimes my wife or a friend/colleague. And when last-minute schedule conflicts arose, we could almost always find someone within the group to swap tickets with. And we shared the perks (back then it certainly wasn't playoff tickets) equally within the group — although we did give a slight preference to the member who was the lead organizer and who took care of all the logistics.– By sitting in the same seats, you get to know the fans around you (although some were in the same kind of deal, so it wasn't guaranteed the folks on your left or right would always be the same) and sections do indeed develop a bit of camaraderie (note how some of the posters on this site closely identify with their sections).– Once you've got those 'reserved' games on your calendar with the season tickets, you can then add extra games as you like (and as you describe); interestingly, though, whenever I attended those extra games, I always felt a bit out of place and wished I were in 'my' seats.

  24. mick - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    BigCat said…Yes NatsJack, you had Garcia pegged early on. KUDOS to Nat Jack… he first mentioned Garcia back in June if I recall and I remember thinking, who is Garcia and why is Nats Jack so high on him… I know why now!

  25. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    mick… I actually told people about him late last September when I saw him in Fall Instructional League.

  26. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    http://player.radio.com/player/RadioPlayer.php?version=1.2.14023&station=114Rizzo coming on for his Wednesday show. The call-ins are always interesting!

  27. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… mick… I actually told people about him late last September when I saw him in Fall Instructional League. I honestly thought at the time, ok, NatsJack has lost his mind as I was having heartburn over HenRod and was imagining the same type of guy, but I thought, NatsJack knows talent. I am so sick of Velo guys who can't throw strikes. NatsJack assured me this kid could throw strikes and heat.So far so good and Garcia's story is one that can warm your heart, 2 elbow surgeries and perserverance and heart. “You go out there and just have fun,” Garcia said. “At the end of the day, it’s still a kid’s game. Some people put a lot of pressure on themselves, and I’m not one of those guys.”

  28. blovy8 - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    There's also the extra merchandise item pickup a season-ticket holder can do this week. Yeah, it's not much, but as a partial-plan guy who often can't get to the games an hour ahead, at least I get a few freebies. That last hat giveaway, I got there at 6:05 and they'd stopped, so I believe there are people showing up to some of these games. Maybe the dollar hotdogs will get more walkups tonight. Maybe not.

  29. MicheleS - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    on the STH front. I am sure Red Carpet Rewards will be different next year, but I have used mine for free games (with Excellent seats) for about 7 extra games this year. Plus i get freebies from work.

  30. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Danny opens up on the Zimmerman "yips" on some throws. Rizzo blows right past it.

  31. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Rizzo calls the Strasburg shutdown "Proprietary information" that he won't share.

  32. 4571c960-cc1f-11e1-909b-000bcdcb471e - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    I'm pretty sure that the day after Labor Day is the worst day of attendance in all of MLB every year. I wasn't that surprised at the smaller than usual crowd — and there were virtually no school age children there at all. I think Baltimore drawing 10,000 to two August games vs. the first place White Sox in the middle of a pennant race is an alarming attendance stat. I haven't seen anyone questioning that though.

  33. freshee - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    Thanks for all the answers, everyone (bowdenball, Section 222, Joe Seamhead, Feel Wood, Eugene)! All good points.I think my hang up is that I still consider spending $45 for a nats game to be once every 5 or 6 games splurge. But it's a good point that the better seats are where the savings are. I was looking at LF/RF corner and thinking, what the heck? (Though, those are the sections where you get the buy 2 get 2 deal). But, it looks like you can get section 132 tickets for $45 a pop when they would be $55-60 from the box office and probably $45+ on StubHub.Also, I'm an upper 20's dude who just wants to see some baseball every year! But I'm still young and who knows if I'll still be in DC next year or the year after. It's been said before, but the transient nature of most DC residents has gotta kill ST sales (though holders are mostly MD and VA, right?).Anyway, one way or another I'll be seeing my Nats play in person. And that makes me happy.

  34. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    4571c960-cc1f-11e1-909b-000bcdcb471e said… I think Baltimore drawing 10,000 to two August games vs. the first place White Sox in the middle of a pennant race is an alarming attendance stat. I haven't seen anyone questioning that though.Ghost Of Steve M. said… Last week in their 4 game series against the White Sox they didn't go over 10,995 in attendance. The Yankees and Red Sox save his butt plus the inter-league.I hope the Orioles don't sniff the playoffs this year. That would be great! September 05, 2012 10:36 AM Read more carefully. I bash Angelos every chance I get. Its the Washington media that will talk about the Orioles atop the AL East but yet won't mention their pathetic fanbase.

  35. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    169 to 170 innings limit out of the mouth of Rizzo. I hope I can find where I wrote 169 2/3 innings a while ago.

  36. natsfan1a - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    My impression was that the (numbers-letters) commenter meant "anyone in the media," but I could be wrong.

  37. natsfan1a - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    postus interruptus disclaimer: mine was in re. Balto attendance stat questioning. I'm always happy to bash Angelo$, too, but I'm not in the media. :-)

  38. MicheleS - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    Freshee.. just note on the right field corner, that's the SUN corner. you bake out there in those games until 8 pm when the sun goes down. I am moving over the the 3B/LF.And SVP on ESPN was bashing the O's fans last week about the piss poor attendance. They will draw well this weekend for the Yanks, but they are doing MAJOR price deals for the Rays series. They are rolling back prices for certain seats to 1992 prices. I wonder how they will do with those games.

  39. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 5, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    Rizzo says JZim is just a speed bump. No arm issues.

  40. JB Ramsey - Sep 5, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    September weekdays are GREAT times to go to Nats games! We bought five Dugout Box seats yesterday for $6.00 each! At 5:00 PM yesterday, StubHub still had 3,000 seats available and some seats were being offered for one penny (plus the service charge). Tonight's game promises similar fire sales.I had a 20 Game Plan for four years, but the transition to Nats Park in terms of seat quality and price made it an easy choice to buy individual tickets. And I don't mind seeing bad teams or going on weekdays, so it works fine for me.We don't need to be embarrassed by our crowds. We are a typical baseball town — great crowds on weekends and when a good opponent is in town. As Mark said, only a few cities have built up a fan base that will fill up their parks even on school nights.

  41. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 5, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    natsfan1a said… postus interruptus disclaimer: mine was in re. Balto attendance stat questioning. I'm always happy to bash Angelo$, too, but I'm not in the media. :-)Love it! Not a fan of Angelos and my feelings towards him are to the point of complete disgust and its probably why I don't like Snyder and Leonsis as I think they all have ulterior motives. Sure, they all want to win and say it often but its about maximizing profits first and stroking their giant sized egos in the process. Leonsis probably has the biggest ego of all the owners in the B/W area. Lerner (thru Kasten) always said that the crowds would come when winning would come. I think they knew it would be a slow/painful climb and they deserve to start making money and seeing their investment in their purchase appreciate in value after years of decline. Once the MASN situation is fixed, this could be a top franchise in earnings but what I like is that it has never been about Lerner ego.

  42. JD - Sep 5, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    Ghost, Every one of our starters has hit a speed bump or 2 along the way; it's not unusual and it shouldn't be alarming. Even with the speed bumps our starters are scary good; imagine how great they will be once they learn to navigate the rough spots a bit better.

  43. yazzy1956 - Sep 5, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    I'm in a season's ticket group with 8 people and have been since season one in 2005 (we have 4 club level seats). I could never afford the great seats we have on my own. Granted, I don't always get the games I want when we draft every year. But in addition to my 10 games, I get 5-10 more through Red Carpet Rewards (RCR)depending on where I choose to sit. So I'm really getting 2 for the price of 1. And between the RCR tickets, the ability to cash in the games I miss and the discount we get when we purchase single game tickets its a very good deal. When we ordered our playoff tickets we were able to buy an additional two adjacent to the ones we already have. So my advice is to try and put together a group. The Nats ticket office people are great and will even match you up with others looking to do the same and literally help you pick your seats. As for the price, I also have Caps tickets and unlike Leonsis who jacks up the price every year, the price of our club level tickets haven't gone up hardly at all since we moved to Nats Park in 2008.

  44. Coach Steve Roggie - Sep 5, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    I think it's about local culture. September in Washington DC is about NFL football. It has an 80 year head start, three SB championships, and an entrenched fan base that spans generations. It also has a new QB that has taken over the local airwaves.Seven years of (mostly) bad baseball followed by one year of very good baseball is not going to change that. Making the postseason this year will help. Winning in the postseason would help even more. Consistent winning over a number of years is what it will take to change the culture.It's unfortunate that postseason baseball coincides with regular season football. The Caps got a nice bump because they play when the Redskins don't. The Nats aren't so lucky.But that's the challenge. The Nats' top rival isn't the Phillies or the Braves. It's the Redskins. Hopefully, the Nats and Skins will hate each other some day, just like the Phils and Eagles do now. It's at that point that the Nats will have arrived.And we'll be able to hear Nats discussions locally even when they are not sponsored by Toyota or some such.

  45. Dave - Sep 5, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    I've been a STH since 2006, and now I'm "1.5 STH"; i.e., I manage a full-season group in the Infield Gallery and a half-season group in section 220.My Infield Gallery section, 313, has already become a rather hot ticket. It's often very hard to find two seats together. Section 220 isn't so hot yet, but it's a good view, and we're ensconced in our seats.Meaning that next year, when everybody all of a sudden has discovered where Nats Park is, I will not stress about whether I'll be able to get in, nor where I'll sit to see the games.This winning season is, in my opinion, my reward for being a steadfast fan for years. And yes, I find that it is very much worth it, money-wise, to be a STH in both sections. I couldn't do it without partners, but sharing the tickets with others makes it possible for me to see over 30 games a season and about six (possible) post-season games without taking out a second mortgage.

  46. Dave - Sep 5, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    What yazzy1956 said. Except I'm not a Caps STH.I just re-upped with the Nats for a 3-year commitment. This means my ticket prices cannot go up until after 2015, and they have not gone up since 2008. That's a pretty long stretch to be paying $20 a pop for a seat right in front of the press box.

  47. 4571c960-cc1f-11e1-909b-000bcdcb471e - Sep 5, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Ghost — I did in fact mean that no one in the media was questioning Baltimore's attendance. (Not including the commenters here, who are pretty savvy Nats supporters). I think Baltimore drawing 10,000 for August pennant race games is a huge story, but all I've heard in the media this morning is how wonderful it is that the Orioles and the Nats are in first place. It never ceases to amaze me that many Washingtonians continue to hold a soft spot in their hearts for the Orioles. Go to Oriole Park wearing Nats gear and see how friendly the staff and the Orioles fans act towards you.

  48. Section 222 - Sep 5, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    On Red Carpet Rewards for next season, my ticket rep said it will definitely exist, but probably will require more points for tickets — ie., STHs will get fewer free tickets than this year. That's ok with me. One free ticket for every two you have in your package has been incredibly generous for the last 3 years.He also said that they have put alot of effort into perfecting the RCR system and intend to offer the benefit for years to come.

  49. bobfromalexandria - Sep 5, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    If you are wondering, as I did, where the story was in the morning Post, here's the answer:http://jimromenesko.com/2012/09/05/washington-post-has-serious-technical-problems/I read it online.

  50. sm13 - Sep 5, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    I've had a 1/2 season plan since 05 and enjoy every minute of it. We're in sec. 310 and love the view and the value. Red Carpet rewards has been an added bonus in the last couple of years. And i am now thrilled to be able to use my sth status for extra playoff tix.

  51. Section 222 - Sep 5, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    I'm with the previous commenter (can't find his name now, sorry about that) who said that worrying about attendance was getting boring. Let's concentrate on things we can actually control, like who's going to be on the playoff roster… ha!On that topic, anyone else think that we'll be seeing some quiet auditions over the next month? Can't help but think that Gorzo didn't help himself last night, and Garcia sure seems like he's in the mix. Davey has some choices to make on bench bats as well. Tracy, Bernadina and Lombo seem like locks, and Moore has to have the upper hand over DeRo. Am I missing anyone with a serious shot at playing after October 3?

  52. mick - Sep 5, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Ghost… $1.9 million so far and 14 out of 28 is pretty darn good. I think the Lerners have to be happy with that so far

  53. The Retired Journalist - Sep 5, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Regarding that "Marlins (23,403)" attendance. I live near Viera, Fla. and have attended five games at Marlins Park this year; my observation is that a lot of those people in the official attendance come dressed as empty seats. Or there are a lot of people/businesses who bought season tickets they aren't using.

  54. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 5, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    So I was at Giant yesterday, shopping. Wasn't too crowded. Are the grocery buyers supposed to be ashamed of themselves, too? How about when Arena Stage, or STC, or Source, or another of the fine local theaters, has empty seats?

  55. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 5, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    Or put another way–the radio talk shows, how many people are listening to them? Out of how many in the market? When all they have to do is turn on the radio, doesn't cost a nickel, they don't have to go anywhere, do anything, buy any beer or hot dogs, or get someone to listen with them. Just turn the thing on. Are the sports fan in the hearing population in DC supposed to feel bad because we have no idea who these guys are? Don't think so.

  56. Section 222 - Sep 5, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Not to prolong the attendance discussion, but Marlins Park isn't the only place where fans dress as empty seats. It happens at Nats Park too of course. The attendance that's announced is "paid attendance." It doesn't matter to the Nats or MLB whether you show up or not, as long as you buy a ticket. So the STH base is counted toward every single game (hence Mark's statement that the number of full season equivalent STHs this point is equal to the lowest paid attendance of the season — 14,520), even if they stay home, and lots probably stayed home last night for all reasons that have been mentioned.It's also worth noting that the Nats do NOT count as paid attendance Red Carpet Rewards or other free ticket giveaways. (I've confirmed this with my Nats rep.) That's one of the things that causes a "sellout crowd" to be a different number each game. There are undoubtedly alot of RCR seats being used this week since they were pretty much the only games you could still get several weeks ago before the program ended. Not sure how big a difference that makes toward to paid attendance figures, but it's probably at least a few thousand potential butts in seats that aren't being counted.

  57. natsfan1a - Sep 5, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Wait, there are radio talk shows?Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa said… Or put another way–the radio talk shows, how many people are listening to them? Out of how many in the market? When all they have to do is turn on the radio, doesn't cost a nickel, they don't have to go anywhere, do anything, buy any beer or hot dogs, or get someone to listen with them. Just turn the thing on. Are the sports fan in the hearing population in DC supposed to feel bad because we have no idea who these guys are? Don't think so. September 05, 2012 1:49 PM

  58. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    While it will be nice to know — at the end of the season — what the percentage increase in attendance is from 2011 to 2012 (and, I suspect, it will be quite significant), I'm much more interested in the increase in the number of wins over that same time period. And also the number of — knock on imitation wood grain as I type this — playoff appearances. Time for a new post?

  59. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    Time to turn the page on a new discussion topic. Good articles out there on Christian Garcia.Tom Verducci on the Nats said they have the horses in order: Gio, JZim, EJax, Det to get them in the World Series.

  60. baseballswami - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    yes

  61. Scooter - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Wow, y'all. Great input on season tickets. Haven't done that since … back in aught-eight, I think it was … and have been considering doing it again. All this information will help a lot.

  62. Section 222 - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Agreed Eugene. So here's a question that some have alluded to that I'd be interested in hearing folks views on. Would you rather the Nats be:1. The No. 1 seed, meaning we'll play the possibly depleted Wild Card winner, but won't know where we're headed (maybe across country) until the day before Game 1 of the NLDS.2. The No. 2 seed, meaning we'll know where we're going but will start on the road against the No. 3 seed, and won't play at home until Game 3.3. The No. 3 seed, meaning we'll start the NLDS at home against the No. 2 seed. Right now we're not only 7 1/2 games ahead of the Braves, we're 6 1/2 games ahead of the Giants for being at least the No. 2 seed. So choices 1 and 2 may be the only plausible options. But anything can happen.

  63. Section 222 - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    Ghost, can you give us some links, or are we supposed to use The Google to find them?

  64. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    Deuces, I think that falls into the bin of things the Nats can't control, but that said, they have to win 3 against a good team, regardless, so while we can over-think all we want, I hope they don't.

  65. Scooter - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    222, I vote for #1, but I can see why one would choose #2. My support for the first option may be largely because it would mean that the Nats finished strong.

  66. JD - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    The magic number to get into the playoffs is 16. That's the only number I am focusing on. if/when we accomplish that I will take a deep breath, smile and see how close we are to clinching the division, once that's done I will have a glass of champagne, declare the season a smashing success and see how close we are to clinching 1st overall. I am confident but I've witnessed too many collapses in the past 5 years to think that it can't happen.

  67. natsfan1a - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    I wish to associate myself with the remarks of my esteemed colleague from, er, the sofa.Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa said… Deuces, I think that falls into the bin of things the Nats can't control, but that said, they have to win 3 against a good team, regardless, so while we can over-think all we want, I hope they don't. September 05, 2012 2:25 PM

  68. Section 222 - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    My choice is No. 1 because I want to see them dominate all the way to the end of the season and because the new format really puts the WC teams in a bind as far as starting pitching (and use of their bullpens). But I actually wouldn't mind No. 3 over No. 2 because I think that it would be fantastic to open the playoffs at home with the possibility of winning the first two games and just having to win one out of three away games (something they've done numerous times this year) to advance. So if we don't get the top seed, I'm fine with either of the other two spots. I'd just add that I wouldn't say this is beyond the team's control. If we keep winning, we can get the top seed.

  69. Feel Wood - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    1. The No. 1 seed, meaning we'll play the possibly depleted Wild Card winner, but won't know where we're headed (maybe across country) until the day before Game 1 of the NLDS.Not exactly. The wild card play-in game is on Friday 10/5, but Game 1 of the NLDS bracket that the wild card winner plays in is not until Sunday 10/7. So while it is true that the #1 seed division winner won't know exactly where they're going until after the wild card game is over, they can be prepared to travel and take off for that city as soon as the game is over. They arrive early on Saturday morning and have all day Saturday off before having to play on Sunday. Not much different than a regular season off day. And depending on which team wins that wild card game, they might have the same travel schedule.In contrast, the #2 seed will play Wed 10/3 and then have to travel for a game on Sat 10/6. So they get two off days instead of just one. An advantage, sure, but not all that much of one.

  70. bowdenball - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    222- I vote for #1. There's no "possibly" about the wild card winner being depleted. They will use their best available starter, and that starter won't be available to pitch multiple games of a five-game series.I think both wild card teams at the moment are better than the Giants, but not by such a wide margin as to erase the advantage of eliminating their best starter. Not to mention the advantage of having home field of the Nats and Reds both win their division series.

  71. natsfan1a - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    Danged if I don't wish to associate myself with these comments as well. :-)JD said… The magic number to get into the playoffs is 16. That's the only number I am focusing on. if/when we accomplish that I will take a deep breath, smile and see how close we are to clinching the division, once that's done I will have a glass of champagne, declare the season a smashing success and see how close we are to clinching 1st overall. I am confident but I've witnessed too many collapses in the past 5 years to think that it can't happen. September 05, 2012 2:30 PM

  72. natsfan1a - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    Cool, here's a noncontroversial topic over on the WaPo: the wave. :-)

  73. JD - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    All the analysis about playoff match ups go out the windows once the playoffs start. Does any one really feel that the Cards where the best team last year? The Giants the previous year? When the play offs start things take on their own dynamic based on the performance of the pitchers on given days. The prize is getting into the tournament and from the best possible position. After that anything can happen.

  74. Doc - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    At the risk of being redundant(I'm sure some NI already made note of it, and I failed to notice), but the Nats have outscored all NL teams post-ASG. They have out-hit all their NL opponents post-ASG but 'dem Rocks: .278 v. .280. Rockies don't count anyway–the ball doesn't break in their 'another planet' stadium!Nats hit .251 pre ASG.The pitchers have been getting most of the ink.Time for the writers to get a grip on how good Nats' bats are!!!!!!!!Gooooo Eck and Davey!!! GooooooooooNats!!!!!

  75. natsfan1a - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    That's very cool, Doc.

  76. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Gee….Mets announcers wondering if Adam Wainright has run into a wall after 170 innings coming off TJ. Imagine that.

  77. mick - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    sec 222…. all the possible playoff match ups reminds me of these two guys: lol Abbott: Well, let's see, we have on the bags, Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third…Costello: That's what I want to find out.Abbott: I say Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know's on third.Costello: Are you the manager?Abbott: Yes.Costello: You gonna be the coach too?Abbott: Yes.Costello: And you don't know the fellows' names?Abbott: Well I should.Costello: Well then who's on first?Abbott: Yes.Costello: I mean the fellow's name.Abbott: Who.Costello: The guy on first.Abbott: Who.Costello: The first baseman.Abbott: Who.Costello: The guy playing…Abbott: Who is on first!Costello: I'm asking YOU who's on first.Abbott: That's the man's name.Costello: That's who's name?Abbott: Yes.Costello: Well go ahead and tell me.Abbott: That's it.Costello: That's who?

  78. ChiefWJ - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    There's another aspect of this that I haven't seen mentioned. I'm a 21-game package ticket holder & have some Red Carpet rewards points left. Last week I tried to use them for one of the midweek games against either the Cubs or Dodgers. An announcement was posted on the website stating that the points couldn't be redeemed (except for parking) because "due to point redemption and increased ticket sales, we are now out of seat availability for the remainder of the season."What "increased ticket sales"? This is a bit inconsistent with last night's attendance. I have no problem with limiting the RCR to weekday games, but games in which they obviously have tickets, and lots of them?

  79. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    Sec. 222 @ 2.17 p.m.:First, to be clear, I'm knocking on imitation wood grain as I type this.Second, I'm pretty much convinced it's all a crapshoot; as others above have noted, it's less about seeding (in an NCAA basketball sense) than it is about who's hot/who's not in the week or 10 days immediately before the playoffs (not to mention during). And given a certain team's near identical home/away winning percentage, I'm not as concerned about where they might open (home or away). I guess home-field advantage might matter a bit more in the NLCS, but then the WS rotation is already set (thanks to Melky Cabrera and company).Third — and on a very, very selfish level — I'm hoping that a certain team draws either San Francisco or Oakland (or both!) at some point during the playoffs. That's my only realist hope of getting to a game (or two), assuming I can adjust a class session (or two).

  80. NatsLady - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    I bought a partial STH plan for $10 seats and I was AMAZED at the amount of stuff that came with it. I got red carpet seats (3) worth at least $200 (considering their location). Plus I got a bunch of other stuff (yearbook, tour of the park, September prize, etc.). This year I will get $100 in Nats Bucks which completely pays for upgrading to $15 seats. Got the priority on postseason. Got the invite to the picnic, etc. So I would say that even though the per ticket price doesn't save you much at the lower price levels, the bennies make up for it.

  81. NatsLady - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Next year if they still offer Red Carpet seats I'll redeem sooner. This year I did run into the "sold out" towards the end of the season, but still got what I wanted.

  82. Scooter - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    Good on you, NatsLady. As has been noted by worthier scribes than I, you can't always get what you want.

  83. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Wainwright getting lit up in St. Louis where, by the way, there appears to be less than 20,000 at the game.

  84. NatsLady - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Did you notice Rizzo said Stras could be a pinch hitter, said, "You never know with Davey." Wonder if Stras did a little negotiating there?

  85. JD - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    Papleblown in to protect a 6 – 1 lead for Halladay in the 9th… hide your women and children.

  86. Section 222 - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    Feel — Isn't the WC game likely to be at night on 10/5? So you're saying the Nats get all packed and ready to travel, not knowing whether they are going to LA or Pittsburgh (just for example), and sit on the tarmac in the plane so they can depart at 11 pm, or as soon as the WC game concludes? Doesn't seem likely to me, but maybe so.You're right, they'll know where they are going late on 10/5 (unless the WC game is on the West Coast, in which case it will be in the wee hours of 0/6), but they probably aren't going to travel until 10/6, the day before game 1 on 10/7. And if they have to travel across the country, that's kind of a disadvantage over the No. 2 seed, which, as you say, gets two days off but can travel right away. (And No. 3 gets two days off and opens at home.) Not a big enough disadvantage to warrant not wanting the No. 1 seed, particularly because the No. 1 seed gets a total of 3 days off (10/4, 10/5, 10/6).

  87. mick - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    NatsLady said…Did you notice Rizzo said Stras could be a pinch hitter, said, "You never know with Davey." Wonder if Stras did a little negotiating there?I was thinking about this a month ago. This would be a great way to have Stephen involved and it would be just like Davey to do so. Total upside and what I would do as a coach that would only add more to Strass' arsenal is simply have him work on bunting during BP. Use Strass as Livo was used, image Strass being a first class bunter that could pinch hit for a pitcher in a situation to move the runners.The only down side would be for us as fans having to listen t the idiots on national tv every time Strass came to bat… you can hear them now saying, "ga ga ga ga he ought to be pitching" lol

  88. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    Still in @ 6-2 with man on second and 1 out.

  89. yazzy1956 - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    Chief WJ, the Nats made it clear at the beginning of the season the deadline to redeem Red Carpet points was August 31. It was in the ticket package you received before the season and it was on the RCR website too. So its not something they just instituted.

  90. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    Phillies win 6-2. They own Cincy.

  91. NatsLady - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    Well, Davey said a while back it "wasn't gonna happen" (Stras pinch hitting). But if Rizzo gave the OK, why not? Even if he pulled something running the bases he has all off-season to heal. Let him take batting practice and go for it.

  92. Doc - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    Good post on Abbott & Costello mick.Reminds me of the SS debate too!

  93. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    19,267 in Cincinnati today.

  94. Feel Wood - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    What "increased ticket sales"? This is a bit inconsistent with last night's attendance. I have no problem with limiting the RCR to weekday games, but games in which they obviously have tickets, and lots of them?Since RCR redemptions are basically freebies, comps, or whatever else you want to call them, they probably set a quota for the number of such tickets that could be redeemed at any given game. Just like there is a quota for the number of $2 tickets they could sell for last night's game. When that quota is reached, that offer is sold out, unavailable. Has nothing to do with how many other tickets may still be available for sale. So if you waited too long to redeem your RCR points, it's a case of you snooze you lose. I redeemed some of my RCR points for a club seat at one of those Dodger games you can't get into now. But I did it months ago, before the quota was reached. Go back and read the RCR Terms and Conditions and I bet you'll find the words "subject to availability" in there.

  95. JD - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    NatsJack, I am expecting Fear and ignorance to post that the Phillies are still very much in the wild card hunt.

  96. Steady Eddie - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    mick — between the ol' "who's on first?" and your last graf @ 3:18 (too painfully true!), you are on fire today — love it!Problem with having Stras as a PH is that it burns up a playoff roster spot and a PR off the bench if he gets on (assuming he's not always there to bunt, with a .277 BA). Plus, if he is going to bunt, it had better be perfect because he's so slow (unless he suddenly decides to sprint because he's not pitching), any so-so bunt where the lead runner wasn't already going could be a DP.Speaking of playoff rosters, this is I know a dumb question, but do they have the same 25 man limit as for 5 months of the regular season? Or do they give teams a few extra spots (for some reason, 28 sticks in my mind, though I may well have imagined it).

  97. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    They need to pass Arizona and Milwaukee first before their real hurdles confront them.

  98. Steady Eddie - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    For RCR seats, I've gone by "the earlier the better". With my 2 21-game seats there have been 24 tix to get, and I typically have chosen games for all but 6 or 8 tix by mid-April, and this year, the last of them by the end of June.Per that, I've gotten some really good seats. My regular seats are in RF Corner so I generally ask for secs 128-130 and get (mostly) 130 between row S and not generally further back than CC. Re the ST discussion, it's not only getting much better seats than you could get on Stubhub for most games — and now getting playoff priority — but the prices for new ST buyers, and so also for single game tickets, are now going up for the first time in the new stadium — by $5/game for RF/LF Corner seats, and I assume proportionately for everywhere else. And that's face value without the Regular, Premium, or Marquee game markups. Current STHs get whatever package tix they buy at the old price, and like someone wrote, can lock them in through 2015 with a 3 year commitment.

  99. yazzy1956 - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    FeelWood you are totally right. I waited until right up to the August 31 deadline to cash in my last 50 RCR points. All the weekend and day games and the last game of the season against the Phillies were already gone. There is a cap on the # of RCR tickets available for each game. You can't hardly complain about something they are giving you for free.

  100. Section 222 - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    Steady, that was my reaction to the Stras as a pinch hitter as well. Maybe they give him a swing or two at the end of the regular season in an extra inning game, but no way he's on the playoff roster. That would make no sense at all.JZnn is a better bunter, and E-Jax can pinch run. They may get some post-season non-pitching action, but not Stras.

  101. Steady Eddie - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    Hmmm, not surprised to see Werth getting a rest. Before the beginning of the 8th last night, he was visibly squatting in RF and clearly looked worn out, to the point that I WAS surprised to see him out there for the top of the 9th.Doing it so visibly — instead of in the tunnel — looked to me like an unspoken "take me out" request.

  102. Feel Wood - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    Feel — Isn't the WC game likely to be at night on 10/5? So you're saying the Nats get all packed and ready to travel, not knowing whether they are going to LA or Pittsburgh (just for example), and sit on the tarmac in the plane so they can depart at 11 pm, or as soon as the WC game concludes? Doesn't seem likely to me, but maybe so.Nah, they won't sit on the tarmac. They'll hang in the clubhouse at Nats Park until they know where they're going, and then get on the bus to the airport. When going on the road, players always leave their cars at the ballpark and ride the bus to the airport. (Remember Marlon Byrd's car getting broken into at RFK while they were on the road in 2005?) Of course, they might make an exception for a player or two to travel on their own to the airport at the manager's discretion, but they will ALWAYS have the bus from the ballpark. They want to minimize the chances of a player getting lost or having transportation problems and missing the flight.As for west coast games, the latest they would be scheduled is 5:00 pm-ish, to keep them in prime time in the east.

  103. JD - Sep 5, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    NatsJack, I as only kidding. Philly ain't making the playoffs this year. You can take it to the bank.

  104. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 5, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    Even the Phillie fans I know say their done.

  105. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 5, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    Ryan Mattheus per twitter….."The wave. Kill it. It's the worst thing in sports. Sit down and watch the game."

  106. Secret wasian man - Sep 5, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    As a Skins season ticket holder I can tell you that the fed ex experience is a terrible one. I was able to improve my seats in May. So RG3 is not helping them much either. Nats fans living in MD (I live in Frederick) just can not do weekday games. Especially since school has started. Plus FP and Carp are hilarious.

  107. natsfan1a - Sep 5, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    You're preaching to the choir, son.Ryan Mattheus per twitter….."The wave. Kill it. It's the worst thing in sports. Sit down and watch the game."

  108. natsfan1a - Sep 5, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    Agreed re. FP and Carp.

  109. BigCat - Sep 6, 2012 at 3:07 AM

    Ryan Mattheus…..make an appearance without giving up a bomb, then tweet….or twit….or whatever the hell they call it

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 71 53 --
ATLANTA 66 60 6.0
MIAMI 63 62 8.5
NEW YORK 59 68 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 55 71 17.0
Through Tuesday's games

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WED: Diamondbacks at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
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