By Steve Beck
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia Phillies have won five straight National League East titles and with that success, comes a larger fan base. It is a fan base that loves to travel with the team and in some cases, take over opposing stadiums.
However, one of the Phillies rivals in the N.L. East is trying to put an end to that trend.
The Washington Nationals announced a “Take Back the Park” movement Friday. The initiative is aimed at stopping Phillies’ fans from taking over Nationals Park, sometimes referred by Phillies fans as “Citizens Bank Park South.”
On Opening Day 2010, a sea of Phillies flocked to Nationals Park in Washington to see Roy Halladay make his debut in Phillies red. By this writer’s estimation, Phillies’ fans filled at least half of the stadium, if not more.
“Take Back the Park” is designed to get local Nationals fans to purchase tickets for the May 4-6 series against the Phillies before they go on sale to the public.
Tickets for the early May series can only be purchased by Nationals’ season ticket holders and fans who live in Washington, Virginia or Maryland.
The Nationals are coming off a year in which they finished 80-81 and third place in the N.L. East. There is renewed optimism in the nation’s capital with the acquisition of former Phillies prospect Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson, along with phenom Stephen Strasburg, who is returning from Tommy John surgery. The Nationals also have former Phillies Jayson Werth and Brad Lidge on their roster.