By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Over the last few years, when the Phillies have traveled to Washington DC to play the Nationals, Phillies fans have traveled along with them. Even though the Nationals have been the home team, the visiting Phillies have had far more fans in the stands of Nationals Park. So much so, that locally, many Phillies fans referred to Nationals Park as “Citizen’s Bank Park South. “
Now that they have a team that management feels can compete, the Nationals have decided to try and take a stand. This morning, the Washington Nationals announced a program called “Take Back The Park,” MLB.COM is reporting. Tickets for their May series against the Phillies now have a pre-sale opportunity for Nationals fans who live in the home team’s area (and have the credit card statement to prove it). They can buy tickets to the series before anyone else. Nationals fans are asked to register for a pre-sale, and if they are approved, they can buy up to eight tickets per game.
The Nationals are expecting to be much improved, with the return of pitcher Stephen Strasburg, and the addition of pitcher Gio Gonzalez.
If you were a Phillies fan during the Veterans Stadium days, you remember what it was like to have an opposing team’s fans take over the stadium. During some of the more lean years of Phillies baseball, the “Let’s Go Mets” chants could be heard far louder than any cheering for the home team. Time’s have changed, and now it’s the Phillies fans taking over opposing stadiums.
Phillies fans took to Twitter to talk about the Nationals plan, and some of them had a plan of their own.
@irish_idealist: i can’t wait to buy tons of tickets and put them on stub hub for phillies fans only
@halladays: Did the Nationals forget that stubhub exists?
#Phillies fans, we should all be expecting our thank you cards from the #Nationals in the mail soon. They appreciate us funding them.
The Phillies vs Nationals rivalry took a big step last off-season when the Nationals signed former Phillies right-fielder Jayson Werth to a seven-year contract.