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By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — First, there was the influx of Phillies fans to Nationals Park. Then, there was the Nationals “Take Back The Park” program (read story), which gives Nationals fans who live in the home team’s area, the inside track to buy tickets to a May series facing the Phillies. Then, there was the Phillies fan who found a loophole (read story) that allows Philadelphia residents to buy tickets to the series. Now, Senator Bob Casey is getting involved.
Yes, you read that right.
Casey sent a letter to Nationals owner Theodore Lerner today, the Senator’s office announced via a press release. The letter reads as follows:
February 9, 2012
Theodore N. Lerner
Managing Principal Owner
1500 South Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Dear Mr. Lerner,
I write regarding the recently announced “Take Back the Park” ticket policy at Washington Nationals Park and to respectfully request its elimination. I am concerned that dedicated Philadelphia Phillies fans will be unfairly denied access to games when their team plays against the Nationals.
It has come to my attention that residents of Washington, DC, Virginia and Maryland have been given special priority access to tickets sales on the dates in May when the Nationals and the Phillies compete. According to the team’s website, only credit card billing addresses from these two states and the District of Columbia will be processed for the presale, effectively blocking thousands of Phillies fans who root for their team by visiting Nationals Park. I appreciate the desire to enjoy a home field advantage, but this unprecedented policy solely and unfairly targets Phillies fans.
As the Nation’s capital, Washington DC uniquely plays host to visitors from across the country. In addition to the fans who visit exclusively for Phillies games, tourists from the Commonwealth who hope to include a game on their Washington, DC itinerary could be blocked from attendance. In the spirit of good sportsmanship and healthy competition, I urge you to reconsider the policy and immediately allow Phillies fans equal access to ticket sales at Nationals Park.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator
cc: Allan H. Selig, Commissioner, Major League Baseball
cc: Andrew Feffer, Chief Operating Officer, Washington Nationals