RumBunter Heads to Nationals Park to Better Understand "Natitude"

We jumped on StubHub yesterday, and grabbed tickets for the Bucs Nats game for $15 bucks.  Front row.  Crazy.  We just had to do it, we told ourselves—need to see how all of these politicos handle some sports buzz in person.

Washington D.C. is an amazing place for most everything, except sports. The city hasn’t had a positive sports buzz for quite some time.

We can’t dig up anything that matches the buzz created by this rookie outfielder named Bryce Harper.  It’s a buzz of Cheech and Chong-like proportions. We tried to see when DC was more abuzz… the biggest sports moment would have to bring up John Riggins and the year 1983.

So yeah, it’s been a while.

We have a feeling that the stands in D.C. will empty out by the seventh inning or so.  Sure, the die-hards will remain, but Washington is having a difficult time coming to grips with the fact that their team, despite some serious injuries, is tough as hell.

We will tweet some pictures to prove our hypothesis. If anyone from D.C. wants to challenge this hypothesis, leave a comment. If  you can figure out how to respond on a sports website.  We’re not sure you read these fancy things yet.

768 tickets were still on sale to see the first place Nationals.  Maybe there is something to that old saying that there is a reason they lost a team in the first place, so why are they trying this again?   One great reason is the ownership.  The Nationals are blessed with a family with deep pockets; perhaps the deepest in MLB.  The Lerner family has a great thing going on – we would have to think the crowds will eventually show up.

We remember when Stephen Strasburg made his debut.  The tickets were hotter than hell.  Below is the screen shot from the broken Nats site when “Strasmas” happened.

 

But how long will this last?   After Strasburg got rocked in San Diego yesterday, and with all the talk about the Nats shutting him down, will Nats fans commit to the 2012 season?  The big question for us is this: will the Nats shut down such a powerful ticket selling machine in mid-August?

We started to wonder if their strategy to think long term with Strasburg works in a way to drive ticket sales this season?  Is this an example of providing a small supply—- a limited number of home starts by Strasburg to create high demand (people buy extra game tickets just to get the Strasburg tickets.)?

Or, maybe, this is a very smart strategy to take with their phenom? If anyone asked us,  we would want to get all we could out of Strasburg.  Shutting down ‘The Stras’ is considerate in terms of player development, but isn’t the championship window limited?   Selfishly, we think the Nats should just let it roll.

Washington DC needs a winner.  We couldn’t remember any big winning tradition, so we hit the Internets.  Sure enough, Washington hasn’t won a World Series since 1924.  Almost 90 years since the Washington Senators actually did something*.

*The ball team, not the politicians–the blowhards’ streak continues

That Series victory was fluky, too.  It took a Game Seven Earl McNeely bad-hop single in the 12th inning to plate the winning run for the Senators.

The Nats were the worst team in baseball just a few years ago.  Everyone threw them around, even during the Pierogie Race.  Back in 2009,  pierogie Potato Pete gave Teddy some #Peteitude, when he ran onto the field and leveled Teddy, taking him out of the race.

Over the past couple years, the Nats have overpaid for some nice acquisitions and carefully developed their young players and now find themselves hanging around the top of the NL East.  We guess it’s the #Natitude.

One thing is for certain: it’s painful to think the Pirates are still sort of stinky, but didn’t stink bad enough a few years ago to get ultra-talented players like Strasburg and Harper.

Nothing is definite in the pure truth known as baseball. But this seems damn close:  Strasburg made his impressive debut about 24 hours after Bryce Harper was selected by the Nats as their first pick in the 2010 draft.  Now two years later, the nation’s capital has the most hyped baseball talent ever rocking ten stitches under his Nats hat, playing the outfield behind a pitching staff that has led the Nats to the top of the hill in the NL East.

The Nats have talent all over the roster (and all over the DL, too).  It’s only going to be harder to imagine the “what ifs” as their success continues.  But it seems when looking at the attendance numbers, some in DC still don’t believe it.

In 17 games the Nats have sold just over 432,000 tickets, or 61.2 percent of the available inventory over those 17 games.  The Pirates have sold 60.6 percent of their seats, good for about 395,462 fans through the turnstiles.

With their 2012 success on the diamond, and an in-your-face ad campaign off the field, you might think it would be hard to get a ticket.  Maybe they know we’re coming.

 

Natitude Park: Forty percent empty.

 

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Tags: Bryce Harper Pittsburgh Pirates Stephen Strasburg Washington Nationals

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