Hard as they may try, the Washington Nationals management will never convince Nats’ fans to “take back” Nationals Park from opposing teams’ fans, most notably the infamous followers of the Philadelphia Phillies.
But the Nationals’ players can make it nearly 100% certain D.C. fans dominate their lovely little ballpark by the Anacostia this year and for years to come by doing one thing.
Winning is contagious. It attracts fans like no marketing campaign ever could or ever will.
Think “Natitude” will sell tickets? Not a chance. Only winning sells.
Winning is a marketing campaign that works every time. Guaranteed. In Washington, D.C. and everywhere else in America, except Tampa Bay.
Winning sells more than tickets. It sells caps, jerseys, and souvenirs. It boosts radio and television ratings. It increases beer and hot dog sales. It makes payrolls skyrocket. It brings free agents like the rain.
Winning converts critics and cynics.
Winning softens snarky beat reporters, indifferent national columnists, and clueless local sports radio hosts who think Washington will have a “closer by committee” the year after Drew Storen saves 43 games.
Winning eliminates blog trolls better than Raid kills roaches.
Winning reduces other teams’ fans to silence. Remember those 44 games the Nats won at home last season? Only the home team fans were cheering after the final out.
A few examples:
I attended the game last June 21 when Wilson Ramos blasted his three-run homer to complete the Nationals’ comeback from a 5-1 deficit with two out in the bottom of the ninth. My friend, Corky, and I sat near a gaggle of Seattle fans, most wearing Jack Wilson jerseys, who were laughing and ridiculing Washington’s poor little baseball team.
After the Ramos blast? Silence from the Seattle contingent. Sorry folks, you picked the wrong Wilson!
Remember those two walk-off wins in three nights against the hated Phillies? The first came Friday night, August 19,when a Ryan Zimmerman two-out grand slam turned a tie game into a Nats victory. Two days later, Ian Desmond tied the game with a two-out homer in the bottom of the ninth. Jonny Gomes‘ bases loaded, hit by pitch an inning later phinished off the Phils.
Go and watch those replays. The gaggle of Phillies’ fans at Nationals Park pack up and trudge away in silence as Nats’ fans celebrate around them. Not a peep was heard until those folks returned to their cars and dialed up the Phillies’ post-game radio show to trash their club.
Think those folks want to return to D.C. to relive the happy memories?
When moments like these become routine in Washington, most of these fans will stop coming. The fun of ridiculing the home club and their fans will be over. Any diehards that do try to get tickets will be shut out — and it won’t take a marketing gimmick to do it.
There won’t be any tickets left for other teams’ fans, because Nationals’ fans will buy them and those folks will be having too much fun to sell those precious ducats on StubHub.
Winning really is that attractive. More than a super-magnent. Heck, more than a super model!
Not even Clint and the “Nat Pack” will be able to stop it.
In Washington (and 28 other MLB cities) the magic formula for fans to reclaim their home parks is simple.
One word. Three letters.