Phillies fans, no tickets for you!

Phillies fans, no tickets for you!
February 3, 2012, 7:09 pm

Tired of all those visiting fans who invade Nationals Park when the Phillies come to town? You're not alone. Apparently the Nationals themselves are finally fed up enough to do something about it.

Responding to complaints about the busloads of folks who have made the trek down from Philadelphia the last few seasons, the Nationals have initiated a "Take Back the Park" program for the May 4-6 series between the two NL rivals.

For the first time, the Nationals will make single-game tickets available now for that series only (a full month before the rest of the home slate becomes available for purchase). And for the first time, they're only allowing you to buy tickets to that series if you live in the District of Columbia, Virginia or Maryland.

Season-ticket holders can also purchase seats now for that May series, no matter where they live.

This unprecedented action comes after three years of Philly fan invasions, some that have included massive groups traveling to Washington by bus and buying up tickets in large blocks. The end result has been crowds that easily tilted in favor of the visiting team, sometimes overwhelmingly so.

The low point might well have been Opening Day 2010, when Philadelphia fans bought group tickets in bunches as early as November 2009, well before single seats went on sale. As a result, when those single-seat tickets became available in early March, only a handful remained and the game sold out in seven minutes. Many Nationals fans complained they were shut out from buying tickets in favor of groups from Philadelphia.

Since then, a good number of Nationals fans (including many season-ticket holders) have refused to attend games against the Phillies, conceding the park to their hated rivals. The Nationals hope this initiative will encourage those disgruntled local fans to come back and shut the Philadelphia base out.

The early-May series includes the Nationals' first ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game since the 2008 grand opening of Nationals Park.