Need proof this is an election year for U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr.? Well he just took a principled stand in defense of...the rights of Philadelphia Phillies fans to travel to the nation's Capitol to root against the Nationals. Casey, in a letter to Nationals owner Theodore Lerner, decries a new team "gimmick" that gives priority in home game ticket sales to customers from Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
"The Phillies have some of the best fans in the world and they shouldn’t be left out in the cold on tickets just because the Washington Nationals want a stronger home field advantage," Casey wrote, sending a copy of the letter to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.
This bubbled up in the sports world six days ago when the Washington Post reported on the plan by the Nationals, quoting Nats Chief Operating Officer Andy Feffer as saying he was tired of the Phillies fan invasion at his home games.
"Forget you, Philly," Feffer said in the Post. "This is our park, this is our town, these are our fans, and it’s our time right now."
You can read Casey's news release and letter after the jump.
Casey Calls on Washington Nationals, MLB To End Ticket Gimmick to Keep Phillies Fans from Games at Nationals’ Park in DC
In An Effort to Keep Phillies Fans from Games at DC Ballpark, Nationals Are Restricting Ticket Sales to Credit Card Holders from DC, VA, MD
Phillies Fans Annually Pack Nationals’ Park for Games; New Gimmicks Are Intentional Effort to Keep Them Out
Casey: Phillies Fans Shouldn’t Be Excluded from Ticket Opportunities
Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) called on Washington Nationals owner Theodore Lerner to reverse course on a reported plan to block access for Philadelphia Phillies fans to games at Nationals Park when the Phillies come to DC this year.
Annually, Phillies fans from Pennsylvania and around the region have packed Nationals’ stadium when their team plays in Washington. Recently, the Nationals announced a new gimmick to keep Phillies fans out. According to recent reports about the plan, tickets to Phillies/Nationals games in DC would first be made available to credit card holders from Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia – effectively limiting and potentially eliminating opportunities for Pennsylvania fans to purchase tickets.
“Phillies fans should have the same right that every other fan across the country has to purchase tickets and this gimmick by the Washington Nationals should be stopped right away,” Casey said. “The Phillies have some of the best fans in the world and they shouldn’t be left out in the cold on tickets just because the Washington Nationals want a stronger home field advantage.”
The full text of Casey’s letter to Washington Nationals owner Theodore Lerner can be seen below:
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