The quickest way to become a Nationals fan is to attend a game against the Phillies at Nationals Park.
I was there on Saturday, the most-attended game ever at South Capitol Street. As you may know, 90 percent were Phillies fans.
The atmosphere was great, if tense. Any running of the mouth by myself or Squirrel Master was met with quick and unimaginative retorts (After being asked who the Phils’ starting left fielder is, one fatso said, “Are you challenging me when your team is 20 games back?!?!). But I have been to about a dozen Nationals games in the new park and can attest to never feeling the same buzz that I felt on Saturday. The crowd was super loud and decked out, a very memorable experience. But to those that boarded MegaBus to get to the game…
-Why the generic insults? F&# you you F#*in’ bum? Not really the first thing I think of to yell at a family event. And let’s be real, MLB games are indeed family-friendly. Phillies fans are not.
-If they are at a sold-out game and are NOT in your own city, why did spme Philly fans think it was legit to try to move up and steal peoples’ seats? The same group of knuckleheads would swoop in any time someone got up: Dudeskies, those people are coming back! Plus, you are yelling in my ear.
-Hating on Jason Werth is just weak? He left for more money than Philly would pay, and he is playing poorly. Does that necessitate a “Jayson Werth-less” champ when he catches a routine fly? No. Hate one of our good players, not our bad ones.
-When did you get those Hunter Pence shirts? Any good sports fan knows the older your team jersey, the more respect you get. Hunter Pence was traded to Philly less than a month ago — just enough time to buy those T-shirt jerseys we saw all over the park this weekend. Hardcore, brah.
I grew up in New England, became a Red Sox fan and went to Maryland, where I became a Terps basketball fan. I know obnoxious fans. It’s what has gradually driven me to the Nationals; the Red Sox national success story became my nightmare. Pink Red Sox hats and scuffle-ready chowderheads with B hats roaming Portland represented everything wrong with my team’s success.
But it’s those obnoxious Phillies fans that may, may have pushed me over the fence I have long been straddling between the Red Sox and Nationals. It felt good to be one of a handful cheering for Washington in my section, the kind of glum moment that leads to a lifelong bond with a team. The opposite, in fact, of the phenomenon Thomas Boswell described on Sunday, a Nats comeback win over Philly.
Out of perhaps 25,000 fans left in the park (a 71-minute delay for a thunderstorm thinned the crowd), it seemed maybe a hundred were Nats fans. Yet the instant the winning run was waved home, half the park stood and cheered. Who are they, these secret, ashamed or cerebral Nat fans?
Actually, all it took was four hours being around people who can’t afford tickets to Citizens Bank Park to convert me. I’m not ready to denounce the Red Sox, but I am ready to denounce the Phillies.