Last night, Nationals Park was quite possibly the best take-over of another team’s ballpark that I have ever witnessed. From the first inning there were “this is our house” chants erupting from Phillies fans. I am not exaggerating when I say out of the about 14,000 people in the ballpark, 75% were Philadelphia Phillies fans. It was a Where’s Waldo of sorts searching for a Washington Nationals fan. From the moment I sat down I could figure the people working at the park wanted no part of “Philly” in their home territory. Meghan and I were asked five different times by the same loud and obnoxious female usher if we had tickets for our seats. We were seated directly alongside the Phillies bullpen with a great view of Chooch and Doc warming up, so naturally fans swarmed our section hoping for pictures and to have a ball thrown in their direction. The usher yelled at each and every one of them, and they had 10 seconds to “get your picture and move on” even though the section was completely empty and they weren’t bothering anyone.
The game began, and seemed to go off without a hitch – it was no different from being at home in Citizens Bank Park. The “let’s go Phillies” chants could be heard in unison from the entire crowd. Rauuuuuuuull and Choooooooooch cheers were as loud as ever. Fightin’ Phils rally towels flew high around the stadium. I had goose bumps throughout the game, and it wasn’t from the rain. In the ninth inning the Phillies were up 8-0 over the Nats and the intensity in the crowd was amazing; we all knew the Phils were about to clinch the NL East title for the fourth year in a row. The crowd stood together cheering on our Phillies. (FYI: standing is also frowned up at Nationals Park, just ask the usher in 103). Roy Halladay threw the final out to end the game, and as the Phillies celebrated on the pitcher’s mound, the fans crowded the sections behind the dug out singing our very beloved version of High Hopes. Everyone was beyond excited as the team changed into their playoff shirts. There was no anger in any fan (remember at this point any Nats fan that had bothered to show up left by the 7th inning stretch), just extreme joy. All over people were hugging, cheering, clapping, and high-fiving. Having never witnessed the Phillies clinching a title in person, I was in awe.
The players left the field to enjoy their club house celebration, and that’s where this gets ugly. Being Phillies fans we don’t skip a beat. Everyone continues cheering and waiting because we know our guys will come back out for another short appearance to salute their fans. Instead, the stadium lights began turning off prompting “We’re NOT Leaving” chants. At that point there are a couple Nat’s security officers on the field and atop the dugout, looking like deer caught in headlights not knowing what to do. They begin hollering “It’s time to go” waving us toward the concourse. Insert the “WE WANT CHAMPAGNE” chant here. Even with all that there is still not an angry fan in sight, from young to old we were all still there waiting to congratulate our team. It then became blatantly obvious that wasn’t going to happen when Pete Makanin, Phillies bench coach, peeked from the dugout, Miller Lite in one hand cigar in the other, and was quickly ushered by security back into the clubhouse. With a last hope for the fans, they were now turning off more lights. “CHARLIE! CHARLIE!” chants rang out so loud that I’m sure even President Obama could hear them. Just give us something, give us our manager, and then we’ll go home. That never happened. The security was seen waving back anyone trying to leave the visitors clubhouse to see the fans. With the final set of lights turning off the security guards were literally pushing every fan from the stands up to the concourse screaming “Go back to Philly”, “This is why no one likes you”, “Bye, Philly get out and go home” “Don’t come back” the list goes on. Upon entering the concourse security didn’t give up but neither did the fans. “Phillies” chants we’re all over, while ushers continued hollering for us to, and I quote, “Get the fuck out of their house”. Fans surrounded the area where they were filming Nats Extra Innings, making it impossible to recognize we weren’t actually at home. The Phillies pride was amazing.
Oh, but it didn’t end there. When trying to wait for the bathroom, Metro police made it quite clear they could care less, they just wanted us out. Apparently we’re not even good enough to use their restrooms. Even the calmer of the fans walking out of the gates, not bothering a soul were accosted by Nats security, being heckled, “Go home now”, “Walk faster”, and “No one likes you”. In my opinion nothing was done that warranted this type of disgusting behavior put on by this organization. We were called classless? I suggest they look in the mirror. I was never as appalled in my life as I was last night. We stood too much, we cheered too loud, we came from Philly, we didn’t walk fast enough, and we wanted to congratulate our team and The Nationals Park security and staff held it all against us. Nothing we did rendered that kind of treatment. Disgusting, seriously disgusting.
I want to take a minute and give congratulations to every Phillies fan who journeyed to Nationals Park last night – you simply are the best.
What more can I say? In the words of Roy Halladay himself, It’s always FUNNER in Philadelphia and that’s where I intend to stay.