On August 30th, I unequivocally, but sadly, wrote that after 18 years as a full season ticket holder of the Washington Nationals, I had terminated my annual contract with the team and its owners.
Primarily, I was fed up with the Nats’ model of getting good young players and then abandoning them when they reached free agency, which, among other things, is unfair to the fans. Getting attached to players only to have them go elsewhere maybe understandable (players have every right to determine their value, and the owners have their right to their business model). But as I came of age in a time when a fan could count on their favorite player being with their favorite team year after year, I found it hard to adjust to this new reality. And so I decided I wanted to withdraw my financial support of both the owners and players.
There were also other reasons I gave up the tickets. All my season ticket partners for the 81 home games had, for a variety of reasons, gradually dropped out of the partnership, and the tickets and parking therefore had become extremely expensive. Watching the Nats go 55-107 was another reason I was unhappy with the Nats and their ownership, even for this Red Sox fan who has endured many, many years of disappointment. While I still cared about baseball, it seemed I could choose to go to a few games a year and continue to ‘register’ my protest as a fan about being part of a system that rewarded the owners and the players to care more about the money than the game.
Then, over the last month or so of the season, I attended five or six games and found that despite all the reasons listed above, I still loved being at the ballpark, watching baseball, and always looking for something I had never previously witnessed (e.g., one umpire being overridden on three consecutive missed calls at first). Above all, I enjoyed being with family and friends for an afternoon or evening of baseball and companionship.
So, while I had terminated my full season three seats and parking, and with some encouragement from Cassie Bullis, my young Nats’ account executive, I decided to return as a partial season ticket holder (two seats, 41 games, and parking). I won’t have total choice of every game I want to see, but I can swap tickets for a particular game(s). The Red Sox, for instance, are here for three games in August and only one of those is on my 2023 Plan B.
If any of you have interest in being a partner for at least five games, let me know, and we can discuss which games, costs, etc.
And I will continue to invite various family and friends to join me and so urge you to let me know if you want to attend a game together. (Added Note: if you don’t live in DC but will find yourself coming to our ‘swamp’ sometime in the next year, consider checking with me about seeing a game, either together or with a friend.)
I will also continue to pass on some tickets to various charities and friends at no cost.
Baseball will remain a part of my life even while I disapprove of many aspects of what it has become.
As the Duke of Brooklyn (Sean McLaughlin) has said, “with all its faults, it is still THE best sport.”