March 14, 2005

Fans anticipate D.C., Philly rivalry

Forget home run records. Great rivalries, like Boston-New York, brought baseball back from the dead, and now that D.C. is back in the fold, it's time for the Phillies to draw lines in the sand.

Washington Nationals blog,, posted a poll to decide the top rival for the capital's new team. The Phillies earned the most votes in a landslide - 48 percent. Atlanta and New York each earned 19 percent, while Florida, perhaps the biggest thorn in the division, earned just 14 percent.

Bring it on, baby: What it means to have baseball in D.C.
The District of Columbia was the obvious choice for Montreal's relocation, bringing baseball back to the tradition-rich city for the first time in 33 years.

The move was harder than anticipated, however, with what seemed like a decade of feet dragging from baseball, and late roadblocks from D.C. city council on the issue of financing a new stadium.

For now, the Nationals will settle for playing the next three seasons in RFK Stadium. It would have been a smoother transition had baseball selected Las Vegas or some other city. Las Vegas, a growing city with no major sports team, seemed ready to adopt a franchise and put up a team in a privately-funded park.

But with baseball back in the Beltway, the east coast landscape certainly becomes crowded. If the Orioles suffer most from having a franchise on their doorstep, the Phillies, with enough of a buffer zone to feel no effects, are getting the best deal of any team in baseball: a new geographic rival and a visiting fan base with a lousy home park.

Whether the team has staying power has yet to be determined, but any doubts on whether the Nationals would garner initial fan interest have been answered. The Nats have collected checks from more than 20,000 season-ticket holders. In comparison, the Expos were lucky to draw 10,000 a game and had no traveling fan base to speak of.

This winter, fans in D.C. have gotten to know their new team, and it's not a bad bunch. The Nats project as a .500 team next season, and are a few pitchers away from fielding a legitimate contender. Dig those new unis, too.

A word of advice for Nats fans as they prepare for their first season. Don’t leave any sharp objects lying around when you watch the Marlins games.


At 4:27 PM, Blogger el123chico said...

yes but the nats are going to steal one of our interleague "rivals" as their location rival will obviously be baltimore, leaving traveling phils fans with only boston to visit.

At 5:10 PM, Blogger Jason Weitzel said...

I'm not sure I even understand that.

At 5:10 PM, Blogger el123chico said...

i'm having trouble posting here for some reason. anyway, here's the explanation:

for interleague play, every team has a designated area rival they play every year. mets/yankees, dodgers/angels, marlins/d-rays, etc. the phils have had their rivalry split in the last few years having guaranteed home and home series with both baltimore and boston. now that dc is in the league, their interleague rival will be baltimore, leaving the phils with only 1 interleague rival, boston.

At 5:59 PM, Blogger Jason Weitzel said...

The Phils play the O's May 20-22 at Baltimore. I'll miss it because I'm headed to State College that weekend for trout fishing and camping.


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