From left field: WTOP staffers talk ‘Take Back the Park’

Going to the game tonight? You may run into these shirts. (Photo from anonymous Philly fan)

WASHINGTON – A half-smoke from Ben’s Chili Bowl … check.

A $10 beer … check.

Annoying fans from out-of-town … check.

That’s an all-too-familiar scene for Nationals fans when the Cardinals, Cubs, Red Sox or Yankees are in town. But perhaps it’s most obvious (and annoying?) when the out-of-towners are from Philly.

Some WTOP staffers felt the need to express themselves on the topic:

George Wallace – WTOP’s Sports Reporter

The Nationals are in first place; the Phillies are in fourth place. There is no reason the Nationals should have to launch a, “Take Back the Park” campaign. By doing this, you are inciting the Philadelphia fans to come down and invade your ballpark. We all know that there isn’t much to do in Philadelphia, and the fans don’t really have much going for them, so they take a full weekend and come to Washington to watch their .500 team.

This is your chance, Nats fans. Show up because your baseball team is playing well and in first place. Show up because Steven Strasburg pitches Friday night and there is a guy named Bryce Harper in the lineup. Everyone has been begging for a baseball team in this town, and not only do we have that, but we have one that is playing some good baseball.

Adam Tuss – WTOP’s Sprawl & Crawl Reporter (Oh yeah, he’s from Philly)

There’s no greater feeling than going to Nats Park and seeing the stadium flooded with your own fans. Before you get all worked up about it, ask yourself: Isn’t that what you’d like YOUR fan base to do?

The fact is, Phillies fans not only flood Nats Park, but also travel to New York, Chicago, Florida, even San Diego and San Francisco. Nats Park just has the unfortunate geographical disadvantage of being so close.

Hopefully, this will turn into a great and true rivalry for years to come. We are on our way.

Mike McMearty – WTOP’s Senior News Director

I will admit it gets under my skin to hear cheers when the visiting team scores a run, but just like when I was an Orioles’ fan (before the dark days of Angelos), I accepted that if we couldn’t fill the seats with O’s fans, then it was on us when Red Sox and Yankee fans came to town and drowned us out.

Now, some of my best friends are Phillies fans (no, really). But the only time I went to Philadelphia to see a baseball game I was told to leave my car (with Maryland plates) at home. Why? Because Philly fans would slit our tires or key our cars in the parking lot outside Veteran’s Stadium.

I don’t have high hopes that Nats fans will “Take Back the Park” this weekend, but progress is being made. Not rolling out the red carpet is a good start.

Seriously Philly fans… if we can’t fill the seats, then IT IS on us. You should, “take over.”

However, next time you’re in our house, try to be a good guest. Look around you. Are there any kids sitting around you? Try setting a good example. Be loud… be proud… just don’t be profane. That’s on you. Keep your boorish behavior to your own park (with built in jail/drunk tank) where you won’t have to drive so far when they let you out of lockup in the morning.

The schedule has the Nationals hosting the Phillies in the last three games of the regular season. Let’s hope those games are meaningful for what happens on the field, in the stands, and, most importantly, in the standings.

Craig Heist – WTOP’s Sports Reporter

I walked into Nationals Park Friday afternoon and the name of the place had changed. It’s now called, “Natitude Park.’ OK, I get it. It’s the year-long slogan “Take Back the Park” from the obnoxious Phillies fans. I get that, too.

But as a guy who has covered this game for the better part of 25 years, how about marketing the fact you have a first place team, or the fact your two No. 1 draft picks from 2009 and 2010 are a main part of this current first place team.

Winning cures all ills and if they continue to win, the park will be full and not with Phillies fans or at least not as many of them.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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