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WMATA’s Nats page promises “You’ll be batting a thousand every time you travel to your nearest Metro Park and Ride lot for a quick and easy trip to Nationals Park,” which doesn’t seem to be quite accurate. Regardless, the media backlash from last week’s late-night Metro vs. Nats kerfuffle has been pretty one-sided, and it’s not focused on Metro.
Tracee Hamilton wrote that “if fans can’t get to the games, or can’t get home from them, that’s a black eye on the Nationals. Besides, the District has already helped the Nats — the stadium, the infrastructure. It’s time for them to stand on their own two cleats.”
The Post editorial board wrote that “to the extent possible, ticket-holding fans ought to be in Nationals Park seats, not Metro seats, for the game-winning hits,” asking the Nats to reconsider their stance.
And City Paper’s Alan Suderman wrote that the Nats were being “insanely greedy” to request that D.C. pay for late-night Metro, and that “this request is coming from a business that wouldn’t even have a stadium to play in were it not for the forced generosity of the District’s corporate taxpayers.”
Turns out WRC’s Jim Vance also weighed in, with a forceful “Vance’s View” commentary. Vance, you’ll recall, recently upbraided D.C.’s media for paying too much attention to the Redskins and not enough to the Nats. Well, now he’s paying attention.
“There are some people in this town who are really upset with the Nationals,” he said. “And to be sure, their ire is not directed at the team. Not much to be mad about with a team that’s first in the NL East with almost a lock on the playoffs.
“No, the bad vibes flow to the ownership, or whoever it is that is refusing to pay Metro to stay open later when a game goes into extra innings, thus ensuring that the huge number of fans who took Metro to the game will be able to take it home as well. Relatively speaking, we are not talking about a huge chunk of money — it’s a bit over 20 grand, some of which could be refunded depending on how many fans go through the turnstiles.
“Two of the other professional sports franchises in the city — we’re talking about the Caps and the Skins — have rather routinely been putting up the cash. The Nats refuse. They insist the city should pay. SAY WHAT? By the city, they mean the taxpayers, and by taxpayers, they mean the people who have already put up more than $600 million to build that stadium, and by taxpayers they mean Washingtonians whose numbers in the stadium on any given game are way fewer than those from anywhere else in the area and beyond.
“I remember a game I went to a few years back against the Phillies, I would swear to you there were more Philadelphians in that stadium than the population of all four quadrants of D.C. put together. As they say on ESPN, C’MON, MAN! The excitement, the good energy, the joy, the fan loyalty that is generated by pulling one out in the bottom of the 12th has got to more than compensate for a few thousand bucks it might cost the team to see to it that those thousands of fans can relive all that excitement in Metro cars all the way back to the parking lots.”