Bryce Harper on dwindling Nats fans: ‘They have a whole winter to watch RGIII’

August 28, 2013

Maddie Meyer/ The Washington Post

The Nats have not had the season that fans were expecting. Combine that with the start of football season, folks getting their August vacations in and kids starting school — well, it can be a disaster for baseball attendance. The Nats, who average around 34,000 fans a game, have seen a drop in the numbers, with Tuesday night’s announced crowd at 24,616.

Bryce Harper is not happy with the empty seats, and he wants you to come back.

“To be able to get them here and having them support us a little bit more in this last month would be huge,” he told Comcast SportsNet’s Mark Zuckerman in an interview that aired Wednesday evening. “Coming to a game without any fans isn’t fun. Last night we didn’t have that many and we need that for this last month. I think us playing well, and fans coming to the game and really being here each night we play is huge for us. Hopefully we can get going in this last month and especially when we’re at home and we’re playing the Mets and Marlins or Phillies or anybody. It doesn’t really matter.”

Harper acknowledged that Washington’s love affair with Robert Griffin III is tough to compete with, but the Nats slugger is asking you to put RGIII on the back burner for now.

“I think it’s tired. I really do,” he said, of the Nats’ dwindling attendance. “I think just because football season’s coming up. We’re still in it. Having the support is really going to help us in this last month, and I think fans know that. Guys feed off the crowd and feed off the fans. They’ve got a whole winter to watch RGIII. I think we’re all looking forward to that, but we could possibly get into the playoffs and go farther from there.”

Of course, Harper knows that RGIII isn’t to blame for poor attendance on a humid weeknight in August, but I certainly appreciate the opportunity to use “Bryce Harper” and “RGIII” in a headline.

As for the fans, the Nats outfielder is nostalgic for last year’s crowds and made a plea for fans to show up and give the players a boost in morale.

“We had one of the best crowds in all of baseball last year,” he said. “I think they’ve been good this year, except for lately. But I think in the postseason we had what he has, all the people here for the playoff games and stuff, and we really fed off of that. And I think Werth can vouch for that, and other guys can too. When Werth hit that home in Game 4 to get us to Game 5, I think he fed off the fans and I think everybody feeds off the fans. Hopefully we can get them out there for that last month and I think that would be huge, and I think they should come out and support us for the last month.”

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Dan Steinberg | August 28, 2013