Nationals’ minor league affiliate had to turn fans away from tattoo promotion

The Washington Nationals’ Class AAA affiliate Syracuse Chiefs offered free general-admission seating for life to the first 36 fans at Tuesday’s game who got a tattoo of the Chiefs’ primary ‘C’ logo.

The turnout was Bryce Harper bobblehead-esque.

Syracuse.com reports the first fans started lining up at noon, six hours before the gates opened. By 5 p.m., the team was turning away fans hoping to take advantage of the promotion. Jared Wicks wasn’t the first person in line at the stadium — he arrived around 3 p.m. — but he was the first person in the chair at Carmelo’s Ink City after filling out the necessary paperwork and presenting his team-issued tattoo certificate.

“I was very excited about the promotion,” said Wicks, 27, a former corrections officer who is working as a beat reporter for the Syracuse Junior Chiefs of the New York Collegiate Baseball League while pursuing a degree in broadcast journalism at Oswego State. “The only issue was that the tattoo had to be in black and white. It was kind of disappointing that I couldn’t get the full color logo.”

Wicks said the black-and-white restriction was part of the team’s attempt to guard against counterfeit free-admission-for-life Chiefs tattoos. The design also features a special marking that can only be seen under a blacklight.

The black-and-white ‘C’ on his left arm isn’t Wicks’s first tattoo. In fact, it isn’t his first Syracuse Chiefs tattoo. He had an Old English ‘S,’ which the Chiefs used as their logo from 1970-77, tattooed on his chest eight years ago.

“I’m just a big Chiefs fan and I always wanted to get something,” Wicks said. “As far as choosing that particular logo, I just thought the ‘S’ would be more timeless, like the classic Detroit Tigers logo.”

Wicks has lived in the Syracuse area for his entire life and recalls rooting for future big league stars Carlos Delgado, Shawn Green and Chris Carpenter when the Chiefs were affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays. His interest in the team only grew during high school.

“Syracuse isn’t a city where there’s a whole lot going on,” said Wicks, who still considers the Blue Jays his favorite major league team, but now also keeps an eye on the Nationals. “You can only hang out at somebody’s house for so long, so we went to some baseball games and got up real close.” 

Wicks gets a closeup look at some of the Nationals’ top prospects as a Chiefs season-ticket holder and he thinks Steven Souza Jr. and Taylor Hill have the most promising futures. (He also never would’ve predicted Ian Desmond would develop the way he did in the majors.) Even with free admission for life, Wicks said he’ll probably buy some sort of ticket package next year.

“The tattoo only guarantees a general-admission ticket and I want to ensure good seats for good games,” he said. He’s also considering another Chiefs tattoo for his right arm, one of the logo the Chiefs used from 1987 to 1996. Here’s proof that Wicks wasn’t the only fan to get tattooed: 

Update: A 72-year-old grandmother was among the 36 fans who got a tattoo.

Scott Allen writes about all things DC sports. Follow him on Twitter @ScottSAllen or e-mail him if you’ve got a tip to share.
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