With less than two weeks left in the regular season and the Washington Nationals barely hanging on to their playoff chances, team officials this week will send invoices for playoff tickets to season ticket holders.
Nationals President Tony Tavares said he was waiting until the last minute so he could assess the team's chances before asking customers to pay for the tickets.
"I'm the holdup," Tavares said. "I didn't want people accusing me of being unrealistic by billing them for something we have no chance of and then saying, 'All you want is my money.' "
There are 14,000 season ticket account holders, who account for about 22,000 seats at RFK Stadium. All 14,000 will have the opportunity to purchase their seats for 11 potential postseason games, starting with a wild-card tiebreaker game on Oct. 3 at home, if necessary, according to a Nationals spokesman.
There is a potential of having up to three home games during the National League Division Series and then four home games during the National League Championship Series. If the Nationals make it to the World Series, the tickets will include three home games because the American League has home-field advantage after winning the All-Star Game.
The tickets will be priced higher than the regular season price and will increase if the Nationals advance through the playoffs toward the World Series.
If the Nationals don't make the playoffs or are eliminated during the playoffs, fans can indicate on the ticket form whether to have the balance returned to them or credited toward 2006 season tickets, according to a team spokesman.
Tavares acknowledged waiting until the last minute to issue order forms but said he didn't want to tie up fans' money.
"I've billed early and I've billed late, and what you get accused of when billing early is taking advantage of people in their enthusiasm," he said. "You get accused of holding on to people's money when it's better off in their pocket."