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Fan Report: Nats Security Not Impressed With 2008 World Series Pennant

May 18, 2009, 12:45 PM EDT

Section104

Phillies fan Justin writes in with his tale from Saturday's game in which the Nationals security are not cool with his 2008 World Series banner.


I have a bone to pick and a story to get off my chest after an incident at the Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader.

Earlier in the week, I had agreed to meet up with my Raaauuul-worshipping friend Bryan (featured in this post on TheFightins) and go to the game with him and a buddy of his who were coming down from Reading.  They had already bought tickets in Row B of Section 104 and my plan was go to the window on gameday and get something “close”.  Now
I live in Fairfax, a western ‘burb of DC, and get to see daily how Nats
fans disguise them themselves as empty blue seats, so I fancied this to
be an easy proposition.  So I threw on my maroon throwback
Phillies hat and Mike Schmidt t-shirt, grabbed my souvenir 2008 World
Series pennant given away at the Phils’ home opener, hopped on the
Metro at 10:45, and was down at Nats park about hour later.  But
when I went to purchase my ticket, even I was surprised that they
offered me a seat in Row A of said section – the front row!  See me in the attached picture.

 

I
meet Bryan and his friend near the Red Loft bar atop center field; we
exchange pleasantries and consume alcohol before heading to our seats
to watch Brett Myers and Chris Coste warm up and throw longtoss.  Bryan’s friend also brought his pennant, and wears it as a cape – sweet.  I stand at my seat and decide to hold my pennant at the railing while observing our heroes practice.  I was aware of the Nats Park policy on signs and banners, which reads as such:

 

                Signs & Banners

Guests
are permitted to bring and display banners and signs at Nationals Park
as long as they are baseball-related and are only displayed during
inning breaks. Such banners and signs may not interfere with the game
or other guest's enjoyment of the game. These banners and signs are not
allowed to cover any ballpark signage or contain any language deemed
inappropriate by the Nationals Management. Banners and signs are not
allowed to be paraded through any part of the ballpark at any time.
Poles and sticks are also prohibited. The Washington Nationals reserve
the right to remove banners and signs from the ballpark for any reason
they deem appropriate.

 

I
figured holding the pennant would not be a problem (note that I did not
affix it to the rail, and it did not even reach down to the flower
bed), as this was well before the game, and I planned on putting it
away once the game started, except for waving it around a little after
the Phils would score.  About 5 minutes after I first
unfurled it, an gentleman on the field sporting a stylish red blazer
(presumably an event manager) walked over and politely reminded me to
put the pennant away at gametime.  I told him I would happily oblige and figured that was that.

 

Then,
about 5 minutes after that, 3 or 4 stadium security officials dressed
in a garish yellow shirts walked down from the left field concourse,
surrounded all five fans (all Phillies fans, of course) in our section
at the time, and started barking the pennant must immediately go,
saying their “command post” had been “specifically observing” me as if
they were at NORAD tracking commies and ICBMs.  The other fans begin yapping back at the guards.  After
a brief confrontation with me citing the policy and explaining my
conversation with the gentleman on the field, they raised their voices
and exclaimed that this was my “last warning”.  I was threatened with ejection from the ballpark a full 20 minutes before the game.  Of course, had they done that, the Nats would’ve lost about 10% of attendance for that game.  I
reluctantly folded up the pennant and put it away before deciding to
use it as a cover for my legs so they wouldn’t get burnt to a crisp by
the sun since I did not have sunblock lotion.

 

Now
once the game started, these assnats [sic] came back and had the
audacity to check the tickets for what was now all 8 fans (all Phillies
supporters, of course) in Section 104, making sure we were in our exact
seats, further drawing our ire and more snide comments about the high
demand for Nats tickets.

 

When Raul hit his first homer in the top of the 1st, I released all my pent-up frustration and anger by vigorously waving the pennant in the direction of the guards.  They just stood there knowing there wasn’t a damn thing they could’ve down about the situation.

 

So eff you Nats.  F
you.  But thank you, Ben's Chili Bowl, for the delicious half-smoke
even though you put of the wrapper on the outside of the cardboard tray.
 
Love,
Justin in Fairfax