The park has been re-taken: The Philadelphia Phillies lose at Nationals Park


Jun 5, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals celebrate winning over Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: H.Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

For years, it was a common occurrence; When the Phillies came to Washington to play the Nationals, Nationals Park would be overrun by Phillies fans.

And Phillies fans didn’t come quietly. We’d be loud, overbearing, and generally take over the stadium to the point where the stadium was dubbed “Citizens Bank Park South.”

At first, Nationals management encouraged it, because hey, at least somebody was coming to the stadium. In 2012, they changed their minds, and began a “Take back the park” campaign that met with middling success.

The Nationals didn’t seem to realize that there was only one way for them to truly “take back the park:” Have the Phillies not be good anymore.

The Phillies are clearly not very good in 2014. And yesterday at Nationals Park, the results could be seen in the stands. On an absolutely beautiful afternoon, there was a good crowd on hand, and the majority of them were cheering for the home team.

Sure, there was applause when the Phillies scored in the first inning, but it was far from overwhelming. Nationals home runs were met by cheers, not boos. And Jayson Werth wasn’t the recipient of constant heckling.

Jayson Werth was actually cheered for making this catch. Image Credit: H.Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

I can’t blame Phillies fans for not wanting to travel. It’s bad enough watching the Phillies get swept while sitting at home, so why drive three hours just to watch them do it at a different team’s stadium?

At first, the Phillies looked like they might give their few supporters on hand a reason to celebrate. They got off to an early lead when Chase Utley drove in a run. But then Kyle Kendrick surrendered his obligatory first inning run, and the lead was gone.

Kendrick kept allowing baserunners, but for the most part, he worked out of the jams. But you can only live on the edge for so long, and in the fifth inning, the Nationals finally made him pay. Adam LaRoche’s two-run home run was the key blow in a three-run inning.

Given the state of the Phillies offense, the game was essentially over. They added a run on a solo homer by John Mayberry, Jr. (his second in two days), but that was it.

The Phillies will make two more visits to Washington this season. Since I live near the city, I’ll most likely go to at least a couple of the games. But I have a feeling that unless we see an unexpected turnaround by the Phillies soon, my pro-Phillies cheers will continue to be the exception, and not the rule.