Distinguished Senators, the Washington Nationals Blog That Is Great

Friday, July 24, 2015


Here's an awkward question: Are we bad fans?

By "we," I mean "y'all." "All y'all," to be less specific. Not me - I'm definitely a bad fan. One of the worst. I only go to games when there's a Livan-related trinket available.

The evidence that Nats fans are bad at being Nats fans is mounting. Sure, it's all circumstantial, but we're not looking at whether the fan base is going to prison, only whether it has bragging rights over Cincinnati or Phoenix or wherever. The burden of proof on this one is light as a feather.

We call it the fan base to make it seem bigger, by the way. You don't want to call and say the fan is going to be there. We put "base" on the end of it.

Some blog intended to help the SEO of a site that's trying to sell you after-market tickets put together a hell of scientific study about fan base enthusiasm, factoring in attendance and ticket price and even diseases of the modern age like Facebook and Twitter engagement.

It's the .48 that gets me. You can't round up.
We're terrible at this stuff! Are you doing your part? Make sure to follow @Nationals on Twitter with both the real account with your name on it AND the one with the funny pseudonym you use to troll desperate semi-celebrities.

Then there was this story about TV ratings. Ratings for baseball are pretty great everywhere, and the good news is that around here they're well up from back when they were under nine thousaaaaaaaaand.

The bad news is, on a per capita ratings-type basis, we're getting outdrawn by damn near everyone. Even Baltimore! Have you seen what they're doing up there? Playing in an empty ballpark, Steve Pearce at second base, running out of Hawaiian shirts before I got there - it's been a complete debacle.

It looks a little better as a counting stat rather than a rate stat - 67,000 butts in their own seats per game - but still. We're 19th out of 30.

The attendance is actually pretty good. After a pretty rough start (2005: 8th out of 16) and rougher middle (2010: 14th out of 16), we're up to 4th. We're number four!

Based on the available facts, I conclude that Nats are not terrible at being Nats fans. Rather, they are rational actors who respond to incentives and whatever you call the opposite of incentives.

If you offer them Shake Shack and Livan bobblehead dolls, they go to the game. If you offer them Bob Carpenter, they switch over to Ancient Aliens.

PS Make sure to check this out, where Wm. Yurasko makes a pretty convincing case that Aroldis Chapman would be only the third-greatest Cuban in Nats history. He also has a line about Chapman's fastball vis-à-vis Jayson Werth's reckless and imprisonable disregard for all living things that I wish I'd thought of and which I now cannot rip off since I've made it clear that I know about it.

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