Thursday, May 12, 2005

Push And Polled

DCist has another post questioning the long-term viability of the team here. Apparently, the sky is falling, and I wasn't aware of it.

The site hasn't taken an anti-Nats position explicitly, but it's reminiscent of push polling: "Would you still be inclined to vote for John McCain if you knew he was a satanic nazi worshiper?"

The comments are interesting, showing off some people (Yurasko) who know what they're talking about, and several people who don't know a hell of a lot, but like sounding like they do.


  • I'm the author of the recent posts on the Nats, and for the sake of clarity, let me say that those posts reflect my opinion and my opinion only.

    That being said, I am not at all anti-Nationals. I've been to games, I proudly wear a hat, and I am happy that the team is doing better than expected.

    I think it's fair, though, to question the process undertaken by the city to acquire the team. I still disagree with building a new stadium, and I still think Mayor Williams roled over for MLB's owners. The more the news comes out the more it becomes apparent that the city will end up paying a lot for this stadium. Yes, the city is doing fine now, but seeing that stadium rarely have the positive economic impact that their boosters claim, it's prudent to ask whether this is the type of long-term investment the city wants to make right now.

    Beyond that, I also think it's legitimate to ask who the team's fans are. This isn't me trying to state an opinion -- it's a real question on my part. Are Nats fans esentially outsiders? Or do D.C. residents feel some allegiance to the team?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/12/2005 11:21 AM  

  • Thanks for responding.

    I won't comment here on the politics of the stadium. I've tried to stay out of the political questions surrounding it. I'm certainly not a fan of gov't subsidies for these things, but I'm open-minded that the influx of revenue from VA and MD could make this the exception to the rule.

    To the larger point, I'll just ask, why does it matter whether the fans are from DC or MD? One of the things that drives me crazy (And yes, I'm one of those carpetbagging Yankees) is this separation of the area into different jurisdictions. Instead of thinking regionally, too many people like to isolate and separate the area, as if Rockville and Alexandria aren't really part of DC.

    I would say that many of the fans ARE coming from VA and the Rockville area. But, that's just because of demographics. Baseball fans tend to be more affluent and better educated. (That's not to say that ALL fans are like that, just some)

    And it's been shown time and again that baseball's popularity among african americans continues to decline.

    It'll take some time to cultivate some fans within the city. But, it can be done.

    In the meantime, they're drawing pretty well among us carpetbaggers who grew up watching baseball in other areas and learned to love it elsewhere.

    Allegience takes time. It'll take some winning, and some community relations, but DC (and even people in the city proper) will learn the passion the nutballs who read this site already feel.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 5/12/2005 11:30 AM  

  • Good response.

    And you're right, in a perfect world, we wouldn't divide the area into District and non-District. But that's the nature of living in a city -- much like New Yorkers can make fun of those that live in New Jersey, D.C. residents can mock those that flee to the suburbs (which I am sure we will all eventually do, but no less...).

    There are divisions, though. Some political, others social, but divisions do exist. I think those divisions will always exist, or as long as the District is denied basic voting rights and its citizens told what to do by members of Congress who do not live here nor represent us. D.C., in my estimation, is disgruntled by the fact that they can't do the most simple things such as charge a commuter tax for the hundreds of thousands of outsiders that use the city for employment but flee it at night.

    But this is simply my opinion, and I could be wrong.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/12/2005 12:18 PM  

  • Martin,

    Thanks for the well-written posts explaining your view. But your question about "who" the fans are perplexes me. Where would I fit in? I've lived in Arlington since 1991, and before that lived in Falls Church, Alexandria and Sliver Spring from 1987-1990. No, I've never lived in the District, but every job I've had has been there, and I went to law school in DC. So I've spent a lot of time in the District. The primary reason for me NOT living in the district is money -- it has always been too expensive for me to live there (esp. in the early years, when I had nothing).

    So am I an outsider? It sounds like by your definition I am. And frankly, I've generally felt like an outsider here, in large part because (as Chris points out) people here keep trying to segregate the areas in this region (Arlington, Old Town, Bethesda, PG County, etc.).

    Until the Nats. I really identified with the Post column a few weeks back where the writer explained how the Nats give him an opportunity to start up a conversation with people he sees on the street or around town, as he never would have before. I personally enjoy having another reason to come into the district and feel good about it.

    This is a real opportunity (i.e. good excuse) for everyone (dc residents and suburbanites) to get over their hang-ups about each other and just be a community. I hope we take it.


    By Blogger DM, at 5/12/2005 2:09 PM  

  • I'll just say that I think the NYC analogy is correct but flawed.

    Certainly there are regional differences there, but I think that Alexandria and Rockville (to use two more prominent examples) are more like separate boroughs than they are like Hoboken or Stamford.

    We need to think of this area more in terms of NYC's boroughs -- separated by geography, but still working together.

    A better comparison for NJ and Long Island would be places like Dumfries or Columbia, that are much further out and isolated from what goes on in the city.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 5/12/2005 2:31 PM  

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