The Phillies knew they were making drastic changes by trading away key players at the deadline and now they are seeing the effects. Monday night's game between the Braves and Phillies at Citizens Bank Park brought an announced attendance of 41,665, breaking the team's record-setting sellout streak.
The Phillies sold out an amazing 257 games starting on July 6, 2009, it is the longest streak in National League history and the third-longest in MLB history. Only the Indians with 445 straight from 1995-2001 and the Red Sox with a current streak of 772 can boast more consecutive sellouts.
Phillies president David Montgomery released a statement via the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The number of sellouts could not have been possible without the tremendous loyalty of our fans who continue to lead all of Major League Baseball in average attendance this year."
The Phillies do, in fact, lead the majors this season with average attendance, as they did last season. They have ranked in the top five of average attendance in each of the last five years.
Their streak is remarkable in how hard it is to sustain a fan base in professional sports and in professional baseball. The Nationals have made a huge improvement this season in winning games and have seen a big jump in ticket sales. Washington's average attendance ranks 15th in the majors this season after slotting 20th last year. They have improved their attendance by nearly 5,000 patrons per game. But at that rate of increase they would need three more years to make the top five in the league.
The Phillies may retool and be competitive next year as they still have some talent, but it is stories like these that seem to continue a changing of eras in the N.L. East.
The Washington Nationals have signed former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters to a one-year deal with a player option for a second year, according to multiple reports.
Wieters spent the first eight years in the Majors with the Baltimore Orioles, being named to the AL All-Star team four times and winning two gold glove awards. Last season the switch-hitting catcher posted a .243 average with 17 homers and 66 RBI.
The Nationals have been in the market for catchers all offseason after Wilson Ramos left for Tampa Bay in free agency. The team traded for former Padres catcher Derek Norris, whose role is now in question. The Nationals still have Jose Lobaton on the roster as a strong defensive backup catcher who has a proven rapport with many of the pitchers in the Nationals rotation. Wieters had been linked to the Nationals all offseason because of the team's need a the position and because of the Nationals close relationship with Wieters' agent Scott Boras.
The only significant time that Wieters has missed due to injury in his career came in 2014-15 when he had Tommy John surgury. Prior to that surgury, however, Wieters had played in at least 130 games for four straight seasons and became a large part of the Orioles' identity.
The 30-year-old backstop will give the Nationals lineup more depth and power. Wieters had three consecutive 20-homer seasons from 2011-13 and since 2009 when his career began, he ranks fifth among catchers in all of baseball in home runs with 117.
Related: Nationals 2017 promotional schedule includes snow globes and fedoras
The Washington Nationals recently released the dates of their promotional days and giveaways this season, and there are some real gems in this schedule.
Among the standard bobblehead giveaways — Daniel Murphy on April 14, Trea Turner on May 12 and Tanner Roark on June 9 — and the highly recommended Pups in the Park days — April 29, May 13, June 10, June 25, September 7 and September 30 — pick the right game and you could get a snow globe, an American flag shirt or even a fedora. Seriously.
On May 24’s game against the Mariners, the first 25,000 fans will get a Max Scherzer snow globe, which has the potential to be the coolest knickknack in your house. Or on June 14 against the Braves — oddly not closer to the Fourth of July — Budweiser is behind the first 15,000 21-and-up fans getting an American flag tank top.
But truly the most unique item on this list is the Nationals-themed fedora, which will go to the first 25,000 fans at the Brewers’ July 26 matchup. How the Nats landed on this promotional item remains a mystery, but if you like hats beyond a traditional baseball cap, this is the game to attend.
Other cool or oddball promotions include the Nats Magic 8-Ball game April 3, the Chewbacca Koozie day May 27, Bryce Harper action figure day August 29 and Oktoberfest beer stein day Sept. 29.
Here's the complete list of the team's promotional days and giveaways.
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