Nationals' Success Uniting DC; Could "Supplant The Redskins" As Region's Most Revered Team
The Nationals' lead all of MLB with a 76-46 record, and with a World Series win the team could "supplant the Redskins as the region's most revered team," according to Robert McCartney of the WASHINGTON POST. McCartney writes, "If the Washington area comes together to celebrate the Nats’ triumphs as it did when the Redskins won three Super Bowls between 1983 to 1992, then it would do more than anything I can imagine to strengthen our region’s pride and identity." There is a "lot of negative reputation to overcome, but the Nats could do it." Not only are the Nationals "good this year, but they also are built around a core of young stars signed to long-term contracts who could keep the team competitive for years to come." Nationals COO Andy Feffer said, "The Nationals and baseball are the hottest thing in Washington right now. All you have to do is turn on local radio. We are the team in Washington that people are talking about." McCartney noted the Nationals' average attendance is up 28% from last year, to "just over 30,000 per game," while sales of "red caps, jerseys and other merchandise are up 80 percent." However, the Nationals "must overcome one big challenge before they can truly unite the region: Like the rest of Major League Baseball, they need to attract more African American fans." McCartney: "Look at the crowd in Nationals Park -- it doesn't reflect the region's diversity as a Redskins crowd does" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/18).