Rachel Levitin: Would Veeck’s wacky promotion play at Nationals Park?

It was August 24, 1951 when the St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck Jr. decided to host Grandstand Manager’s Day. This ballpark promotion had fans sending in a newspaper form that allowed them to set the last-place Browns’ lineup against the Athletics, in addition to getting free admission the special Grandstand Managers Section at Sportsman’s Park.

When a decision from the manager was necessary, a sign was raised over the Browns dubout asking the fans sitting in the Grandstand Managers Section what the Browns should do next. That day, 1,115 would-be managers responded to Veeck’s idea from the grandstand by holding up color-coded cards.

The fans of that game went on to assist the Browns by ending a four-game losing streak with a 5-3 victory over the Athletics while the official manager, Zach Taylor, sat somewhere in his rocking chair smoking a pipe on his night off.

Now, I’m not saying the Nationals should give current manager Jim Riggleman a night off, especially after last night’s comeback victory against the Braves, but it is an interesting concept to toy with.

Nationals fans tend to be a vocal bunch, season ticket holders even moreso than the rest. A lot of people in this town know an awful lot about this baseball team. Plus, the Nationals organization is known for hosting a plethora of dates throughout the regular season to promote causes and give out freebie merchandise. They even have a skateboarding dog coming to Nationals Park Saturday as part of the Pups in the Park celebration.

Imagine if the Nationals ever hosted a Grandstand Manager’s Day allowing a singular section from within the park to call a game while Riggleman got a night off to relax. It could make for one heck of a baseball game. Plus, it doesn’t sound like any team has tried Grandstand Manager Day since 1951.

Rachel Levitin blogs about the Nationals for We Love DC, and will be sharing her observations about baseball in the nation’s capital this week as part of MASNsports.com’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our little corner of cyberspace. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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