Rachel Levitin: The developing Nats fan base

So a Red Sox fan, a Yankees fan, a Cubs fan, a Dodgers fan and an Expos fan all walk into a bar ... sounds like the start of a really messed up baseball joke, right? For as odd as it may appear at first glance, that was my Monday night. Only all those fans actually had something in common, they were all Nats fans. too.

Some called it cheating, others call it a sweet affair. But at the end of the day, it really all boils down to a love for the game of Major League Baseball by charging their fan allegiances to more than one team. I learned more about the smaller, inner workings of this sect of the Nats die-hard fan base in town, too. Everyone’s got a back story and it almost always either involves another team or another baseball story that got them there.

The D.C. Baseball Society is composed of a moderate-sized group of men and women who gather monthly (when possible) to talk baseball in a social setting. This particular meeting featured guest bloggers covering the Washington-based Nats blogger gamut with appearances from several Nats Buzz guest bloggers (past and present), including Dave Nichols of District Sports Page, Patrick Reddington of Federal Baseball, Marty Niland of D.C. Baseball History and myself.

This particular group of baseball fans ranges from die-hard scorekeeper to season-ticket holder to American League fans claiming their National League allegiances to the Washington Nationals. It’s quite the case study in how fan bases develop when a new team is born out of an aging franchise.

Some of D.C. Baseball Society members have children and made it a point to comment that their kids are Nats fans. Whether it’s picking the Nats as their team every time they pick up their baseball video game or whether it’s watching your favorite Nats highlights from the game the next morning on an iPad while getting ready for school, the younger generation is getting keen to the Nats baseball agenda through their parents.

Granted, kids will pick up following their home team from growing up in any given city if that’s what they’re into, but there’s something special about following in the steps of your die-hard baseball fan of a parent that just romanticizes the story that much more. Because, to me, baseball’s always been a romantic sport due to its strong tie-in with tradition and history. That’s why I think it will continue to be fascinating to watch how the Nats fan base grows over time and which kids stick around for the long haul or which set of parents grow into those older couples we see walking hand-in-hand in their Nats gear to and from the Metro at Nats Park.

A new notch on the timeline belt is being created in the Nats’ history each day and the fans are the ones who will preach the team’s gospel for as long as they’re in Washington. That’s why it’s worth it to hear their stories and why they go to the game. You always learn something new.

Rachel Levitin blogs about the Nationals for We Love DC, and will be sharing her observations about baseball in the nation’s capital 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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