Nats' home finale washed away by rain
Club finishes first season in Nationals Park with 34-46 record
WASHINGTON -- Thursday's game between the Nationals and Marlins was canceled because of rain. There will be no makeup date.
The cancellation means that Washington finished its first season at Nationals Park with a 34-46 record. The club will travel to Philadelphia to play a three-game series against the Phillies starting Friday night. Collin Balester will get the start for Washington.
"You never show up to work not wanting to play," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "The weather is tough. But yeah, we want to play the last home game at Nationals Park, and it being fan appreciation day, obviously. You can't control the weather."
The value of the season tickets and applicable season parking passes for this game will be credited to the season-ticket accounts and will be applied towards the cost of 2009 season tickets.
Fans who purchased individual tickets and/or parking passes in advance for this game may redeem their tickets for the same price or lesser value tickets for any Monday-Thursday non-premium game during the 2009 regular season, based on availability. Fans must present the Sept. 25, 2008, game ticket at the time of redemption. Individual parking passes may be presented at the same parking lot for any game in 2009.
Fans who are in possession of group tickets (i.e., 25 or more tickets purchased through the Nationals' group sales department), may redeem their tickets for the same price or lesser value tickets for any Monday-Thursday non-premium game during the 2009 regular season, based on availability. For further information regarding group ticket purchases for Sept. 25, 2008, please contact your group leader or your Washington Nationals group sales representative at 202-675-6287, Option 1.
Season-ticket holders who are in possession of tickets for Thursday's game, which had been exchanged as part of the club's unused ticket exchange program, may redeem their tickets for Upper Gallery Level or Upper Right Field Terrace seats for any Monday-Thursday non-premium game in the 2009 regular season, based on availability.
Complimentary tickets that are not part of the season ticket holder exchange program have no value and may not be redeemed for a game in the 2009 regular or postseason.
Rain-check redemption will begin when individual game tickets go on sale for the 2009 Nationals season in late February or early March.
After the rainout was announced, Acta, the coaching staff and the players went out on the field to thank the fans. Souvenirs were thrown in the stands, while a montage of the 2008 season was played on the scoreboard.
Overall, 2,491,772 fans came to Nationals Park to see the team play in 2008.
"The fans cared all year. They would be with us throughout our struggles and our down times," pitcher Tim Redding said. "No matter how good or bad a season is, we are really nothing without our support systems. The fans came night in and night out."
The overall attendance ranked 13th in the National League and team president Stan Kasten understands why the ranking wasn't higher.
"We have great fans here; the next job is ours to make the team and the product as good as it can be," Kasten said. "When we do, we are going to have spectacular support. I'm philosophical -- we get the attendance we deserve. It is crystal clear -- when we get the product where we want it to be, we are going to have great attendance."
Despite having a record under .500, the Nationals had their share of great moments at Nationals Park, from Ryan Zimmerman's game-winning home run in the first regular-season game played there to Wil Nieves' game-winning shot against the Cubs on April 25.
But Acta said his best moment in the park came on June 29 against the Orioles, when Ronnie Belliard hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Washington a 3-2 victory.
"The Opening Night game was awesome because we were opening the ballpark and all that, but we blew that lead against the Orioles [in June]," Acta said. "We were so down that day. It was so hot. We felt so hopeless with [reliever] George Sherrill in there with two outs, and then we get a walk and a walk-off. That game, I had it on my mind the whole season.
"And we had a few walk-offs, as you guys know. But that one, for some reason, sticks in my mind -- also because of the fact that we drew very well for that series. We had the Orioles fans and the Nats fans here, so that was a very special moment that day."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.