<
>

Ultimate Standings 2009: No. 97

Last Year's Rank: 63
Title Track: 106
Ownership: 88
Coaching: 74
Players: 86
Fan Relations: 99
Affordability: 51
Stadium Experience: 57
Bang for the Buck: 114

The good news? The Nationals lowered their average ticket price from $32.98 in 2008 to $30.63 this season. The bad? That figure is still the seventh-highest in MLB. Recently, Nats fans have been crying foul about the lack of admission deals, with good reason: Value game stubs typically go for just $2 to $3 less than usual, and there are only five discount games a season. Adding pain to the high price, the club had the worst record in baseball in 2008 (59–102) and is following up with the poorest in 2009. Spectacular failure does have an upside, as the Nats parlayed 2008's miserable finish into the first pick in this year's MLB draft, selecting San Diego State pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg. But before the kid can hurl his 100 mph fastball into a Washington summer night, the team must meet superagent Scott Boras' contract demands. Should the club fail to close the deal by Aug. 17, Strasburg will go back into the draft pool for next year, and the Nats' Standings numbers will likely go into the Potomac. The year-old Nationals Park gets props for its 4,500-square-foot high-def scoreboard, panoramic views of the Washington Monument and Capitol building, excellent sightlines and ample legroom. But how good can the views really be when the home team usually loses?