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In classless move, Nationals ban Cubs ‘W’ flags at Nationals Park

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C’mon, Nats. This was petty and unnecessary.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs’ “W” flag had a humble beginning. It was designed to fly over the Wrigley Field scoreboard, more than 80 years ago, to let passers-by know whether the Cubs had won or not that day, in an era when communications weren’t as instantaneous as they are in 2017.

Cubs fans have embraced the “W” flag in recent years, buying and flying it not only at Wrigley Field but at many visiting ballparks. Cubs fans travel well, as you know, and there were many “W” flags in evidence at Nationals Park after the Cubs won Game 1 of the division series against the Nats Friday night.

Nationals management did not like this. Oh, no, they did not. And that resulted in this:

Really, Nats? Really? You are going to be this petty and nasty to fans of the visiting team, many of whom spent a great deal of money traveling to Washington for the game? And that’s not to mention paying the money to get into your stadium. The “W” flag is not negative nor obscene; banning and confiscating them (and yes, I know these tickets allowed fans to get them back after the game) is just childish.

Reactions from Cubs fans from Washington:

Suzanne Struglinski, who posted the photo of “W flag jail,” snapped this photo of someone who apparently managed to get a “W” flag into Nationals Park anyway:

This is the only time I have ever seen this happen. “W” flags have been spotted all over major-league ballparks — including at Busch Stadium during the 2015 postseason, in the park of the Cubs’ biggest rival. No one at AT&T Park, Dodger Stadium or Progressive Field had any problem with “W” flags flown by Cubs fans during last year’s postseason, including this scene after the Cubs won the World Series in Cleveland last year:

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, and this:

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Kudos to the ballparks that allow happy, friendly celebrations by visiting fans. I assure Nationals fans that Wrigley Field personnel would certainly allow a similar celebration by any visiting fans. Of course, we always hope that doesn’t happen, but if it does, the lesson is: Be gracious, not nasty.

To be fair, this Washington Post article claims the Nationals have a policy banning such items:

The Nats devote 550 words of their Guest Conduct Policy to banners and signs, noting that the rules are meant to ensure that signs and banners “do not distract from the enjoyment” of the game.

Among other rules — prohibiting signs supported by wood or metal, signs that obstruct sightlines, signs that obscure advertising or baseball park signage, and signs bearing messages that are slanderous, obscene, commercial or derogatory — the policy specifies that signs “be no larger than 2 feet by 4 feet.”

A little much, I’d say, plus it was apparently not enforced during Friday night’s game, nor was it evenly enforced Saturday (I heard some Cubs fans did get their “W” flags into Nationals Park Saturday). Also, displaying a “W” flag after the game is over certainly doesn’t “distract from the enjoyment of the game.” Further, Nationals fans displayed banners and flags similar in size to the “W” flag without any issues:

(Psst, Nationals fan: Wrong color scheme.)

Seems to me the Nats need to revisit this policy, especially considering no other MLB stadium has any issues with Cubs fans bringing “W” flags.

Here’s hoping that the Nats won’t even have the chance to do this again, presuming the Cubs can close this series out at Wrigley Field Tuesday.

Trust me, there will be plenty of “W” flags flying in Chicago if that happens.