The Washington Nationals tickets belonging to Kent Wilson and his father, Richard Wilson, are gone now. They were given away via Craigslist with one stipulation:
If you'd like tickets for a game — completely free — shoot me a note. I would only ask that you enjoy the game and make sure the seats don't go to waste.
The Wilsons made it to opening day at Nationals Park, but went home right after Bryce Harper hit his first home run of the year. Because of Richard Wilson's liver cancer, he was too sick to see any more. He never got back to the ballpark with his son. Richard Wilson died June 8.
They had bought season tickets during the offseason, aware of Richard Wilson's condition and chances, out of love for baseball and an optimism about life. Understandably, Wilson's son hasn't wanted to use their tickets without his dad there. So he set out to give them to friends and family and to "nice strangers on Craigslist."
In the D.C. Sports Bog, Kent Wilson explained that his dad still watched the Nats on TV:
“After work I’d come over and watch the games with him pretty much every night,” Kent told me. “We didn’t really talk a whole lot. He’d complain about Drew Storen sometimes. Some of his friends would come over, and four or five people would squeeze into his bedroom, watching his TV. It was a nice thing for us to do.”
After word got out about the Craigslist offer, fans snapped up the tickets. Others just wrote back to tell Kent Wilson how much they appreciated his gesture. Maybe they had a relative with cancer who also loved baseball. But there were so many inquiries, so many fans getting shut out, that Wilson bought more tickets himself, just so he could give them away. He's just not ready to go back without his dad:
“I feel like he would want me to watch the games, and I know he’d want me to go, too, but it’s just too hard,” he told me. “Sitting in those seats, I don’t know. It would be really sad. I don’t think I’d enjoy it.”
But while this wasn’t the point, giving away the tickets to perfect strangers with their own stories about dads and baseball made it easier for Kent to think about going back to Half Street. Maybe, he said, he’ll try again next year. Maybe he’ll even get season tickets again, in a different location.