Nationals fan gets through automated phone menu, ends up talking to manager Dave Martinez

Jesse Dougherty wrote a fantastic story in the Washington Post that is either a testament to perseverance or encouragement to keep trying to get a human on the line when navigating a phone menu.

As the report explains, a woman wanted to find out if a May 26 game between the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals was being suspended due to rain. Michele Crowl called Nationals Park on behalf of her husband and son, who were at the ballgame waiting out a rain delay and wondering if they should hit the road for a long drive back to Delaware.

She couldn’t get ahold of anyone at the ticket office, compelling her to try a reply that would get her past the automated menu and in touch with an actual person.

From the Post:

“General management office,” Crowl requested, and she had no expectations until a man answered, more than a few hints of surprise in his voice.

Crowl’s reply worked better than she could’ve imagined. Presumably, the system patched her through to the field manager’s office, where Nationals skipper Dave Martinez was sitting by the phone. He picked up, thinking it might be a call from the umpires telling him if the game had been called off.

The two ended up having a wide-ranging, 20-minute conversation about the current team and returning to normal out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Oh, and Martinez eventually gave Crowl a contact for tickets to a future Nationals game, which was the original point of the phone call.

Martinez said he enjoyed talking directly to a fan, but the Nats might want to tighten up that automated phone system in case more fans try to get through to his desk by saying “general management office.”

Yet people should probably follow Crowl’s example in how to penetrate the wall of an automated phone menu. You never know who might eventually pick up the phone.

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