Stand­ing in­vi­ta­tion to Nats fans

‘K Street’ ball­park sec­tion al­lows fans to make noise when pitcher nears strike­out

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY SCOTT ALLEN scott.allen@wash­ Ex­cerpted from wash­ing­ton­ dc­sports­bog

For the last Fri­day home game of ev­ery month, Sec­tion 108 at Na­tion­als Park trans­forms into K Street, a place where fans can stand and cheer with two strikes — and not just with two outs in the ninth in­ning — with­out some­one yelling at them to sit down.

Un­bri­dled en­thu­si­asm is en­cour­aged through­out K Street, the Na­tion­als’ first of­fi­cial su­per­fan sec­tion.

A ticket costs $39 and comes with a K Street T-shirt (there’s a new de­sign ev­ery month) and a “K” card for fans to hold aloft when a Na­tion­als pitcher gets to two strikes on an op­pos­ing bat­ter or strikes him out.

Con­sid­er­ing a ticket in Sec­tion 108 down the left field line is usu­ally $42$45 at the box of­fice, it’s a good deal, so it’s no sur­prise K Street has sold out for all three games this sea­son. It was es­pe­cially lively on May 26, when Max Scherzer struck out 13 in a 5-1 vic­tory over the San Diego Padres.

Lisa Gro­gan was in her usual seats in right field on that night and had a good view of K Street fans cel­e­brat­ing ev­ery Scherzer strike­out in their Su­per­man themed T-shirts.

“It looked crazy,” Gro­gan said af­ter pick­ing up her T-shirt and “K” card be­hind Sec­tion 109 for the most re­cent K Street pro­mo­tion on June 23. “We know a cou­ple of peo­ple that were there and they said it was like a play­off at­mos­phere, so I re­ally wanted to try it.

“I think it’s a great pro­gres­sion and I think they need to do more of that here, so it’s a good start.”

June’s K Street game against the Cincin­nati Reds co­in­cided with “Game of Thrones” Night, and the T-shirt re­flected it.

When Stephen Stras­burg got to two strikes on a bat­ter, a gentle­man in a White Walker mask en­cour­aged ev­ery­one around him to make noise, and fans waved their “K” cards in the air af­ter ev­ery strike­out.

Amy Ashby also ad­mired the K Street sec­tion from afar dur­ing Scherzer’s 13strike­out per­for­mance in May.

“I think it’s fun,” Ashby said af­ter watch­ing Stras­burg la­bor through five in­nings and strike out five against the Reds. “I think last K Street was maybe more into be­ing K Street than this K Street, but it’s su­per hot and hu­mid, so it could be that. I’d rather it be a Max night, but it’s hu­mid. I’d def­i­nitely do it again.”

Sib­lings Thomas and Jes­sica Patchan share a 20-game ticket pack­age with fam­ily but checked out the K Street ex­pe­ri­ence af­ter notic­ing the “K” cards on TV ear­lier this sea­son. They both said they’d like to re­turn.

“I kind of like be­ing in this sec­tion be­cause it feels like ev­ery­one’s more en­thu­si­as­tic than if you’re in a ran­dom sec­tion,” Jes­sica said. “Ev­ery­one’s into it. It’s fun to be with ev­ery­one who cares.”

“There’s a lot of chatter and knowl­edge­able fans,” Thomas said.

Af­ter Na­tion­als runs, sev­eral fans in the K Street sec­tion shouted the “N-AT-S Nats! Nats! Nats! Woo!” cheer that orig­i­nated in Sec­tion 313 a few years ago and is now painted on the wall be­neath the press box.

They also di­rected a chant of “Shame! Shame! Shame!” — a “Game of Thrones” ref­er­ence — at the um­pire af­ter Wilmer Difo was called out on a close play in the sixth in­ning. And when the game headed into ex­tra in­nings, K Street was as full and rowdy as any sec­tion in the park. Bryce Harper even­tu­ally sent ev­ery­one home happy with a walk-off sin­gle in the 10th.

The Na­tion­als aren’t the first team with a des­ig­nated “K” sec­tion.

The Mariners in­tro­duced a King’s Court for all of Felix Her­nan­dez’s starts in 2011. The King’s Court now takes up three sec­tions in the left field cor­ner at Safeco Field, and tick­ets come with a T-shirt and “K” card.

The “K” card tra­di­tion dates from 1984, when Mets fan Den­nis Scalzitti be­gan hang­ing Ks in Shea Sta­dium’s left field stands for rookie Dwight Gooden’s starts.

Tick­ets are still avail­able for the Na­tion­als’ next K Street game July 28 against the Rock­ies. This month’s hol­i­day-themed T-shirt could be the per­fect way to cel­e­brate the re­lief pitch­ing gifts the Na­tion­als should be ac­quir­ing around that time.

“Ev­ery­one’s into it. It’s fun to be with ev­ery­one who cares.” JES­SICA PATCHAN, Na­tion­als fan, on sit­ting in the “K Street” sec­tion for a game ear­lier this sea­son


Max Scherzer, shown af­ter striking out 20 bat­ters in a game in 2016, kept K Street sec­tion fans on their feet in late May.

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