WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Monday nights Braves-Nationals game is still going on -- in the 12th inning to be exact. It began with fireworks for Washington , who lit up the scoreboard with four first inning runs. As the night dragged on though, the Nats completely fizzled out. Kind of like the crowd at the stadium.
Unbelievably, the Nationals were only able to fill up half of their stands. Just 21,298 fans showed up, including an Atlanta heavy contingent near the third base seats. And that 21,298 quickly turned into a lifeless 10,000 patrons, when the Nats flashed an announcement on the scoreboard that the last metro train would leave at 11:20 P.M. from the Navy Yard -- a fee that the organization could theoretically pay.
There hasn't been a crowd this small at the stadium since May 14th against the San Diego Padres (19,434), when the Nats were nowhere near being the perennial power that they've become. The sad part is that this no-show was completely out of the blue. Ranking 14th in filling the stands this season, the Nationals have averaged 29,994. Nats Park has been THE place to be in D.C. since the fourth of July.
Some will blame the lousy attendance on the 56 minute rain delay, or the fact that the game was on a Monday. I'm sorry: neither of those are excuses at this point. The Nationals are not only the best team in baseball right now, they are the best team in all of sports. It's become rare when a national media outlet doesn't feature the team early on in it's sports programming. I'd argue this is the most compelling team Washington has boasted since the early 90's Redskins.
Nats fans have to look at themselves in the mirror, because thousands of them dropped the ball on Monday. Would a larger crowd have won the team the game in nine innings? Who knows. It certainly wouldn't have hurt. It's just weird, that something finally went wrong for this Nationals team. The Nats bandwagon effect disappeared on the biggest night of the season.
Tonight's showing kind of disproves my theory that the Nats are ready to overtake the Caps in the hearts of D.C. sports fans. Even if the NHL does have less games, there is a zero percent chance people aren't showing up to a big late season Capitals game. Years of making the playoffs have obviously boosted the Caps' likability in town, but people need to realize, securing a pennant in baseball might be the hardest task in team sports. As a fan, you are either in, or your out.
So what was your excuse? Why weren't you there? A Natitude adjustment is needed following Monday loss in the stands.