DC Matt has covered his experience at the Strasburg debut, and his seats were a lot better than mine and so are his photos. I’ll refer you to the experts for a break down of his performance, which unless you live under a rock you should be familiar with by now.
What I did observe from the upper deck had more to do with baseball culture than a baseball game. For most people in section 408, this was not a game, it was an event.
Washington has facetiously been referred to as “Hollywood for Ugly People,” and there was a little bit of that on display last night. The DC publication Politico seldom wades into sports, but this article does a good job illustrating how the game became something of a scene.
The cheap seats were filled with young men and women who were too dressed up for baseball but not dressed up enough for work, with big sunglasses, Miller Lites, and and looks on their faces more suitable for a Coldplay concert than a baseball game. It is a scene that is very familiar around Washington today.
There was a tremendous amount of energy in the ballpark when Strasburg was pitching, no doubt about it. Fans were mostly cheering at the right time, and people seemed to have a sense of what was unfolding particularly when Strasburg struck out the side in the 7th. Unfortunately, that energy was not sustained after he departed. Tyler Clippard and Matt Capps are solid receivers and they did a good job closing out the Pirates, but by that time a large portion of the crowd had departed.
Washington is a town with a transient fan base. People (like yours truly) come and go, and largely keep their hometown allegiances. To really make it in this town, the Nationals need this kind of energy and “event” like atmosphere for a while. A pennant race could be very energizing, but only time will tell.