You probably won’t be seeing a lot of Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg at Nats Park this spring. But the two phenom types will both be at the park on Wednesday for NatsFest, the team’s season-preview festival that will be held in the spring for the first time this year.
(And yes, I’m partially posting this just to highlight the above ticket, which came from Tickets.com and not the Nats, but which seems to be confused about the exact year we’re living in. Again, this came from Tickets.com, and not the Nats. But these things seem to follow the franchise around, no? It’s via @hokie98jj.)
As for the event, it costs $5 for kids and $10 for adults, and will include an hour-long practice, Q&A sessions, hand shakes, live music, giveaways and the entire opening day roster. Plus, there will be prospects (Harper, Strasburg and a few others), legends (Frank Howard, Davey Johnson, Bob Boone), and inflatables (no, not Ray King). The first 5,000 fans also get a Nationals slingbag, which you can either sling around your neck or sling at giant racing presidents. The full schedule and release is here.
Some fans, of course, questioned why the team was holding this event in March, and not in January, the way many clubs do (and the way the Nats have recently done).
“We’re still a new franchise, and there haven’t been established traditions,” Andy Feffer, the team’s chief operating officer, told me this week. Last year we had an exhibition game, and it didn’t lend itself to an event like this. After talking to some of our fans and looking at the schedule, we said wouldn’t it be great if we could take NatsFest from indoors to outdoors, take the entire team, our prospects, some of these legends and make something bigger and better and see how it works. We’re trying to be innovative and creative, looking at ways for our fans to try new things, to create greater access in different ways.”