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Posted at 02:05 PM ET, 07/05/2012

The Nationals on their popularity in D.C.


(Katherine Frey - THE WASHINGTON POST)
Because why not, I got to write a news-section story about Natitude for Wednesday’s paper.

More specifically, it was about how fans are taking to the whole first-place thing.

“It’s the whole carnival atmosphere if they’re winning,” one fan, 47-year old Lew Jenkins, told me. “Who wants to see a loser?”

“I’d rather spend $50 a game to watch them win than $5 to watch them lose,” said another fan, 26-year old David Wood.

And the players, not surprisingly, can sense this rising tide of support.

“Restaurants we go into, guys are coming up to you and shaking your hand and saying we appreciate what you’ve done for us and what you’ve done for the city,” Gio Gonzalez said on Tuesday. “It’s been unbelievable.”

My generous colleague Mike Wise was talking to more players in the clubhouse, and he passed along some pretty swell quotes.

“You can feel the change in just the past year,” Drew Storen told Wise. “Look around the stadium; people actually have our jerseys on. They came before, but not everybody was wearing our colors. You go watch a Caps’ game and see everybody in the stands with players’ jerseys on and team colors. We didn’t have that like we have it now.

“Where I really noticed a difference was Baltimore,” Storen went on. “During the last series up there, we were sitting on the bench in the dugout, and you hear, ‘Let’s Go Nats!’ Like, a loud cheer, not just a few people. That was the moment for me that things had changed. Guys just started looking at each other like, ‘Hey, pretty cool. Visiting ballpark and we’re getting love.’ ”

“It’s different,” Ryan Zimmerman told Wise. “You walk into a restaurant or a store now and people don’t come to me to say, ‘How ya’ doin’? Everything okay?’ They say, ‘It’s so awesome you guys are winning right now. The town’s behind you.’ ”

Then Wise asked Zimmerman about the cortisone shot he recently received, just before his power surge.

“I’ve been waiting for a season like this my whole career here,” Zimmerman told Wise. “No way I was going to miss it.”

By  |  02:05 PM ET, 07/05/2012

Categories:  Nats | Tags:  Nationals Park, Natitude, Ryan Zimmerman, Gio Gonzalez, Drew Storen

 
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