On the one hand, it was a gorgeous night, and the Nats were in first place, and Stephen Strasburg was on the mound.

On the other hand, the Caps were playing a crucial playoff game at home, and it was a Monday in April, and the opponent was the lackluster Astros.

So me, I wasn’t particularly bothered by the 16,000 and change official attendance number, especially because the team’s first four home games had been the biggest first-four-games crowd in Nats Park history. (Check out a picture from just before first pitch right here.)

Others, though, saw meaning here.

Mark Zuckerman: Tonight’s official paid attendance: 16,245. Strasmas is dead. By far the smallest home crowd Strasburg has ever pitched in front of. Previous low was 21,695 on Aug 15 2010 vs. Dbacks.

Thom Loverro: Reported 16,000 at Nationals Park for Strasburg. Poor even on April Monday night vs Astros and Capitals home playoff game.

Mike Wise: 16,425 for Stephen Strasburg’s home debut — that’s Natitude! All you DMVers who say people chose Caps game over Strasburg’s debut at home — you mean there are just 34,000 live-event fans in this town?

Then there was the e-mail I got from a random Phillies fan: “Where were those damn Phillies fans when we really needed them? Better luck the first weekend of May. Take back your park.”

Ah, have a crab pretzel and chill out, dude. Here’s a Boz tweet:

The first Mon or Tues nite in Apr is always the low baseball crowd of the yr in DC. In ‘11=13K, in ‘10= 11K, in ‘09=12K.. 16K=OK Go Caps

And here’s a passage from Amanda Comak on the same:

Since Nationals Park opened in 2008, the first non-Opening Day Monday or Tuesday night home game of the season consistently draws significantly small crowds.

Last year, the Nationals drew just 13,413 for the first Tuesday night of the season (they were off the day before) and brought in just 11,623 the year before on the first April Monday. In 2009, only 12,473 showed up. Even in 2008, when the Nationals had barely taken all the bubble wrap off their sparkling new stadium, the first Monday night in April drew 20,487 -- less than half the park’s capacity.

By that measure, the 16,245 was the second-highest draw for this type of game in the park’s history.

The attendance will be just fine. And yeah, maybe Strasburg starts are no longer a hold-everything event, but that’s probably better for everyone, including Strasburg.

Oh, and this is Ticket Tuesday; go get $2 seats right here. The team is 8-3 and is in first place. You might as well.

Mike Wise on Backstrom possible suspension: “Since the real hooligans are playing in Philadelphia Wednesday night, let’s hope the league office comes to its senses and makes this a fair fight.”

Tracee Hamilton calls London Fletcher “the guy who never misses a play, who does his job better than almost anyone — he led the league in total tackles (solo plus assists) last season — who leads on and off the field by example and stands up after the game and answers every question that comes his way?”

The Wizards beat the team with the NBA’s best record.

Brian Orakpo has D.C. sports spirit.

Let me rephrase that the Nats and the Caps ballin right now for the new DC movement in sports

— Brian Orakpo (@rak98) April 17, 2012

Milan Lucic on Karl Alzner:

“I don’t even know what to say on my side to show I’m not a crybaby,” Lucic said with a laugh. “That’s a lot coming from a guy who I think has two roughing penalties in three years.”.”

Karl Alzner on Milan Lucic. (By Cheryl Nichols - District Sports Page)

The Astros are at the Nats at 7 on MASN. The Orioles visit the White Sox at 8 on MASN2. You could also just go outside and see what that’s like. All TV/Radio listings are here.

Here is Rick Ankiel’s absurd throw home with laser sounds.

SI.com has the Nats No. 3 in their power rankings, which has got to be a world landmark.

Yet more drama involving D.C. Council members and their fancy seats to Nats games.

A beer blogger on Nats Park: “From this good-beer fan’s point of view, however, Opening Day was less than a victory. I could find NO good beer — no American-owned beer or local beer — on draft ANYWHERE in the ballpark except at the Red Porch lounge in centerfield.” It’s lame, indeed.

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