(John McDonnell)

For Lerner, the event is the cap to the best season, by far, since he bought the team in 2006. The Nationals are in first place, and they have two of the brightest stars in the sport. He is thrilled with how things are going, and eager to see if the second half of the season brings the same. He thinks the key has been how the Nationals have withstood their many injuries.

In a brief chat, he said he was happy that he had maintained patience with the development of the franchise. He laid out his plan in a press conference shortly after he purchased the Nationals, and he stuck to it even in a downturn. “Just like any other business,” he said.

Lerner and Annette have loved Kansas City and enjoyed the experience. Their presence here is a not-so-subtle nudge to the MLB that the Nationals would like to host the All-Star Game in the near future.

As for tonight’s game, you can be sure Gio Gonzalez will pitch the second inning, and Stephen Strasburg will likely pitch the third.