For the last Friday home game of every month, Section 108 at Nationals Park transforms into K Street, a place where fans can stand and cheer with two strikes — and not just with two outs in the ninth inning — without someone yelling at them to sit down. Unbridled enthusiasm is encouraged throughout K Street, the Nationals’ first official superfan section.
A ticket costs $39 and comes with a K Street T-shirt (there’s a new design every month) and a “K” card for fans to hold aloft when a Nationals pitcher gets to two strikes on an opposing batter or strikes him out. Considering a ticket in Section 108 down the left field line is usually $42-$45 at the box office, it’s a good deal, so it’s no surprise K Street has sold out for all three games this season. It was especially lively on May 26, when Max Scherzer struck out 13 Padres in a 5-1 Washington win.
Lisa Grogan was in her usual seats in right field on that night and had a good view of K Street fans celebrating every Scherzer strikeout in their Superman-themed T-shirts.
“It looked crazy,” Grogan said after picking up her T-shirt and “K” card behind Section 109 for the most recent K Street promotion on June 23. “We know a couple of people that were there and they said it was like a playoff atmosphere, so I really wanted to try it. I think it’s a great progression and I think they need to do more of that here, so it’s a good start.”
June’s K Street game against the Reds coincided with Game of Thrones Night, and the T-shirt reflected it. When Stephen Strasburg got to two strikes on a batter, a gentleman in a White Walker mask encouraged everyone around him to make noise, and fans waved their “K” cards in the air after every strikeout.
Tonight's K Street fan section T-shirts are GoT-themed pic.twitter.com/TrJDCFDCbF
— Scott Allen (@ScottSAllen) June 23, 2017
Amy Ashby also admired the K Street section from afar during Scherzer’s 13-strikeout performance in May.
“I think it’s fun,” Ashby said after watching Strasburg labor through five innings and strike out five Reds. “I think last K Street was maybe more into being K Street than this K Street, but it’s super hot and humid, so it could be that. I’d rather it be a Max night, but it’s humid. I’d definitely do it again.”
Siblings Thomas and Jessica Patchan share a 20-game ticket package with family but checked out the K Street experience after noticing the “K” cards on TV earlier this season. They both said they’d like to return.
“I kind of like being in this section because it feels like everyone’s more enthusiastic than if you’re in a random section,” Jessica said. “Everyone’s into it. It’s fun to be with everyone who cares.”
“There’s a lot of chatter and knowledgeable fans,” Thomas said.
After Nationals runs, several fans in the K Street section shouted the “N-A-T-S Nats! Nats! Nats! Woo!” cheer that originated in Section 313 a few years ago and is now painted on the wall beneath the press box. They also directed a chant of “Shame! Shame! Shame!” — a Game of Thrones reference — at the umpire after Wilmer Difo was called out on a close play in the sixth inning. And when the game headed into extra innings, K Street was as full and rowdy as any section in the park. Bryce Harper eventually sent everyone home happy with a walk-off single in the 10th.
The Nationals aren’t the first team with a designated “K” section. The Mariners introduced the King’s Court for all of Felix Hernandez’s starts in 2011. The King’s Court now takes up three sections in the left field corner at Safeco Field, and tickets come with a T-shirt and “K” card. The “K” card tradition dates from 1984, when Mets fan Dennis Scalzitti began hanging Ks in Shea Stadium’s left field stands for rookie Dwight Gooden’s starts.
Tickets are still available for the Nationals’ next K Street game on July 28 against the Rockies. This month’s T-shirt could be the perfect way to celebrate the relief pitching gifts the Nationals should be acquiring around that time.