Never mind that they were staring at a screen across an empty emerald outfield. Red rally towels — handed out at the gate — helicoptered overhead after Anthony Rendon’s two-run double in the first inning. “Let’s go Nats” chants rang out each time starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg got to two strikes. Fans were out of their seats and dancing when the stadium P.A. blasted Juan Soto and Asdrúbal Cabrera’s walk-up tunes, drowning out the Fox TV announcers.
It was a marked difference from Tuesday’s cold, wet Game 1 viewing party, when the announced attendance was just 6,250, and the owners of Walters Sports Bar and Mission, just down N Street Southeast from the center field gate, reported larger-than-average crowds.
By contrast, on Wednesday, 9,600 people had filed into the ballpark before first pitch, according to a team spokeswoman, and the crowd grew to nearly 14,500 by the time the Nationals blew the game open with a six-run seventh inning.
The team had dispensed its full allotment of 36,000 complimentary tickets for the night’s viewing party and stadium officials opened up new sections as the lower bowl along third base line filled.
An earlier version of this article said Section 134 of Nationals Park is in shallow left field.