When the Nats drew just 16,245 for Stephen Strasburg’s 2012 home debut, people started talking.
When they drew 22,675 for Bryce Harper’s Nats Park debut on Tuesday night, people started talking again.
Was it a Tuesday night, during the school year, with the possible threat of rain? Sure. Was it also a chance to see one of the most-hyped baseball prospects in decades, making his home debut, for a first-place team? Affirmative.
And so, Ken Rosenthal:
If Nats fans were capable of causing a riot — and I sort of doubt it, seeing as how only 22,675 attended Harper’s DC debut on Tuesday night — I’d recommend Occupy Dulles, Occupy Reagan and Occupy BWI — the three area airports.
Thom Loverro: “Bryce Harper steps up to plate for first #Nationals Park at bat -- only about 20,000 people to see it....Don’t blame Washington fans for poor #Nationals attendance. Owners buried franchise for years at time when needed to be grown....Baseball side is fixed. Business side still shortsighted.”
Jayson Stark: “Attendance for Bryce Harper’s home debut: 22,675. Attendance for Stephen Strasburg’s home debut on 6/8/10: 40,315. #discuss.”
Phillies Site Crossing Broad: “Last night, Bryce Harper — The Chosen One, The Next Best Thing, Brycecakes, the self-proclaimed future best player of all-time — made his home debut at Nationals Park. Attendance: 22,675. Stadium capacity? 41,487 (record was 44,685, set last August... against the Phillies). Embarrassing.”
New York Times’s Tyler Kepner: “Disappointing attendance for Bryce Harper’s home debut: 22,675. Beautiful night here, too.”
ESPN’s Kevin Negandhi: “Really? How is that possible?”
MLB Network’s Paul Severino: “22,675 was the attendance at Nationals Park tonight. Uhhh, wasn’t it Bryce Harper’s home debut?”
Mark Zuckerman: “Bryce Harper’s home debut neither brought out the fans (official paid attendance was a disappointing 22,675) nor brought the Nationals’ lineup out of his ever-growing funk.”
Rachel Levitin: “With the media hoopla surrounding the young stud of a hitter, it wasn’t far-fetched to think that the atmosphere at the ballpark might rival that of Stephen Strasburg’s debut in June 2010. It didn’t, though.”
Josh DuLac (who took the above photo): “At Nationals Park with, uh....not very many people. #BadNatitude”
The Nats currently rank 20th in MLB attendance, with an average of 24,526. Baltimore is 22nd, with an average of 23,192.