Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The merchandise stand ... in Cleveland, not Washington.
But the story that may trump them all this weekend is the one that has already gripped Washington for the last week: Stephen Strasburg.
Yes, they've got the fever here in Cleveland. Tickets to Sunday's series finale at Progressive Field are going like hotcakes. The Indians have already sold an extra 8,000 seats since Tuesday, and folks around here wouldn't be surprised if it ends up a sellout by the time 1 p.m. Sunday rolls around.
Even my cab driver from the airport was breathless with Strasburg-mania. "If I could go to that game, I would, but I gotta work Sunday," he said. "Maybe I'll call in sick."
The Indians themselves aren't exactly enrapturing the fan base so far this season. Manny Acta's club is 23-36, sits in last place in the AL Central and trails the Twins by 11 1/2 games. The Tribe also ranks last in the majors in attendance, averaging only 15,658 fans per game. It can't help that their leading hitter -- honest to god -- is Austin Kearns. He's hitting .303 with five homers, 27 RBI and an .865 OPS that is a mere 232 points higher than it was the last two seasons with the Nationals. Go figure.
I'll have more from the ballpark later this afternoon...