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Strasburg and "K" signs

Stephen Strasburg has now struck out 22 batters in his first two starts. In 62 non-Strasburg starts, Nats pitchers have reached double-digits in strikeouts three times. In two Strasburg starts, they've done so twice. And whether Strasburg's next start comes on Friday night or Saturday afternoon, it will be at Nats Park.

What this all means is that at least one group of hardy fans will likely bring some "K" signs or posters to the Park this weekend. And before you do so, you might want to read the stadium's official policy on signs and banners:

Guests are permitted to bring and display banners and signs at Nationals Park as long as they are baseball-related and are only displayed during inning breaks. Such banners and signs may not interfere with the game or other guest's enjoyment of the game. These banners and signs are not allowed to cover any ballpark signage or contain any language deemed inappropriate by the Nationals Management. Banners and signs are not allowed to be paraded through any part of the ballpark at any time. Poles and sticks are also prohibited. The Washington Nationals reserve the right to remove banners and signs from the ballpark for any reason they deem appropriate.

Different groups took different "K" approaches during Strasburg's debut. The fans above, who were sitting in Section 131, just held up an additional K for every strikeout, and reported no problems. Several fans in Section 107, however, were trying to hang their Ks over the railing that connects 106 with 107; twice they were stopped by security, asked to remove the Ks and told that this was not permitted.

I asked Stan Kasten whether there is an official policy for the "K" phenomenon. His reply:

"I don't know that we ever had a separate [policy] about K's, especially since we keep track on the LED board in right field. But I'm gonna meet with the staff this week to discuss and see if any changes are needed, and what makes sense."

Just a fair warning to anyone planning on bringing Ks. Alternatively, you could do what this fan in Cleveland did and just mark each additional K with a straight line.

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 14, 2010; 11:16 AM ET
Categories:  Nats  
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Dear Stan,

Please do the right thing and let fans hang K signs! You can't seriously think that an LED board is a reasonable substitute for organic fan enthusiasm. Squelching that enthusiasm now, when the Nats have a phenomenon with a capital P on their roster, would be a huge mistake.

Posted by: marconi64 | June 14, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: alex35332 | June 14, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Any idea as to why the 3rd guy in the photo has a green "K" with a "$" over it?

Posted by: kjhealey | June 14, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

The problem with allowing fans to hang K signs is that it would require a high degree of situational awareness on the part of the fans. There just aren't that many places in Nats Park where signs could be hung that would be (a) visible to people in the rest of the park and watching on TV (which is the whole point of doing it after all) and (b) not blocking the view of people sitting behind them. It's the (b) part of that where fan situational awareness is needed. And face it, Nats fans are not high in situational awareness as is nightly demonstrated by the many yahoos - often in expensive seats, no less - who stand and block the view of others during critical spots in the game even as they aren't paying any attention to the game themselves. Why not have the ushers enforce situational awareness when it comes to sign placement, you ask? Obviously you haven't been watching the less than stellar job those ushers already are doing in enforcing the aisle policy. Clearly, the ushers are already overtaxed.

So one solution for Stan might be to scope out places in the park where K signs can safely be hung without blocking the view of others, and market those rows as K Seats. Charge a premium, even. Or do like bowling alleys do with the shoes - if you don't bring your own K sign, you have to rent an expensive one from the team in order to sit there. And actually, one perfect place for hanging K signs would be in front of the Red Loft. None of the people behind there are watching the game anyway.

Or just kill two birds with one stone and have the d-bag usher dance around on top of the dugout with a big sign after each K instead of doing his Sweet Caroline thing.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 14, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Nice column, but a small error at the start. You wrote that Strasburg has double digit K's in both his starts. He averaged double digits over the two starts, but "merely" had 8 Ks in his second start.

Posted by: SteveEhrmann | June 14, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

One more problem w/ Stan's solution of the scoreboard... it only goes up to 12 Ks, remember? They couldn't display all 14 of them in Strasburg's first game.

So excited to see him pitch in person for the first time on Fri!

Posted by: alizadk | June 14, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse


Dan never said that Strasburg had double digit strike outs in both games. He said that the Nat's pitchers had done it. In Sunday's game Strasburg had 8 and Storen had 2 for a total of 10.

Posted by: kjhealey | June 14, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Ooops! So he did. I should have known. Thanks KJ.

Posted by: SteveEhrmann | June 14, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

They got around the scoreboard K limitation. By the end of the game it said 12+KK.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 14, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse


Feel free to spread the word. Just write that "a Nats fan who talked to Stan Kasten during Strasburg's MLB debut asked about it." AKA -- I'm going "on background," to use journalism-speak -- per my day job.

I asked Stan Kasten during Tuesday's game whether fans could post K signs on the concrete overhang at the front of Section 238 over the Nats' bullpen, and he said yes.

That's pretty much the only spot not covered by the electronic ribbon advertising signage.

So, there you go. If Nats fans want to post K signs during Strasburg's starts, they have to sit in the front row of Section 238.

Hope that helps!

Posted by: ericp331 | June 15, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse


Perhaps you shouldn't blindly link to a site that so prominently features such an ugly vulgarity. I'm not a prude, but that's pretty rude.

Posted by: RobBob | June 15, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

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