Originally written on The Nats Blog  |  Last updated 11/16/14
When I found out I was going to have the opportunity to go to NatsFest, I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I had never attended an event like it before. But as an extremely enthusiastic Washington Nationals fan, something that seemed like a big party celebrating the Nats obviously had me interested. From a fan’s perspective, it was a really cool experience, because besides the throngs of people gathered around pointing pens and bright white baseballs in the players’ faces, the Nationals walking around the Washington Convention Center could have been regular people. I watched Jordan Zimmermann and Tyler Moore giving people high-fives and saying, “Hey man,” as if their fans were their college buddies, not adoring strangers.  The proximity to the players, who I normally only see from way up in the stands at Nationals Park, was my favorite aspect of NatsFest. In what other setting do average fans have the opportunity to interact with the people they spend eight-plus months of the year idolizing? It allowed me to make my aunt’s day (or her whole winter, as she put it) when I got Gio Gonzalez to autograph the NatsFest poster for her. She actually shrieked with joy when I gave it to her that evening, and she saw the signature from “her boy.” I got to say, “What’s up?” to F.P. Santangelo like we were old friends, and I introduced my disbelieving dad to Charlie Slowes – he didn’t recognize the face of the voice of the Washington Nationals, but once he heard him speak he was convinced. We had a solid ten-minute conversation with Charlie after the event was over, and something he said really characterized the day for me: he explained how NatsFest’s purpose was to get the fans excited about their team again going into Spring Training – to re-ignite their Natitude, if you will. He said it gave people an occasion to unpack their Nats gear and to let the excitement of the promising season ahead allow them to fully heal from heartbreak of Game Five. For Charlie, the event made it feel like summer wasn’t so far away, even though it was about 20 degrees outside on the windy streets of D.C. The effect Charlie described was absolutely true for me. Listening to the voice that brings to mind so many great memories of home run calls and thrilling games, made me feel a connection with my favorite sport that has been missing since October. Realizing that it wouldn’t be long until I could listen to Charlie on the radio again was a truly exciting prospect. My dad and I were among the last to leave, and as we were walking out, a gray-haired Nationals employee smiled at us and said, “See you in November.” I smiled back and said goodbye, knowing exactly what he was inferring. This year, Nats fans can believe in the real possibility of their home team playing in November, though that’s still not a concept that’s easy for me to wrap my head around. My dad and I walked out the lobby doors, and promise of spring made the bite of the cold a little less harsh. My Natitude had officially been reignited. 
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Angels, Rangers talking Josh Hamilton trade

Roger Goodell calls both Los Angeles stadium plans 'viable'

Crabtree on joining Raiders: 'Ain't got nothing to lose'

Report: Hardy gets in 'verbal altercation' with teammate

NFL exec compares Jameis Winson to JaMarcus Russell

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Chris Sale wanted to fight Yordano Ventura

NFL does not care about Rams' future in St. Louis

Eagles VP Ed Marynowitz says he's not Chip Kelly's 'yes man'

Jonathan Papelbon wants out of Philadelphia

Is Le'Veon Bell's knee finally close to healing?

Tony Romo: We’re going to win a Super Bowl next year

Calipari’s new project: Create virtual reality experience for fans

Maurice Jones-Drew will retire with the Jaguars on Tuesday

Ovechkin jokes about taking a chair from Nassau Coliseum

Uniform colors have already been picked for Vegas NHL team

Golden State: Not losing to New Orleans, but still snoozing

Ventura, Royals need to simmer down before someone gets hurt

The Mets and their weak opponents

Report: Gronk dating former Patriots cheerleader

Nothing gleams like late-round draft gold

The Ultimate All-Living MLB Team

Dubs wanted to gain momentum for Game 4 ... then won

Raptors-Wizards: The taming of Valanciunas, by Gortat, Nene

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota: Perception vs. reality

Report: Gronk dating former Patriots cheerleader

NFL exec compares Jameis Winson to JaMarcus Russell

NFL does not care about Rams' future in St. Louis

Nothing gleams like late-round draft gold

The Ultimate All-Living MLB Team

Dubs wanted to gain momentum for Game 4 ... then won

Teams who need to ace the NFL Draft

10 bold predictions for the NFL Draft

Ten things you need to know about Mayweather vs. Pacquiao

Dikembe in 2001: Who want to go to LA with me?

The closer role is slowly dying

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.