Rachel Levitin: Nationals Park subhorn among the items defining Natitude

Tuesday night’s “laugher” of a game as MASNsports.com’s Dan Kolko so aptly dubbed it was also the first time in team history that six home runs were hit. Or rather, I choose to see it as the first time we ever heard the subhorn go off six times (plus one for good luck since they sound it after each win) during a Nationals game.

Washington decided early on last season to nix the home run fireworks that shot up after a crushed long ball and replace it with something unique, a brand identifier, if you will. Granted, the decision did have a bit to do with complaints from neighbors about the noise and some fans who said children were scared by the noise, but enter Nats chief operating officer Andy Feffer, who brought the subhorn to Nats Park.

I’ll admidt that I found the decision to be odd, albeit logical. The team was looking for a brand identifier to differentiate itself in both the sports marketplace and in baseball. So a subhorn at the Navy Yard-located ballpark makes sense.

Last season, I wrote about loving the American cliché of fireworks at a baseball game in the nation’s capital. This year, I’m going to have to be flip-flopper. I apologize for the discursion and am slightly ashamed of myself for doing so, but this all goes back to recent conversations shared with some of my fellow Nats bloggers regarding fan culture.

Fan culture - besides the game itself - is what I find most fascinating about baseball. The whole cliché of D.C. baseball being overtly American was cute at first, but now the Nats as a team are starting to ... dare I say it ... show their own Natitude.

What is Natitude exactly? Well that was Feffer’s brainchild as well (at least in implementation) and I remember reading somewhere on the vast internet that he said that fans would be the ones to establish its exact definition.

Now I’m not sure there’s a definition just yet since the season isn’t over, but I can say that I find it endlessly interesting to watch as Nats fans create the culture around them during this stage in the young Nats’ history.

It’s the small things like singing along to the players’ at-bat music (e.g. finishing the chorus to “Take On Me” late in a game with Michael Morse up) or the Photoshop mania taking over the Twitterverse that are making strides in creating a vibrant uniting factor among fans. But it’s also the in-game military salute during each home game and video tributes shown on the scoreboard on days like Labor Day, Memorial Day, and July 4 that are helping to craft the definition of Natitude among the team’s fans. The respect that Washington’s team demonstrates toward our men and women in the armed services is a noble effort that shouldn’t go overlooked.

That, plus the sounding of the subhorn is to the Nationals as apple pie is to an American barbeque celebrating freedom.

Rachel Levitin blogs about the Nationals for We Love DC, and will be sharing her observations about baseball in the nation’s capital as part of MASNsports.com’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our little corner of cyberspace. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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