The tremors started soon after news of Stephen Strasburg's impending call-up shot across the web on Monday afternoon - tickets being sold, still more tickets being resold, flights being booked and catchphrases for the right-hander's June 8 arrival being lobbed out for a test audience on Twitter.
Only single tickets were available on Nationals.com as of Monday night, and by the time you read this, there might not be any left. The cheapest ticket for the game on StubHub was $48, and the most expensive was $2,000.
This is where buzz becomes tangible - when tickets quickly appreciate in value and media credential requests stream in, when chatter in sports bars and on subway lines is discernible to even the casual eavesdropper and when even the most cynical find a reason to embrace excitement.
That's a lot to ask of a 21-year-old kid currently living on a short-term lease with his new wife in Syracuse, N.Y. But Strasburg, of anyone his age who is asked to take on such cachet, seems ready for it. He's known it's coming for months, if not years, and couldn't seem to care less about any of it.
And for the Nationals, this is uncharted territory. For the first time since they moved to Washington, they will be watched, even scrutinized, by national media. Thousands of opinions will stream in about how general manager Mike Rizzo's meticulously-crafted pitching plan, executed by his minor-league lieutenants and two coaching staffs, played out; did the Nationals promote Strasburg too soon? Not soon enough? Second-guessing has been rare in these parts, but it's about to arrive.
So, though, is a different comet tail. For the first time, the Nationals will have a bankable star on the order of an Alex Ovechkin; as good as Ryan Zimmerman is, Strasburg already has more national recognition than Washington's franchise third baseman. Strasburg can move tickets and put games on TV sets across the country, and with him comes the Nationals' introduction to a much wider audience.
To this point, Strasburg, Rizzo, Jim Riggleman and the rest of the organization have handled all this with remarkable cool, impervious to the talking heads and fan demands. Luckily for Strasburg - and perhaps for their own sakes - the Nationals have people at every level of the organization who have handled star pitchers before. Riggleman managed Kerry Wood in his rookie year, and learned plenty of lessons from the flamethrower's eventual burnout. Rizzo drafted and cultivated Cy Young winner Brandon Webb, and team president Stan Kasten was in Atlanta when the Braves fielded one of the game's all-time great rotations through the 1990s.
All those credentials will finally get put to practice next week, when Strasburg throws his first pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates to a lights-and-sound show of clickiing shutters and flashing bulbs. That will be the Nationals' entrance into a new realm of attention; warranted or not, it's about to come to a kid who's still never thrown a pitch in front of more than 20,000 people.
Next Tuesday is the goal for no one in the Nationals' organization; Strasburg's career is the main event, not some post-script to the premiere. He wants to be the best, and the Nationals hope they've got a rare commodity - the kind of prized ace that's practially required for October baseball.
Unless the "appropriate caveats," as Rizzo called them (rainouts and injuries), get in the way, Strasburg's journey begins next Tuesday. Before it starts, though, he's already taking the Nationals to new places.