More than one player in the Nationals' clubhouse following last night's win noted the energy emanating from the stands as the home team mounted its rally from four runs down in the bottom of the seventh.
"We had a great crowd out there tonight," Bryce Harper said. "That really propped everybody up to get going."
Perhaps it was the lack of loud music and scoreboard-encouraged chants, a byproduct of Turn Back the Clock Night. Or perhaps it was simply the growing excitement over the National League's best team through this season's first half.
This much is certain: Fans are pouring into Nationals Park in numbers not seen since the ballpark opened four years ago, and not seen at all in these parts since baseball's first season back in the District.
Through 37 home games, the Nationals' average attendance is 29,865. That currently ranks 15th out of 30 big-league clubs, and that ranking is only going to continue to rise as the rest of this season plays out.
Attendance is up 38 percent from this point last year, the second-highest increase in baseball. Only the Marlins (who moved into a new ballpark) have enjoyed a higher attendance bump (65 percent).
Perhaps most impressive about the Nationals' increase is that most of it has come over the last six weeks, as more and more fans have bought into this club's ascension to the top of the NL East.
Average attendance through the season's first 20 home games was 25,384. Average attendance over the last 17 home games (beginning with the May 18-20 series against the Orioles) has been 36,744.
Nationals Park hasn't hosted a crowd with fewer than 25,000 fans since May 15, when only 23,902 turned out for a Tuesday matinee against the Padres.
The way things are going, don't look for any more crowds under the 25,000 mark. You probably won't see many crowds under 30,000, either.
In addition to the home team's lure, nearly every remaining opponent on the home schedule is a popular draw on its own. The Cardinals, Cubs and Dodgers still haven't made their lone trips to the District this season. The Phillies, Braves and Mets all make two more visits to town.
Even the less-popular opponents -- the Rockies, Brewers and Marlins -- all come to D.C. only for weekend series, which tend to draw better regardless of any other factors.
At this point, it seems a safe bet that the Nationals will wind up with their best attendance in five seasons on South Capitol Street, besting the 2008 high of 2.32 million. And they might just outdraw the inaugural 2005 club's total of 2.73 million, which was boosted not only by a season-ticket base of more than 20,000 but also RFK Stadium's capacity of 45,016 (about 4,000 more than Nationals Park holds).
In other words, expect the scene that played out during last night's rally -- a large and boisterous crowd willing its home club to victory -- to become a regular occurrence.