The region's been waiting with baited breath since the Nats clinched their entry into the playoffs in mid-September. Friday, all the excitement will come to a head with first pitch at 3:07 p.m.
It's the hottest ticket in town, and diehard Nationals fans aren't going to be left behind. Tickets sold out in 17 minutes flat for Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the San Francisco Giants, but a line of dedicated fans began forming outside Nats Park well before dawn, hoping to get their hands on standing-room-only tickets.
They weren't alone -- crews had a table set up outside the Center Field gate on N Street and were handing out free coffee and pastries.
IF YOU GO
Gates opened at 12:30 p.m., a full two and a half hours before first pitch at 3:07 p.m.
Go early, and leave backpacks and bags at home to make your trip through the security gates faster. The earliest fans will receive white rally towels while supplies last.
You'll also be able to catch live entertainment, including a drum line and stilt walkers, which kicked off at 12:30 p.m. on Half Street SE.
Olympic swimming champion Katie Ledecky will throw out the game's ceremonial first pitch.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) October 2, 2014
GETTING TO NATS PARK
If you're taking Metro, load your SmarTrip card on your way to the game so you won't have to wait in line for a fare machine on your way home again. Consider using the Waterfront station instead of the Navy Yard-Ballpark station to escape the crowds.
Another alternative: Metro to Union Station on the Red Line instead; then use the Circulator bus to get to the ballpark.
Driving to the park is discouraged, but if you do, leave extra early and be prepared to spend $10-$50 for parking.
GNOMES STILL HIDING
A day earlier, fans were captivated by a Nationals-themed scavenger hunt. Promoters hid about a hundred Jayson Werth garden gnomes around the area, encouraging fans to share photos of their findings on social media. Half a dozen gnomes were autographed, and those come with a special bonus: They entitle the finders to a pair of tickets for Saturday's NLDS game at Nats Park.
News came early Friday that about 10 gnomes were still out there, and one of those is autographed. Hint: Check around the Green Line, the team said.
DON'T HAVE TICKETS?
That's OK -- you can still cheer on the Nats close to the action. Just head down to the Yards Park Playoff Party, not far from Nats Park.
You'll find food, live music and family activities, and can watch the game on TVs there. The celeration will happen both Friday and Saturday, before, during and after the games.