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How to See Strasburg

Tips for last-minute ticket buyers

So it’s finally Strasburg Day, the Feast of Strasburgia, the moment when the wave of Strasmania crashes to shore: The fireballer, Stephen Strasburg, makes his debut tonight, 364 days after the Nationals drafted him out of San Diego State University. The game is really, really sold out, but there are still plenty of options for those wanting to say they saw his start.

It feels like a holiday, so take an extended leave from work and stand in line for the 2,000 standing-room-only tickets the Nats are making available at 1 pm for $10.

As with every game, the Nationals are making 400 $5 seats available in the upper deck 2½ hours before game time. Start lining up now.

StubHub is your best bet, but tickets are moving quickly. More than 1,600 have sold on the site in the past 48 hours. At last check, the cheapest were hovering around $40, up from $22 early yesterday. Tickets will stay on the site until two hours before game time, or about 5 pm. There are still about 970 tickets left.

We wouldn’t recommend Craigslist unless you feel very confident with your seller. StubHub requires buyers only to enter the tickets’ barcodes, not to deliver the actual ticket. The team then voids the original tickets and issues new ones to the buyer—making StubHub safer but making both electronic tickets and traditional “hard” tickets risky.

Finally, you can do it the old-fashioned way and show up to Nats Park ticketless. It’ll surely be a scene, and expect to pay more than face—at least until the first pitch. Scalpers often drop their prices around the second inning, but by that time you’ll have missed Strasburg’s first pitches. Again, tickets bought outside the park are pretty risky, as the barcodes could have already been scanned.

But no matter how you get in, don’t expect a complete-game gem out of Strasburg in his debut. The Nationals have been coddling the 21-year-old righty in the minors. He’s averaged only five innings per start and has been on a strict pitch limit. That same rule should apply tonight, even if the phenom is cruising along.

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