The over 35,000 fans who packed Nationals Park for the opening game of the “Battle of the Beltways” series between the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles were treated to a spectacle of presidential proportions on Friday night.
Teddy Roosevelt’s supporters were out in full force, with Teddy signs throughout the stands and chants of “Teddy, Teddy” heard on a number of occasions. The fans were not disappointed when the 4th inning
presidents race kicked off, as Teddy Roosevelt took a commanding lead out of the gate and drew cheers as he rounded the warning track in right field.
Even the Baltimore Oriole mascot jumped onto the field to cheer for Teddy as he approached the finish line. Or so it seemed.
As Teddy Roosevelt neared the finish, The Bird stuck out a claw and tripped him, sending him reeling onto the dirt, as George Washington and the other racing presidents flew by. George took the victory and a bow as Teddy and The Bird scuffled along the baseline.
One inning later, a “press conference” was shown on the outfield high-definition scoreboard, announcing a grudge match between Teddy and The Bird. Teddy challenged The Bird to an “unsanctioned race” to be held during the 4th inning of Saturday night’s game between the Orioles and Nationals.
This unsanctioned event was then promoted repeatedly throughout the evening. It makes one wonder what surprises are in store for Saturday night.
Video of race and “press conference” by YouTube member QuakerWildcat:
The Washington Nationals are clearly pulling all the stops to make this a big weekend. In addition to the special presidents race between Teddy and The Bird (which the announcer described “the race of the century”) on Saturday night the Nationals are kicking off Nationals Park Saturday Night Movies. On select Saturday nights throughout the season, the Nationals will play a feature film after the game on the high-definition scoreboard. Concessions and parking will remain open during the movie, and fans are encouraged to move to any open seat on the 3rd base side of Nationals Park (presidential seats excepted).
But the big attraction is clearly the race itself. Let’s all show up on Saturday night prepared to root for Teddy Roosevelt as he takes on The Bird in this “unsanctioned” event. It’s sure to be a really good show.