Only rain prevents Abe from winning his 50th presidents race of the year (and Teddy his first)

It was in some ways a fitting end to a home season filled with one disappointment after another.

The Washington Nationals were to play their last home game of the season last night, and as part of “Fan Appreciation Night” had planned a non-stop onslaught of giveaways every inning, but with the Florida Marlins facing elimination from wild card contention, no make-up game will be scheduled.

The question on the minds of presidents race fans had been whether Abraham Lincoln would win a record 50th presidents race of the season, or Teddy Roosevelt would win his first, but neither will get his chance. Final standing here.

Photo by flickr member Liliang

Presidents Race Video: Presidents race on Segways

From YouTube member jjqb08 comes this video of Sunday’s presidents race in which fans were treated to the site of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt running the race aboard Segway personal transporters.

As the video makes perfectly clear, the stunt was made possible courtesy of City Segway Tours. It was a lot of fun and a great promotional idea worthy of a permanent spot on our presidents race videos page.

Looking forward to 2009, one can imagine lots of other possibilities for our racing presidents. What local companies would you like to see adding their own flair to a special race next year?

Presidents Race Video: Extra Innings Yawner

From YouTube member Swirlywand comes this video of Friday night’s extra-innings presidents race in which the few fans who were still at Nationals Park at midnight watched Abe, Tom, and Teddy give up and turn around before the race was half-way through.

Segways are no help to Teddy in presidents race

The Washington Nationals are pulling out all the stops for the final week of the home season, with a promotional schedule filled with special events and fan giveaways.

Presidents race riding segways at Washington Nationals gameToday at Nationals Park, the team upped the ante for the presidents race as well, putting all four of the racing presidents on Segway personal transporters for the last day game of the season.

Teddy Roosevelt pulled out first and took and early lead, followed closely by Thomas Jefferson and Abe Lincoln. With the Segways acting as natural speed-equalizers, it was Teddy’s race to lose, but he lost control of his segway at the outfield turn, and started spinning in circles. Tom beat Abe to the finish line to take his first presidents race victory since August.

Perhaps Teddy needs to take Segway lessons from general manager Jim Bowden, who rides a Nationals logo-covered Segway around the team’s spring training fields in Viera, Florida.

After a day off Monday, the Nationals will host the Florida Marlins for the final home series of the season starting Tuesday night.

Photo by flickr user culhanen

14-inning game features two presidents races (and two wins for George)

Friday night’s 14-inning affair between the Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres featured a treat reserved only for the truest of die-hard Nationals fans — a second unofficial presidents race, run only at home games that stretch past the 13th inning.

Five hours, 30 hits, and 18 pitchers into the game, as midnight approached, the Washington Nationals’ racing presidents returned to the field for presidents race #2. It was only the second 14-inning game in the short history of Nationals Park (the other being June 20 against the Texas Rangers). The late hour took its toll on most of the racing presidents, who simply gave up and let George run uncontested to the finish line.

For this final homestand of the season, it appears that George, Tom, and Teddy have had enough of Abe Lincoln, and have been pulling out all the stops to block him from the finish line. The result has been a mini-streak of his own for George, who won both races tonight and will be looking to lock up second place for the season this weekend.

Leprechaun appears for “Half way to St. Patricks Day” at Nationals Park

The Washington Nationals celebrated September 17 — half way to St. Patricks Day — tonight with free green ‘Curly W’ hats, live Irish music from 4 Ever Erin, celtic dancers and more throughout the game. It had all the makings of a festive Wednesday night for the 25,000 fans in attendance, but the Nationals 14 hits were too late and too scattered to overcome an early deficit vs. the Mets.

With Clint and the other members of the Nat Pack wearing green from head to toe, and Nationals mascot Screech sporting a green beard, it seemed as if every Irish cliche’ in the book had been trotted out, but then came the presidents race in the 4th inning.

The presidents appeared wearing green boas, and Tom and George jumped out in front, with Teddy and Abe trailing. Then, just as Abe was putting on his customary burst of speed, a leprechaun appeared in the outfield and tackled the great emancipator. It was great to see Abe — and not Teddy — get his due for a change.

Of course, rather than take advantage of Abe’s misfortune, Teddy turned and chased the leprechaun, in the opposite direction of the finish line. George Washington, sporting long green socks, beat Tom to the tape to win his first race in a month.

I can’t believe I forgot to bring my camera, but flickr member Drew Saunders caught George in the home stretch.

Recurring story lines for Teddy and the Nationals

The Washington Nationals returned to town last night for the last homestand of the 2008 season, hoping to erase the memories of a long road trip in which they went 2-7 and were swept by the Florida Marlins. They found just what the doctor ordered: the powerful New York Mets hanging onto a slim division lead in the final weeks of the season.

New York fans don’t need to be reminded that they suffered a historic collapse at this time last year. With a seemingly insurmountable lead over the Philadelphia Phillies in late September, the Mets lost 5 of 6 games to the Nationals and missed the playoffs. With the pressure on once again, John Lannan one-hit the Mets last night to cut their division lead over the Phillies to just a half-game. If you love a recurring story line, the next two nights at Nationals Park should be grand.

Teddy Roosevelt is obviously a fan of recurring story lines as well. As this video by blog reader Rebecca Prowler shows, Teddy sprinted to a strong start last night in the fourth-inning presidents race. It was a clean race, but Teddy ran out of steam and Abe Lincoln took his record 45th win of the season.

The fireworks should continue tonight at Nationals Park with free T-Shirt Tuesday, and tomorrow with the big St. Patricks Day celebration and exciting young pitcher Shairon Martis on the mound. Hope to see you there!

The sun sets on the first season at Nationals Park

With the Washington Nationals on the road, and the season in it’s final month, it’s been a quiet couple of weeks at Nationals Park. The biggest news was the announcement that season ticket prices for 2009 would be lowered in several sections around the stadium. The outfield seats had been the most overpriced, but it’s good to see the team has recognized the mistake and corrected things. Next season, the TV cameras may still show empty seats behind the batter, but there will at least be a chance we’ll see butts in the outfield seats when they show a pitcher.

Nationals ParkAs the sun sets on the first season at Nationals Park, what better excuse for catching one last ball game than to check out some of these cheaper sections for next season. Good tickets are available at nationals.com (use coupon code EMETS for 30% off selected seats to the next series), and despite the ongoing negative ad campaign by Metro, parking at Nationals park remains cheap, easy, and plentiful!

The Mets, Padres, and Marlins will be in town for ten games, and the team is pulling out all the stops to fill the home stretch with promotions:

Tue 9/16: Free T-Shirt Tuesday
Wed 9/17: St. Patrick’s celebration with free green Curly W hats
Fri 9/19: Free camouflage Curly W floppy hats
Sat 9/20: Free team photo & schedules + Saturday night move “Field of Dreams”
Sun 9/21: Free kids backpack and Family Fun Day activities
Tue 9/23: Free T-Shirt Tuesday
Wed 9/24: Free Curly W fleece scarf
Thu 9/25: Fan appreciation night

Of course, with the campaign season now in full swing, we could also see the presidents race take on some election-season overtones. With the candidates all trying to position themselves as outsiders, maybe it’s time for the original original maverick — Teddy Roosevelt — to taste victory!

Photo by Flickr member Liliang

Three streaks extended at Nationals Park

The red hot Washington Nationals pulled off another come-from-behind victory today at Nationals Park, keeping their homestand perfect and extending their current winning streak to an improbable six straight games.

Teddy Roosevelt extends his losing streak in the Washington Nationals presidents raceIn the 4th inning presidents race, Teddy Roosevelt looked like he was about to break a streak of his own, taking the lead into the final turn. It looked like he had the victory in hand, but Teddy’s lack of experience crossing the finish line first proved to be his undoing. Teddy leaned forward to break the finish line tape a good 20 paces too early, and as he stumbled forward, Tom and Abe passed him from behind. When all was done, Teddy’s losing streak and Abe’s winning streak were both extended by another game.

Having swept the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves at home, the Nationals now welcome the slugging Philadelphia Phillies to Nationals Park on Monday for a three-game series. With a sunny, 80-degree forecast for Labor Day and a late afternoon start, I can’t think of a better way to end the summer holiday season.

Photo courtesy of flickr member afagen

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