Toe-to-Toe with Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Stan Kasten at first-ever NatsFest

Natsfest crowd at Nationals ParkNationals Park was abuzz with life on this cold winter day as thousands of Washington Nationals fans were drawn to the first annual NatsFest fan fest. For the ticket price of just $10.00, Nats fans were able to wander through the usually-restricted field level concourse, lounge in the home team clubhouse, sit in a $300+ Presidents Club seat, take a swing from live pitching in the Nats’ indoor batting cage, and mingle with the likes of manager Manny Acta, General Manager Jim Bowden, team President Stan Kasten, broadcasters, players, and more.

Jim Bowden answers questions from fans at NatsFestAs Steinberg documents well in this evening’s Sports Bog, the Q&A sessions with Acta, Bowden, Kasten, and Assistant GM Mike Rizzo were packed and lively, with numerous questions about the team’s off-season spending (or lack thereof); but Kasten also drew a number of terrific questions about the fan experience, and in what Steinberg called “perhaps the best moment of the day,” addressed the Teddy question.

Kasten told the crowd that he has been a visitor to LetTeddyWin.com. “I’m asked all the time about this Let Teddy Win stuff,” Kasten said, “and ‘Stan, when is Teddy gonna win?’ as if I’m Nostradamus or something like that. How could I know…? But I do know this: Law of averages says he’s gonna win some day, and the only way to be sure you’re here for when that happens is to come every night!”

Stan Kasten answers questions from fans at NatsFestKasten promised a number of changes to the fan experience for 2009, including expansion of the Red Porch to bring tables into the stadium seating area, centerfield plaza improvements to include a “fire pit,” and more food options including value meals at concession stands and “experiments with all-you-can-eat sections” on select game nights.

Kasten also shed some light on why the giant baseball that had been depicted above the Red Loft in pre-construction renderings of Nationals Park never appeared for the inaugural season, explaining that “something” would be installed above the red loft, but that it was pending negotiations with sponsors. Considering that Kasten oversaw the installation of the giant Coke bottle above Turner Field in Atlanta, it’s all making sense now.

The Washington Nationals Racing Presidents at NatsFestThe Nationals racing presidents were noticeably absent from the concourses and activities throughout the park, but could be found behind a door being guarded by Nationals mascot Screech in the “Kids Zone,” a large room in the stadium’s conference center.

Who knew ball parks had conference rooms?

Washington Nationals Racing President Abe Lincoln at NatsfestThe Kids Zone looked remarkably well-staffed and organized, with young Nats fans being entertained by Clint Khoury and the Nat Pack, plus racing presidents Teddy, Abe, George, and Tom, and activities including a moon bounce, wiffle ball, face painting, balloon animals, caricatures, and even a Guitar Hero arcade.

Most remarkable was that the kids zone crowd paled in comparison with the lines that formed for all the “adult” activities. Even the wait for a hand-painted caricature was minimal compared to the time people were spending upstairs waiting for a photo with Ryan Zimmerman. The kids looked like they were having a blast, though it made me nervous to see Abe Lincoln helping kids in and out of the moon bounce. I just don’t trust that guy…

Racing president Abe Lincoln muscles in on Obama’s inauguration

The name Abraham Lincoln was invoked by commentators and politicians again and again throughout president Barack Obama’s inauguration festivities this week. Abe’s imprint was everywhere — from the concert at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to the bible used to administer Obama’s oath of office.

Seeking to boost his image and muscle in on the good will of an unknowing public, Washington Nationals racing president Abe Lincoln made a number of unannounced appearances for the inauguration celebration.

Washington Nationals racing president Abe Lincoln at Barack Obama's inaugural paradeIn addition to appearances at the previously announced Children’s Inaugural Ball and the Illinois Inaugural Gala, Abe was seen aboard the Illinois float in the inaugural parade.

Flickr photographer Ginger Vibes spotted Abe mingling with the crowd along Pennsylvania Avenue.

The suspected cheater and reigning presidents race champion was later caught by Flickr photographer Melanie Phung mugging with partygoers at the Texas State Society “Black Tie and Boots Ball.”

Washington Nationals racing president Abe Lincoln at the Texas State Society Ball

Meanwhile, over at the Delaware State Society Inaugural Ball, Joe Biden was mingling with invited guest Teddy Roosevelt, seen here with Nat Pack member Stephanie Baldwin and Nationals Park mainstay Clint Kouhry, who I must say cleans up quite nicely:

Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt with Nat Pack members Clint Kouhry and Stephanie Baldwin at the Delaware State Society Inaugural Ball

Yes, the presidents certainly got around on Tuesday. It’s great to see our that our favorite Nationals Park tradition has so quickly been embraced as a symbol of DC culture. Where else did you spot our racing presidents?

Teddy welcomes Barack Obama to Washington

Barack Obama with racing president Teddy Roosevelt from philliefan99 on flickrIt’s a big day here in Washington as Barack Obama takes the oath of office, and as reported last week, Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt will be on hand to help celebrate at some of today’s inaugural festivities.

Intrepid photographer and presidents race fan Phil Yabut captured the moment with his Pentax as his famous Teddy Roosevelt bobblehead doll met up with its Barack Obama bobblehead counterpart to commemorate the moment.

Phil’s photoset of Teddy’s continued adventures, titled Teddy’s Travels and Travails, is up to 79 photos and can be found on Flickr.

Racing Presidents to Make Inaugural Ball Appearances

At least three of the Washington Nationals racing presidents will be making appearances at inaugural events, balls, and galas next week in Washington, DC. For many Obama administration newcomers, it will be a first introduction to this great Nationals tradition, though if the current schedule holds, Barack Obama’s home state of Illinois Inaugural Gala will receive only a solo visit from the current reigning presidents race champion, the no-good cheating Abraham Lincoln.

While this has been rumored for some time, the schedule could not be confirmed until now because of the logistics of lining up so many members of the mascot crew for the big inaugural weekend. More events may be added, but at a minimum, you can expect to fun into the Nationals racing presidents at the following inaugural events:

SUNDAY 1/18 11:45am – 1:00pm: George Washington and and Abe Lincoln at the Children’s Inaugural Ball, The Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

MONDAY 1/19 7:30pm – 10:00pm, Abe Lincoln at the Illinois Inaugural Gala, the Renaissance Hotel Washington.

MONDAY 1/19 7:30pm – 10:00pm, Teddy Roosevelt at the Delaware State Society Inaugural Ball, the Willard InterContinental Hotel.

TUESDAY 1/20 11:00am – 4:00pm, Teddy Roosevelt at the New York State Society Inaugural Brunch, the Willard InterContinental Hotel.

If you are going to any of these events, we’d love to see your photos in the presidents race group on Flickr.

Flickr photo by apcooby.

Teddy Heads to Syracuse for Friday’s Hot Stove Dinner

syracuse-chiefs-logoTeddy Roosevelt is kicking off the new year with a trip to Syracuse, New York, to help welcome the Washington Nationals’ new AAA affiliate Syracuse Chiefs to the Nationals family.

This Friday, January 16, marks the Chiefs’ 48th annual “Hot Stove Dinner” — a $50-a-plate event in which fans shmooz with team brass and get a preview of the upcoming season. Washington Nationals president Stan Kasten and manager Manny Acta will be in attendance Friday night, along with Chiefs manager Tim Foli, but I’m betting the line will be longest for photos with our favorite racing president, #26 himself.

The forecast calls for snow showers and a high temperature of 12 degrees, so Teddy had better bundle up. If you’re heading to Syracuse, tickets are available at the Chiefs’ ticket office or by calling 315-474-7833.

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