Screech and the racing presidents invade Verizon Center

The Nationals racing presidents invade Verizon CenterThe Washington Nationals racing presidents joined new Nationals mascot Screech at the Verizon Center tonight for a basketball game between the last place Washington Wizards of the Eastern Conference and the last place Sacramento Kings of the West — a battle for pride which came down to the last shot.

The visit to Verizon Center was part
Screech and Teddyof a “31 Appearances in 31 Days” tour that the Nationals have arranged since the new Screech’s unveiling two weeks ago. The Nationals mascots made an appearance earlier in the day at the DC St. Patrick’s Day parade, with Screech sporting a kilt.

It was “Kids Night” for the Washington Wizards, with player introductions by junior Wizards fans, and mascots from around the DC area working the crowd before and during the game.

Joining the Nationals mascots were Mel, The George Mason University Patriot, the Baltimore Orioles’ “The Bird,” the Washington Capitals’ Slapshot, and of course the Wizards’ own G-Wiz, G-Man, and G-Fan.

The new ScreechSince its unveiling, the new look of the “teenage Screech” has been getting a lot of criticism in Nationals blogs and discussion forums. So this was a great opportunity –and a relief — to see the new Screech work a real crowd, which helped the Nationals’ new mascot look a lot less goofy than he did dancing around an empty stage when he was first announced.

Don’t get me wrong. The Capitals’ own eagle mascot Slapshot didn’t look very intimidated by the permanent grin affixed to Screech’s head, but the new costume did give Screech a lot more room to dance with the cheerleaders, bound up stairs, and throw t-shirts into the stands. I have a feeling we’ll get used to “teenage Screech” pretty quickly.

Barack Obama to throw out the first pitch at Nationals home opener

Barack Obama will throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park for the Washington Nationals home opener on April 13.Ben Goessling reports in Saturday’s Washington Times that president Barack Obama will throw out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals home opener against the Phillies on April 13.

The Times cites a club source who spoke “on the condition of anonymity” because no announcement has been made.

Team president Stan Kasten and various members of the Natosphere have hoped that Obama will make the presidential first pitch an annual tradition in Washington. That seems more likely than converting Obama into a Nationals fan — at least in the short-term.

Lots of tickets still available at Nationals.com.

Your chance to sing the National Anthem at Nationals Park

The Washington Nationals have announced that they will be hosting open auditions this Saturday, March 7 for those who wish to sing the National Anthem this season at Nationals Park.

Angela Calo sings the National Anthem at Nationals ParkThe first 100 performers to register through e-mail at anthem@nationals.com will have the opportunity to show the powers that be that they have the pipes to perform during a Washington Nationals home game this season. All applicants will be asked to perform the anthem behind home plate facing the seating bowl as they would during the season.

Applicants are asked to include the following in their e-mail:
– Performance Resume (If applicable)
– Headshot (or recent picture)
– Voice (and Instrument type, if applicable)

On Saturday, registration will begin at noon and end promptly at 12:30pm, at the Centerfield gates. Parking will be available in Lot C, located on the corner of First and N Streets, SE. Only the person auditioning will be allowed to enter the ballpark, except for contestants under the age of 18 who must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Renditions must be kept under 90 seconds.

If you can’t make it Saturday, you can still send an application via email along with a tape, but Nationals Entertainment Director Tom Davis reports that the team receives thousands of requests, so showing up Saturday may be your best bet to stand out.

My vote, however, goes to these kids!:

More from the new Screech’s Unveiling

The New ScreechHere’s more detail from Dan Steinberg’s D.C. Sports Bog about today’s snowed-in unveiling of the new Screech.

Much is made of Screech’s “offseason growth spurt” which resulted in a slimmer, more nimble bird.

Nationals in-game host Clint Kouhry tells Steinberg that Screech should give Teddy Roosevelt some advice on how to slim down. “That guy’s been trying forever.”

It’s safe to say we can expect more gymnastics from the Nationals mascot in the coming season.

The Nationals announced that Screech will make 31 appearances in 31 days to “show off his fresh-feathered look.” Tomorrow, March 3 along with members of the Nat Pack, “Screech” will distribute pocket schedules to fans at the Metro Center Metrorail Station from 9:00am to 11:00am, and at Farragut North Metrorail Station from noon to 2:00pm. Screech will also make stops at the March Mania basketball tournament in Arlington, on Saturday March 7, the University of Virginia baseball game on Saturday, March 14, and the Harris Teeter in Reston on Monday, March 16. More scheduled appearances will be announced weekly throughout the month of March.

Photo courtesy of The Washington Nationals

New Screech is leaner, but not meaner

When the Washington Nationals announced last week that mascot Screech would be getting a new look, I had high hopes that Screech might lose the baby bird look and get, well… a little meaner. After all, it’s been documented that more menacing mascots lead to team success in the NFL — why not baseball?

New-Screech-Washington-NationalsToday, Screech gets leaner, but unfortunately not meaner. The svelt new Screech will make his official debut this afternoon at ESPN Zone in DC, but he gave a sneak preview appearance on Fox 5 DC this morning. As promised, Screech has grown up since his hatching in 2005. The new “double-zero” sports a slim Nationals jersey, red Curly W sneakers, and a hat which is surprisingly removable. The baby fat is gone, but the huge smiling beak isn’t exactly going to intimidate anybody.

New Screech definitely stands taller than baby Screech, but that permanent grin is no competition for Teddy’s.

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