Teddy and the Nats pause to celebrate Earth Day

Tonight the Washington Nationals celebrated Earth Day at Nationals Park by effectively conserving energy for nine innings.

Washington Nationals Earth Day Presidents RaceBy scattering their six hits over an efficient 2 hours and 30 minutes, the home team wasted an equally efficient seven shutout innings by starter John Lannan. With the score tied 0-0, the door was left open for the Atlanta Braves to out-conserve them in the 9th inning, converting a single hit into victory with a game-winning walk.

Teddy Roosevelt got into the act during the 4th inning presidents race. After taking an early lead, he slowed down to celebrate Earth Day with the fans, passing out the armful of green hats and beads he’d been carrying; but Abe flew past and claimed the victory.

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Ash

Presidents race with hockey sticks, Slapshot sits in as referee

Teddy Roosevelt with SlapshotWith the Washington Capitals on the road for their playoff series against the New York Rangers, their mascot Slapshot made a guest appearance at Nationals Park tonight, filling in for the Nationals’ own eagle mascot Screech as referee for the 4th-inning presidents race.

The racing presidents paid their own tribute to the Caps, running tonight’s presidents race with hockey sticks in hand.

Abe jumped out first from the centerfield gate, but pulled up lame and limped all the way to the finish line, far behind George, who paced the field for his second presidents race victory of 2009.

Photo courtesy of Cheryl Nichols of Nats News Network
Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

After rain delay, Teddy races with an umbrella

After a 1/2-dozen roster moves, the signing of third baseman Ryan Zimmerman to a long-term contract, and the calling up of rookie Jordan Zimmermann for his first major league start, there was an unusual mood of cautious optimism in the air tonight at Nationals Park. With the sound of thunder booming in the distance, it seemed the perfect night for Teddy to take his first presidents race victory.

It was wishful thinking. More than 3 hours after the scheduled start time for tonights game between the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves, the racing presidents finally took to the soggy outfield. After taking an early lead, Teddy seemed more concerned with staying dry, struggling as he ran with a comically undersized umbrella, while Abe passed him by to take the tape.

Abe now has sole posession of first place in the presidents race standings. Let’s hope this isn’t a repeat of last year.

Reminder: Two days left for Half price tickets for Teddy fans.

Tom levels Abe in the outfield. George notches win #1.

Perhaps Thomas Jefferson is as frustrated with the Washington Nationals bullpen as the rest of us.

On a day when the Nats’ bullpen notched it’s third and fourth blown saves of the 3-game series vs. the Florida Marlins, our nation’s third president took out his frustration on Abraham Lincoln during the 4th-inning presidents race at Nationals Park.

After George Washington took an early lead, Tom and Abe followed behind and began scuffling almost immediately. Tom slammed Abe against the outfield scoreboard wall, with Abe falling as Teddy Roosevelt raced by.

Teddy was unable to catch George, who notched his first presidents race victory of the young season. Alas, Teddy is now in familiar territory as the only racing president who has yet to win this season.

Video courtesy of YouTube user lfahome

Teddy distracted by a juggling clown

The crowd at Nationals Park still had something to cheer about during Saturday’s 4th inning presidents race. The Nats had a big lead, and their second consecutive blown save extra innings loss to the Florida Marlins would not unfold for another 2 hours.

For Teddy fans, Saturday’s presidents race was equally frustrating for Teddy Roosevelt’s rooters. After running a tight race the night before, Teddy barely got out of the gate Saturday before being distracted by a clown who appeared along the warning track. As the clown dropped his pants and juggled rings, Teddy pranced and clapped, while Abe paced the field to take the tape.

Photo courtesy of Miss Chatter.
Video courtesy of Bree Stevens.

Washington Natinals? Nats’ uniforms misspelled.

Washington Nationals outfielder Adam Dunn's uniform was misspelled to read NatinalsAs was first reported by the intrepid Chico Harlan, for several innings of tonight’s game vs. the Florida Marlins at Nationals Park, Nationals players Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman sported uniforms with the word “Nationals” misspelled. The “o” was missing, making it “Natinals”, as you can see in this image from the broadcast.

The players switched jerseys mid-game after the error was noticed.
[May update: the story won't die]

The game was a heartbreaker, with Joel Hanrahan blowing his first save opportunity in the 9th inning. The 4th inning presidents race offered no theatrics — just a convincing wire-to-wire victory for Thomas Jefferson, with Teddy pulling up the rear.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Nats get first victory of the season — Not so for Teddy

On a beautiful spring night at Nationals Park, 20,000 fans witnessed a display of the Washington Nationals new power as they grabbed their first victory of the season tonight in an 8-2 drubbing of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Alas, Teddy Roosevelt did not join the Nationals in the win column.

Thomas Jefferson trips in the Washington Nationals presidents race, but is granted the victory.Unlike opening day, Teddy did participate in the presidents race from start to finish. Our #26 actually built an early lead and had a clear path to the finish line, but Abe Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson passed him in the home stretch, with Abe appearing to cross the tape first as Jefferson fell at the finish line (or was he tripped by Abe?).

The close finish was initially called for Abe, but after video review it was announced that the win was granted to Thomas Jefferson.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user philliefan99
Video by YouTube member Rockthered8

Nationals offer Teddy fans half price tickets for current Nationals homestand through 4/22

This morning the Washington Nationals offered a coupon code “for Teddy’s friends”: Order at Nationals.com using Coupon Code “TEDDY” and get half-price tickets in select seating sections through the remainder of the current Nationals Park homestand.

This includes today’s and tomorrow’s games vs. the Phillies, the weekend series vs. the Florida Marlins, and next week’s 3-game set vs. the Atlanta Braves ending April 22.

The coupon code may be used to get outfield box seats, outfield corner, or mezzanine seats for as low as $15.00 each.

Racing presidents attend White House easter egg roll before opening day game

The Washington Nationals Racing Presidents at the White House Easter Egg RollIt was indeed a busy day for the Washington Nationals racing presidents. While Nats fans were lining up for the opening day festivities at Nationals Park, the racing presidents were across town, further cementing their new roll as DC-area icons.

For the third straight year, George, Tom, Abe, and Teddy were invited to participate in the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.

President Obama still hasn’t been to Nationals Park, but perhaps the cheers of “Let Teddy Win” on the White House lawn clued him in to the unique fan experience we have going on South Capitol Street.

Photo courtesy of Erik Metzroth

Teddy plays the spoiler on opening day at Nationals Park

The largest crowd in Nationals Park history showed up today to witness an opening day game that was filled with promise, but was ultimately jinxed both on and off the field.

On the field, some fine performances by the young Nationals roster were eclipsed by dropped balls, errant throws, and hit batsmen, leading ultimately to a 9-8 loss at the hands of the world champion Philadelphia Phillies.

Meanwhile, Teddy Roosevelt fans who eagerly anticipated the 4th inning President’s Race were dissapointed when Thomas Jefferson emerged alone from the center field gate to grab a big lead from the start.

Opening day presidents race - Teddy waits in the stands for Thomas JeffersonWhen Abe Lincoln and George Washington followed him out, several paces behind, the question on everyone’s mind became “Where the heck is Teddy?”

The answer came after Jefferson turned the outfield corner, where Teddy was waiting for him in the stands along the 1st base line. Jefferson paused, and Teddy presented him with a bouquet of red balloons in honor of Jefferson’s 266th birthday (who knew?).

That Cat tackles Thomas Jefferson during the opening day presidents race at Nationals ParkThat’s when “That Cat” emerged from behind Teddy, jumped from the stands, and tackled Tom.

Lincoln and Washington ran past him, with Abe easily taking the tape for the first official presidents race victory of 2009.

Teddy never got out of the stands.

That Cat is no stranger to the Nationals presidents race, having first interfered last season, when he attacked Teddy in April and again in June.

Could it be that the panther has joined forces with Teddy to undermine the other presidents? Has Teddy given up on winning to simply play the spoiler? If the reaction of fans around me was any indication, this would not be a popular move. The fans want a clean race. They want to see Teddy get a shot at victory in 2009!

The 2009 season is underway.

Photos courtesy of Flickr user afagen and Luis Albisu

Opening day jinx?

Dear Readers, I am on my way back from opening day at Nationals Park, where the team appeared to be jinxed on the field, and unfortunately up in the stands, I suffered a personal jinx of my own. I realized after walking into the park that my camera battery had been left in the charger at home. No problem! I brought a compact camera that I use to shoot short videos. After using it to record the various opening festivities and the presidents race, the memory card I was using failed. Can a guy get a break?

Opening day write-up to follow, but if you have photos/videos, please let me know!

Nats fans need a victory — Will Teddy deliver?

Washington Nationals racing presidents' Teddy Roosevelt at Nationals ParkThe Washington Nationals begin their home season Monday afternoon at Nationals Park against the world champion Philadelphia Phillies, and after an 0-6 start on the road against the Marlins and Braves, the question on the mind of some Nats fans is “Who will win first: The Nationals or Teddy Roosevelt?”

In the first three years of the Nationals presidents race, three different presidents have taken the season crown (George in ’06, Tom in ’07, and Abe last year), which begs the question: Will 2009 be Teddy’s year?

If the last two season openers are any indication, the opening day presidents race will be nothing if not entertaining. In 2007, Teddy was disqualified after flying into RFK Stadium on a zip line. On opening day 2008, Teddy was disqualified again for cutting across the outfield. If Teddy runs a clean race on Monday, we can hold out hope that a change of fortune is in store for 2009.

Nationals Park presidents race bobbleheadsIn April, there’s always hope.

If you don’t have tickets yet, grab your Let Teddy Win t-shirts and head down to Nationals Park tomorrow to take in all the changes at Nationals Park. The team may be having a rough start, but an afternoon at our new ballpark remains one of the best entertainment values in town, and it looks like tickets will still be available at the gate.

This year brings lower seat prices, more (and cheaper) open parking, open home batting practice, the renovated Red Porch restaurant, improved food concessions, the new statues installed in the centerfield plaza, and new 7-foot racing president bobbleheads in the Nats Family Fun Area — perfect for photo ops with Teddy (photo at right courtesy of Teddy fan Shanna Comai).

The centerfield gates open at 12:30pm, with festivities leading up to the first pitch:

12:30pm – Face painting & balloon artists, centerfield plaza
12:30pm – The music of Dr. Fu, new Centerfield Plaza Stage
12:30pm – The music of Road Soda, Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk Stage
12:45pm – Home team batting practice
2:00pm – Nats Xtra with Ray Knight and Johnny Holliday, centerfield plaza
2:35pm – David Gregory hosts pregame ceremonies with singer Patti Austin
3:05pm – First pitch

See you there!

Obama will not throw out the first pitch at Nats opener Monday

Barack Obama will not throw out the first pitch on opening day at Nationals ParkThe White House has told the Washington Times that president Barack Obama will not be available to throw out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals home opener Monday at Nationals Park.

It had been previously reported that Barack Obama would attend, provided his schedule didn’t change because of world events. The Nationals have avoided promoting his presence because of the uncertainty, which remained until today.

Rubbing salt in the wound, the president will welcome the visiting Philadelphia Phillies to the White House the next day.

Count me as one profoundly disappointed Nationals fan. I don’t relish the added security that a presidential appearance brings to the park, but Obama has an opportunity to revive a 100-year-old tradition of sitting presidents throwing out the first pitch at the DC home opener. Let’s hope the nation’s #1 sports fan doesn’t wait until next year for an opportunity to see the Nationals play at home (and maybe even adopt the Nats as his new home team).

Open question: Who will the Nats line up as Obama’s replacement?

Photo courtesy of flickr user jurvetson

Voting open for Clint’s new Nationals Park co-host

Nationals Park in-game host Clint Khoury has drawn more than occasional scorn from those purists who think the stadium hype during games distracts from the baseball at-hand. If you fall into that category, then it appears you are due either for some relief, or for double the pain, depending on your perspective.

The Washington Nationals have opened up voting for the new co-host at Nationals ParkFans at Saturday’s Washington Nationals exhibition game vs. the Baltimore Orioles were asked throughout the night to vote via text message for the new Nationals “co-host,” with profiles of the three contestants — all women and all beauty pageant veterans — repeatedly shown on the giant HD scoreboard (photo courtesy of fellow Nats blogger Miss Chatter).

Now the Nationals have opened the voting to the general public, with votes being accepted online now through Tuesday, April 14, at 3:00pm.

Kate MichaelKate Michael could have the inside track on local votes, as she has been an emerging personality in DC media for several years, and knows a few things about promoting herself on the internet. The former Senate staffer and Miss District of Columbia threw out the first pitch at a 2007 Nats game (alas, quite weakly), and represented DC in the Miss America 2007 pageant. She boasts a personal web site, a separate blog called K Street Kate, and over 700 followers on Twitter. Her enthusiasm for new media could barely be contained on a recent episode of internet talk show The District Dish:

Guerin AustinGuerin Austin is a former Miss Nebraska USA (2004), and for what it’s worth appears to have become blonde only recently.

The self-proclaimed “military brat” claims to have moved over 20 times, and is a former competitive figure skater with a degree in broadcast journalism and experience as a TV journalist and host.

What Austin lacks in DC connections she appears to make up for in “emcee” experience on a variety of television shows. Her demo reel gives a pretty good sense of what she’d be like as Nationals Park co-host:

Yolanda MakleYolanda Makle is the only one of the three contestants who has experience with the Nationals, having spent last season as a member of the Nat Pack while juggling a full-time job as a telecommunications engineer (I caught this photo of Makle during the 7th inning stretch at last season’s Nationals Park 70s Night).

The striking DC mother of two is another pageant circuit veteran, having represented Puerto Rico in the 2006 Miss United States pageant and currently holding the title Ms. Belleza Latina 2009. She is an active volunteer in the community, has a blog and boasts just a handful of followers on Twitter.

Makle’s community service, DC roots, love of sports, and experience on The Nat Pack might otherwise make her a favorite in my book, but I don’t think I could cast my vote for somebody who openly calls Abe Lincoln her favorite racing president. Ouch.

Online voting ends Tuesday, April 14, at 3:00pm, with the winner to be announced at the Nationals game vs. the Marlins on Friday, April 17th.

Stan, has it come to this already?

Stan KastenOMG.

Only one day into the season and Nationals president Stan “Nats Town” Kasten is on the radio in Philadelphia this morning inviting Phillies fans to come down to DC for the Nationals’ opening series vs. the Phillies at Nationals Park!.

My lord. I want the team to fill its coffers, but how about doing a little better job marketing right here in DC before stooping so low! Kudos to Dan Steinberg at D.C. Sports Bog for bringing this to the attention of Nationals fans.

Stan, we love the plan, but this is not the way to win the hearts of DC fans.

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