Presidents Race wins “Best on Field Promotion” of 2009

For the second time in their three full seasons, the Washington Nationals racing presidents have been awarded the “Golden Steagle” award for Best Contest or On Field Promotion of the year.

The award is bestowed annually by Gameops.com, a web site which connects sports teams and event producers with ideas and tools for on-field promotions. Our own racing presidents won the award in 2007 and were nominated again last year.

The 2009 award was granted jointly this year to both the Nationals presidents and Milwaukee’s racing sausages, also previous winners in 2003, and widely recognized as baseball’s original racing mascots. Gameops editor John Cudo called this year’s tie “a case of split between two great classic promotions….and an on-going battle which ends in a tie on this day.”

The Nationals mascot team mocked the racing sausages earlier this year when the Milwaukee mascots refused to race against the presidents during a Nationals homestand vs. the Brewers.

Cudo, who works for the Cleveland Cavaliers and spent 7 years as the mascot for the Minnesota Timberwolves, has written numerous times about the presidents race and claims a “mild addiction” to the Let Teddy Win blog, calling it “a season long tutorial on how to keep a promotion you do every night interesting.”

According to Cudo, the annual Best Of awards are among the most popular features of their site. Nominations come from readers and are judged by a panel of industry leaders and insiders.

Shop with the racing presidents this weekend

If you’re out holiday shopping this weekend, the Washington Nationals want to provide you and your littlest Nats fans a little relief.

The Nationals racing presidents will make multiple appearances at area shopping venues this weekend, along with members of the Nat Pack and mascot Screech.

Confirmed locations:

Friday
12:00pm – 3:00pm Fashion Center at Pentagon City (Metro Level)

Saturday
12:30pm – 4:30pm Dulles Town Center

Sunday
11:00am – 3:00pm White Flint Mall (Center Court, Level One)

The presidents are supplementing this schedule with unscheduled appearances around the city. Alert reader Dave Nichols also spotted Thomas Jefferson and Abe Lincoln at the Metro Center Metro stop this morning, handing out spring training info and 2010 pocket schedules.

(As for your Let Teddy Win stocking stuffers, you’ll have to shop online).

Meet Screech and the racing presidents this weekend

The racing presidents will be giving Santa a run for his money this weekend as they give fans an off-season opportunity to mingle with their favorite mascots.

Members of the Nat Pack will escort the Nationals’ racing presidents along with mascot Screech to White Flint Mall in Rockville this Sunday, December 13.

The “Exclusive Santa Photo Experience” is scheduled for 11:00am to 3:00pm in Center Court, Level One.

For the Teddy fans in your life

Teddy Roosevelt Gift Items at LetTeddyWin.comOur good friends over at CafePress have introduced some new gift items in recent months and — just in time for Christmas — we finally got around to putting some “Let Teddy Win” designs on them.

The new gift items include a Teddy Roosevelt holiday ornament, the swiss-made, eco-friendly Sigg water bottles in 2 sizes, plus a great-looking nylon Let Teddy Win! gym bag.

For pure fun, the new Let Teddy Win! Flip Mino Camcorder simply can’t be beat. There’s an HD version as well.

Right now you can use coupon code ATTICSINROAD to save $5 when you spend $50 or more. Longtime readers know that these items support the blog and are backed by the great CafePress satisfaction guarantee.

Nationals blogs forced to fill the print gap

With the Washington Nationals preparing for their most highly-anticipated spring training since the team moved to DC, the oft-snakebitten franchise finds itself without a voice at DC’s major newspapers.

The Washington Times today announced restructuring and layoffs that include drastic cut-backs in local news and sports reporting. The staff reductions of over 40% mean the Times is throwing in the towel on local print news to focus on national politics.

The announcement comes after Washington Post Nationals reporter Chico Harlan reported that he is leaving the Nationals beat as soon as the Post can find a replacement.

Of course, anybody paying attention saw it coming. Two seasons ago, when Harlan took over the Nats beat, he made it clear he wouldn’t stay in the job more than a couple of years. As for the Times, even their most tenured sports reporters have been interviewing for jobs this year as they watched readership drop and were continually asked to do more for less.

Nats followers will surely miss Mark Zuckerman and Ben Goessling’s Chatter, and the commentary of Thom Loverro, who last season so eloquently argued that the Nats must Let Teddy Win in order to escape the curse of Teddy Roosevelt.

But I’m going to miss Chico the most. Harlan won me over in his first weeks on the job, but the humor and eloquence with which he chronicled last year’s train wreck of a season merits a plaque in the sportswriter’s hall of fame.

As for the Nats, the sad reality is that come opening day, the Nationals Park press box will be home to just one full-time print journalist who has never covered the team.

Nationals president Stan Kasten has always had a love/hate relationship with bloggers, but his decision last season to embrace the Natosphere is looking mighty prescient. As print coverage continues to wither, a small army of loyal and dedicated Nationals bloggers continues to cover the team’s every move. The team has followed up this off-season with conference calls and invitations to press conferences as the Nats announced their skipper and GM.

The Natosphere is remarkably strong for such a young franchise. For better or worse, it represents the most consistent local coverage of our favorite team. Kudos to the Nats for recognizing the growing role of blogs in local coverage.

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