Join the Racing presidents at Friday’s free Nats Watch Party

The Washington Nationals have announced their first 2010 Watch Party of the season, for Friday night’s road game vs. the Cleveland Indians.

Beginning at 6:30pm, Nats’ in-game host Clint Khoury will be on hand with the Natmobile, Nationals mascot Screech, members of the Nat Pack, and of course the Racing Presidents, as they join together to watch the Nationals on the road at The Front Page, near the Ballston Metro in Arlington. There will be prize giveaways and $2.00 Miller Lites until 9:30pm.

That Cat, grounds crew create presidents race chaos

How do you follow up on what was arguably the most electric night in team history?

The day after a sellout crowd was mesmerized by Stephen Strasburg’s debut, and Teddy barely missed making a little history of his own, the Nationals racing presidents answered that question by throwing out everything but the proverbial kitchen sink.

Wednesday’s 4th-inning presidents race looked at first like a repeat of the night before.  The “un-racing sausages” joined Pittsburgh’s racing pierogies in a crowded field, and held a lead over the presidents into the final turn.

On this night, however, the critter waiting in ambush was none other than long-time presidential nemesis “That Cat,” who had recruited the Nationals Park grounds crew to the cause.  They stormed onto the field, taking down all of the visiting mascots, and leaving Thomas Jefferson with a clear path to victory.

Video courtesy of YouTube member theteddyroosevelt

On a historic night, Teddy fails to make history of his own

Strasburg's First Major League PitchIt’s safe to say that the Washington Nationals presidents race was not the main event Tuesday at Nationals Park. The mood was absolutely electric as 40,315 came to witness the major league debut of Stephen Strasburg, and despite hype and expectations that seemed impossible to meet, the rookie managed to exceed them, posting one of the greatest pitching debuts in major league history.

Expectations were high for Teddy Roosevelt as well, as many in the crowd expressed their hope that the Bull Moose would do his part to help mark the dawn of a new Nationals era with a 4th-inning victory.

The Nationals pulled out all the stops when the race began, as the “Un-racing sausages” (the Nationals’ parodies of Milwaukee’s famous racing mascots) jumped out of the gate to start the presidents race. The four presidents followed, tailed by Pittsburgh’s own racing pierogies, and a couple of secret service agents on Segways, creating a very crowded field.

Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt broke away from the crowded pack early, along with racing sausage Choriz-No. Then Teddy put on a burst of speed, sending the packed house into a frenzy.

That’s when pierogie Cheese Chester appeared along the first base line. It was a familiar site to presidents race fans, and a Teddy ambush looked inevitable.

Chester took a running start as the racers entered the home stretch, but instead of tackling Teddy, Chester ran between the two presidents and put a full-on body slam on Choriz-no.

That left nothing but daylight between Teddy and his first-ever presidents race victory; but in a race to the finish, Teddy ran out of steam, and Thomas Jefferson passed him on the inside to capture the win.

As Tom celebrated, and boos rained down from the sellout crowd, Teddy could do nothing but bend over in shame.

More photos from Tuesday

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome.

Nationals invite standing room crowd — and Pierogies — to Strasburg’s debut

As the hype for pitcher Stephen Strasburg’s debut reaches a fever pitch, with media coverage rivaling a league championship series, the Washington Nationals are releasing additional $10 standing room only tickets via the stadium box office this afternoon, ensuring an all-time Nationals Park attendance record will be set tonight.

Pittsurgh's Racing Pierogies at Nationals ParkWith the stands overflowing and the auxiliary press box bursting at the seams, the Nats have still found room to invite a handful of additional non-paying guests — Pittsburgh’s Racing Pierogies — who will no-doubt make an appearance during the 4th-inning presidents race for the 3-game homestand.

A pierogies appearance at Nationals Park was not a foregone conclusion given what happened on their last trip to DC. Just one year ago, in the series finale, the Pittsburgh mascots apparently went off-script, tricking the presidents and winning a race at Nationals Park, the only time no president was declared a winner.

Later in the season, in a relay race at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, racing pierogie Potato Pete ran onto the field from the stands and delivered a crushing open-field tackle on Teddy Roosevelt, a take-down that ESPN SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt called “the greatest highlight I’ve ever seen.”

Some have speculated that tonight could be Teddy’s big night. In an evening sure to be filled with memorable highlights, let’s hope the Pierogies don’t play the spoiler.

Flickr photo by afagen

Will the Nationals Let Teddy Win on Strasmas Day?

DC sports fans are gearing up for the most hyped debut in Washington sports history, as fans have dubbed Tuesday Strasmas Day in anticipation of the major league debut of pitcher Stephen Strasburg, aka Baseball Jeezus.

With the team expected to choose hitting phenom Bryce Harper today with the #1 pick in baseball’s amateur draft, Nats fans see this week as a symbolic turning point in the short history of the franchise.

The Nationals are surely eager to send the message that a new era has arrived. With a record sellout crowd expected, and every major national media outlet on hand, what better opportunity could the Nats have to let Teddy win? It seems a wise move, both to send a signal to the fans, and to avoid risking a chorus of 41,000 boos during their moment in the spotlight.

Here’s hoping history is made on the warning track as well as the pitcher’s mound.

One character who clearly hopes to prevent it is Abe Lincoln. The all-time presidents race victory leader has set aside his dirty tricks and gone on a tear, earning his 5th consecutive come-from-behind victory Sunday at Nationals Park. Teddy’s eyeglasses fell off his nose, but he gutted it out and finished the race blind. We’re hoping he manages to get them fixed on his off day today. The racing presidents were sporting their traditional period garb for just the second time this season.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

A birds-eye view of the presidents race

Abe Lincoln extended his winning streak to 4 games at Nationals Park Saturday night, as the Let Teddy Win blog was invited once again to take part in the team’s semi-annual blogger’s night.

Nationals Park video control room

Live coverage of the presidents race from the Nationals Park video control room

For most of the bloggers in attendance, the highlights were likely the myriad interview opportunities with Nats players and management, and the opportunity to cover the game from the press box; but for this Presidents Race Fan, the high point was reporting on the race from the video control room high atop Nationals Park, where the magic is created for the stadium’s live HD scoreboard.

Nationals Park PA Announcer Jerome Hruska calls the presidents race

And the winner is... Abe!!!

It’s safe to say that Nats Park regulars would be blown away by the sheer number of people and skill required to deliver the elaborate graphics and live in-stadium coverage of every race; and speaking of that coverage, those who believe the play-by-play is all scripted need only watch Nationals PA Announcer Jerome Hruska call it live as the race unfolds on the field below.

Unfortunately, down on the field it was deja vu for Teddy fans, as Roosevelt took a huge lead before his glasses fell off, and Abe Lincoln came from behind to win for the 4th night in a row. George Washington fell into the Geico Gecko at the finish line, marking the first time in presidents race history that the sponsor was taken down.

Before the game, I had a chance to speak to catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who guaranteed that he’d be behind the plate for Stephen Strasburg’s debut on Tuesday night. With 3 networks covering and over 200 press credentials issued, the buzz is building for that sellout game. Up in the press box, there was much speculation that Tuesday could be the night for Teddy to end his streak. We can only hope…

A special thanks to Nationals Senior Manager of New Media Chad Kurz for arranging the day.

Here’s the race as seen from the stands, courtesy of YouTube member lfahome:

And here’s the race as edited live in the booth and called by Jerome:

Teddy fails to deliver for 33,774 at Nationals Park

A hot and sticky Nationals Park was packed with fans Friday night as Livan Hernandez and the Nats defeated the the Cincinnati Reds. As well as Livan’s been pitching, the crowd would like have been much smaller had it been known he’d be on the mound when tickets went on sale…

No. Many of the 33,774 in attendance Friday purchased their tickets in anticipation of Stephen Strasburg’s major league debut, which was ultimately pushed to next week. Many of our readers have expressed their hope to see a Teddy Victory when Stephen Strasburg makes his first start at Nationals Park, and perhaps for them, the question was whether Teddy would double the disappointment, or give the big crowd the “I was there” moment they’d hoped for.

Roosevelt came out of the gate fast, and maintained his lead across the outfield warning track, but the Rough Rider faded fast at the turn, as Abe and Tom sprinted past him to the finish.

Lincoln’s third consecutive come-from-behind victory vaulted the Great Emancipator to the top of the standings for the first time since April.

[i]Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome[/i]

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