Another Curse against the Nats? Or just the reason Abe Lincoln gets away with cheating.

In today’s Baltimore Sun, Mark Greenbaum and David O’Leary argue that the Nationals poor record in the team’s short history is not due to the fact that Major League Baseball decimated the Expos organization and talent pool, but because Nationals Park is haunted by the ghost of John Wilkes Booth.

Yes, it seems the the Nationals’ shiny new ball park happens to be on the site where Abraham Lincoln’s assassins were tried, hung, and buried.

Of course, the Nationals’ weak on-field performance dates not to the opening of Nationals Park, but to the introduction of the presidents race in 2006, leading others to have speculated about the curse of Teddy Roosevelt.

Interestingly, if any performance-related trend can be tied to the opening of Nationals Park, it’s the unlikely dominance of Abraham Lincoln in the team’s 4th-inning presidents race.

Back at RFK stadium, the first presidents race season titles went to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

But since moving to Nationals Park, Abe Lincoln has simply dominated, winning the crown going away in 2008 and 2009. This year, after losing his lead briefly to George, Abe went on a late season tear and with just ten home games remaining is positioned to take his third title in a row.

It’s been well established that Abe gets away with cheating, but perhaps it’s not Abe at all, and rather a higher power allowing the Great Emancipator to get away with murder…

What happened to baseball?

The Redskins opened their season last night, and you know what that means. Just as baseball’s playoff races get interesting, and the future of the Nationals goes on display every night with the team’s September call-ups, the nation’s pastime is no longer anywhere near the front page of the sports section in DC, and gets barely a mention on the weekend newscasts.

Washington Nationals Danny Espinosa

Nats September call-up Danny Espinosa goes 4-for-5 with 2 HRs and a grand slam in his Nationals Park debut, and gets almost no coverage because it's Dallas Week in Redskins country.
AP Photo - Nick Wass

Nationals fans can dream of the day when a Nats dynasty is a nationwide media darling and season ticket wait-lists make Nationals Park seats a hot commodity; but until that day comes, the Nationals PR team faces an uphill battle each fall.

Thankfully, the Nationals have one of the most vibrant blog communities in major league baseball to fill the gap. Collectively, the “Natosphere” misses nothing in its reporting on the team, and wisely, the Nats have been progressive in their embrace of blogs, issuing full season press credentials to select bloggers for the first time this year.

Saturday marked the team’s fourth “blogger day,” during which many more of us were again invited to the park to interview players and team representatives, and report on the game from the press box. The team has also brought on a Senior Manager of Social Media to provide us a point of contact and support when needed.

Kudos to the Washington Nationals for recognizing that this new media form is an outstanding way to break through and embrace their community of passionate fans — even those crazy enough to obsess over giant foam-headed dead presidents.

Speaking of which, the Nats honored my request to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the calling of a presidents race this past weekend. Video report to follow.

Teddy stops to pass out “Los Nacionales” T-Shirts

Let Teddy WinFriday was Hispanic Heritage Night at Nationals Park, with the team honoring the contributions of the hispanic community to baseball and society throughout the evening.

Latin influences permeated the evening, so it was no surprise when Teddy Roosevelt got into the act, passing out “Los Nacionales” t-shirts to fans along the first baseline.

Unfortunately for Teddy fans, our favorite #26 chose to engage in this bit of charity while in the midst of the 4th-inning presidents race, pulling off of the lead and allowing George to waltz to victory.

The victory kept the father of our country within range of Abe Lincoln in the standings with a dozen races left in the season. After Abe’s recent tear, in which he won 9 out of 11 races, George and Tom need to make up ground quickly to keep Abe from locking up the title for good.

Nats release coupon code for half-price tickets to Mets series

The Washington Nationals have released a coupon code “for Teddy’s fans” good for half-price tickets to the series vs. the New York Mets starting on Labor Day at Nationals Park.

The online code gets you half-price tickets in the outfield corners ($18), outfield mezzanine ($15), and upper infield gallery ($9). You must order at Nationals.com using Coupon Code “TEDDY”.

The 3-game series features day games on both Monday and Wednesday, with Jordan Zimmermann making another start on Labor Day, and the debut of highly-touted pitcher Yuneski Maya on Tuesday night.

For Monday’s game only, the Nats are also running a $1 kids ticket promotion. Buy one ticket at full price, and get additional tickets for the kids for just $1.00 each.

As always, 400 Grandstand-level seats (Section 401/402) will also be available for $5.00 each at the gate before the game. No coupon required for those.

Teddy returns to the scene of the crime, and it’s not pretty

It’s been more than a year since the Nationals racing presidents last appeared at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park — an infamous visit in which Teddy Roosevelt became a SportsCenter highlight when Pittsburgh Pirates racing pierogie Potato Pete took Teddy down in an open field tackle that ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt called “the greatest highlight I’ve ever seen.”

The presidents took the field at PNC Park once again this Labor Day weekend for a series of relay races vs. the pierogies, and by all accounts, Teddy was not about to let a renegade Pierogie take him down again.

On Saturday night, Teddy ran the anchor leg, and sure enough, he held the lead again in the home stretch, but the Pittsburgh mascots left nothing to chance, sending not one but two pierogies after him. Teddy was promptly flattened, keeping the presidents winless in their 3 seasons of visits to PNC Park.

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