Video: Backwards presidents race fails to deliver for Abe or the Nats

Washington Nationals racing presidents new starting lineWashington Nationals Racing Presidents trip running backwardsThe Washington Nationals haven’t dared tweak anything about the presidents race since their backwards race earlier this week kicked off a mini winning streak.

So it was no surprise when the racing presidents took off from the wrong direction once again in the final race of the homestand, wearing their Sunday finest.

Abe Lincoln made his strongest charge of the season, surging past as Teddy and Tom tripped in the outfield; but there was no stopping George Washington, who took the tape for the fifth day in a row.

Sadly, the Nationals couldn’t take advantage, dropping the homestand finale 5-2 before 36,457 fans.

Expect the presidents race to return to “normal” when the Nationals return May 7.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Video: George wins as presidents race backwards again to support Nats win streak

Nationals Presidents race reverse direction patriotic uniforms starting lineBaseball takes its superstitions seriously, and so apparently, the Washington Nationals will run the fourth inning presidents race in reverse, with George Washington winning, as long as the Nats’ winning streak continues.

The presidents started running in reverse on Thursday in an attempt to break the team’s bad luck. On Saturday, the Nats won their third straight game, and once again, the backwards race winner was George Washington. The presidents wore their patriotic uniforms for the nationally televised game.

If form holds, Sunday’s race to wrap up the homestand will begin on the usual first base finish line. Don’t bet against George.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Video: Jefferson trips then jumps the gun in backwards presidents race

Washington Nationals presidents race backwardsNationals Presidents race backwardsAfter Thursday night, when the Nats tossed a 1-hitter after the racing presidents ran backwards, the Nationals Park mascot team decided it was best not to mess with a good thing.

On Friday night, with pitcher Jordan Zimmermann on his way to a complete game 1-hitter, the racing presidents set up once again in first base foul territory to run the fourth inning race backwards.

All of them, that is, except Thomas Jefferson. As caught on video by reader Jeramy Compton, the sage of Monticello tripped in the tunnel and struggled to get up, then dashed onto the field in front of the other presidents, before the introductions were finished.

George, Abe, Teddy, and Bill waited for the starting gun, then went after the cheating Jefferson, with George Washington catching him on the warning track to take back the lead in the presidents race standings.


Race video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Seamheads.com & SABRmetrics expert says dump Taft, Let Teddy Win

The folks over at Seamheads.com know a thing or two about baseball, having authored 90 books about the subject. So the Washington Nationals might do well to pay attention when Seamheads managing editor, baseball author, longtime MASN contributor and SABRmetrics expert Ted Leavengood offers some advice for getting the season on track.

Seamheads Ted LeavengoodOn Thursday at Seamheads.com, Leavengood makes the case that the Nats messed up their juju by introducing new racing president William Howard Taft for the 2013 season, while turning Teddy Roosevelt into a perpetual loser once again.

“What must be accepted,” Leavengood writes, “is that the Natinals (sic) have violated the first rule of Juju. You don’t change the narrative when your team is winning.”

Citing The Juju Rules by Hart Seely, Leavengood argues that the prescription is simple. “The first step must be to have Teddy win again. He must win by running directly over William Howard Taft. That may be enough, but if not then Taft must be shipped out to Syracuse. The Nationals need to get down to the business at hand and it is all about Teddy.”

You can find some of Leavengood’s books on Washington baseball here.

Video: Fans sacrifice a chicken, presidents race runs backwards to end Nats losing streak

Washington Nationals Rubber Chicken Sacrifice Burn SageWashington Nationals Rubber Chicken SacrificePresidents race runs backwardsNationals rubber chicken man sacrifice breaks bad luck
With the Washington Nationals coming off a 4-game losing streak, and the red hot Cincinnati Reds coming to town, fans, players, and team officials alike pulled out all the stops Thursday to exorcise whatever demons were plaguing the team.

At high noon in front of the Nationals Park center field gate, fans gathered as the Nats’ self-appointed “Rubber Chicken Man” Hugh Kaufman sacrificed a chicken after burning sage to help break the bad juju, performing the Kaporos ritual then slicing the chicken’s rubber head off as it was held by Caps superfan Jenn Rubenstein.

Video of the ritual below courtesy of the excellent report at DC Sports Nexus.

On the field, Manager Davey Johnson shuffled the lineup, inserting Steve Lombardozzi in the two spot and moving Jayson Werth to cleanup. But it was pitcher Gio Gonzalez, who took on the cause of Chicken Mode last season, who emerged as the star of the game, pitching a one hit gem.

In the fourth inning, the mascot team took their superstitions to a new level, running the presidents race in reverse for the first time in history.

Starting from the usual finish line in foul territory, William Howard Taft got the best start of his short racing career. Taft hung onto his lead until the Rushmores were approaching the new finish line at the centerfield gate, but he simply ran out of gas, and George Washington took the win.

That’s right. It seemed that the Nats were willing to try anything to change the team’s luck Thursday, but they still didn’t let Teddy win for the first time in 2013.


Photos and video courtesy of Hugh Kaufman and Luis Albisu

Nats get superstitious with presidents race direction

Baseball is known for its superstitions, and nothing brings out the eccentric behavior like a good losing streak.

Day Game presidents raceWhile Nats fans are preparing a chicken sacrifice Thursday at noon, the mascot team has been doing what it can to change the team’s recent fortunes.

On Wednesday afternoon, the powers that be who run the fourth inning presidents race moved the finish line to the third base side for the second day in a row. The racing presidents ran along the left field warning track, in the opposite direction of their usual path. The team tried a similar tactic last season, switching directions only when the Nats lost, but the system was soon abandoned.

Rather than move the finish line, Nats brass should be more concerned with the race results. George Washington won again on Wednesday, keeping Teddy Roosevelt winless for the season. Teddy’s historic October victory as the Nats tied up their first winning season was said to have broken a long-standing curse. Why would they now not let Teddy win?

Photo of Wednesday’s race courtesy of Joan Jankowski

Chicken sacrifice planned for noon Thursday at Nationals Park

In response to Davey Johnson, Rubber Chicken Man Hugh Kaufman Sacrifices a chicken at Washington Nationals ParkChicken Sacrifice at Nationals Park dugout - Chicken ModeIn an effort to break the team’s losing streak, Washington Nationals “Rubber Chicken Man” Hugh Kaufman will perform a ritual sacrifice of a rubber chicken in front of the Nationals Park center field gate at noon on Thursday.

Kaufman has performed the ritual many times since 2005, whenever he determines that the Nationals have hit a streak of particularly bad luck. Last season, chickens were sacrificed after a string of injuries to the team’s catchers, and again after the Nationals lost Game 3 of their playoff series vs. the Cardinals. Just ten weeks ago, Kaufman was called into service by a Washington Capitals fan to help end their own losing streak.

Kaufman, who inspired Chicken Mode t-shirts, also plans to burn sage on Thursday, to honor a postgame request by outfielder Jayson Werth. “Somebody was talking about Phil Jackson the other day,” Werth said after Wednesday’s loss. “We need to call him up, have him come in and burn some sage or something. We’re not very feng shui.”

No word on whether Jackson will make an appearance, but the ritual will be open to the public.

Video: Presidents switch directions, but Nats luck doesn’t change

Thomas Jefferson Sits for Nationals Presidents RaceWashingtion Nationals Racing Presidents Run LeftThomas Jefferson Sits Nationals Presidents Race Shoes on fireThomas Jefferson is getting cocky.

After surging past the field in three of the last four presidents races, the Sage of Monticello was on a roll heading into Tuesday night’s contest at Nationals Park.

So as the presidents were being introduced on the video scoreboard, Jefferson parked himself in a chair on the outfield warning track to watch the start of the presidents race.

After spotting his competitors a head start, Tall Tom darted ahead from behind the field, catching up as they turned the left field corner.

“C’mon Tom, get back in the race! Bid me run and I will strive with things impossible,” shouted Nationals P.A. announcer Jerome Hruska, quoting Shakespeare on his birthday.

TJ passed the pack in the home stretch, crossed the tape and popped off his shoes. “His shoes are on fire, he’s so fast,” chimed in Hruska.

The presidents raced to the third base side for the first time in 2013, a move perhaps designed to change the Nationals’ recent luck on the field, but the Nats lost another close one to the Cardinals to even their record at 10-10.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Video: Abe sets an Earth Day trap for environmentalist Teddy Roosevelt

The Nats returned to DC Monday night to kick off a week-long homestand with an Earth Day game at Nationals Park.

Earth Day presidents race Abe litters Teddy Roosevelt cleans upEarth Day presidents race Teddy Roosevelt cleans upIn the fourth inning, Abraham Lincoln took the opportunity to set a trap for noted environmentalist Teddy Roosevelt.

Teddy had a big lead from the opening gun, but Lincoln stayed out of the race, parking himself instead along the first base line and littering the foul territory with empty plastic water bottles.

As he approached the finish line, Teddy jumped over the litter, then stopped short and turned around to clean up the mess.

With Teddy collecting the bottles in a recycling bin, Jefferson raced past for his third victory in a row. Jefferson and Washington remain the only presidents with a victory in 2013.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Nationals Park to boost WiFi for fans, AT&T app promises relief for mobile data users

Comcast announced this morning that it has been selected by the Washington Nationals for a multiyear contract to deliver Gigabit ethernet and expanded WiFi availability within Nationals Park.

“When we first opened the ballpark in March 2008, our fans were not utilizing our WiFi network to the extent that they do now during an average game, which is why we needed to increase the bandwidth supporting our Internet service,” Nationals Chief Technical Officer Nationals Jason Zachariah said via press release. “We are always looking for ways to enhance the ballpark experience for our guests, and we look forward to working with Comcast in the coming years to help us keep pace as our technology demands evolve.”

Comcast suggested that the upgrade is complete, and that Nationals Park “now has enough capacity to allow thousands of fans to order food and beverages via a website from their wireless devices.”

In related news, long-suffering AT&T customers have a new option for voicing their concerns about spotty service during heavily attended games. Their upgraded app, AT&T Mark the Spot now can be used to mark specific locations and times of signal failure. The app saves the information and transmits it to AT&T later when a data signal is recovered.

Video: Visiting mascots beat up on Nats racing presidents in celebration of Screech’s birthday

University of Delaware Mascot YoUDee tackles Nationals Park racing presidentsSlapshot + G-Wiz tackles Teddy Roosevelt NationalsMascots visit Nationals Park presidents race Visiting MascotsNationals presidents race visiting mascots tackleNine visiting mascots joined the Washington Nationals’ racing presidents to celebrate Screech’s birthday on Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park, and the calamity that followed in the fourth inning presidents race nearly matched the disaster of a game that unfolded on the diamond.

The race started cleanly enough, but Fighting Blue Hen Baby Blue from the University of Delaware emerged from the bullpen to execute a beautiful flying open field tackle on early leader Thomas Jefferson, leaving Teddy Roosevelt with a clear path to the finish line.

Clear, that is, until Washington Capitals mascot Slapshot emerged from the first base stands with Washington Wizards mascot G-Wiz.

With Slapshot kneeling down on the ground, G-Wiz used Slapshot’s back as a launching pad and leaped into the air for a flying take-down of the oncoming Bull Moose.

Mascots then streamed from the stands, including George (George Washington University), Uncle Slam (Potomac Nationals), Talon (DC United), The Patriot (George Mason University), and bulldog Jack (Georgetown University), and YoUDee (University of Delaware), all pouncing on the oncoming presidents.

With an army of mascots beating up on Teddy, Bill, Abe, and George, a revived Thomas Jefferson came to his feet and veered around the pile, taking the victory to move himself into a tie atop with George Washington atop the presidents race standings at the end of the homestand.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Video: Teddy, Taft get revenge, Taft sits on George Washington

Nationals racing presidents Teddy tackles George WashingtonNationals Racing President William Howard Taft Sits on George WashingtonA day after George Washington bowled over his competition, Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft sought presidents race revenge, each in his own unique way.

On Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park, George Washington continued an early season trend, once again taking a lead in the fourth inning race; but Teddy Roosevelt gained ground on him from behind and slammed the founding father into the outfield wall.

With Washington lying on the warning track, William Howard Taft, who didn’t even start the race, emerged from the bullpen and sat his infamously large posterior on the father of our country, keeping him in place until Thomas Jefferson made it to the finish line.

video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Video: George Washington plows Tom, Abe, Teddy and Taft

Nationals Racing President George WashingtonWith only seven races in the books for 2013, George Washington has established himself as Nationals Park’s new 4th-inning enforcer, a role historically owned by “Honest” Abe Lincoln.

If there was any doubt before Friday night’s race, it was quickly erased soon after the racing presidents were introduced. Washington was last to emerge from the centerfield gate, but as the field raced along the warning track, George surged ahead chased down Jefferson, Lincoln, Taft, and Teddy in succession, knocking each to the ground.

After crossing the finish line, the father of our country pimped for the crowd.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Video:Nats correct standings, Abe & George skip across the finish line

20130412-091610.jpgThe Nats corrected the presidents race scoreboard Thursday night, after we called out Abe Lincoln’s undeserved ‘W’ in the victory column.

Thomas Jefferson ran away with the race to keep pace with early season leader Washington, but standing out more were last place finishers George and Abe, who held hands and skipped across the finish line.

“So that just happened. Wow,” tweeted Teddy…

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome.

Video: George wins again, but who is Abe paying off?

Washington Nationals Racing Presidents George WinsWashington Nationals Racing Presidents Abe CheatsWashington Nationals Racing Presidents Abe CheatsIn just the fifth home game of the young season, George Washington claimed his fourth presidents race win Wednesday night at Nationals Park.

After sharing a relay race victory Tuesday, he and fellow founding father Thomas Jefferson remain the only racing presidents to have tasted victory in 2013.

Yet somehow, the Nats continue to credit Abraham Lincoln with a victory on the Nationals Park presidents race scoreboard.

The mistake appeared after the final race of last week’s brief homestand vs. the Marlins. George won that race, but when the team returned to DC, both he and Abe had been credited with a victory.

This isn’t the first time the Nats have slipped an extra victory into Abe’s column. Last September 19, with Lincoln clinging to a narrow late season lead in the standings, the team returned to Nationals Park for the final homestand of 2012 to find that Lincoln’s victory total had magically been boosted from 27 to 28. George would go on a streak to pass Abe in the standings in the season’s penultimate race, but the Nats called the season a tie.

The team did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

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