Video: HBO’s VEEP Selina Meyer nearly nabs a presidents race victory for Teddy

Selina Meyer Washington Nationals Park Presidents RaceTeddy and Selina Meyer VEEP HBO Nationals Presidents RaceSelina Meyer Washington Nationals Presidents RaceSelina Meyer Washington Nationals Presidents RaceA 10-foot likeness of actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus participated in the presidents race Tuesday night at Nationals Park, teaming with Teddy Roosevelt in a relay race that came down to the wire.

Louis-Dreyfus plays United States Vice President Selina Meyer in the HBO comedy series VEEP, and to promote this Sunday’s season premier, the network partnered with the Washington Nationals to have the king-sized Meyer join the racing presidents for an official presidents race relay.

Meyer was teamed with fan favorite Teddy Roosevelt, and fans entering the center field gates were given “Teddy and Selina” rally signs to help cheer the pair to victory during the fourth inning race. Meyer posed for photos with fans before the game.

For the three-team relay, a trash-talking William Howard Taft was teamed with Abraham Lincoln, while founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson formed a second opponent.

In the first leg, Teddy Roosevelt jumped to a big lead, but dropped the baton on the handoff. By the time Selina had picked it up, Washington and Lincoln had taken off on the anchor leg.

In a reversal of roles from previous seasons, George Washington continued to stake his territory as the early leader in the dirty tricks department, pushing Abe onto the warning track in right center field.

With Abe out of the way, George saw nothing but daylight, but Selina put on a burst of speed that brought the Nationals Park crowd to its feet, briefly taking the lead in the home stretch before running out of gas just before the finish line.

The victory put further space between the founding fathers and the remaining racing presidents, who have yet to taste
victory in 2013.

Photos video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome.

HBO’s VEEP Selina Meyer to join Nationals presidents race Tuesday night

Teddy Roosevelt Selina Meyer VEEP Washington Nationals Presidents RaceA giant Selina Meyer mascot will join the Washington Nationals racing presidents Tuesday night at Nationals Park, as part of a promotion for Sunday’s season premier of the HBO series VEEP.

As first reported by the intrepid Dan Steinberg at The Washington Post, the Julia Louis-Dreyfus character will join Teddy Roosevelt in a relay race vs. a team of Abe Lincoln and William Howard Taft. No news on what the founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson will be up to.

The giant likeness of Dreyfus will also be in the center-field plaza before the game, and will be featured in several in-game promotions.

Steinberg’s report did state that this “will mark the first time a television character will appear in the race,” but in fact, a giant Brian Griffin from Family Guy participated in a similar promotion back in May, 2010.

Photo/Washington Nationals

Nationals Park free postgame concerts announced, Paul McCartney to visit July 12

The Nationals announced Friday that Nationals Park has been added as a stop on Paul McCartney’s Out There tour on July 12. Tickets go on sale Friday, April 12 at 10:00am through Tickets.com.

Performers were also announced for the NatsLive post-game concert series. Blues Traveler (June 8), Thompson Square (July 6), Gavin DeGraw (August 31) and Montgomery Gentry (September 21) will perform free concerts for ticketholders after Saturday night games this summer. With last week’s announcement of bobbleheads for Gio Gonzalez, Bryce Harper, and Davey Johnson, our Nationals promotion/giveaway schedule is now filled out for the season.

Video: Washington, Jefferson collude in Thursday’s presidents race

George Washington Thomas Jefferson collude Nationals Presidents RaceGeorge Washington Thomas Jefferson collude Washington Nationals Presidents RaceWilliam Howard Taft TwitterWith the first short homestand of the season wrapping up Thursday afternoon at Nationals Park, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson stood alone atop the presidents race standings, and apparently they want to keep it that way.

During the fourth inning presidents race, the two founding fathers colluded to systematically knock out their competition, slamming Abe Lincoln into the outfield wall, tripping Teddy Roosevelt in the right field corner, and slamming William Howard Taft to the ground in the home stretch.

The final tackle took George down as well, but rather than cross the finish line, Jefferson waited for the first president to come to his feet to be handed the victory.

What Jefferson gets in return remains to be seen, but the newest president Taft is not taking it lightly.

“Collusion, I say!,” he tweeted after the race. “Fine then, it appears that I need to find a partner before the next race.”

Both Teddy and Taft remain winless.

Video courtesy of Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page

Video: Washington gets his revenge on WH Taft

Racing president William Howard Taft hits the ground 4-4-2014Racing president William Howard Taft hits the ground 4-4-2014After William Howard Taft tried to knock out the competition during his debut presidents race on opening day, George Washington decided to send a message.

On Wednesday night at Nationals Park, Taft raced out of the gate to take a big lead, but the father of our country sat out to wait in ambush along the first base line.

After turning back to taunt the other presidents, Taft ran into a wall of Washington and hit the ground, allowing a trailing Thomas Jefferson to take the tape.

Meanwhile, Teddy is off to an 0-2 start for the seventh time.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Season ticket holders react to the Nationals’ souvenir “commemorative” paper tickets

The Washington Nationals are pitching their new Ultimate Ballpark Access as a great boon for season ticket holders. As noted in our annual opening day review of changes at Nats Park, many features of the new access cards have yet to be introduced, so the benefits will be seen over time.

Nationals Opening Day Souvenir Ticket and Ultimate Access Cards

Season ticket holders received one souvenir opening day ticket per account, along with the new “Ultimate Access” cards

Washington Nationals Souvenir Commemorative Ticket Replacement $3.00

The Washington Nationals are selling ticket holders “souvenir” paper tickets for $3.00 each.

In the meantime, the team went out of its way to appease those looking for a paper ticket, announcing before the season that season ticket holders would receive one commemorative “souvenir” paper ticket for opening day, and could obtain additional souvenir paper tickets for any game at the ball park for an added fee of $3.00 per ticket, with the funds going to the Nationals Dream Foundation.

“Not approaching the level of the commemorative tickets in years past,” wrote Nats fan Gerry Gleckel Jr. about the opening day ticket, “…and only one per subscriber? Should my two seatholders trade every half inning? Yuck.”

Then Monday, the $3.00 souvenir tickets made their debut at Nationals Park, and an informal poll of season ticket holders at the park and on Facebook produced a flood of reactions ranging from mild disappointment to unprintable outrage. Here are just a few of the responses:

“Not impressed,” said DC resident Susan Vavrick. “I would have thought a commemorative ticket would look nicer than that.”

“Three bucks for a piece of paper that isn’t the real ticket? C’mon,” said journalist and DC resident Max Cacas. “Give people a chance to print it out at the ballpark for free, and charge a modest fee to have a nice print suitable for framing. But not this way.”

“It has to have images on it before I’d buy,” added DC resident Andy Kostas.

“Don’t these people understand that many fans like to tickets as momentos of particular games?,” asked Alfonse Mannato. “Just stupid to charge $3 for a souvenir that lacks images.”

“How can they be so smart in team building and so ignorant in something as simple as this?,” wrote Virginia season ticket holder James Taylor. “Go figure, I sure can’t.”

And finally, from DC blogger and season ticket holder Tom Bridge:

“Nothing says ‘I was there’ quite like ‘Not Valid For Entry.’”

Personally, I applaud the Nats’ desire to be technology trendsetters, but if I’m in the ball park when Stephen Strasburg pitches his first no-hitter, I think I’m going to want to frame something better than this.

Your thoughts?

UPDATE: Received a positive comment worth sharing from Nats fan Michael Cusick: “It is pretty hard on the eyes. I think all would have been forgiven if they had put a little hologram on it. But the three bucks goes to charity (if I heard the story right) so I’m OK with it. And I would rather have a good team than fireworks and fancy ticket stubs.”

Food, parking, organ music, and other changes at Nationals Park for 2013

The swagger that comes with high expectations wasn’t the only new thing on display at Nationals Park on opening day Monday. The Nationals have made a number of small changes to the ballpark experience for 2013.
Championship banner at Nationals ParkNationals Park Scoreboard Walk PhotoNationals Park Clubhouse Team StoreNationals Park Organist - Washington Nationals

In the park itself, NL East Champion banners now hang above the centerfield gate entrance, above the center field HD scoreboard, and outside the Presidents Club. The giant Scoreboard Walk photo has also been changed to feature Jayson Werth’s walk-off home run in the 2012 playoffs. In the scheme of things, the signage changes are small, which makes the recent whining by a prominent Phillies blogger all the more perplexing.

More significant are the retail changes. One of the two banks of ticket windows on N Street NW has been replaced by a flagship team store, and several team concessions inside the park have been renamed “Clubhouse,” with new locations added around both the main and mezzanine concourses. In some cases, these new concession locations block formerly open views of the field from the concourse.

For those who drive to Nationals Park, expanded retail development in the area is taking its toll on Nats’ official parking lots. Since Nationals Park opened, lots G, J, M, N, V, and HH have disappeared from the Nationals’ official parking options.

This season, the disappearance of $5.00 lot HH from the official parking map caused concerns for budget-minded drivers. We recommended this parking option in previous years, so it was some relief to find that the lot is in fact still operating on a cash basis. The price is now $10, and still a bargain.

The Nationals had an organist playing in the center field plaza before Monday’s game, and word on the street is that it was a trial run, with the Nats’ brass considering making it a permanent fixture at games. Notably absent from Monday’s opener were persistent scoreboard cheer-starters, noise meters, and other artificial enticements we’ve come to expect. Logic holds that if the Nats keep winning and selling out, it shouldn’t take more than a little organ music (and a couple of Bryce Harper home runs) to get the crowd going.

Nats fans still mourning the departure of slugger Michael Morse via trade got a bittersweet surprise during the seventh inning stretch. After “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” fans were treated to A Ha’s “Take On Me,” Morse’s walk-up song that became a crowd favorite in 2011 and 2012. Morse may be in Seattle now, but if fans continue to sing along, expect the Nats to keep using it.

Turkey Hill Ice Cream and Papa Johns Pizza at Nationals ParkShawafel at Nationals Park - Felafel SchwarmaShawafel at Nationals Park - Felafel SchwarmaShawafel at Nationals Park - Felafel SchwarmaPresidents Race Intro Video2013 brings new food options to Nationals Park, some of which may not be welcome. On the pizza and ice cream front, Flippin’ Pizza and Breyers have been replaced by Papa Johns and Turkey Hill. Papa Johns was the team’s pizza purveyor from 2005 through 2009, and fans cheered its departure three years ago when their bland mini pizzas were replaced by actual slices by Flippin’ Pizza. Unless the product has changed, this feels like a step backwards.

In the centerfield food court, local favorite Red Hot & Blue has been ousted in favor of H Street Lebanese mainstay Shawafel. Shawafel serves a selection of Lebanese wraps containing shawarma (chicken or beef/lamb), felafel, or fried cauliflower, plus french fries that are unquestionably the best at Nationals Park.

Shawafel is a nice, if redundant, addition. Max’s Kosher Grill serves superior felafel and shawarma on the other side of the concourse, but being kosher, they are closed on Fridays and Saturdays.

Up in the Club level, we’re told to expect cupcakes from Fluffy Thoughts Bakery in McLean. These are hands down the best cupcakes in the DC area, and Fluffy Thoughts is concocting some special baseball-themed flavors for Nationals Park. More on that later.

Of course, 2013 brings a major change to the fourth inning presidents race, where the Nats have introduced a fifth racing president, William Howard “Bill” Taft. The presidents are being introduced by a new video that was created during February’s cross-country trip to Mount Rushmore, with presidents dashing from Mount Rushmore through various landmarks on their way to the starting line at Nationals Park.

Perhaps the biggest change to the off-the-field experience is the introduction of Ultimate Ballpark Access cards for season ticket holders. The program promises many benefits that have yet to be introduced, so we’ll withhold judgment for now. The Nats have been very quick to fix early mistakes with the way cards are managed, so as flawed as it may be, it may be wise to wait a few months to see how the the program develops. One exception: Season ticket holders looking for a souvenir paper ticket are being charged $3.00 each for something that looks like it came out of an inkjet printer. The Nats should kill this fee if they can’t at least improve the quality.

What do you think of the changes so far?

Video: Winthrop Roosevelt no help as William Howard Taft pushes Teddy around in his debut race

Winthrop Roosevelt at Nationals ParkWilliam Howard Taft Tackles Abe LincolnPresidents Race William Howard Taft Tackles Teddy RooseveltWilliam Howard Taft Tackles Teddy RooseveltWinthrop Roosevelt was on hand to cheer on his great-great grandfather for the opening day presidents race at Nationals Park, but the Nats’ newest racing president established himself as an enforcer who was prepared to put himself between Teddy and the finish line.

The direct descendent of Theodore Roosevelt ushered in the 2013 season with a shout of “Play Ball” before the first pitch, drawing cheers from the record opening day crowd despite the Nats’ unfortunate misspelling of his name on the HD scoreboard (it read “Wintrhop”).

A Bryce Harper first-pitch home run and 4 nearly-perfect Stephen Strasburg-pitched innings later, the Nationals’ new racing president William Howard Taft (the Nats plan to call him “Bill”) made his presidents race debut.

Winthrop Roosevelt was recruited to hold the presidents race finish line and cheered loudly for his namesake, but Taft established his new role quickly, shoving Abraham Lincoln to the ground as they ran along the outfield warning track.

After Jefferson tripped on the fallen Lincoln, Taft chased down Roosevelt, slamming him into the right field wall before both fell to the ground.

With George Washington crossing the finish line alone, Bill and Teddy rose to their feet and got into a shoving match in the foul territory below section 133.

The Nationals are clearly out to establish Taft as the presidents race villain and new nemesis for Teddy Roosevelt. Who knows where this will lead, but those who thought Teddy’s brief playoff winning streak would carry into the new season were sorely disappointed.

More photos and observations from opening day 2013 to follow.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Teddy’s great great grandson Winthrop Roosevelt to kick off 2013 season Monday

Teddy Roosevelt’s great great grandson will kick off the 2013 baseball season with the pronouncement “Play Ball!” to introduce Monday’s first pitch at Nationals Park.

Teddy Roosevelt's great great grandson Winthrop RooseveltPresidents race followers will recognize Roosevelt from September’s ESPN E:60 feature report by Ken Burns. In the report, which profiled Teddy Roosevelt’s six year losing streak in the presidents race, the younger Roosevelt speculated that his great great grandfather would gladly lose another 500 races.

The season opener has been sold out for months. With parking limited for the rare weekday packed house, the team is encouraging fans to show up as early as 10:30am with activities, giveaways, and music. The first 20,000 fans in attendance will receive a commemorative cap.

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