Confirmed: It was a Phillies fan

We can put the controversy to rest. Tonight at Nationals Park, I spoke to usher Jasmine Holloway, who was in charge of Section 135 Thursday night when the fan was ejected for punching Thomas Jefferson in the middle of the presidents race.

“He was definitely a Phillies fan,” Jasmine told me. “He was just wearing a black shirt, but when he got here, he sat with a bunch of friends who were wearing Phillies gear.”

Jasmine said she had just recently shown him to his seat when he got ejected. “He didn’t show up until the third inning,” she said. 

The Phillies Fan Controversy

Yesterday was the biggest traffic day in our blog’s short history, surpassing even that notorious date in 2009 when Potato Pete leveled Teddy Roosevelt in Pittsburgh, and the way today is trending, the record may fall fast.

Why all the excitement? Wednesday night’s appearance of a super-sized John F. Kennedy certainly drew a ton of attention, but the headline that followed last night stirred the pot to a degree not usually seen in our harmless little world.

Quite a few Phillies fans, as it turns out, have taken offense.

After being named Worst Sports Fans in America this month by GQ Magazine, some of the Phillies’ faithful are crusading to correct what they see as an unfair stereotype.

So when I published Phillies Fan Ejected for Punching Thomas Jefferson, I was pilloried for jumping to conclusions.

Well, pilloried might not be the right word, but the boo-birds did come out of the woodwork, calling it bullsh–, calling me an ass and a jerk, calling DC fans classless and drunks, and otherwise generally dishing the brotherly love.

Yes, the headline was intended to be provocative. But even though Bob Carpenter had said on the MASN broadcast that it was a Phillies fan, and all evidence supports the allegation, I noted in the write-up that the fan in question was not, in fact, wearing Phillies gear.

Will anybody step forward to verify the fan’s identity? As the comments continue to pour in here, the question has since been taken up by discussion forums up and down I-95, plus Dan Steinberg’s DC Sports Bog, Half Smokes, and Yahoo’s Big League Stew (which contributed the photo illustration above).

Or as a fan on MLB.com pointed out, “Maybe it was just a fan trying to finally get Teddy Roosevelt a win in the race.”

UPDATE:
Confirmed.

Changes for 2011 at Nationals Park

The new-look Nationals begin their first extended homestand at Nationals Park tomorrow, bringing a 4-5 record and a renewed sense of confidence to face the Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers beginning Tuesday night.

It’s an exciting time to be a Nats fan. The many changes on the field have the Natosphere buzzing, and fans heading to Nationals Park have a number of off-the-field changes to look forward to as well. Some of the highlights:

R.I.P. Natstown

With Stan Kasten officially out of the way, the Nationals Marketing department appears to have gotten its act together for 2011.

As we first saw when the new uniforms were announced, and observed on opening day, the team’s cacophony of colors, logos, and slogans has been wisely narrowed to a simple focus on the “Curly W” and the color red.

Yes, the seats are still painted blue, but that remains the exception as the curly W and the new, brighter red have taken over the flags, banners, uniforms, scoreboard, and ad campaigns for the team. For a team still building its identity, it’s a welcome evolution of the Nationals brand.

Accordingly, the original block “Nationals” logo has disappeared, as have all references to “Natstown.”

If you are an official citizen of Natstown, it appears that your passport will not be renewed.

In-between the action

Every new season brings a few changes to the complement of “down time” distractions for the casual fan. Among those is the player’s annual selection of personal walk-up music. If you’re wondering why you’re hearing Guns n Roses and Metallica at Nationals Park, take note. Some of the team’s newest players have brought a little different edge along with their walk-up themes.

Most front-and-center is the addition of radio personality Sarah Fraser to the in-stadium entertainment crew. As I wrote previously, I think she’s a real upgrade and hope readers agree.

Most exciting to fans of the presidents race may be the return of the “classic” racing presidents. Last year, during the All Star Break, the presidents received a significant facelift, with no explanation offered by the team.

It was the last we’d seen of the original, more menacing-looking presidents — until now. The “classic” presidents reappeared at this year’s auditions, and on opening day reclaimed their position as regulars at Nationals home games. Meanwhile, it appears that the “new look” presidents have been relegated to emergency backup and other command appearances.

Where to Park Yourself

New casual seating areas have been added outside the Red Loft, near the Miller Scoreboard Walk, and behind the centerfield plaza, in what was formerly the Kids Zone.

For those driving to Nationals Park, the team’s two discount parking options remain in place at lots HH ($5.00) and W ($10.00), but the private MarcParc lot at M and Half Streets has raised its
rate to $20/game.

Lots of Food Changes

Pastrami at Nationals Park? For the fourth time in as many years, the Taste of the Majors stands have been revamped, but the latest version of the menu is the truest to the original concept — with specialties from around the Nationals League East: a Philly hoagie, Atlanta Chicken and Waffle, Miami cuban sandwich, and from New York, that grilled pastrami on rye.

I can report that the latter was made with authentic Romanian pastrami and swiss, but despite coming right off the grill, was cold as ice.

Fans of the Rough Rider are mourning the elimination of Teddy’s Barbeque, but for a limited time, the popular stand has reemerged in a tent at the Miller Scoreboard Walk. You can get pulled pork and pulled chicken, but alas, no Rough Rider.

The tent will disappear soon, as soon as New York’s Blue Smoke, Shake Shack, Box Frites, and El Verano open behind the Scoreboard Walk.

Also new to the scoreboard walk is Jammin’ Island BBQ, adjacent to the Red Loft, featuring jerk chicken and jerk ribs cooked on an open grill. The menu mirrors some new options being offered to Club and Suite ticketholders in the Stars & Stripes Club, but it’s pricey for an outfield stand, with combo platters costing as much as $16.00.

Other new items at the Stars & Stripes Club include barbeque chicken nachos, braised short ribs, sweet potato fries, pork wingettes, and fish & chips.

Nationals Park regulars know that the most reliably speedy food line can always be found at Hard Times Cafe in the otherwise busy left field concourse.

This season, Hard Times has expanded to two additional locations within the main concourse, behind the first and third base lines. The stands offer all of your Hard Times favorites except for Chili Mac. This should put an end to the oh-so common question “Where’d you get those nachos?”

Along with Budweiser, two other long-time sponsors — NJ’s Curly W Pretzels and Giffords Ice Cream — appear to have completely disappeared from Nationals Park, leaving the Ben’s Chili Bowl Half Smoke as the only remaining local signature item (sorry Hard Times, your chili recipe is from Cincinnati).

The former Giffords stand has been replaced by Breyers Ice Cream, which features a knockout Caramel Cookie Dough, but alas, no more milkshakes.

There is one bit of good news for Nats fans looking for a local treat. The popular but elusive DC food truck District Taco has just been awarded a license by the city to park on the street near the Nationals Park centerfield gates on game days.

District Taco offers outstanding homemade tacos, burritos, and quesadillas that put Chipotle to shame.

The Nationals do allow outside food, as long as it’s packaged in a single serving soft-sided container (no hard plastics). Let’s hope the line at District Taco isn’t too long.

Race photo courtesy of Flickr member afagen.

Nats offer fan chance to man the presidents race finish line

The Washington Nationals announced their first “insiders night” to be held on April 29 when the Nats take on the world champion San Francisco Giants at Nationals Park.

The team is taking entries now through April 15 for the associated insiders sweepstakes, from which winners will be selected to throw out the first pitch, announce “Play Ball” to start the game, or hold the finish line for the presidents race.

Entry is free.

Photo courtesy of Flickr member afagen

New Nationals Park Co-Host Sarah Fraser

Personnel changes in the Nationals Park dugout were the main topic of discussion in the Natosphere this opening weekend, but outside the dugout, another newcomer was introduced to the stadium faithful.

Nationals Host Sarah FraserLong-time Nationals in-stadium host Clint Khoury has a new partner-in-crime for the NatsHD segments that appear on the Nationals Park scoreboard before and during the games.

Listeners to The Kane Show on DC’s Hot 99.5 FM will recognize the the Nats’ new self-described “Hype Girl” as Sarah Fraser, co-host of the top-rated morning drive program. Fraser also hosts her own late morning block called simply “The Sarah Show” from 10am-12pm. She also appears weekly on NBC 4’s “Daily Connection,” and has filled in as a traffic reporter on WTOP news radio.

A native of Maine, Fraser, 28, moved to the District after graduating from Mt. Holyoke College. On her website HeyFraz.com, she writes that she is taking classes at the DC Improv and working toward her debut as a stand-up comic.

Yes, I know the baseball purists would prefer to do away with in-game hosts altogether, but NatsHD pays the bills, and the kids and casual fans love it.

Sarah Fraser and Ryan ZimmermanThe co-host job has been a revolving door since Nationals Park opened, but if this opening weekend was any indication, the Nats have finally found a great counterpart to Clint.

Fraser is focused and full of energy — in this fan’s eyes, a definite and welcome upgrade!

Photos: Sarah Fraser

Nats roll out the red, and Teddy falls on wet, cold opening day

It’s fair to say that the 39,055 Nationals faithful who packed the home park for opening day are accustomed to end-of-game suffering. Unfortunately, a near-freezing drizzle forced them to suffer non-stop from Thursday afternoon’s opening pitch.

The home team sported a new look for 2011, with six new position players, an improved defense, new home uniforms, and a variety of other changes to the stadium experience; yet these improvements were little consolation for failing to score against the Atlanta Braves pitching staff.

While the team’s refreshingly solid defensive performance may portend good times ahead, there were no such signals from Teddy Roosevelt.

The 2011 presidents race season kicked off with an unusual relay race in which Abe Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson jumped over hurdles in the outfield before attempting to push Teddy and George, respectively, to the finish line aboard rolling carts.

As Tom pushed George over the finish line, Teddy failed to gain his balance and fell off the cart onto the warning track.

The shared victory knocked winless fan-favorite Teddy into 3rd place in the presidents race standings after just one race. It could be a long season ahead.

The Nationals promised changes to the in-stadium experience for 2011. Unfortunately, letting Teddy win does not appear to be one of them.

This fan captured his own video from the upper deck. It’s notable not for the camera work, but for the drunken despair expressed over Teddy’s fate.

When the team introduced its new uniforms back in November, they also promised a renewed marketing focus for the Nationals around the color red and the Curly W logo.

Today, further progress was revealed in the form of new uniforms for the Nat Pack, new Curly W signage around the parking garages, Curly W backgrounds on all of the featured HD scoreboard videos, and revised scoreboard graphics featuring bright whites and reds to match the uniforms.

To this observer, these changes are well done and help to solidify the Nats’ marketing identity.

Now if only we could get Teddy’s Barbeque back…

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

R.I.P. Teddy’s Barbeque

Baseball fans know that change is an inevitable rite of spring. One can only hope that the gains outweigh the losses — that for every lost Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham, there’s a Jayson Werth or Bryce Harper to get excited about.

The Rough Rider at Teddy's Barbeque, Nationals ParkSo, too, is the case with the rest of the ball park experience, especially at Nationals Park, which is revamping some of its foodservice offerings for the fourth consecutive season, eliminating both Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and my personal favorite, Teddy’s Barbeque.

Teddy’s Barbeque was a mid-season acquisition in 2009, and was home of the Rough Rider — a jumbo beef short
Xtreme Loaded Dawgs at Nationals Park in Washington, DCrib brined for 12 hours then smoked for 12 hours more. Five Guys you can get anywhere, but the Rough Rider was ours — the Park’s closest thing to a unique signature dish. It looked like something Fred Flintstone would eat. It was delicious, and there was always a line.

The big steel smokers still stand in the same centerfield location, but
The Nach-Yo Dog at Xtreme Loaded Dawgs, Nationals Park, Washington, DCbeginning this season they’re being used only for hot dogs — or should I say Dawgs.

Yes, Teddy’s Barbeque has been replaced by yet another hot dog stand. I can confirm that those smokers impart a great flavor, but the real twist at Xtreme Loaded Dawgs is the toppings.

Choose from The Deli Dog with kraut
The Big Kid Dog at Xtreme Loaded Dawgs, Nationals Park, Washington, DCand thousand island dressing; The Heater with buffalo wing sauce and blue cheese slaw; the Nach-Yo Dog (top right) with pico de gallo, peppers, cheese and sour cream; the Frito Pie Dog with chili, cheese, and Fritos; or the most outrageous of them all: The Big Kid Dog (bottom right) with macaroni and cheese and Fritos on top.

Whether you find the concept cute or disgusting depends on your perspective, but one thing’s indisputable. The flimsy buns can’t hold all those wet toppings, so grab plenty of napkins.

New restaurants at Nationals Park, Washington, DCWhile it feels like we’ve traded down in the centerfield concourse, the team has been working to upgrade the fare just up the escalator at the Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk, with the addition of four new stands from Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group in New York.

Coming soon are four established concepts imported from New York’s Citi Field: burgers and custard from the Shake Shack, pit barbecue from Blue Smoke, Belgian-style fries from Box Frites, and Mexican food from El Verano Taquería.

Nats fans should welcome any attempts to upgrade the foodservice and the fan experience, yet these off-season moves leave a bad taste in my mouth. It feels like we’ve traded away a unique signature player for some journeyman ones that will just help Mets fans feel more at home at Nationals Park.

UPDATE: While the new Miller Scoreboard Walk restaurants aren’t open yet, Teddy’s Barbeque has been set up under a tent up there. Unfortunately, they do not have the Rough Rider rib, but they do have the pulled pork and pulled chicken. Location is on the upper level directly across from the scoreboard under a white tent.

Rough Rider photo courtesy of Flickr member Kevin Harber

Nationals Promotion/Giveaway Schedule for 2011

Washington Nationals 2011 individual game tickets go on sale to the public next Thursday, March 3, and while the Nationals game day promotion/giveaway schedule is not final, many of the details are now available on Nationals.com.

Highlights this season include bobblehead nights for Jayson Werth, Ian Desmond, and a 3rd “fan choice” which will be determined by an online and in-the-park poll. The team has also expanded the highly popular “Pups in the Park” promotion. The perennial sellout event, in which dog owners can buy tickets to bring their pets to the game, has been scheduled for three games during the 2011 season.

In addition to the known dates and giveaways listed below, Friday Night Fireworks, Signature Sundays, and Sunday Kids Run the Bases programs will return on Fridays and Sundays. Notably absent from the schedule are the team’s free T-Shirt Tuesdays — a mainstay of the previous three seasons.

UPDATE: To purchase Nationals tickets before the official public sale date, click on this link and enter password FACEBOOK.

2011 Washington Nationals Promotional/Giveaway Schedule

Thu 3/31 Opening Day Cap (first 20,000 fans)
Sat 4/2 Magnet Schedule/Car Magnet (first 20,000 fans)
Fri 4/15 Jackie Robinson Day
Sun 4/17 Screech’s Birthday celebration
Sat 4/30 Umbrella (first 20,000 fans)
Sat 5/14 Pups in the Park
Fri 5/27 Frosty Mug (first 10,000 adults 21 & up)
Sun 5/29 Kids Bat & Ball Set (first 10,000 kids 12 & under)
Thu 6/16 Ladies Night
Sat 6/18 Kids Jersey (first 10,000 kids 12 & under)
Sun 6/19 Father’s Day: Nationals Road Cap (first 30,000 fans)
Mon 7/4 Patriotic Cap (first 20,000 fans)
Fri 7/8 Tri-Color Cap (first 10,000 fans 21 & up)
Sat 7/9 Pups in the Park #2
Sat 7/30 Jayson Werth Bobblehead (first 15,000 fans)
Thu 8/18 Ladies Night
Fri 8/19 Black Heritage Night
Sat 8/20 Ian Desmond Bobblehead (first 15,000 fans)
Sun 8/21 Kids Duffle Bag (first 10,000 kids 12 & under)
Sat 9/3 Team on Field Photo Day
Fri 9/0 Hispanic Heritage Night
Sat 9/10 Fans Choice* Bobblehead (first 15,000 fans)
Fri 9/16 Roberto Clemente Day
Sep 9/24 Pups in the Park #3
Sun 9/25 Fan Appreciation Day

* UPDATE: Voting is completed, and the fans choice bobblehead giveaway for September 10 will be rookie second baseman Danny Espinosa.

Behind the scenes at the Nationals presidents race (Video)

One thing we’re asked frequently (other then “When is Teddy gonna win?”) is whether the entire presidents race is scripted in advance.

Washington Nationals PA Announcer Jerome HruskaWhen I respond that Nationals Park PA announcer Jerome Hruska really calls the game live and unscripted, some people find that hard to believe.

So when the Nationals hosted several bloggers at the park last weekend, I made a special last-minute request, and the Nats were happy to oblige.

During the 4th-inning presidents race, the Nats allowed us to bring two video cameras up to the control room at
Nationals Park video control roomNationals Park, to give Let Teddy Win readers an inside look at the calling of the GEICO presidents race.

High above the field, a small army of directors, statisticians, and engineers communicates with camera operators and entertainment staff stationed throughout the park, mixing the feed live for the 101-foot HD scoreboard over the centerfield bleachers.

Washington Nationals PA Announcer Jerome Hruska's Presidents Race ScriptBehind a soundproof door, Hruska reads a script introducing the presidents race video, but from that point forward, the script just reads “(RACE).”

Video below. Thanks to Chad Kurz and the Washington Nationals for letting LTW readers behind the scenes.

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:

Nats add more tickets for Pups in the Park August 29

We previously reported that the Washington Nationals Pups in the Park dates were sold out; but the Nats have responded by adding another seating section for this popular event. Five dollar dog tickets are available once again for the Sunday, August 29 game vs. the St. Louis Cardinals.

DeAngelo Hall offers to trade places with Teddy Roosevelt

Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall was on hand at Nationals Park to throw out the first pitch for Thursday night’s game vs. the Atlanta Braves.

During the game, Hall was interviewed by Nationals Park in-game host Clint Khoury. The speedy Hall had no advice for Teddy Roosevelt, but offered to trade places and run for him in the presidents race. You’ll find the full interview over at The Redskins Blog.

Canine Nats fans sell out Nationals “Pups in the Park” day

Let Teddy Win Dog T-ShirtThe Nats have not sold out a game since opening day, but maybe they were targeting the wrong audience.

This Saturday marks the return of “Pups In the Park,” a promotion the team began last year in which the Washington Nationals open the gates of Nationals Park to their furry fans.

While regular seats remain available for the 1:05pm game vs. the Florida Marlins, the Dog Tickets are apparently a complete sellout.

The special $5.00 Dog Tickets allow fans to sit with fido in the Left Field Mezzanine, sections 201 through 203 (human seats are still $20.00). The area will feature a sod grass section behind the stands for dogs who’ve had too much beer, and dog walkers from Fetch! Pet Care are on hand to let you visit the concessions yourself.

The first-ever “pup parade” is a new addition. Fans will be invited to walk their dogs around the warning track before the game, so Josh Willingham, please watch where you step in left field Saturday.

Dog Tickets are on sale now for the second Pups in the Park day, which will be Sunday, August 29.

UPDATE: A day after this post, the August 29 date sold out as well! Clearly the Nationals need to look into expanding their canine capacity for this popular event.

UPDATE #2: The Nats have added a section for the August 29 date, so tickets are available again!

Some cheers and a few jeers for the new food options at Nationals Park

When the Washington Nationals brought in the Levy Restaurant group to replace Centerplate a year ago, expectations were high for a major improvement in concession variety and service.

Perhaps they needed a year to get their bearings, because Levy has followed the incremental changes of 2009 with a number of very large wholesale changes for the 2010 season that begins today at Nationals Park.

THE GOOD

Nationals Park Red Porch RestaurantRed Porch Expansion. Rows of seats were removed to create more in-stadium dining tables for the centerfield Red Porch restaurant, and the menu was expanded to include new items like a Southwestern Steak Salad that’s big enough for two. You can reserve one of these tables in centerfield for one hour of any game during the season by calling 202.640.7947. [2011 UPDATE: The Red Porch no longer takes reservations.]

Flippin PizzaNo more Papa Johns. Since RFK days, Nats fans — especially Nats fans with kids — have suffered with tiny, doughy, Papa John’s mini pizzas, while Club level ticketholders enjoyed the option of Flippin’ Pizza slices.

Thankfully, Papa Johns has been banished from Nationals Park, replaced by Flippin Pizza stands selling actual slices on every level of the Park (behind Sections 115, 214, and 311).

Nationals Victory Knot PretzelVictory Knot Pretzel. Only available in the Red Loft, this popular item imported from other stadiums where Levy runs concessions is a 2 pound pretzel in a pizza box with three sauces for dipping — a sweet cinnamon creme, a spicy chipotle honey mustard, and savory beer cheese. You definitely want to share this item.

Healthy Cart. Give the Nats high marks for listening and trying. Fans on restricted diets, or who just want to eat healthy — even at a ball park — will find gluten free items, chopped vegetable salads, low fat wraps, and yogurt parfaits at this cart which moved to a better spot on the very busy main concourse behind the 3rd base stands. Alas, on Saturday afternoon, when the lines were 15 minutes deep at every concession stand from hot dogs to beer, the Healthy Cart was the only visible vendor in the Park with no waiting.

THE BAD

Ridiculous waits. You really want to cut these people some slack since it’s the beginning of the season, but 2 years of experience tells us not to chalk this up to “working the bugs out.” As in previous years, we saw people reach the front of the line and still have to wait 5 minutes for simple food orders while a more-than-capacity staff stood around waiting for the next guy to fill the order.

Hard Times Cafe at Nationals ParkReally, people. The limited menu at your food stand is designed to keep things efficient and fast. So why do I wait several minutes for a hot dog after I’ve reached the front of the line? A notable exception continues to be the Hard Times Cafe concession, where every employee seems to understand why they are there, and the line always flies.

Signage.The menu signage continues to prioritize adherence to corporate design standards over actual usefulness. The reimagined Taste of the Majors stand is a case in point. Gone are the wonderful garlic fries and other goodies from major league parks. Now pretty much all they sell is foot-long hot dogs. The menu, unfortunately, lists “DC Dog,” “Phillies Dog,” “Braves Dog,” “Mets Dog”… You can wait in line for 15 minutes to get to the front before finding out what the difference is between these various foot longs. By the 4th inning of the exhibition game, the staff had already given up on explaining the menu, and was just asking people when they got to the front what they wanted on their hot dogs.

Bottomless popcorn. A new gimmick this year is the Bottomless Popcorn available at any Nats Dog stand. For $5.75, you can get a huge bucket of popcorn — enough to make anybody sick. For $7.00, you can get the “Bottomless Popcorn,” which comes with free refills throughout the game. The catch? You can keep coming back for refills, but the Bottomless bucket is about 1/3 the size of the regular-sized bucket. Is this a smart way to please your customers and keep lines short? Adding insult to injury: my sister just asked for the smallest size popcorn, and was sold the bottomless variety.

Nationals Park Chicken & Waffle sandwichThe Chicken and Waffle Sandwich. OK, I’ll admit I haven’t tried it, but I really am scared of this thing. Available at the new Change Up Chicken stand behind Section 130 on the main concourse, it features fried chicken on top of waffles, covered in syrup. Defibrillator not included.

Running out of food. When you charge $11 for a sandwich or $9 for a hot dog, I assume your margins are high enough to account for a little waste, so it’s really frustrating when you run out of food in the 5th inning. The Dupont Deli behind section 227 used to have some very nice salads, but notoriously was supplied with only 4 or 5 of them to last the whole game. This year, the salads have been replaced with hot panini sandwiches — grilled cheese, italian, or turkey. They were out of grilled cheese before Saturday’s game even started.

Nats lose. Teddy disqualified. Good thing this was an exhibition.

A huge crowd filled Nationals Park for this afternoon’s game between the Washington Nationals and Boston Red Sox. The year’s only exhibition game in DC was meant to be a final warm-up for the season that starts Monday. Nats fans were simply grateful that this one didn’t count.

With Craig Stammen spotting Boston an early lead, and Tim Wakefield shutting down the Nats on the field, the faithful looked to the 4th-inning presidents race for signs that 2010 would be different.

Instead, what transpired suggested that the conspiracy that continues to deny Teddy Roosevelt his first presidents race victory is alive and well.

Teddy had raced out to an early lead over the other presidents when That Cat, who has foiled Teddy numerous times in the past, appeared from the centerfield fence. Chasing down the presidents, the Cat tackled Abe, Tom, and George in succession, but ran into a stiff-arm from Teddy Roosevelt.

Teddy held off That Cat, pushing him to the ground just before crossing the finish line, but Screech stepped in and immediately disqualified Teddy for “unnecessary roughness.” For the first time ever, That Cat was declared the presidents race winner.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

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