Nationals Racing President Auditions Set for February 18

If you have presidential aspirations, it’s not too late to enter the 2012 race.

Washington Nationals Racing Presidents AuditionsAs expected, the Washington Nationals today announced their Presidents Race tryouts for 2012, to be held Saturday, February 18th at Nationals Park.

The Nats are looking for fun-loving team members between 5’7” and 6’ 6” in height, who can handle wearing a 45-pound costume for hours, and can run 200 yards in 40 seconds or less (yes, that’s with the costume still on).

Nationals presidents race tryoutsYou must also be available for at least 35 home games this year.

The Nationals have made the racing president auditions a Presidents Day weekend tradition. To score an invitation and your chance to run in the footsteps of giants, you must e-mail a cover letter, resume and recent photo to entertainment@nationals.com by February 10. Tryouts are closed to the public.

Nationals Racing President AuditionsIn previous years, candidates have been asked to race against each other, run a 40-yard dash, dance, and show their celebration skills during the tryouts, which are held rain or shine (Two years ago, auditions were held in deep snow).

For a sense of what’s in store, check out our video chronicle from last year’s auditions:

Jayson Werth calls for a Teddy Roosevelt victory on Sunday

Jayson Werth - Photo APAfter trying to interfere on Teddy Roosevelt’s behalf for the second day in a row, Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth made clear his intentions.

“If Teddy can’t win, no one wins,” Werth said in the postgame press conference Saturday at Nationals Park, adding “I must be the last remaining member of the Bull Moose party, I guess.”

On whether Saturday’s ambush was planned, Werth said “I can’t really comment. When you stage a coup, it’s better to keep it quiet.”

Will the Nationals finally heed Werth’s wishes and let the team start the 2012 season without Teddy’s curse hanging over them?

“Let’s just say it’s Teddy Roosevelt’s last stand of the Rough Riders,” Werth said.

Sunday is their last chance this season to break the curse. What better gift on Fan Appreciation Day?

Photo/AP

George and the racing presidents commemorate 9/11

The Washington Nationals on 9/11 Remembrance DayThe Washington Nationals observed 9/11 Remembrance Day Sunday throughout the team’s 8-2 win over the Houston Astros. Many of the usual between-inning routines at Nationals Park were replaced by commemorative honors, videos, and tributes. Even the racing presidents showed solidarity, running their 4th-inning course wearing their new patriotic uniforms in single file behind our first president George Washington, who carried an American Flag from wire to wire.
Washington Nationals Presidents Race on 9 11

Video: That Cat Returns to thwart a sure Teddy Roosevelt Victory

That Cat returned to Nationals Park Tuesday night, and as the mysterious feline is known to do, threw a wrench into the presidents race procedings.

That Cat tackles Teddy Roosevelt in the Washington Nationals Presidents RaceThat Cat tackles Teddy Roosevelt in the Washington Nationals Presidents RaceWith a crowd braving the rain to see Stephen Strasburg’s return to baseball, perpetual showoff Abe Lincoln jumped out to a big lead, but as Abe traversed the warning track, Teddy Roosevelt put on an uncharasteristic burst of speed, passing all of the presidents and waving goodbye as he took the lead.

“Teddy’s got a huge lead now. There’s no way he’s gonna lose,” proclaimed Nationals Park P.A. announcer Jerome Hruska.

The kiss of death, apparently.

As Teddy passed by the stands in section 134, That Cat pounced.

Teddy never saw what him him, and George stole the tape.

Slo-mo take-down video follows:


Videos courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Full Video: Presidents Race Marriage Proposal at Nationals Park

Nationals Park Marriage Proposal - Racing Teddy Roosevelt for her affectionsThis you have to watch.

Twitter was all abuzz Wednesday after we told the story of the very lucky Jennie Kushlis, who’s fiance’, Matt Hendrickson, raced Teddy Roosevelt to win her affections.

Here now is the incredible video of the whole thing, compiled for the couple by Emma Patti Photography. It’s pure joy:

If you’d like to hear Matt’s video a little more clearly, that can be found in Wednesday’s post.

Race vs. Teddy Roosevelt wins DC man his bride

Matt Jennie and Teddy Roosevelt - Photo by Emma Patti Photography

Photo: Emma Patti Photography


Jennifer Kushlis loves Teddy Roosevelt. In fact, her love for the Washington Nationals’ racing president runs so deep that her boyfriend of six years, Matt Hendrickson, decided he would have to literally win her affections from Teddy before asking for her hand in marriage.

“I absolutely love the Presidents’ Race,” Kushlis said. “It’s the highlight of my summer, several times over.”

Nationals Park Presidents Race Marriage Proposal Jennie Kushner Matt Hendrickson" title="Nationals Park Presidents Race Marriage Proposal Jennie Kushner Matt Hendrickson

Nationals Park Marriage Proposal - Matt challenges Teddy Roosevelt

Video: Emma Patti Photography

Washington Nationals Park Marriage Proposal Presidents RaceBut Matt was up for the challenge. After nine months of planning, it all came together Sunday at Nationals Park.

Kushlis, 27, an Account Director at a local PR firm, arrived at their Kalorama home to find a note announcing that a Town Car would be arriving shortly to pick her up.

The driver whisked her directly to Nationals Park, where a Nats employee met her and led her onto an empty field with a table set behind home plate.

That was the cue for the HD scoreboard to light up with a video in which Hendrickson explained his dilemma, and challenged Teddy to a race for her affections.

“I realize that you have strong feelings for another man,” he explained. “Teddy and I both know that it would be impossible to ask you to choose between us, so we’ve talked and decided that the only way to settle this once and for all is with a race.”

With that, Teddy appeared from the centerfield gate, followed closely by Hendrickson.

“[The video] was absolutely hilarious,” said Kushlis, “and the only thing that kept me from sobbing through the whole event.”

Nationals Park Marriage Proposal Presidents RaceNationals Park Marriage Proposal - Teddy Roosevelt hands over the bride-to-beNationals Park Marriage Proposal Jennie Kushlis Matt Hendrickson

Matt and Jennie Engaged at Nationals Park - Photo by Emma Patti Photography

Photo: Emma Patti Photography

Teddy put up a good fight, but Matt won the day, and when Jennie met him at the finish line, he got down on one knee and proposed.

The families of both DC natives had been hiding on the Nationals Park concourse, and when Kushlis accepted, the celebration began.

“It was, by far, the best day of my life,” said Kushlis. “Matt’s incredible. The proposal was truly the best ever.”

Hendrickson, who works for Washingtonian Magazine, began scheming up the proposal during last year’s baseball season. “As my jealousy over Jennie’s love for Teddy grew, the idea to race him for her heart emerged,” he said. “Having survived an earthquake and a hurricane the week of my big plan, I felt like it was meant to be.”

Hendrickson has nothing but praise for the Nationals and Director of Ballpark enterprises Maggie Gessner, who coordinated everything.

And what of the jilted Teddy? “He’s a great sport,” said Hendrickson. “Teddy was first class.”

No wedding date has been set, but as the planning begins, says Kushlis, “I wouldn’t put it past Matt to involve Teddy somehow.”

Meanwhile, she hasn’t lost her love for the hero of San Juan Hill, saying his huge smile is what separates him from the other presidents. “George and Tom are hard to tell apart at times, and Abe looks so stern. Teddy’s the one in the bunch you’d want to have a beer with.”

Now that she’s engaged, that’s the best Teddy can hope for.

Matt’s video is above. We’ll have the full video of Sunday’s events in a few days.

UPDATE: The full video, including Jennie’s amazing reactions, is now up here

Photos courtesy of Michelle Kushlis except where noted.

Teddy shows no fight before record Nats Park crowd

Phillies fans at Nationals Park - CBP South - Citizens Bank Park SouthGeorge Washington wins the Washington Nationals Presidents RaceGEICO Gecko introducing the GEICO Presidents Race at Nationals ParkAn all-time record crowd of 44,675 squeezed into Nationals Park Saturday night, but everybody on the field, including Teddy Roosevelt, appeared to have nothing left after Friday night’s late-inning heroics.

It was estimated that as much as 50% of the standing room only crowd hailed from Philadelphia, but with the Phillies staking a 5-0 lead, and the Nationals doing nothing but squandering opportunities, the mood felt increasingly like a Phillies home crowd as the night wore on, capped by a group of fans in the outfield who held signs spelling out “Welcome to Citizens Bank Park South.”

In the fourth-inning presidents race, Teddy Roosevelt finished in last place for the second night in a row, as George Washington sneaked by Thomas Jefferson for the victory. Teddy seemed ready to admit that the race is fixed against him, tweeting after the race “Drats, foiled again!! If only I could race a vegetable or something!”

The night also featured a change to the presidents race introductions. For the last four seasons, Nationals Park P.A. announcer Jerome Hruska has intoned “Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time for the main event. It’s the GEICO Presidents Race!” Hruska’s bold introduction is the subject of much derision by fans who take offense at the notion that something other than the game would be called “The Main Event.”

While the unfortunate phrase didn’t change, the emphasis did, at least for one night. Fans on Saturday were instead greeted by a new video featuring the sponsor’s soft-spoken Gecko. It may not satisfy the critics, but it was a nice clarification between between the voice of the team and that of the race’s commercial sponsor.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Photos/Scott Ableman.  All rights reserved.

Video: Wardrobe malfunction at Nationals Park

Presidents Race wardrobe malfunctionThe Washington Nationals racing presidents were not all on their game Wednesday night at Nationals Park.

As the presidents were announced, George Washington banged his head into the centerfield gate, subsequently hitting Thomas Jefferson with a backwards head butt before the race even started.

The impact apparently knocked open Jefferson’s uniform, because the Sage of Monticello completed the race with his uniform open — a no-no in the usually Rated-G NatsTown. One of the mascot handlers raced to the finish line to cover him up and preserve his modesty.

Abe took the win.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Teddy’s shark attack targeted Terry Francona

Shame on me for missing this one, but Sunday’s Shark attack by Teddy Roosevelt was more than just a celebration of Shark Week.

Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt celebrates Shark Week - Photo by Cheryl NicholsAs Dan Steinberg pointed out in the outstanding DC Sports Bog, there was a Boston Red Sox cap stuck in Teddy’s teeth.

The cap was a swipe at Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who had taken his own swipe at Nationals fans and the presidents race during a conversation with reporters. “We don’t need to have president races or mustard racing ketchup”, he said. “Our fans like our baseball, and I actually really think that’s cool. Nothing against mustard.”

Funny. When I visited last summer, Fenway felt like a giant after-work happy hour, they played a watered-down version of baseball with a DH, tossed beach balls in the stands, and fans poured out early because the team was losing.

Photo by Cheryl Nichols/Nats News Network

Teddy the shark attacks George, Tom to kick off Shark Week

Washington Nationals Racing President Teddy Roosevelt dons a Shark mask for Shark WeekWashington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt celebrates Shark Week - Photo by Cheryl NicholsShark Week starts today, and ever the student of popular culture, Teddy Roosevelt got into the act by donning a makeshift shark mask and cardboard dorsal fin for Sunday’s game vs. the New York Mets at Nationals Park.

With Jaws music in the background, Teddy followed the other presidents out of the gate and chased them down, one by one.

Teddy dispatched of both Washington and Jefferson with his razor-sharp cardboard jaws, but he couldn’t catch up to the speedy Abe Lincoln, who crossed the finish line with his limbs intact.

NOTE: After yesterday’s post, the Nationals have updated the standings they show on the scoreboard during the race, properly crediting George with his July 10 victory. We are in sync once again.

Attack photo by Cheryl Nichols/Nats News Network
Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome.

Teddy goes after Thomas Jefferson in the outfield

Presidents race watchers knew what to expect when the fourth inning rolled around Saturday night at Nationals Park. Teddy Roosevelt said it all just before race time.

Washington Nationals Presidents Race: Teddy Tackles Jefferson“No more wins for TJ, your streak ends tonight! Mwhahaha,” Teddy tweeted from his account @Teddy26Nats.

After winning seven of the last eight races, Jefferson was poised to pass Teddy once again when the Bull Moose turned and slammed the Sage of Monticello into the outfield wall. Jefferson fell to the ground, his hair ripped by the impact.

Lincoln dashed by for his first victory since before the All Star break.

NOTE: Followers of the outfield scoreboard tally might have noted a discrepancy vs. our own presidents race standings. The Nationals scorekeepers have not credited George (or anybody) with a victory for July 10 — the last race before the all star break. We’re hoping the Nats will make the correction soon. In the meantime, we’re sticking with our count as a reflection of the true # of races this year.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome.

In 103° heat, Teddy Roosevelt stops to do the hula

Washington Nationals presidents race in Hawaiian ShirtsWashington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt does the HulaPerhaps it’s the uniform.

A crowd of 30,114 came to Nationals Park Friday night to see Chien Ming Wang battle both the sweltering heat and the New York Mets in his first major league start in over two years.

As Wang struggled in the in 103° game-time temperatures, the Nationals’ racing presidents chose to to ditch the wool uniforms in favor of cool Hawaiian shirts, honoring Friday’s anniversary of Hawaii’s statehood. Nobody appeared to benefit more than Teddy Roosevelt, who dashed into an early lead and put on one of his best performances ever.

Unfortunately, the fans cheering for Teddy along the first baseline must have proved too inspiring, as Teddy stopped and broke into a hula dance for the fans.

Thomas Jefferson, who has been on a tear since the All Star Break, dashed by for the victory.



Videos courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Video: That Cat returns, takes out three presidents

Washington Nationals Racing Presidents are attacked by That CatWashington Nationals Racing Presidents are attacked by That CatLong-time presidents race interloper That Cat made another disruptive appearance Wednesday night at Nationals Park.

As the fourth-inning race began, the t-shirt clad panther hid out by the right field bullpen gate, jumping out onto the warning track only as the racing presidents approached.

In one fell swoop, That Cat managed to take out George Washington, Abe Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt, leaving Thomas Jefferson with a clear path to the finish line before retreating to the bullpen.

Jefferson managed to avoid repeating the previous night’s mistakes, and postponed his celebration until after the race was finished.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome.

George Washington dons horns for Running of the Bulls

Running of the BullsRunning of the BullsAlexandria KleztetNationals Holidays at Nationals ParkThe annual Running of the Bulls takes place this weekend in Pamplona, Spain, and on Sunday at Nationals Park, the Nationals’ racing presidents paid tribute by strapping horns onto George Washington, who chased Tom, Abe, and Teddy across the outfield during the 4th-inning presidents race.

Thomas Jefferson broke away for the early lead, but couldn’t escape Washington’s charge.

After passing Abe and Teddy, the father of our country tucked his horns and caught up to Jefferson, flipping the Sage of Monticello head first into the Section 133 stands before claiming the victory. The move puts George within two of Abe in the standings heading into the All Star break.

Sunday was Jewish Community Day at Nationals Park, and throughout the game, the HD scoreboard featured famous jewish baseball players through history. Klezmer recording artists The Alexandria Kleztet performed in the centerfield plaza before the game.

Finally, we have to give a nod to these guys who formed their own 5-man cheering section along the first baseline. The leprechaun, angel, Easter Bunny, native American, and Uncle Sam got together to send a simple message: Every Nationals win should be a National Holiday.

Well done, gentlemen.

Wrestler John Cena pumps Teddy up to tackle Orioles Bird

The largest crowd at Nationals Park since opening day was rewarded richly Friday night after an hour-long rain delay postponed the start of the game.

John Cena gives Teddy Roosevelt a presidents race pep talkTeddy Roosevelt chases the Orioles Bird, who takes the lead in the presidents race at Nationals ParkTeddy Roosevelt tackles the Orioles Bird during the presidents race at Nationals ParkChildrens Chorus of Washington at Nationals ParkThe Nationals continued their torrid offensive streak with the 7th win in a row, and Teddy Roosevelt, despite losing the 4th-inning presidents race, delivered a satisfying blow to a longtime nemesis.

Following Tuesday night’s appearance at Nationals Park, WWE wrestler John Cena appeared Friday in a series of scoreboard video segments with Teddy Roosevelt, teaching Teddy his “You Can’t See Me” moves, and pumping up the Nats’ perennial loser both literally and figuratively in preparation for a visit from the Baltimore Orioles and their not-so-creatively named mascot, The Bird.

Before the game, The O’s fowl cheerleader pranced around Nationals Park like he owned the place, trying with little success to incite the smattering of Baltimore fans in attendance.

When the presidents race began, The Bird jumped out in front of the presidents, threatening to steal the thunder from the home town mascots; but with Teddy chasing closely behind as they turned the right field corner, the partisan crowd cheered in anticipation of what was to come.

Teddy put his newly-learned wrestling moves to use, catching The Bird and taking him down with a satisfying blow.

“You can’t see me O-bird!,” Teddy tweeted. “No WAY I was gonna let you win the race tonight!”

The antics would have to be satisfaction enough for Teddy’s long-suffering fans, who then watched George Washington blow by for the win.

A special nod to members of the Childrens Chorus of Washington, who did an amazing job with the National Anthem Friday night, and could be heard chanting the most beautiful chorus ever of “Let Teddy Win! Let Teddy Win!” from the 400 level during the presidents race!

Video to follow.

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