Nationals fans ask “Where’s Terrance?”

Throughout the Nats’ first home series vs. the Atlanta Braves, a question was posed repeatedly on social media by fans at Nationals Park: Where’s Terrance?

Terrance Briscoe Nationals Park Cheerleader Nat Pack Terrance Briscoe Nationals Park Cheerleader Nat PackTerrance Briscoe Nat Pack Cheerleader Nationals Park Oklahoma City ThunderTerrance Briscoe Nat Pack Oklahoma City Thunder NationalsLove him or hate him, the ubiquitous Terrance Briscoe has been a fixture at Nationals Park since joining the Nat Pack cheerleading squad in 2009. Briscoe holds a special role within the Nat Pack, roaming the stadium with a great degree of autonomy and using his booming voice to lead the crowd in cheers.

“He makes Nats Park feel like home!,” said Nats fan Lynne Reynolds, who was one of several fans that started tweeting with the hashtag #WhereIsTerrance over the weekend. “His energy is boundless! He knows how to inspire and rally the crowd.”

“Terrance’s exuberance for the game is amazing,” said season ticketholder Lisa Milisa. “How can you not smile and cheer whenever he’s around?“

So where’s Terrance?

“I have been visiting my parents in Oklahoma City,” Briscoe said Sunday via email. That, and also leading the crowd in cheers for the NBA’s Northwest Division leading Oklahoma City Thunder.

“The difference between working a NBA crowd as oppose to a MLB crowd is the constant game flow,” Briscoe said. “There is not a lot of down time such as space in between at bats, pitches, and innings. It’s an effort to keep guests in the arena optimistic, loud, and smiling.”

Briscoe sent his love to Nationals Park fans, along with a promise. “When the playoffs are over,” he said, “I will be back in Washington, D.C. to help fire up the fans. I would like to work for the Nationals as long as they will have me.”

That may take some time. The Thunder has the second best record in the NBA, led by league-leading scorer Kevin Durant. If the Thunder makes it to the NBA Finals, Briscoe could be in Oklahoma until mid-June.

In the meantime, Briscoe’s message for Nats fans is one of patience: “Continue to be optimistic, along with diligently displaying your Natitude for each and every game.”

Oklahoma City Thunder Photos courtesy of Wendall Curry

Nat Pack and Racing President Auditions

Nat Pack AuditionsThe Washington Nationals are looking for outgoing and energetic athletes, gymnasts, dancers, cheerleaders, promotional models and “overall outstanding personalities” to join the on-field entertainment team this season at Nationals Park.

Tryouts to join the Nat Pack, the team’s “fan ambassadors” who lead cheers and take part in fan promotions throughout the season, will be held
Nat Pack AuditionsJanuary 28-29 at Nationals Park, and applications are due by next Monday, January 23. Candidates are asked to send their photo, resume, and cover letter to entertainment@nationals.com. Details here.

In keeping with tradition, we expect the all-important 2012 presidents race auditions to occur at Nationals Park on February 18, but according to the team, this year’s dates have not been finalized. Presidents race tryouts traditionally occur on Presidents Day weekend, with applications due a week prior.

Stay tuned. The Nats have promised details on this as well as the national anthem tryouts soon.

Video evidence that Jayson Werth acted alone

Jayson Werth interferes with the presidents race - Washington NationalsSources tell us that Jayson Werth’s ambush of Saturday’s presidents race was not scripted by the Nationals, and caught the team’s in-game entertainment and mascot team by surprise.

If there were any doubts, look no further than the new and unedited video below by our regular YouTube contributor lfahome, who caught the chaos from the finish line in all its glory.

From the way Werth and Rick Ankiel casually sauntered onto the field of play, to the way Werth had to chase Jefferson into the middle of the outfield, to the way he shoved TJ back to the ground when he tried to get up, to Werth’s despondent reaction when Teddy fell and stopped running, to P.A. announcer Jerome Hruska nearly cracking up while calling the race, to the moment Werth realized George Washington was still on his feet and attempted to trip him, to the panic by TJ’s “secret service agent,” who realized they’d gone over the MLB-allotted time, to the shock on Nat Pack member Katie’s face when Werth decided to take the tape himself, does anything about this look like the Nationals’ normally well-scripted routine?:

Check out that Nat Pack reaction one more time:

Finally, there’s Werth’s own non-comment when asked about it in the post-game press conference. “I can’t really comment,” Werth said. “When you stage a coup, it’s better to keep it quiet.”

Of course, Werth didn’t act completely alone. After failing in his first sabotage attempt Friday night, he recruited outfielder Rick Ankiel to join four bullpen pitchers and try to clear the path for Teddy.

In the face of those numbers, you have to give credit to the Nats. They are so committed to keeping the curse alive that they ad-libbed quite well, with Teddy taking a tumble in the outfield and Screech ultimately awarding the win to Werth (noted now in our standings).

But Werth appears undaunted. “If Teddy can’t win,” he said Saturday, “then no one wins in my vote.”

For a team that’s long been eliminated from playoff contention, this certainly adds intrigue to Sunday’s final home game at Nationals Park. Will Werth recruit more players to literally carry Teddy across the finish line? It doesn’t seem like the Nats have a say, and for that, Jayson Werth is officially the new hero of the Let Teddy Win movement.

Teddy gets the royal treatment, sits out Fathers Day

With temparatures in the mid-90s at Nationals Park Sunday afternoon, Teddy Roosevelt, father of six, decided it would be a good opportunity to celebrate Fathers Day as so many dads do — by taking the day off.

Fathers Day at Nationals Park, by Joan JankowskiFor Sunday’s 4th-inning presidents race, George, Thomas, and Abe took to the hot and muggy outfield, but Teddy Roosevelt was in the stands on the first baseline, wearing a Hawaiian shirt and sipping a cold beverage from the Beltway Bar behind section 132, while getting fanned by two members of the Nat Pack.

The scene bothered Abe Lincoln enough that he gave up his lead to
stop and mock Teddy, letting Thomas Jefferson run by him to take the victory.

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEhZ1wUOIQw]

Photo courtesy of Joan Jankowski
Video courtesy of YouTube member TheTeddyRoosevelt

Shop with the racing presidents this weekend

If you’re out holiday shopping this weekend, the Washington Nationals want to provide you and your littlest Nats fans a little relief.

The Nationals racing presidents will make multiple appearances at area shopping venues this weekend, along with members of the Nat Pack and mascot Screech.

Confirmed locations:

Friday
12:00pm – 3:00pm Fashion Center at Pentagon City (Metro Level)

Saturday
12:30pm – 4:30pm Dulles Town Center

Sunday
11:00am – 3:00pm White Flint Mall (Center Court, Level One)

The presidents are supplementing this schedule with unscheduled appearances around the city. Alert reader Dave Nichols also spotted Thomas Jefferson and Abe Lincoln at the Metro Center Metro stop this morning, handing out spring training info and 2010 pocket schedules.

(As for your Let Teddy Win stocking stuffers, you’ll have to shop online).

Voting open for Clint’s new Nationals Park co-host

Nationals Park in-game host Clint Khoury has drawn more than occasional scorn from those purists who think the stadium hype during games distracts from the baseball at-hand. If you fall into that category, then it appears you are due either for some relief, or for double the pain, depending on your perspective.

The Washington Nationals have opened up voting for the new co-host at Nationals ParkFans at Saturday’s Washington Nationals exhibition game vs. the Baltimore Orioles were asked throughout the night to vote via text message for the new Nationals “co-host,” with profiles of the three contestants — all women and all beauty pageant veterans — repeatedly shown on the giant HD scoreboard (photo courtesy of fellow Nats blogger Miss Chatter).

Now the Nationals have opened the voting to the general public, with votes being accepted online now through Tuesday, April 14, at 3:00pm.

Kate MichaelKate Michael could have the inside track on local votes, as she has been an emerging personality in DC media for several years, and knows a few things about promoting herself on the internet. The former Senate staffer and Miss District of Columbia threw out the first pitch at a 2007 Nats game (alas, quite weakly), and represented DC in the Miss America 2007 pageant. She boasts a personal web site, a separate blog called K Street Kate, and over 700 followers on Twitter. Her enthusiasm for new media could barely be contained on a recent episode of internet talk show The District Dish:

Guerin AustinGuerin Austin is a former Miss Nebraska USA (2004), and for what it’s worth appears to have become blonde only recently.

The self-proclaimed “military brat” claims to have moved over 20 times, and is a former competitive figure skater with a degree in broadcast journalism and experience as a TV journalist and host.

What Austin lacks in DC connections she appears to make up for in “emcee” experience on a variety of television shows. Her demo reel gives a pretty good sense of what she’d be like as Nationals Park co-host:

Yolanda MakleYolanda Makle is the only one of the three contestants who has experience with the Nationals, having spent last season as a member of the Nat Pack while juggling a full-time job as a telecommunications engineer (I caught this photo of Makle during the 7th inning stretch at last season’s Nationals Park 70s Night).

The striking DC mother of two is another pageant circuit veteran, having represented Puerto Rico in the 2006 Miss United States pageant and currently holding the title Ms. Belleza Latina 2009. She is an active volunteer in the community, has a blog and boasts just a handful of followers on Twitter.

Makle’s community service, DC roots, love of sports, and experience on The Nat Pack might otherwise make her a favorite in my book, but I don’t think I could cast my vote for somebody who openly calls Abe Lincoln her favorite racing president. Ouch.

Online voting ends Tuesday, April 14, at 3:00pm, with the winner to be announced at the Nationals game vs. the Marlins on Friday, April 17th.

More from the new Screech’s Unveiling

The New ScreechHere’s more detail from Dan Steinberg’s D.C. Sports Bog about today’s snowed-in unveiling of the new Screech.

Much is made of Screech’s “offseason growth spurt” which resulted in a slimmer, more nimble bird.

Nationals in-game host Clint Kouhry tells Steinberg that Screech should give Teddy Roosevelt some advice on how to slim down. “That guy’s been trying forever.”

It’s safe to say we can expect more gymnastics from the Nationals mascot in the coming season.

The Nationals announced that Screech will make 31 appearances in 31 days to “show off his fresh-feathered look.” Tomorrow, March 3 along with members of the Nat Pack, “Screech” will distribute pocket schedules to fans at the Metro Center Metrorail Station from 9:00am to 11:00am, and at Farragut North Metrorail Station from noon to 2:00pm. Screech will also make stops at the March Mania basketball tournament in Arlington, on Saturday March 7, the University of Virginia baseball game on Saturday, March 14, and the Harris Teeter in Reston on Monday, March 16. More scheduled appearances will be announced weekly throughout the month of March.

Photo courtesy of The Washington Nationals

New look for Nationals mascot Screech

Washington Nationals mascot Screech on 70s night at Nationals ParkThe Washington Nationals will unveil a “new look” for their mascot Screech this coming Monday, March 2, at ESPN Zone in Washington, DC. In-game host Clint Kouhry and members of the Nat Pack will be on hand for the unveiling.

If Screech seems a bit young to be getting a facelift, perhaps it’s because he is so clearly at the bottom of the pecking order in terms of Nationals mascot fan-favorites, with Teddy Roosevelt, of course, at the top of the pack. For my money, it’s going to take a lot more than a facelift to boost favor for Screech, who as judge of the Presidents Race, has disqualified Teddy Roosevelt a few too many times.

The Nationals announced today that Screech will make a variety of appearances during March to show off his “fresh-feathered look” before the start of the 2009 baseball season. Monday’s 1:00pm unveiling will be open to the public.

Toe-to-Toe with Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Stan Kasten at first-ever NatsFest

Natsfest crowd at Nationals ParkNationals Park was abuzz with life on this cold winter day as thousands of Washington Nationals fans were drawn to the first annual NatsFest fan fest. For the ticket price of just $10.00, Nats fans were able to wander through the usually-restricted field level concourse, lounge in the home team clubhouse, sit in a $300+ Presidents Club seat, take a swing from live pitching in the Nats’ indoor batting cage, and mingle with the likes of manager Manny Acta, General Manager Jim Bowden, team President Stan Kasten, broadcasters, players, and more.

Jim Bowden answers questions from fans at NatsFestAs Steinberg documents well in this evening’s Sports Bog, the Q&A sessions with Acta, Bowden, Kasten, and Assistant GM Mike Rizzo were packed and lively, with numerous questions about the team’s off-season spending (or lack thereof); but Kasten also drew a number of terrific questions about the fan experience, and in what Steinberg called “perhaps the best moment of the day,” addressed the Teddy question.

Kasten told the crowd that he has been a visitor to LetTeddyWin.com. “I’m asked all the time about this Let Teddy Win stuff,” Kasten said, “and ‘Stan, when is Teddy gonna win?’ as if I’m Nostradamus or something like that. How could I know…? But I do know this: Law of averages says he’s gonna win some day, and the only way to be sure you’re here for when that happens is to come every night!”

Stan Kasten answers questions from fans at NatsFestKasten promised a number of changes to the fan experience for 2009, including expansion of the Red Porch to bring tables into the stadium seating area, centerfield plaza improvements to include a “fire pit,” and more food options including value meals at concession stands and “experiments with all-you-can-eat sections” on select game nights.

Kasten also shed some light on why the giant baseball that had been depicted above the Red Loft in pre-construction renderings of Nationals Park never appeared for the inaugural season, explaining that “something” would be installed above the red loft, but that it was pending negotiations with sponsors. Considering that Kasten oversaw the installation of the giant Coke bottle above Turner Field in Atlanta, it’s all making sense now.

The Washington Nationals Racing Presidents at NatsFestThe Nationals racing presidents were noticeably absent from the concourses and activities throughout the park, but could be found behind a door being guarded by Nationals mascot Screech in the “Kids Zone,” a large room in the stadium’s conference center.

Who knew ball parks had conference rooms?

Washington Nationals Racing President Abe Lincoln at NatsfestThe Kids Zone looked remarkably well-staffed and organized, with young Nats fans being entertained by Clint Khoury and the Nat Pack, plus racing presidents Teddy, Abe, George, and Tom, and activities including a moon bounce, wiffle ball, face painting, balloon animals, caricatures, and even a Guitar Hero arcade.

Most remarkable was that the kids zone crowd paled in comparison with the lines that formed for all the “adult” activities. Even the wait for a hand-painted caricature was minimal compared to the time people were spending upstairs waiting for a photo with Ryan Zimmerman. The kids looked like they were having a blast, though it made me nervous to see Abe Lincoln helping kids in and out of the moon bounce. I just don’t trust that guy…

Racing president Abe Lincoln muscles in on Obama’s inauguration

The name Abraham Lincoln was invoked by commentators and politicians again and again throughout president Barack Obama’s inauguration festivities this week. Abe’s imprint was everywhere — from the concert at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to the bible used to administer Obama’s oath of office.

Seeking to boost his image and muscle in on the good will of an unknowing public, Washington Nationals racing president Abe Lincoln made a number of unannounced appearances for the inauguration celebration.

Washington Nationals racing president Abe Lincoln at Barack Obama's inaugural paradeIn addition to appearances at the previously announced Children’s Inaugural Ball and the Illinois Inaugural Gala, Abe was seen aboard the Illinois float in the inaugural parade.

Flickr photographer Ginger Vibes spotted Abe mingling with the crowd along Pennsylvania Avenue.

The suspected cheater and reigning presidents race champion was later caught by Flickr photographer Melanie Phung mugging with partygoers at the Texas State Society “Black Tie and Boots Ball.”

Washington Nationals racing president Abe Lincoln at the Texas State Society Ball

Meanwhile, over at the Delaware State Society Inaugural Ball, Joe Biden was mingling with invited guest Teddy Roosevelt, seen here with Nat Pack member Stephanie Baldwin and Nationals Park mainstay Clint Kouhry, who I must say cleans up quite nicely:

Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt with Nat Pack members Clint Kouhry and Stephanie Baldwin at the Delaware State Society Inaugural Ball

Yes, the presidents certainly got around on Tuesday. It’s great to see our that our favorite Nationals Park tradition has so quickly been embraced as a symbol of DC culture. Where else did you spot our racing presidents?

New Nationals Uniforms

New Nationals uniforms were unveiled in a ceremony this afternoon at ESPN Zone in downtown DC. Nationals radio broadcaster Charlie Slowes was on hand along with manager Manny Acta, outfielder Lastings Milledge, and members of the Nat Pack to show off changes which included new home white uniforms and new home red uniforms with minor changes, plus entirely new alternate blue uniforms, and new road gray uniforms with a script “Washington” across the chest.

New Nationals road uniforms feature a curly W and script Washington to replace the old uniform's block letters.

New Nationals uniforms include this "alternate blue" uniform with red, white, and blue DC logo to be worn for a select few home games in 2009.

New Nationals uniforms include this sure-to-be-controversial new alternate blue uniform with red, white, and blue DC logo to be worn for a select few home games in 2009.

I’m not sure how the Nationals players will look in the new alternate blue uniform, but I’ll bet it would look good on Teddy. It looks sort of slimming…

I was not able to make the event, but intrepid Nationals fan SBF over at Nats320 has a comprehensive review of the day’s festivities.

Leprechaun appears for “Half way to St. Patricks Day” at Nationals Park

The Washington Nationals celebrated September 17 — half way to St. Patricks Day — tonight with free green ‘Curly W’ hats, live Irish music from 4 Ever Erin, celtic dancers and more throughout the game. It had all the makings of a festive Wednesday night for the 25,000 fans in attendance, but the Nationals 14 hits were too late and too scattered to overcome an early deficit vs. the Mets.

With Clint and the other members of the Nat Pack wearing green from head to toe, and Nationals mascot Screech sporting a green beard, it seemed as if every Irish cliche’ in the book had been trotted out, but then came the presidents race in the 4th inning.

The presidents appeared wearing green boas, and Tom and George jumped out in front, with Teddy and Abe trailing. Then, just as Abe was putting on his customary burst of speed, a leprechaun appeared in the outfield and tackled the great emancipator. It was great to see Abe — and not Teddy — get his due for a change.

Of course, rather than take advantage of Abe’s misfortune, Teddy turned and chased the leprechaun, in the opposite direction of the finish line. George Washington, sporting long green socks, beat Tom to the tape to win his first race in a month.

I can’t believe I forgot to bring my camera, but flickr member Drew Saunders caught George in the home stretch.

Fun, Games, and Victory on 70s Night at Nationals Park

Washington Nationals Park 70s NightAnother crowd of over 30,000 fans turned out last night at Nationals Park for a fun-filled theme night and a thrilling extra-innings victory over the Atlanta Braves.

It was Washington Nationals 1970s night, and the team did a great job of extending the theme throughout the fan experience. 70s-themed music, player introductions, and contests were the order of the night, and even the Nationals Park scoreboard went retro, with a low-definition monochrome look reminiscent of the first JumboTron scoreboards of the era.

Player introduction music was turned into a hit parade of unforgetable (no matter how hard you try) 1970s classics — everything from Isaac Hayes to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.

Washington Nationals Park 70s NightNationals mascot Screech traded in his usual white uniform for a scruffier tie-dye look, and Members of the Nat Pack went all out with outrageous wigs and costumes. The players, of course, had to wear their official team uniforms, but
Washington Nationals Racing President Teddy Roosevelt on 70s Night at Nationals Parkthe scoreboard gave fans an alternate view of what each particular player might have looked like with 1970s-era hair and mustache.

When it came time for the 4th inning presidents race, Teddy Roosevelt emerged from the centerfield fence wearing a plaid bandana. Unfortunately, it didn’t provide much help as he fell back from the pack early and had to watch as Abe broke the tape to capture his 40th presidents race victory of the season.

Too many fun photos to share here. For more, check out the photoset on flickr.

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