Billy Joel and Elton John to perform at Nationals Park in Washington DC this summer

As promised last week, the Washington Nationals announced today that the first-ever rock concert at Nationals Park will be a blockbuster.

Bill Joel and Elton John will perform at Nationals ParkBill Joel and Elton John will give a joint concert at Nationals Park on Saturday, July 11, at 7:30pm, as part of their Face to Face tour.

According to the Nationals, John and Joel “will open the concert together with a series of duets, playing twin pianos and trading vocals. Each artist will then perform a set with their own band. The grand finale reunites the two at center stage with their supporting musicians for a closing encore.”

Tickets go on sale on Saturday, February 28 at 10 a.m. through Tickets.com.

Presidents Race on ice tomorrow following Presidents Day weekend auditions

A record number of contestants showed up at Nationals Park today for what has quickly become an annual Presidents Day weekend ritual in Washington, DC — the Washington Nationals presidents race auditions.

Seventy finalists — 20 more than the previous year — were invited to compete for the approximately 20 open spots on the Nationals’ mascot team.

As was the case at last year’s auditions, Teddy Roosevelt failed to make an appearance (he is “in training” for the upcoming season, says Nationals Entertainment Coordinator Tom Davis), so the finalists took turns racing and performing as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. As always, SBF at the Nats320 Blog has a fantastic recap of the days activities, along with more photos. There was a nice video story over at WLJA News, and the following from WTOP News and The Washington Times, respectively:

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8kRyzTTG-4]

Lost in the excitement over today’s auditions has been the news that tomorrow, Presidents Day, will mark the first-ever Nationals presidents race on ice. Members of the Nat Pack are heading to Long Island, New York for a running of the presidents race on skates between periods of tomorrow’s hockey game between the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins. I’m counting on Teddy to show up for that spectacle, but hope he doesn’t injure himself before we even get to spring training!

Photo courtesy of Nats320

Ideas to improve the Nationals Park experience

The Red Porch at Nationals ParkThis morning, Steven over at the Fire Jim Bowden blog posted his ideas for improving the fan experience at Nationals Park. Some of the ideas may not be practical, but I hope Stan Kasten takes it seriously. Some of the no-brainers include allowing fans to watch batting practice, and calling off the security guards when a fan throws back an opposing team’s home run. And yes, I’d like to know what happened to that planned big baseball over the red loft.

Possibly the best and biggest no-brainer of an idea is opening up the gates after the 11th inning and during the Saturday night movies. You’d be giving something away for free without cannibalizing revenues, boost concession sales, and specifically give back and build relationships with the community immediately surrounding Nationals Park. Check it out.

The sun sets on the first season at Nationals Park

With the Washington Nationals on the road, and the season in it’s final month, it’s been a quiet couple of weeks at Nationals Park. The biggest news was the announcement that season ticket prices for 2009 would be lowered in several sections around the stadium. The outfield seats had been the most overpriced, but it’s good to see the team has recognized the mistake and corrected things. Next season, the TV cameras may still show empty seats behind the batter, but there will at least be a chance we’ll see butts in the outfield seats when they show a pitcher.

Nationals ParkAs the sun sets on the first season at Nationals Park, what better excuse for catching one last ball game than to check out some of these cheaper sections for next season. Good tickets are available at nationals.com (use coupon code EMETS for 30% off selected seats to the next series), and despite the ongoing negative ad campaign by Metro, parking at Nationals park remains cheap, easy, and plentiful!

The Mets, Padres, and Marlins will be in town for ten games, and the team is pulling out all the stops to fill the home stretch with promotions:

Tue 9/16: Free T-Shirt Tuesday
Wed 9/17: St. Patrick’s celebration with free green Curly W hats
Fri 9/19: Free camouflage Curly W floppy hats
Sat 9/20: Free team photo & schedules + Saturday night move “Field of Dreams”
Sun 9/21: Free kids backpack and Family Fun Day activities
Tue 9/23: Free T-Shirt Tuesday
Wed 9/24: Free Curly W fleece scarf
Thu 9/25: Fan appreciation night

Of course, with the campaign season now in full swing, we could also see the presidents race take on some election-season overtones. With the candidates all trying to position themselves as outsiders, maybe it’s time for the original original maverick — Teddy Roosevelt — to taste victory!

Photo by Flickr member Liliang

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.

Teddy Roosevelt in a leisure suit? Can’t quite picture it.

Saturday night is “70′s Night” for the 2nd game of the series between the Washington Nationals’ and Atlanta Braves and the question on the minds of Nationals Park regulars is “What will Teddy wear?”

After this week’s Manny Ramirez do-rag, expectations may be high for Teddy to dress up for the occasion.

It should be a fun night at the park, with the Saturday night movie following the game. All ticket holders are invited to stay after the game to watch “The Natural” on the huge Nationals Park high definition scoreboard. Concessions, as always, will remain open. See you there!

Teddy Gives Up Lead, Turns to Chase Panther

Teddy Roosevelt, Washington Nationals Presidents RaceThe air was thick with anticipation last night at Nationals Park as over 32,000 filled the stands for Teddy’s T-Shirt Tuesday. As Teddy Roosevelt’s faithful poured into the stadium, many were disappointed to find that the team had given out all 10,000 free “Run Teddy Run” t-shirts nearly an hour before game time.

The skies were clear, the weather was warm, and the always popular New York Mets were in town to kick off a six game homestand; but make no mistake about it. The attraction drawing so many fans on this Tuesday night was the Bull Moose, who was looking to continue the racing presidents’ unbeaten streak on their T-shirt Tuesdays.

Washington Nationals Racing President Teddy Roosevelt Gives Up Lead to Chase PantherWhen the fourth inning presidents race began, Teddy’s fans were rewarded as he jumped out to a huge lead and maintained it throughout the race.

As Teddy neared the finish line, it appeared that he might actually pull this one out, but he suddenly stopped short and turned around. His frequent nemesis, a panther wearing a “That Cat” t-shirt, appeared near the right field corner. Teddy turned, apparently conflicted between chasing the panther and chasing the finish line. He chose the panther, and Abe raced by him to steal yet another victory from our beloved #26.

The panther is becoming a frequent visitor to Nationals Park. After first attacking Teddy in April, it returned in June wearing the t-shirt and chased Teddy down from behind. Then, just 2 weeks ago, it returned to chase Screech into a collision with Teddy.

Teddy Roosevelt Fans at Nationals ParkThat Cat is quickly becoming Teddy’s Moby Dick.

We spotted some Let Teddy Win t-shirts as soon as we walked by the ticket booth and met many more of the blog readers at the pre-game rally and again after the presidents race down by the first base line.

It was great to meet all of you, despite sharing Teddy’s 173rd consecutive loss.

Teddy’s T-Shirt Tuesday: Mark Your Calendar!

Teddy Roosevelt’s T-shirt Tuesday is right around the corner, and many of you have asked if we’ll be organizing a Roosevelt rooting section at Nationals Park.

It’s a great idea, and so on August 12, we’ll plan to gather before the first pitch at 6:45pm right behind Section 102 on the centerfield plaza. Bring your Teddy Roosevelt signs and wear your Let Teddy Win gear, and we’ll have a little pregame rally for the camera crew. Later, for the big event in the 4th inning, we can gather to cheer close to the presidents race finish line.

Teddy Roosevelt, Washington Nationals Presidents Race LoserFor those who haven’t been paying attention, the Nationals are celebrating every Tuesday night home game with “T-Shirt Tuesdays,” where the first 10,000 fans entering Nationals Park receive a free t-shirt. Each Tuesday’s t-shirt has a different theme on the back, and four of the T-Shirt Tuesdays were set aside to celebrate the Nationals racing presidents. So far, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abe Lincoln have had T-Shirt Tuesdays, and each has won the presidents race on his respective night. Teddy Roosevelt’s big day is next, on August 12. He should have his best effort saved up for the big day.

Plenty of tickets are still available, though with the Mets in town, the best seats are going fast, so order now.

Congressional Baseball Game Welcomes Racing Presidents as Republicans outlast Democrats 11-10

The Annual Congressional Baseball game was welcomed last night to Nationals ParkA 100-year tradition was extended last night to Nationals Park, as our Nationals’ new home stadium was host for the first time to the annual Congressional Baseball game.

With tickets going for $8.00 each, the event usually raises over $100,000 for local Washington, DC charities, but make no mistake. Competition on the field is fierce and bragging rights much sought-after as many of the participating congressmen are former athletes, and the Republican legislators were eager to extend their 7-year winning streak over their rival Democrats.

George beats Abe in an unofficial presidents race during the annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals ParkThe rematch of last year’s starting pitchers, Rep. John Shimkus (R, IL) and Rep. Joe Baca (D, CA), went back and forth until the seventh inning, when Rep. Connie Mack IV (R, FL, grandson of hall-of-famer Connie Mack, Jr.) got the game-winning RBI off Baca as the Republicans took their 8th straight by a score of 11-10. The game featured an unofficial running of the presidents race, in which George Washington beat Abe Lincoln to the finish line.

Photos by flickr member nathancoffey

Abe goes for homestand sweep Sunday at Nationals Park

Washington Nationals fans filled the stands Saturday night to watch pitcher Collin Balester’s inauspicious Nationals Park debut vs. the Houston Astros.

Despite the home team’s recent string of misfortune, it’s good to see the weekend crowds consistently topping 30,000 regardless of opponent. Great weather has certainly helped, and by now Washingtonians are figuring out that parking at Nationals Park is easy and getting to the stadium is a piece of cake whether driving or taking Metro.

Abe Lincoln extended his presidents race winning streak on Saturday at Nationals ParkUnfortunately Saturday night’s presidents race offered no drama for Teddy fans. Abe Lincoln remains on a tear and showed no signs of letting up, chasing Thomas Jefferson from behind and taking the lead in the stretch to keep his streak alive. Teddy Roosevelt did not appear to even try.

Sunday marks the last game before the All Star break and Teddy’s last chance at presidents race glory for several weeks. If Abe wins, it would be his 7th straight and a first-ever presidential sweep of an entire homestand. Somebody’s got to stop him. Why not Teddy? The weather should be good and tickets are available, so Teddy fans — I hope to see you all cheering him on tomorrow at Nationals Park!

Photo by flickr member afagen

Teddy Nearly Steals T-Shirt Tuesday Victory from Abe

It was free T-Shirt Tuesday tonight at Nationals Park, and the stands were filled with 10,000 Nationals fans wearing free Abe Lincoln t-shirts.

Based on the results from the previous T-Shirt Tuesdays, Abe had to be the prohibitive favorite to run away with tonight’s presidents race, but when the middle of the 4th inning arrived, it was #26 Teddy Roosevelt who jumped out to the big lead, which he extended as he rounded the warning track into the home stretch along the first base line.

But as Teddy approached the finish line, he lost his shoe, tripped and fell. Abe came charging from behind and hurdled over Teddy to claim his 24th presidents race victory this season.

George, Tom, and Abe have now all held serve on their free T-Shirt Tuesdays at Nationals Park. Unfortunately we have to wait another month for Teddy’s big night. Let’s hope his shoes are tied tight on August 12.

Abe’s T-Shirt Tuesday Kicks Off Nationals Homestand

Tuesday night the Washington Nationals return to town to face the Diamondbacks and Astros in a couple of series that promise great weather, light summer traffic, and some big promotions at Nationals Park.

The Nationals are in need of some home cooking after a brutal week which netted as many devastating injuries as team victories. For loyal Nats fans, it seems like an eternity since Nationals Park was packed and rocking for the team’s last home series against the Baltimore Orioles.

Washington Nationals Racing President Abe Lincoln at Nationals ParkRegular readers don’t need to be reminded that this is Abe Lincoln’s T-shirt Tuesday. The first 10,000 fans to enter Nationals Park on Tuesday will receive a free Washington Nationals Abraham Lincoln T-Shirt. Given his recent record, it’s doubtful that Abe needs any help to win the presidents race, but it should be noted that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson won on their free t-shirt nights, so the pressure is now squarely on Abe.

The homsetand will also feature Friday night fireworks, Hispanic Heritage night, and another free movie Saturday night after the game on the Nationals Park HD scoreboard. As for the presidents race, it’s hard to imagine how our racing presidents could top the excitement of the last homestand. After a week that featured kangaroos, president-on-president violence, sabotage, grudge matches, and an “unsanctioned” victory by Teddy Roosevelt, it was good to get a week off. I’m assuming that Teddy has gotten over it as well and will not be working with the grounds crew on Tuesday.

Photo by flickr member jsmjr

Teddy skips presidents race to assist grounds crew

Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt skipped the presidents race to help the Nationals Park grounds crewPerhaps racing president Teddy Roosevelt was just tired from yesterday’s big win vs. the Orioles bird, but today at Nationals Park a lot of Teddy fans were disappointed to see our #26 give up any chance of building on last night’s momentum.

Through the early innings of today’s game vs. the Baltimore Orioles, Teddy was seen on the field with the grounds crew, pitching in and raking the turf to the best of his awkward ability.

Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt skips the race to help the grounds crewWhen the runners were introduced for the 4th inning presidents race, Teddy was not there to take the field. Instead he was shown on the Nationals Park high-definition scoreboard, driving a Toro in circles and playing with the grounds crew equipment.

Unlike last night, there were enough participating presidents to make this last presidents race of the homestand official. Abraham Lincoln overtook Thomas Jefferson to resume his winning ways, keeping Abe on pace to set a presidents race record for victories in a season.

Flickr photos courtesy of Nats fans Miss Chatter and afagen
Video by YouTube member VelocityAtrocity

Teddy Wins!

Teddy Wins unsanctioned presidents race vs. Orioles Bird at Nationals ParkTeddy Roosevelt had never won a race at Nationals Park (at least not without being disqualified for cheating); but tonight a packed house got to cheer as our beloved #26 came from behind and crossed the finish line to claim victory in a 1-on-1 grudge match vs. The Bird from Baltimore.

It was a night of firsts, starting with the first Washington Nationals home game since July of 2006 not to feature an official presidents race. The “unsanctioned” event was announced only yesterday, after Teddy was tripped by the Orioles mascot, robbing him of a presidents race victory.

Nationals Park Scoreboard Statistics for Teddy Roosevelt and the Orioles BirdWith the outfield scoreboard displaying the two contestants’ vital statistics (Moustache-span: 2.5 ft), the racers were introduced and Teddy appeared from the centerfield gate draped in an American flag. The Bird got a huge jump out of the gate, but Teddy quickly turned on the afterburners. As they raced past the centerfield wall flashing “TED-DY,” Teddy passed The Bird to run away with it in the home stretch.


It was the unquestioned highlight for Nationals fans in an otherwise depressing 9-1 loss to the Orioles. No, this one doesn’t count in the standings (if there was any doubt, it was removed when the “The Presidents Racing Association of America” announced the fact shortly after the race), but one can hope that Teddy’s come-from-behind victory will serve as momentum and inspiration.

Photo courtesy of flickr user The West End
Video by YouTube users theblackdog2071 and 3031oaktown

I’m sick about Teddy and I need your help!

Nationals Park will be rockin’ with Teddy Roosevelt supporters tonight, which is why I am beside myself that I can’t be there. I’ve been sick at home, hoping to recover, but it’s clearly not happening.

Washington Nationals Teddy vs. the Baltimore Orioles BirdTonight is the grudge match — an “unsanctioned” race between Teddy Roosevelt and Baltimore’s Bird in the middle of the 4th inning of tonight’s “Battle of the Beltways” at Nationals Park. The challenge was issued by Teddy after The Bird tripped him in the home stretch of last night’s presidents race.

I really have a feeling that Teddy’s going to win this thing, and I want to be there to witness him cross the finish line a legitimate winner. The game should be a sellout. Imagine 42,000 fans cheering Teddy across the finish line and putting the Baltimore Oriole to shame.

Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt. There are so many questions. Will there be an actual presidents race, or will there only be this “unsanctioned” showdown? What tricks does Teddy have up his sleeve for The Bird? Will Teddy win? If he doesn’t, will the fans ever let That Bird back into Nationals Park?

Sadly, I have to watch from home. I’m counting on all of you to cheer for Teddy, and to be the eyes and ears of the presidents race blog. Wear your Teddy t-shirts and wave your Teddy signs. Bring your cameras and camcorders and share the results tonight. Most of all, have fun! Go Nats! Go Teddy!

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