Presidents Race Standings Now in High-Definition

Now those of you who go to the Washington Nationals games at Nationals Park don’t have to rely on our standings page to track presidents race results. On Wednesday night, for the first time since the Nationals moved to their new stadium, the presidents race standings were featured on the on the centerfield wall scoreboard. For some reason, it took the Nationals a full half of the home season to bring back this tradition which we’d come to expect at RFK Stadium.

Washington Nationals presidents race standings on the outfield wall during the presidents race at Nationals ParkBetter yet, the Nationals have begun showing the current standings during the presidents race. It looks awfully cool as the presidents race by the 14-foot high out-of-town scoreboard wall. I’m sure the team figured that if you were looking for score updates from around the league during the presidents race, then you had to be a loser anyway.

Thomas Jefferson hip checks Teddy Roosevelt

It’s fairly safe to say that Teddy Roosevelt has nobody but himself to blame for his presidents race losing streak. Time after time, our beloved #26 has fallen short but taken the loss, kept his head up, and come back the next day to try again (sometimes try a little too hard).

That’s why yesterday’s display seemed so out of place. On Sunday at Nationals Park, Thomas Jefferson, never known to be a cheater himself, gave the bull moose a serious hip check as they ran across the outfield warning track. Abe Lincoln once again turned on the afterburners to claim a sweep of the Nationals’ home series against the Texas Rangers.

It seems unlikely, but could it be that the other presidents are starting to see Teddy as a threat?

Video by YouTube member ffwdrob.

New Scoreboard Walk Is Quite the Distraction for Teddy

Last night a crowd of over 30,000 welcomed the Washington Nationals back from an extended road trip and were treated to a 14-inning thriller capped by another walk-off game-winner by Elijah Dukes. The game was the first of the year to feature two presidents races, a treat reserved for faithful Nationals fans who stick it out when the game goes for more than 13 innings at Nationals Park.

Unfortunately, Teddy was the one president who saw only one race last night. When George, Tom, and Abe emerged from the centerfield gate in the 4th inning, Teddy Roosevelt was caught on the high-definition scoreboard carousing in the upper deck with some female Nationals fans. He was participating in the grand opening of the new Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk, a lively bar area located behind the scoreboard in right center field.

Abe, meanwhile, took a huge lead and stopped to do jumping jacks at the finish line, crossing the tape in time to secure the win.

Thanks to YouTube user natan1401 for capturing it on video.

In Praise of the Ben’s Chili Bowl Half-Smoke

I must admit that I was among those uninformed who just didn’t get it.

Don’t get me wrong. When it was first announced that the new Nationals Park would feature Ben’s Chili Bowl among the restaurant concessions, I was pleased. I’d always wanted to pay a visit to the legendary Ben’s, but despite best intentions, had yet to do so.

The crowd in front of Ben’s Chili Bowl at Nationals Park on opening night.

Plus, I figured anything we could call our own and help make Nationals Park a uniquely DC experience was a good thing.

Then I got my first glimpse of the famous Ben’s half smoke chili dog on opening night, along with the horrific lines at the the Ben’s Chili Bowl stand behind the 3rd base line, and thought this doesn’t look that special, and certainly can’t be worth the wait.

Well, let the record state that I am now officially a convert. I took a group of people
from my office to Nationals Park on a chilly May evening, and from our perch that night in section 418, I indulged in my first Ben’s Chili Bowl half smoke (all the way, of course). Perhaps it was the altitude in the upper right field gallery, but I felt a little closer to heaven.

A Ben’s Chili Bowl half smoke “all the way” (with chili, cheese, onions, and mustard) has been a staple of each subsequent visit to Nationals Park.

A word to the wise: If you’re heading the the park an want to indulge yourself, don’t be intimidated by the long lines at the Ben’s Chili Bowl stand. You can get yourself an authentic Ben’s half smoke at ANY “Nats Dogs” stand or cart throughout the stadium.

Extra napkins recommended.

Photos by flickr users Scott Ableman and stvmasters

Razor Scooter Is No Help to Teddy

If riding a motor scooter is considered cheating, then a foot-powered scooter must be ok, right?

This was apparently Teddy Roosevelt’s thinking as he prepared for the final presidents race of this Nationals Park homestand.

Two days after being disqualified for riding a motor scooter in the presidents race, Teddy Roosevelt chose a decidedly less high-tech method of cheating tonight for “Get Your Green On” night at Nationals Park.

Unfortunately, Teddy’s Razor scooter didn’t fare too well on the outfield warning track surface. He fell quickly behind the pack and finished so far behind winner Thomas Jefferson that the umpires, needing to start the bottom of the 4th inning, did not permit Teddy to finish the race.

They say in sports that the road can clear your head and allow you to focus. With Teddy’s record in Washington Nationals home games now standing at 0-for-152, this fan is eager to see if Teddy can bounce back tomorrow for the first presidents race road trip to Pittsburgh’s PNC Park.

Abe Lincoln Says “This is Why I’m Hot!”

The Let Teddy Win GirlsThe temperature on the field for Garrett Mock’s major league pitching debut today at Nationals Park was over 100 degrees, and despite the repeated sound of “This is Why I’m Hot” by MIMS over the stadium P.A., the Nationals were anything but, giving up another early lead and failing to threaten a comeback.

The only people who didn’t appear slowed by the heat were the Let Teddy Win girls, who could be heard cheering all game throughout Section 407, and racing president Abraham Lincoln, who’s been on fire for more than a month and has won six of the last nine presidents races. Abe dashed passed the other presidents today and won by a comfortable margin, taunting the other presidents as he turned and stepped backward across the finish line. Teddy, meanwhile, appeared to be saving his energy for Monday night.

Meet John Feinstein at Nationals Park Saturday Night

Best-selling author and local celebrity John “Junior” Feinstein will be at Nationals Park for this Saturday’s game against the San Francisco Giants greeting fans and signing copies of his new book “Living on the Black: Two Pitchers, Two Teams, One Season to Remember,” which chronicles the 2007 seasons of pitchers Tom Glavine and Mike Mussina.

I have seen no formal announcements of the event, but in an interview on this morning’s Tony Kornheiser radio show, Feinstein said that he will be signing books and meeting fans outside the team store on Saturday night.

Great Promotions and Baseball Weather At Last

The Nats return home Tuesday night for seven games against the Cardinals and Giants, and it should be a great week for baseball at Nationals Park, with evening temperatures projected to be in the 70s throughout the homestand and some great fan promotions that should help fill the stands.

Free Thomas Jefferson racing president t-shirts for the first 10,000 Nationals Fans on T-Shirt Tuesday June 3.

The homestand kicks off with free Thomas Jefferson racing president t-shirts to the first 10,000 fans on T-Shirt Tuesday, followed by “Get Your Green On” night on Wednesday, Ryan Zimmerman bobblehead night on Thursday, and free baseball gloves for kids 12 and under on Sunday. Quite a lineup.

We’ll be looking to see if Thomas Jefferson disappoints his fans or runs away with the presidents race on his t-shirt night tomorrow. More importantly, after Teddy Roosevelt’s unexplained collapse in the last home game, is the Bull Moose back and ready for the challenge?

Teddy and the Nats Collapse at the Finish Line

Presidents Race Photos - Teddy Falls & Loses to Abe at Nationals Park, May 26, 2008On a sunny Memorial Day afternoon at Nationals Park, the Washington Nationals completed their home-
stand with a bittersweet extra-innings loss to the the Milwaukee Brewers, failing to hold the lead after another great outing by pitcher Jason Bergmann who stretched his string of scoreless innings pitched to
19 2/3.

Teddy Roosevelt kept his less auspicious 145-game streak alive as he took a big lead into the final stretch of the presidents race for the second time this holiday weekend, only to collapse — literally — before reaching the finish line.

While the result was the same, it was nothing like Saturday night’s loss. On Saturday, Teddy seemed to have the presidents race in hand and high-stepped as he approached the finish line; but he slowed up just enough to be passed by the speedy Abraham Lincoln before they crossed the tape.

There would be no such premature celebrating at today’s presidents race. A serious and determined-looking Teddy grabbed the early lead and was still ahead of the pack as they reached the first base foul territory. Then suddenly, Teddy grabbed his neck and collapsed. As has become so common this year at Nationals Park, Abraham Lincoln was there to run past Teddy to grab his 14th presidents victory of the young season.

Is Teddy OK? Fans in section 128 were crying of foul play by Abe, who has been on a suspicious tear and taken 9 out of 14 presidents races in May. Teddy did walk off the field on his own. With the Washington Nationals now heading on the road, Teddy has until the next home game on June 3rd to recover.

Consider Parking This Weekend at Nationals Park

You’ve heard the ads on the radio. The umpire calls “Strike One. Strike Two. Strike Three. You’re Out!” and the voice over intones “Now you know how it feels to try to find parking at a Nats game.”

Regular readers know that I’m a bit angry about the DC Metro’s horrible negative ad campaign, which has convinced people to stay away in droves by telling them that going anywhere near Nationals Park in a car is a recipe for disaster. You’ve also learned that it’s a complete myth.

In fact, after 6 weeks of ball games, I think it’s fair to say that parking at Nationals Park is at least as easy as taking the Metro.

On Tuesday, I took 20 people from my office in Reston, Virginia to a night at our Nationals’ new stadium. Most had never been, and the reason cited was the perceived transportation hassle. In fact, some said they had turned down tickets previously because it wasn’t worth the transportation nightmare.

We all had a great time. The close game vs. the Phillies kept everybody on the edge of their seats, but the thing that got the most comments from the first-timers was how shockingly easy it was to get in and out. Some took Metro, but most followed the easy parking directions at Nationals.com.

On a weekday evening, using the free Nats Express parking and shuttle from RFK Stadium, it took about an hour from the time we left Reston to standing inside the park at our meeting spot in the centerfield plaza. My boss, who couldn’t get out of the office until after 6:00pm, raced downtown, drove right up to National Park, paid for the cash valet parking and reported it was the easiest stadium parking he’d ever seen.

The Milwaukee Brewers are coming to town tonight for a Memorial Weekend series. The weather will be spectacular, and I can’t think of a better excuse to load the family in the car and drive to the ball park. See for yourself how easy it is, then join me in pleading with Metro to kill this horrible ad campaign.

Teddy Roosevelt Says “Bring On the Sausages!”

Given Teddy Roosevelt’s pitiful record
in the Washington Nationals’ presidents race, he can hardly afford
to be thinking ahead to the next series, but that’s what he did on Wednesday night at Nationals Park.

At the start of our favorite 4th-inning ritual, a self-assured Abraham Lincoln once again spotted the other presidents a big lead, giving Teddy a chance at victory, but as the racing presidents came down the first base line, Teddy stopped and posed for Dave the videographer with a sign reading “Bring On the Sausages!”, and Thomas Jefferson raced on to beat Abe to the finish line.

In addition to disappointing his rooters in the stands, Teddy’s move also confused those in right field who couldn’t see the sign, including youtube user tsbicca:

The reference on the sign is, of course, to the Memorial weekend series which begins Friday night at Nationals Park against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers’ Miller Park is home to the famous Sausage Race, which deserves credit for starting this whole racing mascot thing back in 1995 (it started at the old Milwaukee County Stadium as a promotion for Milwaukee’s Klement’s Sausage Company).

Earlier this month, when the Pittsburgh Pirates came to town, they brought the Racing Pierogies to Nationals Park. Could it be that we’ll see the original racing sausages in town this weekend?

Photos by flickr users Liliang and Philgarlic

Nationals T-Shirt Tuesday Features Racing Presidents

Washington Nationals T-Shirt TuesdayYesterday’s home game against the Philadelphia Phillies marked the continuation of the Washington Nationals’ T-Shirt Tuesdays, which will run all season at Nationals Park.

Each Tuesday home game throughout the season, the first 10,000 fans arriving at Nationals Park will be handed a free t-shirt compliments of one of the team’s sponsors. The t-shirts have a small Curly W on the front, but a different design on the back each time.

The first T-Shirt Tuesday featured a photo of Nick Johnson sliding, but last night’s shirt was the first of a series that will feature our racing presidents. As you can see, George Washington is posed on the back, with his famous (?) quote “Who’s Your Founding Father?”

George certainly seemed motivated by the occasion, as he led the presidents race from wire to wire, holding off a late comeback by Abraham Lincoln. Could this be a sign of things to come?

Next T-Shirt Tuesday is June 3 vs. the St. Louis Cardinals.

Photo by flickr user Scott Ableman.

Abe Lincoln Taunts Fellow Presidents But Fails to Deliver

The Washington Nationals presidents race has been nothing if not puzzling in the month of May. Abe Lincoln raised suspicions by kicking off the month on an inhuman tear, running like the wind and taunting the other racing presidents. Yesterday he rather abrubtly returned to earth, but tonight at Nationals Park, our 16th president was back to his speedy, aggressive and risk-taking ways.

As the presidents race began in the 4th inning, “Honest Abe” stepped back and let the other racing presidents pass him by. After spotting the others a healthy lead, Abe took off at breakneck speed, attempting to catch and pass the other presidents. However, his overconfidence got the best of him, and while he passed Teddy and Tom, he did not reach the finish line in time to pass George Washington.

This video by YouTube user unbleachedbrun misses the beginning but shows Abe outpacing the field from behind. We heard some other fans shouting “Abe is on the juice!” after the game, so Abe’s odd behavior has obviously not gone unnoticed.

Photos by flickr user Scott Ableman.

So Much For That Theory

A day after Abe Lincoln was accused of using illegal substances to fly past his presidents race opponents and keep his winning streak going, our 16th president came out sluggish tonight and finished last behind Teddy Roosevelt.

So much for that theory…

Thomas Jefferson picked up his first victory since April, but Teddy still needs some help.

I’ll be cheering for Teddy from Section 418 with a group of 20 on Tuesday night. See you there!

Nationals Park Makes the Big Time

You know you’ve hit it big when The Onion makes fun of you.

Today’s recommended reading: The lead story on The Onion sports page reports that “an 8,976-foot foul ball off the bat of Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman crashed through the U.S. Capitol Building rotunda.”

“We are so dead,” Zimmerman is reported as saying.

Added Nick Johnson, “Aw, man, we’re never gonna get that ball back”

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