Teddy tricks fellow racing presidents, wins home opener, leading FP to predict a Teddy season sweep.

Racing Presidents Wheel of FortuneRacing President Teddy Roosevelt wins Washington Nationals Presidents RaceTeddy Roosevelt Championship BeltFor the first time ever, Teddy Roosevelt is in first place.

Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt showed up prepared for Friday’s home opener at Nationals Park. The 26th president had planted a wheel of fortune along the warning track, and as his fellow presidents emerged from the center field gate, Teddy stopped them with a wave towards the wheel, suggesting that each president had to spin the wheel before running.

But as George, Tom, Abe, and Bill lined up to take a spin, Teddy turned and darted for the finish line uncontested.

With one victory, Teddy has tasted rare air: First place in the presidents race standings. Teddy spend the rest of the day parading around Nationals Park carrying a championship belt.

On the local TV broadcast, Nationals color commentator FP Santangelo saw Teddy’s opening day victory as a sign of great things to come for the Bull Moose.

“I got a call right now,” FP said. “Teddy’s going to win every race all year. 81 wins.”

Now that would be amazing.

UPDATE: Here’s the video

Video courtesy of lfahome

Video: Winthrop Roosevelt no help as William Howard Taft pushes Teddy around in his debut race

Winthrop Roosevelt at Nationals ParkWilliam Howard Taft Tackles Abe LincolnPresidents Race William Howard Taft Tackles Teddy RooseveltWilliam Howard Taft Tackles Teddy RooseveltWinthrop Roosevelt was on hand to cheer on his great-great grandfather for the opening day presidents race at Nationals Park, but the Nats’ newest racing president established himself as an enforcer who was prepared to put himself between Teddy and the finish line.

The direct descendent of Theodore Roosevelt ushered in the 2013 season with a shout of “Play Ball” before the first pitch, drawing cheers from the record opening day crowd despite the Nats’ unfortunate misspelling of his name on the HD scoreboard (it read “Wintrhop”).

A Bryce Harper first-pitch home run and 4 nearly-perfect Stephen Strasburg-pitched innings later, the Nationals’ new racing president William Howard Taft (the Nats plan to call him “Bill”) made his presidents race debut.

Winthrop Roosevelt was recruited to hold the presidents race finish line and cheered loudly for his namesake, but Taft established his new role quickly, shoving Abraham Lincoln to the ground as they ran along the outfield warning track.

After Jefferson tripped on the fallen Lincoln, Taft chased down Roosevelt, slamming him into the right field wall before both fell to the ground.

With George Washington crossing the finish line alone, Bill and Teddy rose to their feet and got into a shoving match in the foul territory below section 133.

The Nationals are clearly out to establish Taft as the presidents race villain and new nemesis for Teddy Roosevelt. Who knows where this will lead, but those who thought Teddy’s brief playoff winning streak would carry into the new season were sorely disappointed.

More photos and observations from opening day 2013 to follow.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Teddy’s great great grandson Winthrop Roosevelt to kick off 2013 season Monday

Teddy Roosevelt’s great great grandson will kick off the 2013 baseball season with the pronouncement “Play Ball!” to introduce Monday’s first pitch at Nationals Park.

Teddy Roosevelt's great great grandson Winthrop RooseveltPresidents race followers will recognize Roosevelt from September’s ESPN E:60 feature report by Ken Burns. In the report, which profiled Teddy Roosevelt’s six year losing streak in the presidents race, the younger Roosevelt speculated that his great great grandfather would gladly lose another 500 races.

The season opener has been sold out for months. With parking limited for the rare weekday packed house, the team is encouraging fans to show up as early as 10:30am with activities, giveaways, and music. The first 20,000 fans in attendance will receive a commemorative cap.

Video: Jefferson slips Teddy and CM Punk’s trap as the presidents race is moved for 2012

If opening day at Nationals Park was any indication, it’s going to be a wild and exciting year on South Capitol Street.

A sellout crowd turned out Thursday afternoon to watch Gio Gonzalez pitch a gem in his Nationals Park debut, capped by a walk-off extra-innings Nationals victory that moved the team into sole possession of first place in the NL East. With the team having seemingly turned a corner, Teddy Roosevelt fans were hoping the Nats might use the occasion to finally Let Teddy Win.

Teddy Roosevelt and CM PunkWashington Nationals Racing Presidents get tied up in their shoelacesTeddy Roosevelt Washington Nationals presidents raceWashington Nationals presidents race Teddy Roosevelt Thomas JeffersonWashington Nationals presidents race photo finishDream on.

In a surprise move, the Nationals moved the presidents race to the left field/third base line and out of reach of the Nats bullpen, protecting the race against a repeat of last season’s attempted interference by players on Teddy’s behalf.

Roosevelt made a third inning appearance on the Nationals Park scoreboard with professional wrestler CM Punk. The clip showed the two sneaking up on Teddy’s napping opponents behind the centerfield wall, tying their shoelaces together, and then sneaking off (video below).

When the race began in the middle of the fourth inning, Teddy’s rivals George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln immediately tripped on their shoelaces and tumbled onto the warning track.

Roosevelt took off, hopping and skipping around the left field corner on his way to the finish line.

But the quick-thinking Jefferson was on his tail, running barefoot and carrying the shoes he slipped off as soon as he had discovered the scheme.

TJ caught Teddy as they approached the finish line, holding out his sneakers to break the tape and steal the first presidents race of 2012.

As for their move of the presidents race to the opposite side of the stadium, the Nats have so far been mum; but after the game, outspoken Teddy supporter Jayson Werth expressed his displeasure once again with the conspiracy.

“What’s the poor guy got to do to get a win?,” Werth said. “A great American president. Just a great American, period.”

An informal survey of fans in the stands suggested that season ticket holders are not happy with the move either.

The presidents have built a loyal cheering section along the right field and first base lines, home to the Nats’ largest season ticket base. All eyes will be on the field for the fourth inning Friday to find out if order will be restored.

Videos courtesy YouTube member lfahome

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

Opening day disaster for the Nats and Teddy

Until the 4th inning, it was looking pretty good for both the Washington Nationals and Teddy Roosevelt on opening day at Nationals Park. Then the bottom fell out.

Pitcher John Lannan lost control in the top of the 4th, gave up the lead, and let the Phillies bat around the order.

Teddy too, looked good coming out of the gate following an exciting new scoreboard introduction in the middle of the 4th. He took a close lead around the final turn, but appeared to pull up lame after high-fiving a fan in the stands. As the other presidents and members of the Nat Pack tried to help Teddy up, Abe Lincoln raced from behind to claim the first presidents race victory of 2010.

With that, the spring hopes of many Washington Nationals fans were muted considerably. Hopes had been running high for signs of both a Nationals team turnaround and an end to Teddy’s losing streak, but the Nats’ pitching could not deliver, and Teddy’s status for Wednesday’s race is now uncertain.

Fans of the presidents race had been hoping that president Barack Obama would perhaps make a presidents race appearance of his own.

Our 44th president was on hand to throw out the first pitch, continuing a long-standing tradition of presidential first pitches in Washington.

Obama, a devout fan of the Chicago White Sox, took the field at the end of an elaborate 30-minute opening ceremony.

President Obama First Pitch Nationals ParkHe approached the pitchers mound wearing a Nationals warm-up jacket, but pulled a White Sox cap out of his pocket and donned it before tossing the ceremonial pitch to Ryan Zimmerman. Much to the dismay of many Nats fans, the First Fan made it clear where his allegiances lie.

Obama left before the 4th inning, and failed to see either the game or the presidents race.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Obama to throw out first pitch on opening day

Barack Obama will throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park for the Washington Nationals home opener on April 13.Finally!

The Washington Nationals confirmed today that president Barack Obama will be on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch when the Nationals take on the Philadelphia Phillies for opening day 2010.

Team president Stan Kasten and various members of the Natosphere have hoped that Obama will make the presidential first pitch an annual tradition again in Washington. That seems more likely than converting White Sox fan Obama into a Nationals fan — at least for now.

The presidential first pitch was started 100 years ago by William Howard Taft in April, 1910. President George W. Bush threw out the first pitch for the Nationals when they first moved to DC in 2005 and when they opened Nationals Park in 2008.

Fans are advised to show up early because of the extra security sure to be on hand. Gates will open at 10:00am, and pregame ceremonies will include a presentation of the 2009 Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards to Ryan Zimmerman, hosted by CBS’s James Brown. Additional pregame distractions will include balloon artists, face painters, live bands in the centerfield plaza, and $5 beer specials until 12:30pm.

Advance ticket sales for opening day are sold out, but as always, the Nationals have reserved 400 day-of-game seats in sections 401 and 402 for only $5 beginning at 10:00am on Monday at the Nationals Park Main Box Office. You must have all members of your party at the box office to get these tickets (that is, one person can’t walk up and ask for 8 tickets).

To help speed through security, the team is advising fans to leave all bags and backpacks at home.

Racing presidents attend White House easter egg roll before opening day game

The Washington Nationals Racing Presidents at the White House Easter Egg RollIt was indeed a busy day for the Washington Nationals racing presidents. While Nats fans were lining up for the opening day festivities at Nationals Park, the racing presidents were across town, further cementing their new roll as DC-area icons.

For the third straight year, George, Tom, Abe, and Teddy were invited to participate in the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.

President Obama still hasn’t been to Nationals Park, but perhaps the cheers of “Let Teddy Win” on the White House lawn clued him in to the unique fan experience we have going on South Capitol Street.

Photo courtesy of Erik Metzroth

Teddy plays the spoiler on opening day at Nationals Park

The largest crowd in Nationals Park history showed up today to witness an opening day game that was filled with promise, but was ultimately jinxed both on and off the field.

On the field, some fine performances by the young Nationals roster were eclipsed by dropped balls, errant throws, and hit batsmen, leading ultimately to a 9-8 loss at the hands of the world champion Philadelphia Phillies.

Meanwhile, Teddy Roosevelt fans who eagerly anticipated the 4th inning President’s Race were dissapointed when Thomas Jefferson emerged alone from the center field gate to grab a big lead from the start.

Opening day presidents race - Teddy waits in the stands for Thomas JeffersonWhen Abe Lincoln and George Washington followed him out, several paces behind, the question on everyone’s mind became “Where the heck is Teddy?”

The answer came after Jefferson turned the outfield corner, where Teddy was waiting for him in the stands along the 1st base line. Jefferson paused, and Teddy presented him with a bouquet of red balloons in honor of Jefferson’s 266th birthday (who knew?).

That Cat tackles Thomas Jefferson during the opening day presidents race at Nationals ParkThat’s when “That Cat” emerged from behind Teddy, jumped from the stands, and tackled Tom.

Lincoln and Washington ran past him, with Abe easily taking the tape for the first official presidents race victory of 2009.

Teddy never got out of the stands.

That Cat is no stranger to the Nationals presidents race, having first interfered last season, when he attacked Teddy in April and again in June.

Could it be that the panther has joined forces with Teddy to undermine the other presidents? Has Teddy given up on winning to simply play the spoiler? If the reaction of fans around me was any indication, this would not be a popular move. The fans want a clean race. They want to see Teddy get a shot at victory in 2009!

The 2009 season is underway.

Photos courtesy of Flickr user afagen and Luis Albisu

Nats fans need a victory — Will Teddy deliver?

Washington Nationals racing presidents' Teddy Roosevelt at Nationals ParkThe Washington Nationals begin their home season Monday afternoon at Nationals Park against the world champion Philadelphia Phillies, and after an 0-6 start on the road against the Marlins and Braves, the question on the mind of some Nats fans is “Who will win first: The Nationals or Teddy Roosevelt?”

In the first three years of the Nationals presidents race, three different presidents have taken the season crown (George in ’06, Tom in ’07, and Abe last year), which begs the question: Will 2009 be Teddy’s year?

If the last two season openers are any indication, the opening day presidents race will be nothing if not entertaining. In 2007, Teddy was disqualified after flying into RFK Stadium on a zip line. On opening day 2008, Teddy was disqualified again for cutting across the outfield. If Teddy runs a clean race on Monday, we can hold out hope that a change of fortune is in store for 2009.

Nationals Park presidents race bobbleheadsIn April, there’s always hope.

If you don’t have tickets yet, grab your Let Teddy Win t-shirts and head down to Nationals Park tomorrow to take in all the changes at Nationals Park. The team may be having a rough start, but an afternoon at our new ballpark remains one of the best entertainment values in town, and it looks like tickets will still be available at the gate.

This year brings lower seat prices, more (and cheaper) open parking, open home batting practice, the renovated Red Porch restaurant, improved food concessions, the new statues installed in the centerfield plaza, and new 7-foot racing president bobbleheads in the Nats Family Fun Area — perfect for photo ops with Teddy (photo at right courtesy of Teddy fan Shanna Comai).

The centerfield gates open at 12:30pm, with festivities leading up to the first pitch:

12:30pm – Face painting & balloon artists, centerfield plaza
12:30pm – The music of Dr. Fu, new Centerfield Plaza Stage
12:30pm – The music of Road Soda, Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk Stage
12:45pm – Home team batting practice
2:00pm – Nats Xtra with Ray Knight and Johnny Holliday, centerfield plaza
2:35pm – David Gregory hosts pregame ceremonies with singer Patti Austin
3:05pm – First pitch

See you there!

Obama will not throw out the first pitch at Nats opener Monday

Barack Obama will not throw out the first pitch on opening day at Nationals ParkThe White House has told the Washington Times that president Barack Obama will not be available to throw out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals home opener Monday at Nationals Park.

It had been previously reported that Barack Obama would attend, provided his schedule didn’t change because of world events. The Nationals have avoided promoting his presence because of the uncertainty, which remained until today.

Rubbing salt in the wound, the president will welcome the visiting Philadelphia Phillies to the White House the next day.

Count me as one profoundly disappointed Nationals fan. I don’t relish the added security that a presidential appearance brings to the park, but Obama has an opportunity to revive a 100-year-old tradition of sitting presidents throwing out the first pitch at the DC home opener. Let’s hope the nation’s #1 sports fan doesn’t wait until next year for an opportunity to see the Nationals play at home (and maybe even adopt the Nats as his new home team).

Open question: Who will the Nats line up as Obama’s replacement?

Photo courtesy of flickr user jurvetson

Barack Obama to throw out the first pitch at Nationals home opener

Barack Obama will throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park for the Washington Nationals home opener on April 13.Ben Goessling reports in Saturday’s Washington Times that president Barack Obama will throw out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals home opener against the Phillies on April 13.

The Times cites a club source who spoke “on the condition of anonymity” because no announcement has been made.

Team president Stan Kasten and various members of the Natosphere have hoped that Obama will make the presidential first pitch an annual tradition in Washington. That seems more likely than converting Obama into a Nationals fan — at least in the short-term.

Lots of tickets still available at Nationals.com.

Nationals Park Opening Night Sets ESPN Record

According to a press release from ESPN today, the March 30 opening day game at Nationals Park set an all-time record for ESPN network opening day telecasts.

Atlanta at Washington on March 30 in the debut of Nationals Park – averaged 2,700,000 households and 3,656,000 viewers to become the most-viewed Opening Night ever on ESPN networks.

For those of us who spent so many years lobbying for baseball’s return to Washington, this may not come as a surprise, but it sure is a nice feather in our cap and sends a big message to the brass at ESPN and FOX Sports.

Washington is one of the nation’s biggest markets, and the Nationals are quickly developing a large, loyal fan base, both in the parks and at home on TV.

We had the fan base, the ownership, and the best on-field promotion in sports. Now we can add a world class stadium to the mix. The Washington Nationals have arrived!

Photo from “The Celebration” by Flickr user ctankcycles

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