Tom levels Abe in the outfield. George notches win #1.

Perhaps Thomas Jefferson is as frustrated with the Washington Nationals bullpen as the rest of us.

On a day when the Nats’ bullpen notched it’s third and fourth blown saves of the 3-game series vs. the Florida Marlins, our nation’s third president took out his frustration on Abraham Lincoln during the 4th-inning presidents race at Nationals Park.

After George Washington took an early lead, Tom and Abe followed behind and began scuffling almost immediately. Tom slammed Abe against the outfield scoreboard wall, with Abe falling as Teddy Roosevelt raced by.

Teddy was unable to catch George, who notched his first presidents race victory of the young season. Alas, Teddy is now in familiar territory as the only racing president who has yet to win this season.

Video courtesy of YouTube user lfahome

Nats get first victory of the season — Not so for Teddy

On a beautiful spring night at Nationals Park, 20,000 fans witnessed a display of the Washington Nationals new power as they grabbed their first victory of the season tonight in an 8-2 drubbing of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Alas, Teddy Roosevelt did not join the Nationals in the win column.

Thomas Jefferson trips in the Washington Nationals presidents race, but is granted the victory.Unlike opening day, Teddy did participate in the presidents race from start to finish. Our #26 actually built an early lead and had a clear path to the finish line, but Abe Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson passed him in the home stretch, with Abe appearing to cross the tape first as Jefferson fell at the finish line (or was he tripped by Abe?).

The close finish was initially called for Abe, but after video review it was announced that the win was granted to Thomas Jefferson.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user philliefan99
Video by YouTube member Rockthered8

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

Your chance to be a Washington Nationals racing president!

Presidents RaceJust as they did last year, the Washington Nationals will be holding auditions on Presidents Day weekend for those who want to compete as racing presidents George, Tom, Abe, or Teddy during the 2009 season at Nationals Park.

The tryouts will be held on Sunday, February 15th at Nationals Park, with registration beginning at 10:00am. Candidates will be asked to run, dance and show their celebration skills during the presidents race auditions, which are closed to the public. If you’d like to score an invitation, you may e-mail a cover letter, resume and recent photo to entertainment@nationals.com. The deadline for applications is Monday, February 9 at 5:00pm.

In announcing the auditions, the Nationals said they are looking for “energetic individuals, between 5’7” and 6’ 6” in height, with the ability to run from right field to home plate while wearing a 45-lb costume, and who are available for at least 40% of Nationals home games” (that’s a minimum of 33 games… plus playoffs, you know, for us dreamers).

Teddy wannabes note that the roles rotate between the staff, so don’t expect to get a chance to choose your favorite prez; and don’t be surprised if you are asked to fill in as the occasional giant panther or banana. Still, winning this gig could land you in some exclusive territory beyond just the ball park. This past year, the Nationals racing presidents made multiple appearances at the White House and the inaugural festivities, among other plum assignments, though posing in a 12-foot tall costume might not quite be the same as getting invited to a state dinner.

Segways are no help to Teddy in presidents race

The Washington Nationals are pulling out all the stops for the final week of the home season, with a promotional schedule filled with special events and fan giveaways.

Presidents race riding segways at Washington Nationals gameToday at Nationals Park, the team upped the ante for the presidents race as well, putting all four of the racing presidents on Segway personal transporters for the last day game of the season.

Teddy Roosevelt pulled out first and took and early lead, followed closely by Thomas Jefferson and Abe Lincoln. With the Segways acting as natural speed-equalizers, it was Teddy’s race to lose, but he lost control of his segway at the outfield turn, and started spinning in circles. Tom beat Abe to the finish line to take his first presidents race victory since August.

Perhaps Teddy needs to take Segway lessons from general manager Jim Bowden, who rides a Nationals logo-covered Segway around the team’s spring training fields in Viera, Florida.

After a day off Monday, the Nationals will host the Florida Marlins for the final home series of the season starting Tuesday night.

Photo by flickr user culhanen

14-inning game features two presidents races (and two wins for George)

Friday night’s 14-inning affair between the Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres featured a treat reserved only for the truest of die-hard Nationals fans — a second unofficial presidents race, run only at home games that stretch past the 13th inning.

Five hours, 30 hits, and 18 pitchers into the game, as midnight approached, the Washington Nationals’ racing presidents returned to the field for presidents race #2. It was only the second 14-inning game in the short history of Nationals Park (the other being June 20 against the Texas Rangers). The late hour took its toll on most of the racing presidents, who simply gave up and let George run uncontested to the finish line.

For this final homestand of the season, it appears that George, Tom, and Teddy have had enough of Abe Lincoln, and have been pulling out all the stops to block him from the finish line. The result has been a mini-streak of his own for George, who won both races tonight and will be looking to lock up second place for the season this weekend.

Recurring story lines for Teddy and the Nationals

The Washington Nationals returned to town last night for the last homestand of the 2008 season, hoping to erase the memories of a long road trip in which they went 2-7 and were swept by the Florida Marlins. They found just what the doctor ordered: the powerful New York Mets hanging onto a slim division lead in the final weeks of the season.

New York fans don’t need to be reminded that they suffered a historic collapse at this time last year. With a seemingly insurmountable lead over the Philadelphia Phillies in late September, the Mets lost 5 of 6 games to the Nationals and missed the playoffs. With the pressure on once again, John Lannan one-hit the Mets last night to cut their division lead over the Phillies to just a half-game. If you love a recurring story line, the next two nights at Nationals Park should be grand.

Teddy Roosevelt is obviously a fan of recurring story lines as well. As this video by blog reader Rebecca Prowler shows, Teddy sprinted to a strong start last night in the fourth-inning presidents race. It was a clean race, but Teddy ran out of steam and Abe Lincoln took his record 45th win of the season.

The fireworks should continue tonight at Nationals Park with free T-Shirt Tuesday, and tomorrow with the big St. Patricks Day celebration and exciting young pitcher Shairon Martis on the mound. Hope to see you there!

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