Nationals invite standing room crowd — and Pierogies — to Strasburg’s debut

As the hype for pitcher Stephen Strasburg’s debut reaches a fever pitch, with media coverage rivaling a league championship series, the Washington Nationals are releasing additional $10 standing room only tickets via the stadium box office this afternoon, ensuring an all-time Nationals Park attendance record will be set tonight.

Pittsurgh's Racing Pierogies at Nationals ParkWith the stands overflowing and the auxiliary press box bursting at the seams, the Nats have still found room to invite a handful of additional non-paying guests — Pittsburgh’s Racing Pierogies — who will no-doubt make an appearance during the 4th-inning presidents race for the 3-game homestand.

A pierogies appearance at Nationals Park was not a foregone conclusion given what happened on their last trip to DC. Just one year ago, in the series finale, the Pittsburgh mascots apparently went off-script, tricking the presidents and winning a race at Nationals Park, the only time no president was declared a winner.

Later in the season, in a relay race at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, racing pierogie Potato Pete ran onto the field from the stands and delivered a crushing open-field tackle on Teddy Roosevelt, a take-down that ESPN SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt called “the greatest highlight I’ve ever seen.”

Some have speculated that tonight could be Teddy’s big night. In an evening sure to be filled with memorable highlights, let’s hope the Pierogies don’t play the spoiler.

Flickr photo by afagen

Cast Your Vote: Teddy nominated for 2009 “This Year in Baseball” Awards

Postseason honors are few and far between for the Washington Nationals this season, but over at MLB.com, you can submit your vote today for two Nationals nominees for the 2009 This Year In Baseball awards.

Ryan Zimmerman’s nomination as 2009 Defensive Player of the Year will come as no surprise to Nationals fans; but the more dubious nomination comes in the “2009 Oddity of the Year” category, where among the choices is the July 31 take-down of Teddy Roosevelt by the Pittsburgh Racing Pierogies at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park.

Teddy was running anchor in a 4-team mascot relay race, when racing pierogie Potato Pete, who had not been participating in the race, entered the field and tackled Teddy to the ground.

On that evening’s ESPN Sportscenter, Scott Van Pelt called the incident “the greatest highlight I’ve ever seen”, and was likely the main reason this blog had it’s highest single traffic day ever:

Cast your votes now through December 11. Multiple votes are allowed.

Teddy Roosevelt leveled by racing pierogie at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park

The Nationals’ racing presidents and the racing pierogies of Pittsburgh have a 2-year tradition of traveling to each others’ ball parks when the teams play each other; but after May’s debacle in which the racing pierogies tricked the presidents and won a race at Nationals Park, fans were left wondering whether the embarrassed presidents would make an appearance for this weekend’s Nationals/Pirates series at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park.
Pittsburgh's racing pierogie Potato Pete levels Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt
On Friday night, the question was answered when the presidents appeared for a 4-team mascot relay race. Abe Lincoln was paired with Teddy Roosevelt and George Washington was paired with Thomas Jefferson, with Teddy and Tom poised to run anchor.

Abe Lincoln finished the opening leg in last place, but on the anchor leg, Teddy put on a burst of speed. That’s when pierogie Potato Pete, who had not been participating in the race, ran onto the field and straight into Teddy, leveling him to the ground. Here’s the race as it was called in the park:

The take-down was featured on ESPN’s SportsCenter, where SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt called it “the greatest highlight I’ve ever seen”:

After false start, Pittsburgh pierogie wins Nationals presidents race

Its fair to say that after almost three years of presidents race mishaps and oddities, it would be hard to imagine any result that would stun the Nationals Park crowd; but last night, the unthinkable happened.

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ racing pierogies were at Nationals Park for the final game of their 4-game series. In the 4th inning, Nationals pitcher Craig Stammen was cruising through a perfect start in his major league debut. Perhaps the quick work Stammen was making of the Pirates caught the racing presidents off guard, but when the gates opened for the mid-inning presidents race, Abe Lincoln false-started, then pulled back. The Pierogies took off, and nobody caught them. Cheese Chester was first to the finish line, marking the first time ever that a president did not win the presidents race!

It’s been tough to get any official word from the team, but indications are that this was not what they had planned.

Video by YouTube member TheTeddyRoosevelt

Pittsburgh’s Pierogies run relays vs. Nationals Presidents

The pierogies from Pittsburgh's great pierogie race take on the Washington Nationals racing presidents at Nationals ParkThe Pittsburgh Pirates racing pierogies continued their 4-game visit to Nationals Park with a set of relay races against the Washington Nationals racing presidents. Last night’s game featured a traditional baton relay, with Tom and George pacing the field over sets of hurdles placed along the warning track.

Tonight, the teams were switched, as each racing president was paired with one of the Pittsburgh pierogies in a comical and painfully slow 3-legged race. Teddy and Sauerkraut Saul pulled into the lead before tripping and falling along the first base line. Pittsburgh favorite JalapeƱo Hannah was tied to Abe Lincoln and positioned to take the lead when Teddy and Saul collapsed.

Photo courtesy of flickr member afagen
Videos courtesy of Mike Hill and YouTube member lfahome

Pittsburgh’s Racing Pierogies run into trouble at Nationals Park

Mascots were coming out of the woodwork tonight at Nationals Park as the Pittsburgh Pirates rolled into town for a 4-game series. Just as they did last season, the Pirates brought the giant racing pierogies from PNC Park’s Great Pierogie Race.

The racing pierogies joined tonight’s 4th-inning presidents race and nearly stole the victory from the Nationals’ own presidents; but with Cheese Chester and Oliver Onion in the lead, Teddy’s nemesis That Cat appeared and clotheslined them both, allowing Abe Lincoln to take the victory.

Video courtesy of Charles Diaz

Teddy Roosevelt Goes 0-for-Pittsburgh

The Washington Nationals’ long road trip started off with a whimper, as the team took just 1 of 3 games this week vs. the Pirates at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

Washington Nationals Racing President Teddy Roosevelt at PNC Park in PittsburghIt was however a slightly more successful series if measured in terms of fan goodwill. The rivaly between the Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates falls somewhere between benign and nonexistent, so this year the teams decided to inject a little extra fun into the contest by sending mascots to the other team’s stadium.

After hosting the Pirates’ Racing Pierogies at Nationals Park in May, the Nationals visited Pittsburgh’s PNC Park this week with members of the Nat Pack in tow, including racing presidents George, Tom, Abe, and Teddy.

After Teddy’s disastrous turn running anchor for the presidents in relay races against the pierogies in games 1 and 2, the mascots hung up the cleats for game three today and just entertained the fans.

Kudos to Stan Kasten and the Nats organization for spreading the goodwill and putting the presidents on the road. I hope we get to see more of this type of reciprocity with other teams around the league.

Just keep the Phillie Phanatic out of Nationals Park.

Photo courtesy of Angela Calo

Video: Pirates’ Pierogies vs. Nationals’ Presidents

Thanks to psugradgirl for uploading this video of Tuesday night’s race from Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, when the Pirates’ racing pierogies, led by anchor runner Jalapeno Hanna, won a relay race vs. the visiting Washington Nationals’ racing presidents. Unfortunately, the change of venue did nothing to inspire Teddy Roosevelt, who ran the anchor leg and blew the presidents’ big lead.

Teddy Blows Relay Race vs. Pierogies in Pittsburgh

A change of venue momentarily appeared to have been the key to Teddy Roosevelt’s first victory, but the bull moose blew it on the road last night in Pittsburgh.

Washington Nationals' racing presidents Teddy and Tom with racing pierogie Jalapeno Hanna at PNC ParkAs expected, the Washington Nationals racing presidents made their first road trip with the team to appear with the racing pierogies at the Pittsburgh Pirates’ PNC Park.

The series kicked off last night with a relay race pitting Pittsburgh’s own racing pierogies vs. Washington’s racing presidents. George Washington led off the race for the presidents and handed off to speedster Abe Lincoln who, in typical fashion, sprinted ahead of the field, ensuring a solid lead for racing president Thomas Jefferson to hand to anchor runner Teddy Roosevelt for the final leg.

That’s where it fell apart.

Instead of running straight down the first base line for the easy victory, Teddy mugged for the crowd and started up the ramp in right field corner. Those precious wasted seconds were all that was needed for the racing pierogies to steal back the lead. Teddy figured it out too late, making a run for the finish line but falling short of Jalapeno Hanna, who gave the racing pierogies the win.

Photo courtesy of Angela Calo

Could Teddy Win a Presidents Race in Pittsburgh?

Reliable sources tell me that our own Washington Nationals racing presidents will be hitting the road with the team tomorrow to visit Pittsburgh’s beautiful new PNC Park for the 3-game series between the Nationals and Pirates.

In early May, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ racing pierogies visited Nationals Park for a weekend series between the two teams. The resulting antics included a combined mascot relay race and the uncomfortable site of watching Teddy chase a Pierogie with a giant fork.

After his embarrassing disqualification on Saturday, perhaps a change of scenery could do Teddy some good. I hope to get some photos from Pittsburgh to share here.

flickr photo by paphotofan

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