Behind the scenes at the Nationals presidents race (Video)

One thing we’re asked frequently (other then “When is Teddy gonna win?”) is whether the entire presidents race is scripted in advance.

Washington Nationals PA Announcer Jerome HruskaWhen I respond that Nationals Park PA announcer Jerome Hruska really calls the game live and unscripted, some people find that hard to believe.

So when the Nationals hosted several bloggers at the park last weekend, I made a special last-minute request, and the Nats were happy to oblige.

During the 4th-inning presidents race, the Nats allowed us to bring two video cameras up to the control room at
Nationals Park video control roomNationals Park, to give Let Teddy Win readers an inside look at the calling of the GEICO presidents race.

High above the field, a small army of directors, statisticians, and engineers communicates with camera operators and entertainment staff stationed throughout the park, mixing the feed live for the 101-foot HD scoreboard over the centerfield bleachers.

Washington Nationals PA Announcer Jerome Hruska's Presidents Race ScriptBehind a soundproof door, Hruska reads a script introducing the presidents race video, but from that point forward, the script just reads “(RACE).”

Video below. Thanks to Chad Kurz and the Washington Nationals for letting LTW readers behind the scenes.

Racing presidents honor Jason on Friday the 13th

Nationals racing presidents as Jason for friday the 13th by Cheryl NicholsA five game losing streak is a pretty scary thing for Nationals fans, but on Friday night at Nationals Park, the Nats racing presidents upped the ante, emerging from the centerfield starting gate wearing “Jason” masks to honor Friday the 13th.

Whatever they did, it worked, as Nats pitcher John Lannan helped break the streak and send all the bad luck the way of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

After the race, the presidents attempted to display a message for the Diamondbacks, but didn’t manage to coordinate the signs. More to follow…

Video courtesy of YouTube member shmaggie23.
Photo courtesy of Cheryl Nichols/Nats News Network

Racing Presidents get Botox treatment over All Star break

The Washington Nationals returned to town Tuesday night after a lengthy road trip that was preceded by the traditional All Star break — a two week stretch that represented the longest break of the season between games at Nationals Park.

The Washington Nationals Racing Presidents Abe Lincoln

Was Abe Lincoln's grimace too menacing for the kiddies?


With the trade deadline looming, it’s the season for surprise moves, and some fans arrived at Nationals Park expecting to see changes by general manager Mike Rizzo before the homestand concludes; but few expected a wholesale makeover of the presidents race roster.

Yet there it was on Tuesday night. Over the All Star break, every member of the Nationals racing presidents received a facelift.

The oversized caricatures of the Rushmores that first appeared in 2006 were gone — now replaced by slightly more cartoonish, smiling figures.

Was it a rumored licensing dispute with the designer that led to the change, or did the team simply think Abe Lincoln was just too menacing for the kiddies? Both the originals and the new-look racing presidents were created by Randy Carfagno Productions in New York.

No explanation yet from the Nats.

The Washington Nationals Racing Presidents

The Nationals racing presidents as we knew them (July 2006 - July 2010)

The Washington Nationals racing presidents got new costumes and a facelift courtesy of Randy Carfagno Productions

The presidents as they appeared after a 2010 All Star break facelift

Readers – What do you think of the new “botox smile” look?

New presidents photo by Flickr member Randy Carfagno

Teddy blows it twice to close Nationals’ homestand

Teddy Roosevelt cheats in the Washington Nationals presidents race at Nationals ParkWith a rare late afternoon start and temperatures in the mid-90s for the final game of this week’s homestand, the last thing anybody at Nationals Park probably wanted to do was exert themselves by running a sprint around the full length of the warning track.

So when Teddy Roosevelt saw nothing but green between himself and the presidents race finish line on Wednesday, he chose the easy route, jogging straight across the outfield.

Roosevelt’s hopes for an easy victory were dashed when the speedy Abe Lincoln caught up to him anyway. That’s when Teddy simply threw in the towel — a mistake that cost him when The Great Emancipator tripped and fell, giving George the unlikely victory.

Teddy’s only consolation: He didn’t break a sweat, and had he broken the tape instead of George, he would surely have been disqualified for cheating.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Abe & Teddy break away in 3-legged presidents race

Livan Hernandez and the Washington Nationals celebrated the summer solstice with a 2-1 victory Monday night at Nationals Park, and what better to welcome in the summer than that classic summer staple, the 3-legged race.

George Washington was teamed with Thomas Jefferson and Abe Lincoln was teamed with Teddy Roosevelt as the race began.

With their legs tied together, George and Tom took an early lead, but they took a 1/2-minute to reach right field.

Rather than risk violating the MLB limit for time between innings, members of the Nat Pack ran out to cut the ropes. Abe Lincoln broke free first, and bolted ahead of the pack to claim the victory.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Jefferson drinks a Red Bull mid-race, sprints ahead to victory

Thomas Jefferson did his best Abe Lincoln impression tonight at Nationals Park, sprinting out ahead of the other presidents for an early lead. Lacking Abe’s stamina, Tom paused to catch his breath, but fortunately he had can of Red Bull handy, drank it down, and then sprinted past his opponents again to run away with a Nationals presidents race victory.

“Honest” Abe hasn’t been himself since getting helped off the field Tuesday night.

TJ’s victory forced a rare 3-way tie atop the presidents race standings, marking the first time in more than 2 years that Teddy Roosevelt can lay claim to 2nd place …sort of.

Video courtesy of YouTube user lfahome

Presidents Race wins “Best on Field Promotion” of 2009

For the second time in their three full seasons, the Washington Nationals racing presidents have been awarded the “Golden Steagle” award for Best Contest or On Field Promotion of the year.

The award is bestowed annually by Gameops.com, a web site which connects sports teams and event producers with ideas and tools for on-field promotions. Our own racing presidents won the award in 2007 and were nominated again last year.

The 2009 award was granted jointly this year to both the Nationals presidents and Milwaukee’s racing sausages, also previous winners in 2003, and widely recognized as baseball’s original racing mascots. Gameops editor John Cudo called this year’s tie “a case of split between two great classic promotions….and an on-going battle which ends in a tie on this day.”

The Nationals mascot team mocked the racing sausages earlier this year when the Milwaukee mascots refused to race against the presidents during a Nationals homestand vs. the Brewers.

Cudo, who works for the Cleveland Cavaliers and spent 7 years as the mascot for the Minnesota Timberwolves, has written numerous times about the presidents race and claims a “mild addiction” to the Let Teddy Win blog, calling it “a season long tutorial on how to keep a promotion you do every night interesting.”

According to Cudo, the annual Best Of awards are among the most popular features of their site. Nominations come from readers and are judged by a panel of industry leaders and insiders.

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