Natsfest and Winter Caravan Schedule Announced

The Washington Nationals today announced the schedule for their 2010 “Winter Caravan”, in which members of the team will tour the Washington, DC area to meet fans and promote the upcoming season before heading south for spring training.

Participating players and front office staff include new acquisitions Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, Brian Bruney, and Matt Capps; manager Jim Riggleman; and players Adam Dunn, Ryan Zimmerman, John Lannan, Nyjer Morgan, Josh Willingham, Tyler Clippard, and Craig Stammen. Prospects Danny Espinoza, Ryan Speier, and Drew Storen will also participate in the first 3 days of activities. Nats broadcaster Rob Dibble will moderate the sessions.

The 10-stop tour will run from January 27th to January 31st, culminating in the second annual Natsfest on January 31st at Nationals Park.

Wednesday, January 27
11:00am – 12:00pm
Unity Health Care’s Southwest Health Center, Washington, DC
Meet-and-Greet and Book Donation

1:00pm – 3:00pm
Hard Times Cafe, Arlington, VA
Autograph Session

5:00pm – 7:00pm
Build-A-Bear Workshop, McLean, VA
Autograph Session

Thursday, January 28
12:00pm – 1:00pm
Ben’s Chili Bowl, Washington, DC

2:00pm – 4:00pm
USO of Metropolitan Washington Warehouse, Ft. Belvoir, VA
Care Package Assembly

6:00pm – 8:00pm
Potomac Nationals Pfitzer Stadium, Woodbridge, VA
Autograph Session

Friday, January 29
1:00pm – 4:00pm
Hot Stove Luncheon hosted by David Gregory,
Nationals Park, Washington, DC (Ticketed Event)

5:00pm – 8:00pm
Washington Capitals Game, Verizon Center, Washington, DC
Autograph Session

Saturday, January 30
11:00am
Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC
Atrium Visit with Patients

1:30pm – 3:30pm
Prince George’s Sports & Learning Complex, Landover, MD
Press Conference and Skills Demonstration & Autograph Session

Sunday, January 31
11:00am – 4:00pm
NatsFest, Nationals Park, Washington, DC (Ticketed Event)

If the second annual NatsFest is as good as the first, it will be a guaranteed good time for Nats fans. Expect long lines for to get autographs and take photos with Nationals players, but fans will otherwise roam freely in Nationals Park, tour the clubhouse, participate in question-and-answer sessions with the likes of Stan Kasten, Mike Rizzo, Jim Riggleman and George Will, and even take your shot in the Nationals batting cages for a $1 donation to the Nationals Dream Foundation. Nationals Season Ticket Holders will receive up to four complimentary tickets per account and additional tickets should be available soon for purchase at Nationals.com.

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.

Misspelled Washington “Natinals” jersey auctioned for $8,000

The Washington Natinals Ryan Zimmerman sports a uniform misspelled NatinalsWhen the Nationals issued misspelled uniforms (spelled “Natinals” instead of Nationals) to two players on April 17, the blogs jumped on it, but I don’t think any of us thought the story would still be making news two weeks later.

In fact, with the team getting off to such a rough start, the Washington Nationals’ uniform mistake has gotten more national coverage than the team itself. National sports news, numerous talk shows, and even the Today Show siezed on the misspelled uniform as symbol of the team’s early ineptitude.

The day Tony Kornheiser called for somebody to be fired, Majestic Athletic, which provides the team’s uniforms, was forced to issue a public apology for the mishap.

Washington Natinals Misspelled t-shirtTo their credit, the Nationals have not hidden from the gaff, and used the opportunity to offer up the now-famous mistakes at Saturday night’s annual Washington Nationals Dream Foundation gala. The misspelled jersey worn by Adam Dunn fetched $8,000 — the highest price of the night.

But was the whole “misspelled” uniform a mistake? Not according to CafePress, which now has on display “Natinals” jerseys and shirts with the caption “No ‘O’ In Here,” a great reminder that at least we’re not the Orioles.

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?

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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