George Washington ejected for arguing with umpires

Nationals Press Box with TeddyTonight was blogger night at Nationals Park, in which several Washington Nationals bloggers were invited to meet with Nats players and executives, visit the field for batting practice, then report on tonight’s game vs. the Toronto Blue Jays from the Nationals Park press box.

Racing president Teddy Roosevelt joined Stan Kasten for a lively Q&A before heading down to warm up for the evening’s presidents race. Kasten has historically expressed confidence in Teddy, but admitted tonight that the “sprinting may simply not be his event.”

Tonight’s presidents race featured a new twist: Blue Jays fans Tim Williams and Joe Ferrell, who wear Major
Nationals Park UmpiresLeague Baseball Umpire uniforms and mock the home plate umpire throughout Toronto home games, sat in the first row behind the Nationals Park home plate throughout tonight’s game except for the 4th-inning race, when they took over for usual judge Screech at the presidents race finish line.

Coming out of the gate, Abe Lincoln got off to an uncharacteristically slow start, running just behind Teddy as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson sprinted ahead. The two presidents appeared headed for a photo finish, but George collapsed just before the finish line. George then appeared to accuse Jefferson of foul play, and was summarily ejected by the “umpires” for arguing.

Nationals Park Press BoxAs for blogger night, it was a great treat to cover tonight’s game and file this report from the press box, and to meet other members of the “Natosphere” (I sat next to Brian Markham from Nationals Review throughout the game). The Nationals blogger community is robust and growing. Kudos to Kasten and the Nats for embracing the team’s most outspoken fans.

Screech and the Oriole Bird to kick off Battle of the Beltways at ESPN Zone

The Oriole Bird vs. the Nationals Screech in the mascot Battle of the BeltwaysThe hot-hitting Washington Nationals return to Nationals Park tomorrow to kick off an 11-game homestand that should feature plenty of fireworks, starting with the world champion Philadelphia Phillies and ending Memorial Day weekend with the “Battle of the Beltways” against the Baltimore Orioles.

As he did last season, the Oriole Bird will spend the weekend in DC for the Baltimore series, and this year will kick off its visit with a battle against Nationals mascot Screech at DC’s ESPN Zone. On Friday, May 22, from 4:00 to 5:00pm, Screech and the Oriole Bird will take each other on in basketball, horse racing, air hockey, arm wrestling, and an egg race, with a trophy presentation to follow.

The two mascots will then head to Nationals Park for the series opener. No word yet on whether The Bird will be seeking revenge against Teddy Roosevelt for last season’s grudge match defeat.

Presidents race with hockey sticks, Slapshot sits in as referee

Teddy Roosevelt with SlapshotWith the Washington Capitals on the road for their playoff series against the New York Rangers, their mascot Slapshot made a guest appearance at Nationals Park tonight, filling in for the Nationals’ own eagle mascot Screech as referee for the 4th-inning presidents race.

The racing presidents paid their own tribute to the Caps, running tonight’s presidents race with hockey sticks in hand.

Abe jumped out first from the centerfield gate, but pulled up lame and limped all the way to the finish line, far behind George, who paced the field for his second presidents race victory of 2009.

Photo courtesy of Cheryl Nichols of Nats News Network
Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Screech and the racing presidents invade Verizon Center

The Nationals racing presidents invade Verizon CenterThe Washington Nationals racing presidents joined new Nationals mascot Screech at the Verizon Center tonight for a basketball game between the last place Washington Wizards of the Eastern Conference and the last place Sacramento Kings of the West — a battle for pride which came down to the last shot.

The visit to Verizon Center was part
Screech and Teddyof a “31 Appearances in 31 Days” tour that the Nationals have arranged since the new Screech’s unveiling two weeks ago. The Nationals mascots made an appearance earlier in the day at the DC St. Patrick’s Day parade, with Screech sporting a kilt.

It was “Kids Night” for the Washington Wizards, with player introductions by junior Wizards fans, and mascots from around the DC area working the crowd before and during the game.

Joining the Nationals mascots were Mel, The George Mason University Patriot, the Baltimore Orioles’ “The Bird,” the Washington Capitals’ Slapshot, and of course the Wizards’ own G-Wiz, G-Man, and G-Fan.

The new ScreechSince its unveiling, the new look of the “teenage Screech” has been getting a lot of criticism in Nationals blogs and discussion forums. So this was a great opportunity –and a relief — to see the new Screech work a real crowd, which helped the Nationals’ new mascot look a lot less goofy than he did dancing around an empty stage when he was first announced.

Don’t get me wrong. The Capitals’ own eagle mascot Slapshot didn’t look very intimidated by the permanent grin affixed to Screech’s head, but the new costume did give Screech a lot more room to dance with the cheerleaders, bound up stairs, and throw t-shirts into the stands. I have a feeling we’ll get used to “teenage Screech” pretty quickly.

More from the new Screech’s Unveiling

The New ScreechHere’s more detail from Dan Steinberg’s D.C. Sports Bog about today’s snowed-in unveiling of the new Screech.

Much is made of Screech’s “offseason growth spurt” which resulted in a slimmer, more nimble bird.

Nationals in-game host Clint Kouhry tells Steinberg that Screech should give Teddy Roosevelt some advice on how to slim down. “That guy’s been trying forever.”

It’s safe to say we can expect more gymnastics from the Nationals mascot in the coming season.

The Nationals announced that Screech will make 31 appearances in 31 days to “show off his fresh-feathered look.” Tomorrow, March 3 along with members of the Nat Pack, “Screech” will distribute pocket schedules to fans at the Metro Center Metrorail Station from 9:00am to 11:00am, and at Farragut North Metrorail Station from noon to 2:00pm. Screech will also make stops at the March Mania basketball tournament in Arlington, on Saturday March 7, the University of Virginia baseball game on Saturday, March 14, and the Harris Teeter in Reston on Monday, March 16. More scheduled appearances will be announced weekly throughout the month of March.

Photo courtesy of The Washington Nationals

New Screech is leaner, but not meaner

When the Washington Nationals announced last week that mascot Screech would be getting a new look, I had high hopes that Screech might lose the baby bird look and get, well… a little meaner. After all, it’s been documented that more menacing mascots lead to team success in the NFL — why not baseball?

New-Screech-Washington-NationalsToday, Screech gets leaner, but unfortunately not meaner. The svelt new Screech will make his official debut this afternoon at ESPN Zone in DC, but he gave a sneak preview appearance on Fox 5 DC this morning. As promised, Screech has grown up since his hatching in 2005. The new “double-zero” sports a slim Nationals jersey, red Curly W sneakers, and a hat which is surprisingly removable. The baby fat is gone, but the huge smiling beak isn’t exactly going to intimidate anybody.

New Screech definitely stands taller than baby Screech, but that permanent grin is no competition for Teddy’s.

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New look for Nationals mascot Screech

Washington Nationals mascot Screech on 70s night at Nationals ParkThe Washington Nationals will unveil a “new look” for their mascot Screech this coming Monday, March 2, at ESPN Zone in Washington, DC. In-game host Clint Kouhry and members of the Nat Pack will be on hand for the unveiling.

If Screech seems a bit young to be getting a facelift, perhaps it’s because he is so clearly at the bottom of the pecking order in terms of Nationals mascot fan-favorites, with Teddy Roosevelt, of course, at the top of the pack. For my money, it’s going to take a lot more than a facelift to boost favor for Screech, who as judge of the Presidents Race, has disqualified Teddy Roosevelt a few too many times.

The Nationals announced today that Screech will make a variety of appearances during March to show off his “fresh-feathered look” before the start of the 2009 baseball season. Monday’s 1:00pm unveiling will be open to the public.

Vote for the Racing Presidents in the MLB Mascot Brackets

Our friends over at Home Run Derby are running a “mascot bracket” that pits major league baseball mascots against each other in a single-elimination popularity contest.

Yes, Screech may be the official team mascot, but HRD wisely chose the popular racing presidents to represent our beloved Washington Nationals.

Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, the San Diego Padres Swinging Friar has a lead in the voting over the Nationals’ presidents. We can’t let George, Tom, Abe, and Teddy lose out to a goofy-looking Padre. Place your vote now!

Voting ends on this Friday, August 8 at 11:00pm EST.

Teddy Disqualified for Riding a Motor Scooter

The thunder rumbled in the distance on a steamy Saturday night at Nationals Park as Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez and Nats pitcher Shawn Hill took a scoreless pitcher’s duel into the 8th inning.

Teddy Roosevelt is disqualified for riding a motor scooter in the Washington Nationals presidents race.With the crowd getting restless under the threatening skies, Teddy Roosevelt tried to single-handedly inject a little lightning of his own.

When George, Tom, Abe, and Teddy were announced for the 4th-inning presidents race, our favorite presidents #26 emerged from the centerfield fence riding a motor scooter.

Urged on by a cheering crowd, Teddy sported a big grin from wire-to-wire as he lapped his competition and crossed the finish line well ahead of the other racing presidents.

Teddy Roosevelt disqualified for riding motor scooter in Washington Nationals presidents raceOf course, he barely had time to blink before that sourpuss Screech put an end to the celebration, disqualifying Teddy for cheating while the other presidents were still just rounding the warning track. Teddy bent over in shame, but you’d think he would have learned this lesson by now.

Photos by andertho and The Nabob

The Racing Presidents Invade Baltimore

This afternoon as the Washington Nationals’ welcomed Jason Bergmann back to the bigs with a thrilling 1-0 victory (and series win) over the Mets in New York, the racing presidents — George, Tom, Abe, and Teddy — took to the streets of Baltimore in preparation for this weekend’s series against the Orioles at Camden Yards.

Accompanied by team mascot Screech, the presidents taunted the Orioles Bird at the Inner Harbor, carrying signs that included “Old Bay Stinks!” (Tom), “Honestly, The Nats Will Sweep Baltimore Hun!” (Abe), “I Can Not Tell A Lie–The Nats Will Win!” (George), and of course “I’ll Race the Orioles Bird and Beat Him!” (Teddy) .

I was fortunate enough to be in Baltimore for business today, but didn’t have my camera with me(!). However, this video by WNST in Baltimore captures the spirit, and there are some other great shots over at Nats 320. Washington Post writers Dan Steinberg and Marc Fisher had separately predicted an unfriendly and even dangerous reception for the presidents by Baltimore locals; but while the presidents heard a smattering of boos and O’s cheers, the reception in the tourist-heavy Inner Harbor area was mostly enthusiastic.

Most surprisingly was the reaction by Orioles owner Peter Angelos, the long-time nemesis of DC baseball fans, who reacted politely to the visit, telling the Baltimore Sun “They’re welcome to do that. It is one huge megalopolis, you know? It’s about time we realize it.”

UPDATE: The Nationals confirmed that the presidents will not be racing at Camden Yards this weekend, but Screech will be there to represent the team.

Racing Presidents Make It Back to the White House

Today our Washington Nationals racing presidents claimed their place as part of a grand Washington DC institution, the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.

Accompanied by Nationals mascot Screech, our four “Rushmore” presidents George, Tom, Abe, and Teddy made it back to the White House to entertain and pose for photos with children who had come to participate in this age-old Washington, DC tradition.

More impressive still is the observation that the Let Teddy Win movement has reached the highest halls of power. As reported over at Nats 320, the racing presidents appeared early Monday morning and were greeting on the White House lawn by cheers of “Let Teddy Win! Let Teddy Win!” How cool is that?

President Bush is scheduled to be in attendance on Sunday night for the opening of Nationals Park. Now that he’s had a preview, let’s hope he’s caught on and joins the cheers for Teddy Roosevelt when the 4th inning comes around.

Flickr photo by Archie Cubarrubia

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