Leprechaun appears for “Half way to St. Patricks Day” at Nationals Park

The Washington Nationals celebrated September 17 — half way to St. Patricks Day — tonight with free green ‘Curly W’ hats, live Irish music from 4 Ever Erin, celtic dancers and more throughout the game. It had all the makings of a festive Wednesday night for the 25,000 fans in attendance, but the Nationals 14 hits were too late and too scattered to overcome an early deficit vs. the Mets.

With Clint and the other members of the Nat Pack wearing green from head to toe, and Nationals mascot Screech sporting a green beard, it seemed as if every Irish cliche’ in the book had been trotted out, but then came the presidents race in the 4th inning.

The presidents appeared wearing green boas, and Tom and George jumped out in front, with Teddy and Abe trailing. Then, just as Abe was putting on his customary burst of speed, a leprechaun appeared in the outfield and tackled the great emancipator. It was great to see Abe — and not Teddy — get his due for a change.

Of course, rather than take advantage of Abe’s misfortune, Teddy turned and chased the leprechaun, in the opposite direction of the finish line. George Washington, sporting long green socks, beat Tom to the tape to win his first race in a month.

I can’t believe I forgot to bring my camera, but flickr member Drew Saunders caught George in the home stretch.

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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