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.

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.

Teddy Wins!

Teddy Wins unsanctioned presidents race vs. Orioles Bird at Nationals ParkTeddy Roosevelt had never won a race at Nationals Park (at least not without being disqualified for cheating); but tonight a packed house got to cheer as our beloved #26 came from behind and crossed the finish line to claim victory in a 1-on-1 grudge match vs. The Bird from Baltimore.

It was a night of firsts, starting with the first Washington Nationals home game since July of 2006 not to feature an official presidents race. The “unsanctioned” event was announced only yesterday, after Teddy was tripped by the Orioles mascot, robbing him of a presidents race victory.

Nationals Park Scoreboard Statistics for Teddy Roosevelt and the Orioles BirdWith the outfield scoreboard displaying the two contestants’ vital statistics (Moustache-span: 2.5 ft), the racers were introduced and Teddy appeared from the centerfield gate draped in an American flag. The Bird got a huge jump out of the gate, but Teddy quickly turned on the afterburners. As they raced past the centerfield wall flashing “TED-DY,” Teddy passed The Bird to run away with it in the home stretch.


It was the unquestioned highlight for Nationals fans in an otherwise depressing 9-1 loss to the Orioles. No, this one doesn’t count in the standings (if there was any doubt, it was removed when the “The Presidents Racing Association of America” announced the fact shortly after the race), but one can hope that Teddy’s come-from-behind victory will serve as momentum and inspiration.

Photo courtesy of flickr user The West End
Video by YouTube users theblackdog2071 and 3031oaktown

After tripping incident, Nationals’ Teddy Roosevelt challenges The Bird to “unsanctioned race” on Saturday.

Washington Nationals vs. Baltimore Orioles Battle of the BeltwaysThe over 35,000 fans who packed Nationals Park for the opening game of the “Battle of the Beltways” series between the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles were treated to a spectacle of presidential proportions on Friday night.

Teddy Roosevelt’s supporters were out in full force, with Teddy signs throughout the stands and chants of “Teddy, Teddy” heard on a number of occasions. The fans were not disappointed when the 4th inning
Washington Nationals presidents race - Teddy is tripped by The Birdpresidents race kicked off, as Teddy Roosevelt took a commanding lead out of the gate and drew cheers as he rounded the warning track in right field.

Even the Baltimore Oriole mascot jumped onto the field to cheer for Teddy as he approached the finish line. Or so it seemed.

As Teddy Roosevelt neared the finish, The Bird stuck out a claw and tripped him, sending him reeling onto the dirt, as George Washington and the other racing presidents flew by. George took the victory and a bow as Teddy and The Bird scuffled along the baseline.

One inning later, a “press conference” was shown on the outfield high-definition scoreboard, announcing a grudge match between Teddy and The Bird. Teddy challenged The Bird to an “unsanctioned race” to be held during the 4th inning of Saturday night’s game between the Orioles and Nationals.

This unsanctioned event was then promoted repeatedly throughout the evening. It makes one wonder what surprises are in store for Saturday night.

Video of race and “press conference” by YouTube member QuakerWildcat:

The Washington Nationals are clearly pulling all the stops to make this a big weekend. Washington Nationals Saturday night moviesIn addition to the special presidents race between Teddy and The Bird (which the announcer described “the race of the century”) on Saturday night the Nationals are kicking off Nationals Park Saturday Night Movies. On select Saturday nights throughout the season, the Nationals will play a feature film after the game on the high-definition scoreboard. Concessions and parking will remain open during the movie, and fans are encouraged to move to any open seat on the 3rd base side of Nationals Park (presidential seats excepted).

But the big attraction is clearly the race itself. Let’s all show up on Saturday night prepared to root for Teddy Roosevelt as he takes on The Bird in this “unsanctioned” event. It’s sure to be a really good show.

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