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

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.

Teddy Roosevelt Scratched from Presidents Race, listed as “Day to Day”

Washington Nationals Teddy Roosevelt Scratched Injured Day to DayIn an unprecendented turn of events, the Washington Nationals announced during Saturday night’s game that racing president and fan favorite Teddy Roosevelt had been injured during pre-game warmups and would not participate in the presidents race.

With the Nationals trailing the Florida Marlins in the top of the 4th inning, the Nationals Park announcer said that Teddy’s status was “day to day.”

Sure enough, when the presidents race began, Teddy was nowhere to be seen.

It was “Pups in the Park” night at Nationals Park, with the Washington, DC Humane Society running its adopt-a-pet program for fans in the outfield picnic area, and dog owners invited to bring their dogs to the game. The sold out promotion filled up section 201, where Humane Society volunteers helped keep
George Washington Fire Hydrantan eye on the pets and their owners.

In keeping with the spirit of the evening, George Washington took the early lead in the 4th-inning race, and dropped a fire hydrant along the outfield warning track. Abe Lincoln tripped on the hydrant, leaving George with a clear path to another first place finish.

Photo of Teddy Roosevelt by Anthony Gualtieri
Video by YouTube member TheTeddyRoosevelt

Teddy and the Nats pause to celebrate Earth Day

Tonight the Washington Nationals celebrated Earth Day at Nationals Park by effectively conserving energy for nine innings.

Washington Nationals Earth Day Presidents RaceBy scattering their six hits over an efficient 2 hours and 30 minutes, the home team wasted an equally efficient seven shutout innings by starter John Lannan. With the score tied 0-0, the door was left open for the Atlanta Braves to out-conserve them in the 9th inning, converting a single hit into victory with a game-winning walk.

Teddy Roosevelt got into the act during the 4th inning presidents race. After taking an early lead, he slowed down to celebrate Earth Day with the fans, passing out the armful of green hats and beads he’d been carrying; but Abe flew past and claimed the victory.

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Ash

Washington Nationals’ Teddy Roosevelt to Race in Marine Corp Marathon Sunday

Teddy Roosevelt will run in Sunday's Marine Corp MarathonThe Washington Nationals have announced that racing president Teddy Roosevelt will participate in the 33rd Annual Marine Corps Marathon this Sunday, October 26 at 8:00am.

Sunday’s race happens to be the day before Teddy Roosevelt’s 150th birthday, and if he completes the marathon at his typical racing speed, he might not finish until Monday’s celebration. The team notes that Teddy hopes to show everyone that it is not about winning or losing, but it is about finishing the race.

Teddy will also appear at the Marine Corps Marathon Press Conference tomorrow, Friday, October 24, in support of all race participants.

The Marine Corps Marathon start line is at Route 110 near the Arlington Memorial Bridge Overpass, at 8:00am Sunday. Bring your Teddy Rally Signs!

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!

Teddy’s Big Day Is Here!

No humidity? Is this really DC in August? It appears that the weather gods will be shining on Teddy Roosevelt for tonight’s big “Run Teddy Run!” T-Shirt Tuesday at Nationals Park.

With the Washington Nationals coming off a disastrous weekend series at Miller Park in Milwaukee, what our team needs is a little home cooking, and what could be better than a crowd full of crazy Teddy fans rooting against Johan Santana and the New York Mets?

For those who haven’t been paying attention, tonight is Teddy Roosevelt T-Shirt Tuesday, and the first 10,000 fans in attendance will receive a free “Run Teddy Run” t-shirt courtesy of Tickets.com. George, Tom, and Abe have all had their T-Shirt Tuesdays, and all have won the race on their big nights. Tonight, it’s Teddy’s turn. Even Mets fans are taking up Teddy’s cause.

Regular readers of the Let Teddy Win blog will be there in our Teddy Roosevelt fan gear for a pre-game rally behind Section 102, and some will also gather close to finish line for the 4th-inning presidents race.

See you there! Run Teddy Run!!!

The Real Problem with Willy Mo Peña

Lost amid the all-star headlines yesterday was the news that the Washington Nationals’ beleaguered left fielder Wily Mo Peña was likely headed to the disabled list.

Wearing Teddy's Number 26, Wily Mo Pena grounds into a double play.  Flickr photo by MissChatter.The 26-year-old would-be slugger might very well be the biggest disappointment for the Nationals in a season choc full of disappointments. Touted as an everyday middle-of-the order power hitter when GM Jim Bowden acquired him from Boston, Peña has instead hit an embarrassing .205 this season with just two home runs and 10 RBI.

Now an MRI has revealed that Peña has been playing with a small tear in his left rotator cuff and a frayed labrum in his left shoulder, something the Nationals should have diagnosed much earlier. Bowden pointed to this discovery as “certainly the main reason” that Peña has not performed, but just to be safe, may I suggest that the Nationals made another mistake that could be affecting Wily Mo’s play.

Teddy Roosevelt Jersey T-Shirt Number 26When the Nationals brought Peña here from the Red Sox, they changed his uniform number from 22 to 26, the number previously worn by pitcher Ramon Ortiz.

Surely Wily Mo asked for the number he’d worn while with the Cincinnati Reds, but if he’d been paying attention, he might have noted that the #26 is already owned by the most cursed member of the Nationals for the last 3 seasons: Teddy Roosevelt.

In an organization that has had more than it’s share of bad luck, Teddy has easily been the most snakebitten of all. Until Teddy’s run of bad luck clears up, the organization might think about keeping #26 set aside just for him.

My advice to Wily Mo: Rest that shoulder, and when you come back, ask for a new number.

Photo of Wily Mo Peña courtesy of Nationals blogger Miss Chatter.

Lincoln unfazed as Uncle Slam joins the presidents race.

For the Washington Nationals’ last game before the All Star break, the team today welcomed Potomac Nationals mascot Uncle Slam to Nationals Park to cheer on the team and participate in the Nationals presidents race for the first time. Unfortunately for Teddy fans, the extra competition did nothing to slow down a juggernaut called Abe Lincoln.

Potomac Nationals Mascot Uncle SlamFor those unfamiliar with Uncle Slam, he is the mascot for the Washington Nationals’ Class A minor league affiliate Potomac Nationals, which play just a short drive down I-95 in Prince William County Virginia. It was a timely appearance. With the Nationals away until July 29, the next two weeks are the perfect time to check out some of your future Nationals at intimate Pfitzner Stadium. The current roster includes such top prospects as pitcher Ross Detwiler and first baseman Chris Marrero, and rehabbing Nationals such as Ryan Wagner. Even Ryan Zimmerman is expected to get two rehab starts next week with the P-Nats.

As for the presidents race, Teddy came out in front and was followed by Uncle Slam, but as has become so common this season, Abe Lincoln turned on the afterburners to pass everybody before they reached the finish line. Abe’s seventh straight victory marks a first-ever homestand sweep of the presidents race. Teddy, Tom, and George all need to hit the training room over the all star break if they are to have any hope of catching Abe this season. Maybe Teddy should ask Abe what he’s been eating for breakfast.

Photo: Scott Ableman

Abe goes for homestand sweep Sunday at Nationals Park

Washington Nationals fans filled the stands Saturday night to watch pitcher Collin Balester’s inauspicious Nationals Park debut vs. the Houston Astros.

Despite the home team’s recent string of misfortune, it’s good to see the weekend crowds consistently topping 30,000 regardless of opponent. Great weather has certainly helped, and by now Washingtonians are figuring out that parking at Nationals Park is easy and getting to the stadium is a piece of cake whether driving or taking Metro.

Abe Lincoln extended his presidents race winning streak on Saturday at Nationals ParkUnfortunately Saturday night’s presidents race offered no drama for Teddy fans. Abe Lincoln remains on a tear and showed no signs of letting up, chasing Thomas Jefferson from behind and taking the lead in the stretch to keep his streak alive. Teddy Roosevelt did not appear to even try.

Sunday marks the last game before the All Star break and Teddy’s last chance at presidents race glory for several weeks. If Abe wins, it would be his 7th straight and a first-ever presidential sweep of an entire homestand. Somebody’s got to stop him. Why not Teddy? The weather should be good and tickets are available, so Teddy fans — I hope to see you all cheering him on tomorrow at Nationals Park!

Photo by flickr member afagen

I’m sick about Teddy and I need your help!

Nationals Park will be rockin’ with Teddy Roosevelt supporters tonight, which is why I am beside myself that I can’t be there. I’ve been sick at home, hoping to recover, but it’s clearly not happening.

Washington Nationals Teddy vs. the Baltimore Orioles BirdTonight is the grudge match — an “unsanctioned” race between Teddy Roosevelt and Baltimore’s Bird in the middle of the 4th inning of tonight’s “Battle of the Beltways” at Nationals Park. The challenge was issued by Teddy after The Bird tripped him in the home stretch of last night’s presidents race.

I really have a feeling that Teddy’s going to win this thing, and I want to be there to witness him cross the finish line a legitimate winner. The game should be a sellout. Imagine 42,000 fans cheering Teddy across the finish line and putting the Baltimore Oriole to shame.

Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt. There are so many questions. Will there be an actual presidents race, or will there only be this “unsanctioned” showdown? What tricks does Teddy have up his sleeve for The Bird? Will Teddy win? If he doesn’t, will the fans ever let That Bird back into Nationals Park?

Sadly, I have to watch from home. I’m counting on all of you to cheer for Teddy, and to be the eyes and ears of the presidents race blog. Wear your Teddy t-shirts and wave your Teddy signs. Bring your cameras and camcorders and share the results tonight. Most of all, have fun! Go Nats! Go Teddy!

Teddy Blows Relay Race vs. Pierogies in Pittsburgh

A change of venue momentarily appeared to have been the key to Teddy Roosevelt’s first victory, but the bull moose blew it on the road last night in Pittsburgh.

Washington Nationals' racing presidents Teddy and Tom with racing pierogie Jalapeno Hanna at PNC ParkAs expected, the Washington Nationals racing presidents made their first road trip with the team to appear with the racing pierogies at the Pittsburgh Pirates’ PNC Park.

The series kicked off last night with a relay race pitting Pittsburgh’s own racing pierogies vs. Washington’s racing presidents. George Washington led off the race for the presidents and handed off to speedster Abe Lincoln who, in typical fashion, sprinted ahead of the field, ensuring a solid lead for racing president Thomas Jefferson to hand to anchor runner Teddy Roosevelt for the final leg.

That’s where it fell apart.

Instead of running straight down the first base line for the easy victory, Teddy mugged for the crowd and started up the ramp in right field corner. Those precious wasted seconds were all that was needed for the racing pierogies to steal back the lead. Teddy figured it out too late, making a run for the finish line but falling short of Jalapeno Hanna, who gave the racing pierogies the win.

Photo courtesy of Angela Calo

Nationals T-Shirt Tuesday Schedule Set

The Washington Nationals have finalized which Tuesday home games will feature free t-shirts with images of the racing presidents.

The promotion is part of T-Shirt Tuesdays, in which the first 10,000
fans to arrive at Tuesday night home games at Nationals Park receive a
free t-shirt courtesy of a Washington Nationals’ sponsor company.

All of the racing president’s T-Shirt Tuesdays are sponsored by tickets.com.

Thomas Jefferson will be featured
on T-Shirt Tuesday, June 3rd against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Abe Lincoln will be featured on T-Shirt Tuesday, July 8th against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Finally, Teddy Roosevelt will be featured on T-Shirt Tuesday, August 12 against the New York Mets.

Our first president had his big day last Tuesday against the Philadelphia Phillies, when fans received a free t-shirt with George Washington on the back and the phrase “Who’s Your Founding Father?”

George won the presidents race on his night. Coincidence? I can’t say, but if Tom and Abe win on their t-shirt Tuesdays, I’ll be circling August 12 on my calendar.

Since When Was Cheering Unprofessional?

New York Mets losing pitcher Nelson Figueroa, after last night’s 10-4 defeat at the hands of the Washington Nationals, called the Nationals players — led by Elijah Dukes — “truly unprofessional” for cheering loudly from the visitor’s dugout at Shea Stadium.

“They were cheerleading in the dugout like a bunch of softball girls,” Figueroa, said. “I take huge offense to that. If that’s what a last-place team needs to do to fire themselves up, so be it. I think you need to show a little bit more class, a little bit more professionalism. They won tonight, but again, in the long run, they are who they are.”

Yes Nelson, and the Mets have reminded us who they are as well. Last off-season, Lastings Milledge was run out of town by his Mets teammates for such unprofessional behavior as high-fiving after making a big play. I think I’ll take a team full of young, enthusiastic players who never quit when they’re down over a bunch of overpaid underachievers who choke in the stretch and point fingers afterwards.

Am I wrong? Since when was cheering for your team unprofessional?

Photo by flickr user tagvestibule

Parking at Nationals Park? Piece of Cake!

The presidential primaries have got nothing on the Washington Metro when it comes to negative advertising. Every day, I am bombarded by radio ads telling me that if I choose to drive to Nationals park, I will not find parking, miss the entire game, and regret it for the rest of my life.

What’s wrong with this picture?

As thousands of fans can testify, the free Nats Express parking has been a piece of cake since opening day. Simply drive to Lot 8 at RFK Stadium, hop on one of many
waiting shuttle buses, and be at the park in 10 minutes. There is never a traffic problem getting to Lot 8 via 395, and even after a game, the buses move quickly.

This week, as promised, my son and I decided to try one of the new cash parking lots which surround Nationals Park.

We chose Lot HH, because at $15.00 per game it’s the cheapest cash parking option, and while valet parking sounds convenient, it’s not likely to appeal to the masses.

Cash Lot HH at Nationals Park feels like one of those secrets reserved for DC residents in the know. The location is on South Capitol Street underneath the I-395 ramps — not easy to find if you’re not looking for it, but easy to get to from the C Street exit on the Southeast-Southwest Freeway.

Yes, it sounds like a scary location, but as you can see it was all well-lit, with it’s own traffic light and crosswalk to set you on your way to Nationals Park or back home without any hassles.

The parking lot was practically empty despite a near-sellout game, and the walk to the Nationals Park gate was a safe and leisurely 10 minutes, accompanied both ways by fans heading from the Capitol South metro stop.

As for traffic, here’s South Capitol Street right in front of Nationals Park a half hour before the first pitch on a dreaded weeknight.

So Metro, I have to ask, “Where’s the beef?” In reality, the worst backups I’ve seen near Nationals Park have been at the entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station.

I’m a big fan of Metro, but the team has got to put a stop to this scare campaign, which is keeping people away from the park. Stan Kasten and Adrian Fenty should both be calling for Metro to fire its ad agency and start over.

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