New food, seven bobbleheads, and the return of fireworks highlight Nationals changes and promotion schedule for 2019

Juan Soto Bobblehead Washington NationalsThe Washington Nationals revealed their 2019 promotion/giveaway schedule today (weeks earlier than usual), featuring a bump in the number of popular bobblehead dolls that so many fans look forward to annually.

After offering only three bobbleheads two years ago, the team has equaled it’s historical high of seven bobblehead giveaways, including first-ever bobbleheads for outfielders Juan Soto (April 12) and Adam Eaton (July 12), and for pitcher Patrick Corbin (August 17).

At a recent “hot stove” event for season plan holders, Nationals Senior VP Mike Shane said that Soto rejected early renderings of his bobblehead because he “wasn’t smiling.” So Soto’s doll, the first of the season, features a grinning #22.

Trea Turner BobbleheadNats bobblehead collectors can look forward to several firsts, including a Trea Turner bobblehead that is the first to feature the Nationals alternate blue “script Nationals” uniform.

On Marvel Super Hero Day May 25, Ryan Zimmerman will be featured on a “Captain Zimmerman” bobblehead that features a Captain America-style Curly W shield, and a Sean Doolittle bobblehead to be given out on Star Wars Day June 15 will feature the All-Star closer dressed as Obi “Sean” Kenobi, complete with Jedi robe and blue light saber.

Max Scherzer will be featured on the other bobblehead on June 21, and a previously-announced bobblehead day of September 13 has been changed to “PenFed Giveaway,” leaving open the possibility of a record eighth bobblehead doll.

Most Nats bobbleheads are produced in quantities of 25,000, but the special edition “Captain Zimmerman”and “Obi-Sean Kenobi” bobbleheads will be limited to the first 10,000 fans, so plan to queue up early.

Ryan Zimmerman Bobblehead Washington Nationals Bobbleheads Captain Zimmerman

The schedule features a record number of theme events that require a special event ticket purchase to participate. These include promotions such as Yoga in the Outfield, Ladies Night, Caturday, Pups in the Park, Taste of the World, Stich ‘N Pitch, Margaritaville night, and a new Father’s Day Catch on the Field.

The list also includes dozens of theme nights representing more than half of all home games for groups such as military branches, college alumni, scouts, teachers, youth baseball leagues, and first responders. These also require a special event ticket to sit with the honored group. Such events have been hugely popular in the past and are the focus of a Nationals marketing team looking to bring new audiences to the ball park.

Washington Nationals Radio LanyardAfter opening day features a t-shirt on March 28, expect die-hard fans to scramble for the second game giveaway on Saturday, March 30: a battery-operated radio lanyard that is permanently tuned to 106.7 The Fan and works only inside Nationals Park, with a promise of no delay and “enhanced gameday elements.” The item had been promised last season but delayed because the first batch did not meet the team’s standards.

The team will also give away an expandable beach bag (May 2), a Nationals water bottle (July 23), a racing presidents tote bag (July 27), a Nats camo tank (August 31), a PenFed giveaway TBD (September 13), a Nationals beer stein (September 14), and a Nationals puffy vest (September 29).

Washington Nationals Kids Watch Screech Hooded Towel

Additional giveaways reserved just for kids include a Washington Nationals kids watch on “Kids Opening Day” (April 28), when the team celebrates Screeches birthday and the park is teeming with mascots from other area teams and schools.

Other kids’ giveaways include a Max Scherzer Jersey (May 26), a Screech hooded towel (June 23), a Teddy Roosevelt squeezable toy (August 18), and a lumberjack cap (September 15). All kids’ giveaways are limited to the first 10,000 children age 12 and under.

For the third year, National season plan holders will be given the option of purchasing up to two “Guaranteed Giveaways” coupon books, which reserve one of each giveaway item to be picked up after the promotion date, whether or not you attend that game. In past years, Guaranteed Giveaway books cost $109 each.

Fireworks Fridays throughout the season, which disappeared in recent years, have returned for 2019 and are scheduled for April 26, May 24, June 14, and August 30. There will also be fireworks on Wednesday, July 3.

Washington Nationals Walking Taco - Taco Caminando

The Taco Caminando “Walking Taco”

The team is also introducing three new food concessions for 2019:

A new concept called Taco Caminando will feature the “Walking Taco,” a 16 oz. cup filled with a belly bomb of corn chips, chili, cheese, diced tomatoes and sour cream (in other words, a rebranded Frito pie).

In addition, Maryland-based restaurant La Casita Pupuseria will feature pupusas and other Salvadoran food, and a new concession called Bao Bao will feature steamed Bao — steamed dumplings stuffed with savory fillings.

Giveaways below. Full schedule of special events and ticket offers at Nationals.com.

2019 Washington Nationals Giveaway Schedule

Date Opponent Giveaway
Thu 3/28 NYM 2019 Schedule T-Shirt
(25,000 fans)
Sat 3/30 NYM In-Park Live Radio Lanyard
(20,000 fans)
Fri 4/12 PIT Juan Soto Bobblehead
(25,000 fans)
Sun 4/28 SDG Kids Watch
(10,000 kids 12 & under)
Thu 5/2 STL Expandable Beach Bag
(20,000 fans)
Wed 5/15 NYM Trea Turner Bobblehead
(25,000 fans)
Sat 5/25 NYM Captain Zimmerman Bobblehead
(10,000 fans)
Sun 5/26 MIA Kids Max Scherzer Jersey
(10,000 kids 12 & under)
Sat 6/15 ARI Obi “Sean” Kenobi Bobblehead
(10,000 fans)
Fri 6/21 ATL Max Scherzer Bobblehead
(25,000 fans)
Sun 6/23 ATL Kids Screech Hooded Towel
(10,000 kids 12 & under)
Tue 7/2 MIA Adam Eaton Bobblehead
(25,000 fans)
Tue 7/23 COL Nationals Water Bottle
(20,000 fans)
Sat 7/27 LAD Racing Presidents Tote Bag
(25,000 fans)
Sat 8/17 MIL Patrick Corbin Bobblehead
(25,000 fans)
Sun 8/18 MIL Teddy Squeezable Toy
(10,000 fans 12 & under)
Sat 8/31 MIA Camo Tank
(20,000 fans 21 & over)
Fri 9/13 ATL PenFed Giveaway TBD
(25,000 fans)
Sat 9/14 ATL Nationals Beer Stein
(20,000 fans 21 & over)
Sun 9/15 ATL Kids Lumberjack Cap
(10,000 kids 12 & under)
Sun 9/29 CLE Nationals Puffy Vest
(20,000 fans)

From DCist: An Oral History of the Nationals racing presidents, and a major first admission of conspiracy

DCist today published a wonderful Oral History of the Nationals Racing Presidents, lovingly curated by intrepid journalist Matt Blitz. including a first-ever formal admission by a team official that the fix was in for Teddy Roosevelt.

DCist Racing Presidents oral historyBlitz tells the history of the presidents race through interviews with many of the people behind the scenes and involved in its creation, revealing even a few things I hadn’t documented on our facts page, such as the inspiration that costume designer Randy Carfagno received from none other than Bette Midler.

But Blitz’s biggest “scoop” comes from Josh Golden, an ad agency executive who served as the Nats’ Director of Creative Services for the team’s first two seasons. “The first race we had George win, but we [decided] we didn’t want to go in order, so we skipped Teddy,” Golden told Blitz. “…people started emailing us, “Why hasn’t Teddy won?” There wasn’t a plan to [have Teddy lose] until those emails started coming in. By the fifth game, we had decided that Teddy isn’t going to win. Let’s make it a thing.”

Yikes. I may or may not have written a couple of those emails.

Great stuff and a worthy read.

After throwing in the towel on 2018, Washington Nationals let Teddy win

The Washington Nationals formally threw in the towel on the 2018 season Tuesday, then promptly let Teddy win.

125 games into the season, the once heavily-favored but snake bitten Nationals finally accepted the reality of their losing record and today announced trades of Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams — key players in the final year of their contracts — to the Cubs and Cardinals, while issuing a public statement of explanation and disappointment.

Teddy Roosevelt wins Nationals presidents raceThen, as if to send a message that all bets are off, they let Teddy win the presidents race.

It’s been many years now since Theodore Roosevelt’s initial epic 6 1/2 year losing streak was first broken, but Teddy returned to his consistent losing ways in 2016, and lost 86 straight heading into this year. When the Teddy won on opening day, it appeared that the team had a change of heart regarding the Bull Moose, but then the losing began again.

As chronicled in our season standings, Teddy’s misfortunes this season have been epic. He’s been slammed into the wall and attacked by swords multiple times. He’s been distracted by bowling, haircuts, hypnotism, picnics, selfies, penalty kicks, pet cats, bunnies, and the YMCA.

But after Nats ownership admitted to throwing in the towel on the playoffs, they perhaps superstitiously also took the handcuffs off Teddy, who raced from the back of the pack to run away with Tuesday’s race.

It’s too late for Roosevelt to catch Washington, Jefferson, or Lincoln in the standings, but Teddy, like the Nats, have six weeks left to regain respectability.

 

On opening day, Teddy Roosevelt breaks presidents race losing streak with help from an unlikely ally

Nationals Presidents Race Opening Day Abe Cheats Teddy WinsNationals Presidents Race Opening Day Abe Cheats Teddy WinsNationals Teddy Roosevelt Masters Green JacketOn a frigid opening day at Nationals Park, the Washington Nationals reversed course from last year and decided to let Teddy win, as racing president Theodore Roosevelt kicked off the season by snapping his multi-year, 86-game losing streak.

The MLB’s new pace-of-play initiatives leave little wiggle room for presidents race shenanigans, but the Nationals managed to squeeze in their fair share while Mets pitcher Jacob DeGrom warmed up for the bottom of the fourth inning.

Abe Lincoln parked himself on the sidelines under section 134 as Teddy, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson began the race. Teddy fell behind the pack entering the home stretch, but that’s when the Great Emancipator, who so often has been TR’s nemesis, jumped out and clocked both George and Tom, clearing the way for a Roosevelt victory.

After he crossed the finish line to the cheers of the sellout crowd, a Secret Service Agent handed Teddy a putter. The Bull Moose than tapped in a putt on a makeshift hole and was handed a green jacket to commemorate today’s opening round of the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.

Video for Let Teddy Win courtesy of lfahome

Data visualization guru maps Nationals presidents race results, and it’s a beautiful thing

Every year at about this time, as I prepare to archive another year’s racing president standings, I ask myself whether it’s worth it to continue the blog. Then I meet somebody  — a loyal reader who’s a team employee or a descendant of Teddy Roosevelt. Or somebody like Mike Cisneros comes along.

Cisneros is a data visualization guru. He’s head of data visualization at Evince Analytics, and waxes poetic about the art on his personal blog. When Cisneros saw the conclusions drawn by Reddit user Constant Gardner11 yesterday, utilizing ten years of data compiled here at the Let Teddy Win blog, he decided a visualization was in order.

And while it’s a beautiful thing, a few mistakes were made. Roosevelt’s epic losing streak lasted seven seasons — not five (we did not publish race-by-race results for 2016-2017, but the standings are here). And Teddy’s historic first win was not in the playoffs, but on the final day of the 2012 regular season.

And so, feeling both inspired by the beautiful and creative use of our data, and also weirdly compelled to continue to set the record straight, I’ll see you on opening day.

Washington Nationals Racing Presidents Results Data visualization

Ten years of Washington Nationals Presidents Race Data as visualized by Mike Cisneros

Yankees fan runs the numbers, concludes Nats fans should root for George, opponents should root for Teddy

On Tuesday, Reddit user and Yankees fan Constant_Gardner11 posted a detailed analysis of presidents race results during the Nationals Park era, using data we’ve collected here at Let Teddy Win. His conclusion: Nats fans should root for George Washington. Nats’ opponents should root for Teddy.

The many comments from the Reddit community show that conspiracy theories about Teddy Roosevelt remain prominent in the public eye. Of course, rooting for Teddy may be a moot point, since the powers-that-be in the Nationals front office have clearly decided never to let Teddy win again. The Bull Moose went winless last year (which didn’t seem to change the team’s playoff luck), and has lost 86 straight entering the 2018 season.

His analysis:

 

In perfect game 5 metaphor, Nats racing presidents trade leads in lengthy, confusing obstacle course

The Washington Post’s Tom Boswell called the Nats’ final playoff game of 2017 an exhilarating, exhausting, donnybrook that “staggers even the baseball imagination.” The Nationals 9-8 deciding game 5 loss to the Chicago Cubs was a marathon filled with improbable and confusing twists and turns that were hard to process for many in attendance.

So in retrospect, the evening’s fourth inning presidents race seems perversely appropriate.

George Washington Nationals Racing President Playoffs NLDS Game 5George Washington Nationals Racing President Playoffs NLDS Game 5 obstacle courseThe race that seemed to go on forever began all the way on the third base side of the field. Abe Lincoln took an early lead, but struggled when the presidents encountered the first challenge on this obstacle course, a “dizzy bat spinning” contest.

Thomas Jefferson emerged with the lead as they approached the next obstacle, but the dinosaur in left field did little to get in the way.

Next, a shuttle run set up in right field proved a challenge for Tom and Teddy, but our first commander in chief George Washington sailed through it to take his first lead heading to the final obstacle.

If the crowd on hand wasn’t confused yet, the folding table in front of the finish line likely did the job; but George leaped over it to take the tape as the other presidents gave up and left the field for the final time in 2017.

George won all three races this postseason, with Teddy Roosevelt bringing up the rear each time. Roosevelt finished the season 0-for-84, and like the Nationals and their fans, will have to wait until 2018 for a chance at redemption.

Video for Let Teddy Win by lfahome

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