“Chaos” described as Nationals Park stops restricting fan movement during play [UPDATED]

As first reported by the intrepid Dan Steinberg at The Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog, the Washington Nationals have instituted a policy change for Nationals Park beginning with the current homestand.

Nationals Park Usher Signs StoppageNationals Park Usher Policy Stop Sign In PlayAbout 5 years ago, ushers assigned to the entrance of each section were issued red stop signs saying “Please wait for a stop in play,” as part of a new policy that restricted fans from entering their ticketed sections whenever a batter was in the batters box.

The policy was heralded by many season plan holders — particularly those whose seats were near aisles, with views that had been obstructed by constant fan movement.

However, the policy had also angered fans whose movement was restricted.

As somebody who has visited the park often with children (who tend to “need to go” more often then some of us), and who visits the presidents race finish line at every game, I regularly witnessed unfair levels of anger directed at ushers by uninitiated fans carrying arms full of hot dogs and melting ice cream.

Ushers also have had to hold back crowds so deep that most couldn’t see the field at all or understand why the line wasn’t moving, because a slow-working pitcher and a batter repeatedly adjusting his gloves were leading to at-bats approaching ten minutes in length.

Most major league ball parks do not have such a policy, but it wasn’t unique to Nationals Park, and while some fans have expressed anger about the change, the team is mum on the reason behind it. Rather than share their opinions, ushers have been asked to direct all comments to service@nationals.com; but as Steinberg reports and others have confirmed, the first two nights of the new non-policy have been described as “chaos” by some and have led to many complaints.

Nationals Park is known for it’s excellent site lines from all seats, but this policy change has clearly added a premium to those without an aisle between the seat and the infield.

UPDATE: Unconfirmed reports from Nationals Park suggest that the policy change was mandated by Major League Baseball representatives who visited the park this week. Only a handful of teams had such a policy.

For what it’s worth, it’s apparent that the new policy means that ushers at section entrances can no longer pay any attention to the game. With a continuous  stream of fans, those ushers must keep their backs to the field full time now.

Top Photo: Washington Post

GIF: Olympic champion Helen Maroulis lifts Teddy Roosevelt after presidents race win

Teddy Roosevelt CameraHelen Maroulis Teddy Roosevelt Nats presidents raceNats racing president Teddy Roosevelt spent the day on the National Mall Thursday, helping the National Park Service celebrate its 100th anniversary.

The same night at Nationals Park, the Park Service returned the favor by having park rangers on hand to helping Roosevelt take in the sights during the 4th inning presidents race.

Teddy snapped photos with his giant camera, then distracted his fellow presidents with the pictures so that he could break toward the finish line.

Teddy stole the win, but Olympic gold medal wrestler Helen Maroulis stole the show. The Rockville native had been holding the presidents race finish line, and won over the crowd by picking up the giant racing president in celebration after the race.

Photos: Washington Nationals

Racing presidents resume Olympic tributes with team rowing, Flintstones-style

Olympic Rowing Nationals Racing PresidentsAfter an epic Star Wars Day battle on Saturday, the Nationals racing presidents resumed their Olympic tributes Sunday at Nationals Park with a team rowing competition.

The presidents held up their “boats” as they scampered Flintstones-style across the warning track while paddling with a single oar.

The unlikely team of Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft, was passed early by the much lighter-weight “boat” helmed by George Washington, Herbert Hoover, and Thomas Jefferson.

Photos and video from Star Wars day at Nationals Park, including the racing presidents epic battle vs the dark side

IMG_8133IMG_8132IMG_8131Temperatures hovered around 100 degrees Saturday night, but that didn’t stop a sellout crowd from joining in the fun on the second annual Star Wars Day at Nationals Park.

Star Wars themed organ music and graphics punctuated the night, costumed fans were featured on Nats HD, and dozens of costumed characters roamed the concourse, adding to the fun.

In the fourth inning presidents race, the rebel alliance finally beat the dark side in an epic presidents race battle, but the mascot team once again forgot the golden rule to always let the wookie win.

Presidents George Washington and William Howard Taft set up along the first base line dressed as Kylo Ren and Captain Phasma, determined not to let anybody from the rebel alliance get through.

Teddy Roosevelt (Chewbacca), Abe Lincoln (Rey), Thomas Jefferson (Fin), and Herbert Hoover (Poe Dameron) charged forward from the outfield, where they scuffled with Taft (Phasma).

After three presidents went down, Jefferson (Fin) and Lincoln (Rey) took turns taking on Washington (Ren) in a light saber battle for the finish.



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Video for LetTeddyWin.com by lfahome

Nats racing presidents try Olympic-style synchronized diving, and it’s not pretty

Nationals racing presidents Olympic Synchronized Diving raceNationals racing presidents Olympic Synchronized DivingThe Nationals racing presidents continued their series-long tribute to the Rio summer Olympics on Friday night at Nationals Park, and if you didn’t think it Nats Olympic Synchronized Presidents Race Divingwas possible to take the silliness to another level, here’s your evidence to the contrary.

Wearing what could best be described as giant shower caps, the presidents paired off for a synchronized diving competition along the first base line, then stood on platforms and jumped two-at-a-time into kiddie pools about the size of their heads.

Washington and Jefferson attempted a “half twist and a tuck” according to Nats PA announcer Jerome Hruska, and received all eights from the judges in front of section 134.

Roosevelt and Taft then attempted a face-first dive with “a high degree of difficulty” into the pools, and received all nines.

In a questionable finish, Hoover and Lincoln attempted “a reverse dive with a full twist and tuck.” Hoover didn’t even complete the dive, but the judges gave them all tens.

Video: Nats Racing president Teddy Roosevelt disqualified as Olympic tributes continue

Presidents race equestrian Olympics TeddyPresidents race equestrian Olympics DQPresidents race volleyball olympicsThe Washington Nationals racing presidents continued their tribute to the Rio Olympics Tuesday night at Nationals Park, this time with an equestrian event that featured the ten-foot tall presidents jumping over obstacles while running with stick horses between their legs.

The task proved to difficult for lanky Abe Lincoln, who fell down early, but Teddy Roosevelt surged ahead of the pack, and appeared headed to an easy victory.

However, the Bull Moose knocked over the hurdle and was promptly disqualified by the Olympic judge.

Teddy had reason to object at the inconsistent judging, since he had been more aggressive in breaking the rules in the previous race.

On Sunday the presidents race had begun as normal, but was interrupted for an Olympic volleyball game along the first base line. The presidents exchanged a few volleys, and the team of George, Tom, and Herbie were leading, but Teddy broke away after two points to take the tape, and was awarded the win.

Video: Coolidge returns, Teddy teams with Lincoln and Taft as Nats racing presidents run Olympic triathlon relay

The Nationals racing presidents’ tribute to the Rio Olympics continued Saturday night with an unlikely triathlon relay that teamed Teddy Roosevelt with longtime rivals Abraham Lincoln and William Howard Taft.

Nationals Racing Presidents race triathlon swimmingNationals Racing Presidents race Olympic triathlonVisiting president Herbert Hoover is in Iowa for the Herbert Hoover Hometown Days, and so the 2015 visiting president Calvin Coolidge made a return appearance to join Washington and Jefferson on the opposing team.

Coolidge looked rusty in his first appearance of the year, but he still beat William Howard Taft in the swimming leg, as Taft attempted to backstroke.

In the ensuing bicycle leg of the triathlon, The Great Emancipator Abe Lincoln smoked the father of our country, thereby handing over an easy victory to Roosevelt, who ran anchor for the team.

Finish line video below.

NOTE: I can no longer show the race as called on television — at least not within the United States and Canada — thanks to a claim by MLB Advanced Media that it violates their copyright to the ball game.

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