What’s the Strangest Thing You Saw on Opening Day at Nationals Park?

Nationals Park Opening Day photo by Scott AblemanMy son and I had a lot of fun meeting people on opening day at Nationals Park. Even without Ryan Zimmerman’s fairytale-like heroics, it would have been a remarkable night to remember.

It was also a night for spotting local celebrities and a variety of oddities you don’t usually find at a ball game.

For example, it’s not every day you head to the concession stands at a major league ball park and pass by a man with a high-definition broadcast digital camera on a heavy-duty tripod taking photographs of a chili dog. Yet there he was. Obviously one of the big stories for locals was the presence of Ben’s Chili Bowl on the concourse behind the 3rd base line.

On Tony Kornheiser’s local radio show
this morning, Mr. Tony fixated for some time
Don Sutton in a Tuxedo?on the site of Don Sutton wearing a tuxedo. Sutton came down from the broadcast booth to act as “master of ceremonies” for the player introductions. I have nothing but respect for Sutton, the hall-of-fame Dodger pitcher and current Nationals broadcaster; but I have to agree with Mr. Tony. Sutton looked like a waiter from Morton’s in that getup.

What’s the strangest thing you saw on opening day at Nationals Park?

The Season Begins with a Bang at Nationals Park

Nationals Park Grand OpeningI will post more later today, but suffice to say the grand opening of our new Nationals Park was nothing short of a smashing success for every Washington Nationals fan in attendence.

Every Washington Nationals fan, that is, except Teddy.

Though Ryan Zimmerman’s walk-off home run thrilled and delighted the crowd, our great and much misunderstood 26th president disappointed his loyal fans once again. Whether he was trying to cheat or was just confused about the rules is uncertain; but while George, Abe, and Tom began their sprint along the warning track, Teddy simply shot across center field.

Had he not stopped to chat with a couple of members of the Atlanta Braves outfield, Teddy might have beaten George across the finish line, though whether he would have been disqualified remains an open question.

George’s achievement as the first racing president to win the presidents race at Nationals Park has been reflected in the newest section of letteddywin.com — the Presidents Race Standings page, which will continue to be updated throughout the season.

Video by YouTube user jrgwx

Flickr photo of opening day at Nationals Park by Scott Ableman

Changes to the Presidents Race at Nationals Park

Tonight is the big opener at our new Nationals Park, and presidents race fans are eager to see what Teddy Roosevelt has in store for the 2008 debut. Reports are that he’s been working out for the 2008 campaign, and that his last-place finish in last night’s preseason warm-up was just designed to lull the other presidents into complacency. In addition to being in great shape, we hear he may have a few new tricks up his sleeve.

Among the changes we’ll see this year is that the presidents race has been moved from the path that was traditionally used at RFK Stadium. As fans at the Nationals only preseason game at Nationals Park saw, the racing presidents no longer enter from the right field and run along the foul line towards home plate.

In Nationals Park, the racing presidents are being introduced one at a time from the center field fence, and then race around the warning track toward first base.

Those of us seated in the sections along the first base line should have nothing to complain about. Our shouts of “Let Teddy Win!” should be just the thing Teddy needs to help motivate him to his first victory.

See you all at the park tonight!

Flickr photo by excellent Nats fan MissChatter

Music at Nationals Park – Song Results Are In!

Chuck Brown will be played after any Nationals player hits a home runThe Nationals asked and you voted. Here are the songs that will be played at Nationals Park home games starting with tomorrow’s exhibition game against the Baltimore Orioles.

At the 7th Inning Stretch
(after Take Me Out to the Ball Game)
Shout by Otis Day and the Knights

After a Nationals Home Run
Bustin’ Loose by DC native Chuck Brown (pictured)

After a Nationals Win
Beautiful Day by U2

As you’ve probably figured out by now, I’m particularly disappointed by the first choice, but not surprised. If you put this to an internet vote, the winner is going to be a song that everybody knows, not a song that’s more appropriate. Let’s hope the team finds a role for You Gotta Have Heart elsewhere in the new stadium traditions.

Photo of Chuck Brown by flickr user svetlana80

Outside food policies at Nationals Park (UPDATED)

Food Policies - Can you bring outside food to Nationals Park?Many of us have had questions this spring about whether there will be new policies at Nationals Park regarding outside food, cameras, or other restrictions. To date, nothing has appeared on the team’s web site, but we have dug up the outside food policy, and here it is:

All food items must be contained in single serving bags within a soft-sided container or cooler that does not exceed 16″x16″x8″. Metal, plastic or glass containers of any kind (except for clear, factory-sealed or empty, plastic water bottles, no larger than one liter, juice boxes, insulin containers, and baby food) are prohibited at Nationals Park. Only one water bottle per person will be permitted. 

Regarding food, “single serving bag” sounds quite broad and lenient. Even for those of us eager to sample the new food vendors this year, it’s awfully nice to know that you can bring in a big bottle of water.

Outside food permitted at Nationals Park

This group packed a whole picnic and enjoyed it on the tables behind the right field bleachers. Stick to soft-side containers and you’ll be fine.

Brownies at Nationals Park

Hard plastic is technically a violation of the Nationals Park food policy, so attempt at your own risk.

UPDATE 2018: The Washington Nationals food policy has hardly changed over 10 years, and in practice, the enforcement has been quite friendly.

For example, multiple sealed water bottles have been permitted in practice, as long as the total doesn’t exceed 1 liter per person for all the people in your party, and even that is relaxed on hot summer days. The water simply must be unopened. In other words, if you are with a family, and have a backpack with 8 half-liter bottles of water, they aren’t going to turn you away.

Outside food is similarly lenient. Yes, you can bring in a 12″ sub if you like, or a bag of burgers from Five Guys, or even a container full of cookies. As long as you’re not bringing in a big Igloo cooler full of food, you’re probably fine.

If you want to sail through security, bring your outside food in a clear bag. Your subs can be wrapped in paper, but carry them all in a clear bag and things will move faster.

Flickr photo by Scott Ableman

The KidsPost Presidents Race Survey

If there was ever any doubt that hope springs eternal among young presidents race fans, look no further than today’s KidsPost at the Washington Post.

Today’s edition poses the following question to young Post readers: “In 2008, Teddy Roosevelt will win how many presidents races?”

Early results in this unscientific poll show over 70% of all voters predicting Teddy Roosevelt’s first presidents race victory to come in 2008. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, only 20% of young voters think it will come on opening day.

As a great unicorn once said on YouTube, “Shun the nonbelievers!”

Racing Presidents Make It Back to the White House

Today our Washington Nationals racing presidents claimed their place as part of a grand Washington DC institution, the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.

Accompanied by Nationals mascot Screech, our four “Rushmore” presidents George, Tom, Abe, and Teddy made it back to the White House to entertain and pose for photos with children who had come to participate in this age-old Washington, DC tradition.

More impressive still is the observation that the Let Teddy Win movement has reached the highest halls of power. As reported over at Nats 320, the racing presidents appeared early Monday morning and were greeting on the White House lawn by cheers of “Let Teddy Win! Let Teddy Win!” How cool is that?

President Bush is scheduled to be in attendance on Sunday night for the opening of Nationals Park. Now that he’s had a preview, let’s hope he’s caught on and joins the cheers for Teddy Roosevelt when the 4th inning comes around.

Flickr photo by Archie Cubarrubia

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