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)

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

Washington Nationals Fans revive #Natsride hashtag to help each other get home after Thursday’s late playoff game

Natsride Car with PlayersUPDATE: On Thursday, Pepco parent Exelon has funded an additional hour of operating time for the Metro. Times have been updated below. 

The Washington Nationals return to DC Thursday for a deciding NLDS playoff game 5 vs. the Chicago Cubs. However, with an announced start time of 8:08pm, just over 4 hours before the last northbound train departs from the Navy Yard/Ballpark station, fans who rely on Metro face the possibility of choosing between sticking around for a late or extra-innings clincher and getting home at all.

As soon as the game time was announced, fans began using the Twitter hashtag #NatsRide to connect with fans who planned to drive and are willing to share a ride home in exchange for sharing the cost of parking and gas.

The system was created in 2016 by our friends at the TalkNats blog and was a huge success when the Nationals faced a similar late weeknight game. Fans with cars used it to share the cost of driving. Fans reliant on Metro used it to find transportation home.

To take advantage, simply use the #NatsRide hashtag in a tweet and be sure to include the name of the neighborhood you’re trying to get to after the game.

The last Green line train to Greenbelt will depart the Navy Yard station at 12:22pm. The last Green line train to Branch Ave will depart the Navy Yard station at 12:48pm.

Video: Fans sacrifice rubber chicken outside Nationals Park in advance of pivotal NLDS playoff game 4

Washington Nationals Jobu Rubber Chicken Sacrifice 1Washington Nationals Rubber Chicken Sacrifice 1Washington Nationals Rubber Chicken Sacrifice 3After Monday’s come-from-behind victory by the Chicago Cubs over the Washington Nationals in the National League Division Series playoffs, fans gathered outside Nationals Park in Washington at noon Tuesday to try to do their part to exorcise the team’s playoff demons.

Nationals fan “Rubber Chicken Man” Hugh Kaufman led the ancient kaporos ritual as he has “dozens of times” since the team came to Washington in 2005.

“We’ve been doing this since 2005 when our backs are to the wall,” Kaufman declared to more than a dozen fans and Nationals employees gathered in front of the stadium. saying that the Nats “have always won at least one game after we do a chicken sacrifice.”

Kaufman brought an autographed baseball from the 1924 Washington Senators (the last DC team to have won a World Series), a Jobu doll “to help the bats get rid of their fear and wake up,” and a Tanner Roark bobblehead, as Roark is scheduled to pitch game four.

Kaufman then thanked the crowd. and swung the rubber chicken above his head.  “Take all the bad juju from the Nats,” Kaufman said. “Putting it in the Chicken.”

Kaufman then did the deed, those assembled wished the team good luck, and dispersed for lunch.

After 2-1 playoff loss, fans plan chicken sacrifice Tuesday outside Nationals Park

Nationals Rubber Chicken Man

Washington Nationals fan and “Rubber Chicken Man” Hugh Kaufman

For the first time in more than two years, there will be a chicken sacrifice at Nationals Park.

Longtime readers are familiar with the ritual performed by Hugh Kaufman, aka the Washington Nationals’ “Rubber Chicken Man,” whenever the team has run into a string of bad “juju.”

“There hasn’t been a chicken sacrifice in the two years that Dusty has managed the Nats.” Kaufman said Tuesday after the Chicago Cubs took a come-from-behind playoff victory from the Nationals, “but our backs are to the wall and there has been a tsunami of bad juju raining down on us.”

So Kaufman plans to do the deed at noon outside the Nationals Park centerfield gates, and is inviting fans to join him.

Jobu Vudu Doll

Kaufman brought a Jobu doll and a Gio Gonzalez bobblehead to Saturday’s Game 2 victory.

The last sacrifice came mid-season 2015, after a string of injuries and losses had dropped the Nationals out of first place. The 2016 season was the first the team had gone all year without a chicken sacrifice, and until today, it appeared they might go sacrifice-free two years in a row.

Kaufman, who fans may recognize from his seats right above the Nationals dugout, has conducted sacrifices that preceded winning streaks many times since 2005. His sacrifices were called on by former manager Davey Johnson, and by pitcher Gio Gonzalez, who has been known to wear a “Chicken Mode” t-shirt in honor of Kaufman.

“Jobu might be there also,” Kaufman added, “to help wake up our bats again as he did on Saturday night.”

Nationals Park to add specialty food items for 2017 playoffs

The Washington Nationals have added an extensive menu of fall specialty items to be available exclusively during the 2017 postseason beginning this Friday at Nationals Park. Here’s a rundown of what to expect, and where you can find it:
Washington Nationals Park Fall Classic Grilled Cheese Throwin Cheese menu

The Fall Classic Grilled Cheese
What is it: Grilled Cheese with braised short rib, baby arugula, pickled red onions, balsamic cherry jam and smoked Gouda on artisanal sourdough bread.
Where to find it: Throwin’ Cheese in section 114.

 

Nationals Park Maple Doughnut Croque MonsieurMaple Doughnut Croque-Monsieur
What is it: Virginia country ham, Gruyère cheese and maple béchamel on a griddled glazed doughnut.
Where to find it: Throwin’ Cheese in Section 114.

 

Nationals Park Cookie Dough Helmet

The Cookie Dough Helmet
What is it: Chocolate chip cookie dough topped with soft serve vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and mini chocolate chips in a souvenir Curly W helmet.
Where to find it: Breyers stands in Sections 115, 129, 136 and 310.

 

Washington Nationals Park Crab Pretzel postseason food concessions

The Crab Pretzel
What is it: A jumbo braided soft pretzel topped with jumbo lump cheddar cheese topping and Old Bay Queso.
Where to find it: Pretzel locations in sections 107 and 320.

 

Nationals Park The District Duel Jumbo Sausage

The District Duel
What is it: A
 foot-long half smoke sausage topped with latin braised beef and giardiniera.
Where to find it: Taste of the Majors in Sections 115 and 314.

 

Nationals Park Half Smoke Burger Biscuit Virginia Country Kitchen

Half Smoke Burger Biscuit
What is it: A seared smoked burger patty, cheddar cheese and spicy onion relish on a buttermilk biscuit.
Where to find it: Virginia Country Kitchen in Sections 130 and 315.

 

Nationals Park The Natitude Half Smoke Sausage Patty

The Natitude
What is it: A half-smoke sausage patty, crab mac & cheese, and crispy Virginia ham on a brioche bun
Where to find it: Grill Stands in Sections 110, 129, 141 and 211.

 

Washington Nationals Park Crab and Corn Chowder playoffs food concessions

The Lucky Catch Oyster Company “Shuckers”
What is it: A new portable cart serving:

  • Local Virginia oysters on the half shell with atomic cocktail sauce and pickled ginger mignonette
  • Lobster bisque with sourdough croutons and garlic chives
  • Corn & Crab Chowder (pictured) with organic corn, sweet potatoes, edamame, crabmeat, smoked bacon and cream

Where to find it: Good question. The Nats have not yet announced the location.

 

Nationals Park 2 foot long sausagesLocal Artisan Jumbo 24″ Sausages.

What is it: Your choice of three different 24″ jumbo specialty sausages (that’s right, two feet long) including:

  • St. Louis Style: – 24″ pepperoni & cheddar sausage topped with peppers, onions, mini cheese ravioli, and marinara.
  • Chicago Style: 24″ Italian sausage topped with Italian beef, giardiniera, and atomic horseradish aioli.
  • Milwaukee Style: 24″ bratwurst topped with beer bacon braised sauerkraut and crispy cheese curds.

Where to find it: Senators Sausage stands in Sections 108, 134 and 224.

 

Washington Nationals Park Bar CocktailsFinally, we can’t forget the beverage department, where the Nats will offer the new Cinnamon Apple Curveball Cocktail, featuring Smirnoff Vodka, Amaretto, and fresh Apple Cider garnished with a cinnamon stick and apple slice.
Where to find it: All bars serving liquor throughout Nationals Park.

New Nationals Park Dugout Club should be hot seats, in more ways than one

UPDATED: The Washington Nationals completed installation of an exclusive new section of seats at Nationals Park just in time to reveal them at Tuesday’s annual media day.

With just eight seats, the new “Dugout Club” will be the smallest section of the park, available exclusively to members of the new MGM National Harbor casino’s MLife Rewards program.

In a press release Wednesday, the MGM called the “plush leather recliner seats” the “best eight seats in baseball,” but the location — just below ground level beyond the home dugout — could be of concern both to the fans behind them and the high rollers who sit there.

Dugout Club Wall Nationals Park

A concrete wall along the ramp to the new section has some season plan holders concerned

Nationals Park Dugout Club

Black leather seats in the new Nationals Park Dugout Club

Fans who’ve held coveted season tickets along the railing since the park opened in 2008 were notified last week that the new section was being installed in front of them. The letter assured these season plan holders that their views would not be obstructed, promising that the team had “taken great care to ensure that the new club will not impact the sightlines from existing seats.”

But fair balls notwithstanding, photos suggest that it’s the wall built to a ramp leading into the section that could affect views into the dugout, the on-deck circle, and foul territory; and those fans’ days of reaching out to collect foul grounders as they skitter up the line are largely over. “We’ve had these seats since the park opened,” said one season plan holder in Section 134A who asked not to be named. “We love them because we feel like we’re on the field, and we get a lot of foul grounders. I hope this new section doesn’t take away from that. Seems like we’re now going to be looking over a concrete wall.”

As for the big spenders who’ll get access to those seats, they may be in for an unpleasant surprise on hot summer days. “It’s a great place to sit,” the season plan holder said, “but you’re really exposed and it can be brutal on a Sunday afternoon. We sometimes trade in our tickets on those days. Black leather could be particularly unpleasant. I hope those high rollers know what they’re in for.”

The new Dugout Club was installed where the Nationals Park grounds crew used to store the tarp, but with a wall and protective net in front of the seats, it effectively shrinks the ball park’s foul territory on the first base side.

Tickets for the MGM National Harbor Dugout Club include a “personal attendant that will cater to Dugout guests’ every need,” and will be exclusively available to members of MGM Resorts International’s M life Rewards who are at the Platinum level or higher, with 200,000 or more credits earned by playing slots and table games or by spending money at their resorts.

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