Fans plan public chicken sacrifice for 5:00pm Tuesday at Nationals Park

Fans showing up to Nationals Park two hours before first pitch Tuesday night will get a little extra for their money.

Washington Nationals Rubber Chicken Man Hugh Kaufman displays his Chicken Mode T-ShirtHugh Kaufman, aka the Nationals’ “Rubber Chicken Man,” will be leading a group of fans through the Kaporos ritual outside the centerfield gate, sacrificing a rubber chicken to “ward off the bad juju” that has fallen on the team as they’ve lost four straight to fall out of first place in the National League East.

Longtime readers are familiar with the ritual, most recently performed at the ball park after the Nationals lost the first two games of the 2014 divisional playoffs. Remarkably, it seems to usually work. The team went on to win game three. Kaufman’s sacrifices have preceded winning streaks almost annually since 2005, and have been called on by previous manager Davey Johnson, and by pitcher Gio Gonzalez, who has been known to wear a “Chicken Mode” t-shirt in honor of Kaufman.

Behind the scenes with the genius behind the Nats Star Wars Day Racing Presidents costumes

Washington Post intern Lauren Loftus has published a wonderful behind-the-scenes profile of the genius behind the customized racing presidents costumes from Sunday’s Star Wars Day promotion at Nationals Park.

Nationals Star Wars Day Racing Presidentsracing presidents star wars costumes Natsracing presidents star wars costumesLongtime readers know that the Nationals’ racing presidents were built by Randy Carfagno Productions in New York City, but when Star Wars costumes, wigs, astronaut helmets, or other repairs or embellishments are called for, who do the Nationals call on?

DC-area parents are no doubt familiar with the work of Ingrid Crepeau, longtime puppeteer behind the children’s shows produced by Silver Spring-based Dino Rock Productions. Loftus’s piece explains how Crepeau has in recent years built a successful side business building, repairing, and costuming local sports mascots.

Crepeau tells the Post she’s been working on the presidents for six years, which makes a lot of sense. It was six years ago that Teddy missed several races when his costume frame cracked, an incident that the Post at the time called a “classic Washington cover-up.” On several other occasions, Teddy’s glasses have been damaged. With Crepeau on board, there’s no longer a need to send costumes to New York for repairs.

The piece also includes behind-the-scenes video. It’s a lovely profile of somebody who loves her work. “I love children’s laughter,” Crepeau tells Loftus. “That’s the best sound in the world, isn’t it?”

Video and Photos: The Washington Post

Nationals introduce 6th racing president Calvin Coolidge

The Washington Nationals will introduce a sixth racing president Friday night at Nationals Park.
Washington Nationals Calvin Coolidge Racing President

Calvin Coolidge poses with Walter Johnson at Griffith StadiumIn an exclusive granted to Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post, the team announced Wednesday that the nation’s 30th president would join George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft in an increasingly crowded field during the fourth inning race.

Coolidge was a proponent of the national pastime. Despite being just a one-term president, he holds the presidential record for World Series games attended, and threw out six first pitches for the Washington Senators.

With the move, the Nationals are following a recent trend in the world of racing mascots, in which teams such as the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates have continued to add “flavors” to their racing sausages, pierogies, etc.

Of course, the Nationals marketing team is hoping that the addition of “Silent Cal” to the home game ritual creates more interest than would a Jalapeno-flavored dumpling.

“We love the fact that you can come to a Nationals game and walk out smarter,” Valerie Camillo, the team’s Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer told the Post. “Look, if we have a handful of kids in that crowd that say ‘who’s Calvin Coolidge?’ and go open their encyclopedias and learn a little bit more about Silent Cal, that’s a win for us.”

Teddy Roosevelt was less enthusiastic.

Read the full article here.

Video: Racing Presidents pummel Clark the Cub on National Doughnut Day

Friday was National Doughnut Day, but the Nats’ Racing presidents attempt to celebrate with a doughnut relay race was disrupted when Chicago Cubs mascot Clark the Bear (or a reasonable facsimile) entered the fray.

Nats Racing Presidents pummel Clark the Cub on National Doughnut DayTeddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft ran side-by-side through the first leg, when “Clark” appeared in the outfield and grabbed the donut.

But carnage ensued when the Cub mascot turned to taunt his pursuers.

Founding father George Washington appeared from the stands and body slammed the bear into the ground, then Jefferson, and Lincoln piled on.

Taft grabbed the donut and ran. Finish line video below, followed by Bob and FP’s call on MASN.


Videos: lfahome & MASN

After rain delay, Teddy distracts Thomas Jefferson with discount ponchos

Teddy Roosevelt Thomas Jefferson PonchosTeddy Roosevelt Thomas Jefferson Ponchos 2

The Nationals efforts to turn Thomas Jefferson into the new “lovable loser” reached new heights on Thursday night at Nationals Park.

After a nearly two hour rain delay, a sparse crowd was on hand when the presidents race finally began at close to 10:00pm. As is becoming common, Thomas Jefferson took a huge lead into the home stretch.

But Teddy Roosevelt was standing near the finish line with a sign reading “Ponchos $5.”

Sure enough, like Roosevelt had been so many times before him, the founding father became easily distracted, as he stopped to see a man about a poncho, Lincoln stole the win.

Video:Washington Nationals

GIF+Video: Beef Nachos Libre ambushes Tom — Is Jefferson the new Teddy?

The pattern was hauntingly familiar during the fourth inning Saturday at Nationals Park.

Nationals presidents race Beef Nachos Libre gets JeffersonNationals presidents race Beef Nachos Libre gets JeffersonNationals presidents race Beef Nachos Libre gets JeffersonThomas Jefferson tackled by Beef Nachos Libre Slo-Mo Presidents RaceThe mid-inning presidents race started with the season’s only winless president tripping all the others out of the gate, then running unopposed toward the finish line. Just as P.A. Announcer Jerome Hruska proclaimed “Nothing’s going to stop him now!,” a costumed cow going by the moniker Beef Nachos Libre leaped from the stands to tackle the leader just short of the finish line. To add insult to injury, longtime nemesis Abe Lincoln was trailing close enough behind to scavenge the win and extend his lead in the season standings.

It’s a pattern that repeated itself seemingly hundreds of times between 2006 and 2012, as Teddy Roosevelt racked up 525 consecutive losses, one near miss at a time. When Teddy notched his first win on the final day of the 2012 regular season, it seemed the era of presidents race conspiracies was over.

Now, sixteen races into the 2015 home season, it was Thomas Jefferson who found himself winless, tried to take things into his own hands, and ended up running into the surprise buzz saw of the day.

Here’s hoping the Nationals haven’t decided to revisit their troubled presidents race pass by fixing every race for Thomas Jefferson to lose. If they thought Teddy had a strong movement behind him, wait till they mess with the Sage of Monticello.

Nationals “Ten Years Of…” campaign kicks off with new team ads, more giveaways, and a custom brew, plus changes at Nationals Park

The Washington Nationals revealed more details of their planned year-long tenth anniversary celebration Tuesday at Nationals Park, including new giveaway items, concessions, and an anniversary ad campaign, plus some features being added to the ballpark itself.

Valerie Camillo at Nationals ParkWashington Nationals Ads Ten years of Washington Nationals Ads Ten years of Washington Nationals Ads Ten years of Washington Nationals Ads Ten years of Washington Nationals Ads Ten years of Nationals Bobbleheads and giveawaysChief Marketing and Revenue Officer Valerie Camillo has embraced the team’s fans on social media, and upped the ante Tuesday by hosting a small group of active fans at the ball park, announcing the new programs, and asking them to share the news via social media.

Among the many pillars of the year-long campaign is be an effort to thank the DC community for supporting the Nationals. The thank-you effort will include unexpected acts of thanks, kicking off on Wednesday as team representatives will show up at a Maryland McDonald’s location and pay for lunch for all patrons who show up during that hour.

Elements of the team’s new ad campaign were also revealed. The “Ten Years Of…” theme will focus on ten years of memorable game moments, but also embrace other aspects of the fan experience, including the development of a young fan base in the DC community.

The previously-announced promotion/giveaway schedule was enhanced with details about several new giveaway items tied to fan-inspired “theme nights.” For 80s night, fans will receive a Nationals-themed rubiks cube. For Star Wars day, fans will receive a Nats-themed R2D2 beverage coozie. For college night, fans will receive fairly large and substantial-looking tailgate chairs in UVA colors. Quantities have yet to be announced.

Images of the first three “10 Year” commemorative bobblehead dolls show Livan Hernandez throwing the first pitch in Nationals history in his road uniform, Ryan Zimmerman pumping his fist after walking off the first game in Nationals Park history, and Stephen Strasburg tipping his cap after his major league debut.

Finally, the 10th anniversary nesting doll was revealed to including dolls of Max Scherzer, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Chad Cordero, and Frank Robinson. All changes have been updated here

Nationals Park itself gets two significant updates for 2015. The locations of notable home runs in Nationals history will receive permanent recognition in the form of red painted seats. The initial “inductees,” chosen based on distance and historical significance, include Ryan Zimmerman’s home run from the stadium’s first game in 2008, Adam LaRoche and Bryce Harper’s two third level home runs from April, 2014, Jayson Werth’s 2012 NLDS Game 4 walk-off home run, Michael Morse’s Red Porch dinger from July, 2012, and Bryce Harper’s third level shot during the 2014 playoffs.

In the Club Level, or more accurately, The Norfolk Southern Clubhouse level, a first-of-its-kind mechanical scoreboard wall has been installed to provide game updates for those taking advantage of the club’s indoor amenities during the game.

The wall-sized scoreboard features model trains that move along tracks to indicate balls, strikes, and outs, and pop out of bases to indicate baserunners. Above the club level, a model train will now run nonstop during and after the games.

New food options were not discussed, however Camillo shared that a beer cart will be featuring a custom brew made specifically for the Nationals’ tenth anniversary season. Its name: Sam Adams Nats Anniversary IPA.

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