Nats racing presidents return to old ways, robbing Teddy Roosevelt of victory to kick off 2017 season

It was just like old times, and not in a good way.

Teddy Roosevelt tripped Nationals Presidents RaceTeddy Roosevelt Nationals presidents raceTeddy Roosevelt loses presidents raceBaseball’s opening day is known as a time of hope, when records are wiped clean and fans look to the future with optimism.

But in the season’s inaugural presidents race Monday at Nationals Park, it seemed like 2012 all over again.

Nats fans had celebrated on social media when it was announced that recent additions to the race — Taft, Coolidge, and Hoover — had “retired” to the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, and they got what they were hoping for, as for the first time in five years it was back to the Rushmore Four — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.

But there was an unexpected extra dose of déjà vu for Teddy Roosevelt fans, as the other presidents conspired to rob Teddy of the victory, and revived memories of The Bull Moose’s historic 526-race losing streak.

Teddy had the lead in the home stretch, but Washington and Jefferson pushed him from behind, celebrating with a high five as Abe raced by for the win.

In another nod to the old days, it appears that the presidents race champions belt has been retired. Rather than being awarded a belt, Lincoln simply carried the checkered flag off the field.

Video for LetTeddyWin.com by lfahome

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.

Nationals offer season planholders option to purchase all promotion items for the season

Washington Nationals Guaranteed Giveaways Promotion ItemsThe Washington Nationals introduced a program on Thursday offering all season plan holders the opportunity to purchase vouchers for each of the team’s twelve promotional/giveaway items for the 2017 season.

For $100 each (plus $9 in fees), season plan holders may purchase up to two booklets containing vouchers which may be redeemed for each of the promotional items, guaranteeing access whether the team runs out at the gate or not:

* Nationals Magic 8-Ball (Available April 10, 2017)
* Daniel Murphy Bobblehead (Available April 28, 2017)
* Trea Turner Bobblehead (Available May 23, 2017)
* Max Scherzer Snow Globe (Available June 9, 2017)
* Star Wars Chewbacca Koozie (Available June 9, 2017)
* Tanner Roark Bobblehead (Available June 23, 2017)
* Patriotic Tank Top (Available June 23, 2017)
* Game of Thrones Promo Item (Available July 3, 2017)
* Nationals Fedora (Available August 7, 2017)
* Kids Coloring Book (Available August 7, 2017)
* Bryce Harper Starting Lineup Action Figure (Available September 7, 2017)
* Beer Stein (Available September 29, 2017)

The vouchers may only be purchased by logging into a season planholder account, and may be redeemed any time after the release date at the team’s new Red Carpet Rewards Center at Nationals Park, located in the Center Field Plaza adjacent to the Right Field Gate.

Video: Taft wins Nationals first Spring Training presidents race to christen Ballpark of the Palm Beaches

palm-beach-presidents-raceThe Washington Nationals’ shiny new ballpark in West Palm Beach, Florida opened Tuesday, and like it or not, brought 21st century amenities such such as a large video scoreboard and between-innings entertainment to the Nats’ spring training experience.

And as planned, when the fourth inning arrived, the team’s newly-“retired” racing presidents ran the first Grapefruit League presidents race.

In a race devoid of the hijinks common at Nationals Park, newly-retired William Howard Taft pulled away from Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover to take the historic victory.

Like the race in DC, the Palm Beach version is sponsored by GEICO. Unlike the Nationals Park version, the race started with a live introduction of the racers and a “Ready, Set, Go!” by the ballpark PA announcer.

Video courtesy of lfahome

Taft “retiring” to Palm Beach as well, leaving original Rushmore racing presidents at Nationals Park

Nationals New Racing President William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft is introduced to Nats fans in 2013

Washington Nationals racing president William Howard Taft will arrive this weekend at the Ball Park of the Palm Beaches and stay for good, joining the other “retired” racing presidents Herbert Hoover and Calvin Coolidge in their new home in West Palm Beach.

According to a report in the The Palm Beach Post, the Nats have made the decision to “retire” Taft as well, leaving just the original Mount Rushmore Four — Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt — to race at Nationals Park during the Major League season.

The four were the only racing presidents for the beter part of seven seasons before Taft joined the presidents race in 2013. The addition of Taft was intended to “mix things up,” according to a marketing executive who is no longer with the team.

Teddy Roosevelt could not be reached for comment.

Nationals 2017 Promotion Schedule: Fewer Bobbleheads, more special events, plus action figures, snow globes and more

nationals-magic-8-ball-promotion

As promised, the Washington Nationals revealed their 2017 promotion/giveaway schedule this morning, and while there are many creative new promotions in store, it was surprisingly bereft of the bobblehead dolls that trea-turner-bobbleheadchewbacca-koozie-washington-nationalswashington-nationals-fedoraso many fans look forward to annually.

Previous years have featured as many as six or seven bobblehead giveaways. In 2017, there will be only three: Daniel Murphy (April 14), Trea Turner (May 12) and pitcher Tanner Roark (June 9).

Starters who’ve never had a bobblehead doll, including Adam Eaton, Joe Ross, and Anthony Rendon, will have to wait for another season.

Bryce Harper, who’s had his share of bobbleheads, will be honored this season with a Starting Lineup Action Figure on August 29.

The schedule features a whopping two dozen promotions that require a special ticket purchase, such as Yoga in the Outfield, college days, Ladies Night, Pups in the Park, and Teacher Appreciation days. Such events have been hugely popular in the past and are clearly the focus of a Nationals marketing team looking to bring new audiences to Nationals Park.

New giveaways of note include the opening day Magic 8 Ball (April 3) and Nationals Fedora (July 26) that had previously been revealed, plus a Max Scherzer snow globe (May 24), a Chewbacca Koozie for Star Wars day (May 27), a Flag Day patriotic tank top (June 14),  a kids’ coloring book (July 30), and a beer stein for Oktoberfest (September 29).

It is expected that Signature Sundays and Kids Run the Bases will return on Sundays, though the Nationals did not announce those dates yet as part of the official calendar.

Likewise, no Nats Postgame Live concerts have been announced.

 

Known dates are below. Items noted with an * require a special ticket, even if you are a season plan holder. Any additional promotions will be updated here as they are announced:

2017 Washington Nationals
Promotion / Giveaway Schedule

Date/Time Opponent Promotion
Mon 4/3 MIA Nats Magic 8 Ball (20,000 fans)
Tue 4/11 STL Blossoms and Baseball
Wed 4/12 STL Military Appreciation Day
$1 Hot Dogs
Fri 4/14 PHI Daniel Murphy Bobblehead (25,000 fans)
Sat 4/15 PHI Scout Day
Jackie Robinson Day
Sun 4/16 PHI Easter Egg Hunt*
Kids Opening Day
Screech’s Birthday
Sat 4/29 NYM Pups in the Park
Sun 4/30 NYM Youth Baseball & Softball Day
Tue 5/2 ARI Irish Heritage Day*
Wed 5/3 ARI U.S. Navy Day
Thu 5/4 ARI Weather Day*
Fri 5/12 PHI Trea Turner Bobblehead (25,000 fans)
Nurses Appreciation Day
Teacher Appreciation Day
Sat 5/13 PHI Pups in the Park
Sun 5/14 PHI Mother’s Day Carnation (5,000 fans)
Mother’s Day Brunch*
Wed 5/24 SEA Max Scherzer Snow Globe (25,000 fans)
Thu 5/25 SEA Federal Workforce Day
Sat 5/27 SDG Star Wars Day
Chewbacca Koozie 
(25,000 fans)
Sun 5/28 SDG Memorial Day Observance
Yoga in the Outfield*
Fri 6/9 TEX Tanner Roark Bobblehead (25,000 fans)
Sat 6/10 TEX Pups in the Park
Scout Day
Mon 6/12 ATL U.S. Army Day
$1 Ice Cream
Tue 6/13 ATL LGBT Night Out
Wed 6/14 ATL Flag Day Tank Top (25,000 fans Age 21+)
Sat 6/24 CIN College Day*
Seniors Stroll the Bases
Sun 6/25 CIN Pups in the Park
Your Baseball & Softball Day
Mon 6/26 CHI Champions Day
Mon 7/3 NYM Postgame Fireworks
Tue 7/4 NYM Independence Day
Thu 7/6 ATL Neighborhood Day
Sat 7/6 ATL Taste of the World*
Sun 7/7 ATL College Day*
Tue 7/25 MIL U.S. Marine Corps Day
Teacher Appreciation Day*
Wed 7/26 MIL Nationals Fedora (25,000 fans)
Thu 7/27 MIL Camp Day*
Sat 7/29 COL Ladies Night*
Sun 7/30 COL Kids Coloring Book (10,000 fans Age 12 & under)
Mon 8/7 MIA U.S. Coast Guard Day
$1 Ice Cream
Tue 8/8 MIA College Day*
Thu 8/10 MIA B1G Ten Night*
Fri 8/11 SFG ’90s Night
Sat 8/12 SFG Washington Nationals Dream Foundation Day
Sun 8/13 SFG Firefighter Appreciation Day
Scout Day
Tue 8/15 LAA Tote Bag (25,000 fans)
College Day*
Fri 8/25 NYM National Park Service Day*
Sat 8/26 NYM Faith Day*
Sun 8/27 NYM Jewish Community Day*
Tue 8/29 MIA Bryce Harper Starting Lineup Action Figure (25,000 fans)
Wed 8/30 MIA Seniors Stroll the Bases
Thu 9/7 PHI Pups in the Park
Sat 9/9 PHI Champions Day
Sun 9/10 PHI Patriotic Series: Heroes Day
Yoga in the Outfield*
Tue 9/12 ATL College Day*
Wed 9/13 ATL $1 Hot Dogs
Thu 9/14 ATL College Day*
Sun 9/17 LAD U.S. Air Force Day
Scout Day*
Fri 9/29 PIT Oktoberfest: Beer Stein (25,000 fans)
Teacher Appreciation Day*
Sat 9/30 PIT Pups in the Park
Sun 10/1 PIT Youth Baseball & Softball Day*
Youth Soccer Day*

Bobblehead, fedora, and koozie photo courtesy Washington Nationals

Magic 8 Balls, spiked water, tater tots and more: Nationals reveal select bobbleheads, promotions, and new concessions for 2017

nationals-hot-stove-camillo-rizzo-fpThe Washington Nationals held its annual “hot stove” gathering for full season plan holders at Nationals Park on Wednesday evening, featuring the team’s Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer Valerie Camillo, General Manager and President of Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo, and broadcaster FP Santangelo.
As expected, Rizzo received questions about the team’s depth and bullpen, with no season-planholder-gift-2017great surprises revealed; but in keeping with tradition, Camillo had a few announcements related to the fan experience in 2017, including the annual season planholder gift, an “alternative leather” box.

The full promotional calendar will be announced February 16, but Camillo teased the crowd with a few previews, including an opening day giveaway of a Nationals Magic 8 Ball, a sliding Trea Turner bobblehead on May 12, and a Nationals Fedora on July 26.

Camillo also revealed a number of theme days for 2017, including Star Wars Day (May 27), 90s Night (August 11), and Oktoberfest (September 29). Special ticket events will include the return of College Days, Taste of the World (July 8), Ladies Night (July 29), and a new Easter Egg Hunt (April 16) and Mothers Day Brunch (May 14).

new-nationals-retail-clothingCamillo also revealed some new items for sale at the team stores, and some new items at select concession stands, including spiked water, a mojito cart, a tater tot stand, and three new food items: an italian sausage burger (sections 110, 141, and 310), a chicken fried steak sandwich (at Virginia Country Kitchen), and marinated chicken skewers (at Change Up Chicken in sections 110 and 129).

For what it’s worth, besides Turner, the Nats’ front line players yet to be featured on a bobblehead doll are Daniel Murphy, Tanner Roark, Adam Eaton, Joe Ross and Anthony Rendon (Rendon has been featured on a garden gnome). If the Nationals issue six bobbleheads as they have in recent years, this could be your list. Stay tuned for the rest of the promotional schedule in February.

Thanks to Luis Albisu for the photos and reports from the event.

 

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