Video: Racing presidents play volleyball — er, Hooverball — with six pound medicine ball

A ten game road trip gave the Washington Nationals racing presidents lots of time to plan some new hijinks, and they arguably delivered to start this week’s homestand at Nationals Park.

Presidents Race VolleyballPresidents Race Volleyball_002On Monday night, the presidents appeared for the first time wearing contrasting uniforms, with the 18th and 19th century presidents matching the team’s home whites while the 20th century presidents waited for them in foul territory wearing alternate red uniforms.

By the time Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln arrived, a volleyball net had been erected, and a referee kicked off a quick volley using a six pound medicine ball.

The game, as it turns out, is known as Hooverball, and was invented by president Herbert Hoover’s personal physician to help him keep fit in office. The rules, as it turns out, are not simple.

When Jefferson missed a volley, Hoover and Roosevelt turned and dashed to the finish line, but of course Herbie beat Teddy at the tape.

Thanks to alert reader John for the explanation.

Video for LetTeddyWin.com by lfahome

Video: Racing presidents moonwalk in tinfoil helmets for visiting astronaut Kjell Lindgren

Astronaut presidents raceAstronaut Kjell Lindgren WashingtonPresidents race moonwalkIn his recent 5 month stint aboard the International Space Station, astronaut Kjell Lindgren likely never saw anything as alien-looking as the sight that greeted him at the presidents race finish line Tuesday night at Nationals Park.

Lindgren is in D.C. this week to speak about his mission and promote space travel to the next generation of astronauts, so there he was in the fourth inning, holding the Nationals’ presidents race finish line tape along the first base line.

What emerged from the centerfield gate caused more than a few fans to wonder what was going on: six giant figures running around the warning track with their heads wrapped in aluminum foil.

“It looks like they’ve all made their own space helmets,” explained Nationals Park PA announcer Jerome Hruska as the presidents dashed toward Lindgren. “They’re headed into the right field corner, and we’re not entirely sure who’s who!”

Then, just before hitting the tape, they all stopped, turned around, and began moon walking to the finish line. Video below.

Bill Taft Astronaut

Racing “Astronaut” William Howard Taft

Kjell Lindgren Washington

Astronaut Kjell Lindgren is greeted at the finish line by racing president William Howard Taft


Video for LetTeddyWin.com by lfahome
Finish line photo by Denise Kloke

Video: Racing presidents match team’s 16-inning insanity with 20-mascot melee and a presidents race first

Thomas JeffersonMascots attack JeffersonMascots attach racing presidentsScreech wins Nationals Presidents Race birthday carnageScreech wins Nationals Presidents Race Let Teddy WinSunday’s 16-inning marathon victory by the Nationals over the Minnesota Twins is already  being memorialized as one of the most epic and topsy-turvy games in Nats history, so it’s understandable that the game overshadowed what was also an epic and historic day in the pantheon of presidents races.

It was the annual “Kids Opening Day,” in which the team celebrates mascot Screech’s birthday, and other area mascots often show up to join in the fun.

The turnout Sunday was strong, with mascots from at least thirteen area teams and colleges in attendance, including G-Wiz, Slapshot, Glory, Poe, Uncle Slam, Talon, Testudo, Clawed Z. Eagle, YouDee, Baby Blue, Bulldog Jack, Bill the Goat, True Grit, Winger, and Glory.

In the fourth inning race, Thomas Jefferson emerged first and jumped out to a huge lead, but was met in the right field corner by a relentless onslaught of mascots, who jumped and pummeled him, with Navy mascot Bill the Goat repeatedly kicking the founding father on the ground.

When the other five presidents rounded the corner, the mascots got up and slammed into them all, then turned around and went back after Jefferson, who was body-slammed by Slapshot as he tried to get up.

Presidents race history was then made when Screech, who usually calls the winner from the finish line, took off and raced for the belt himself, marking only the third time a non-president has taken the tape*.

When the game went into the thirteenth inning, it was Jefferson’s chance for redemption. Wearing their traditional “Sunday best” uniforms for the first time this season, Jefferson ran away with the extra-innings win.

Here’s the official video as called at Nats Park, followed by the TV coverage on MASN:


Note: Our usual finish line videographer lfahome was not in attendance, so I tried to shoot the finish line videos myself, and botched the job (for both races!). What he does is not so easy.

* In 2009, Visiting pierogie Cheese Chester went off script and stole a win. In 2011, it was Jayson Werth.

Videos: Washington Nationals, MASN

Video: Nationals racing presidents survive Game of Thrones inspired sword fight

Nationals racing presidents Game of ThronesNationals racing presidents Herbie Game of ThronesThe Nationals’ racing presidents were inspired Sunday by Tanner Roark, who went medieval on the Minnesota Twins batters with fifteen strikeouts.

Presidents race newcomer Herbert Hoover started the fourth inning race alone, pausing in front of the Nats HD scoreboard to catch a bit of the season premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones. When Herbie turned to dash for the finish line, he was met by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abe Lincoln, who emerged from section 134 wearing colorful capes and flashing swords, GoT style.

Hoover turned and ran, but found Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft closing on him from the bullpen, swords in hand.

Ever the diplomat, Hoover ducked, and a swordfight ensued. While the incumbent presidents duked it out, Herbie dashed ahead for the win.


Video for LetTeddyWin.com by lfahome

Video: Teddy Roosevelt rides bicycle to presidents race victory on Earth Day

Teddy Roosevelt rides a bike on Earth DayThe Nationals returned to DC Friday night to kick off a series vs. the Minnesota Twins, and Teddy Roosevelt got the homestand started with his second presidents race victory of the season.

Wearing their patriotic uniforms for one of several military appreciation nights this season, four racing presidents jumped out of the centerfield gate on foot; but they were soon followed by Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft aboard bicycles, presumably to promote bike riding for Earth Day.

Teddy lapped the field for an easy bike-assisted victory, and unlike Teddy’s pre-2013 days, the obvious advantage was overlooked and he was not disqualified.

Video for LetTeddyWin.com by lfahome

GIF: Jefferson exacts revenge, pummels Hoover

Thomas Jefferson BirthdayThomas Jefferson Tackles Herbert HooverJust as fans began to ask “will Herbert Hoover ever lose?,” the Nationals racing presidents provided an answer Wednesday night at Nationals Park

It was Thomas Jefferson’s 273rd birthday, and the presidents celebrated by letting the sage of Monticello run the race alone, greeting him with a giant birthday cake as he approached the bottom of section 135.

But as they paused to celebrate with Tom, the newest racing president turned and dashed towards the finish line, attempting to steal victory #4.

That’s when the birthday boy came to the rescue. TJ caught Hoover from behind, and reclaimed the win for himself.

Video for LetTeddyWin.com by lfahome

Video: Herbie Rides Again! Hoover keeps winning, draws complaints

When visiting racing president Herbert Hoover took the tape in his first Nationals president race Sunday, it seemed to be par for the course — a courtesy win for the new guy; but the tone got serious after Hoover took his second win Monday. “This is absurd,” tweeted Teddy Roosevelt.

Herbert Hoover wins his second presidents race, more races than the actual Hoover won in his political career

“Hoover must be stopped,” tweeted fellow racing president William Howard Taft, after losing to Hoover again on Tuesday.

Now a new opinion piece in Washington Magazine by Benjamin Freed complains that racing president Hoover has already won three times as many races as the actual Hoover, whose only elected office was his single term as U.S. president.

“The actual Hoover deserves no such honor,” Freed writes in Washingtonian. “He was a lousy president who inherited a bad situation and made it even worse.”

“…instead of whitewashing his legacy, perhaps the Nats can have some historically accurate fun with their Hoover,” Freed continues. “Set a replica White House on fire. Have the other Racing Presidents block his path by erecting a Hooverville on the warning track. Schedule a “Bonus Army Night” to remember the World War I veterans who occupied DC when the Hoover administration failed to make good on payments owed by the government.”

It’s truly a worthy read, but as I’ve written before, Hoover gets a bad rap. Still, between this and the concerns over those scary eyes, the newest racing president has very quickly become a lightning rod.

Videos of the 4/11 and 4/12 races below.


Photo: Cheryl Nichols
4/11 Official race video: Washington Nationals
4/12 Finish line video courtesy of lfahome

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