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.

 

Nationals Park will not have a visiting racing president for 2017

After much speculation that Franklin Roosevelt would join the Washington Nationals racing presidents for the 2017 season, the team acknowledged today that it would not happen.

In a statement this morning, a team spokesman said “While we engaged in extensive efforts to have FDR as a visiting Racing President for the 2017 season, in light of logistical challenges and lack of enthusiasm from the Roosevelt family, we were not comfortable proceeding.”

Nationals Racing Presidents New President Herbert HooverThe announcement suggests that the team’s multi-year promotion with the White House Historical Association will not include a visiting racing president for the upcoming season. In 2015 and 2016, the organization celebrated Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, respectively, and the NATS featured them as visiting” racing presidents.

The WHHA will be celebrating Franklin Roosevelt throughout 2017. Meanwhile, “Cal” and “Herbie” have “retired” to the team’s Grapefruit League spring training facility in West Palm Beach.

Nationals holding racing president auditions for Spring Training

As part of the team’s plan to “retire” racing presidents Herbert Hoover and Calvin Coolidge to the new Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, the Washington Nationals are looking for seasonal workers to run in the presidents race at spring training.

nationals presidents race auditionsThe Nationals are advertising for adults between 5’7″ and 6’6″ in height who are able to work all 2017 Grapefruit League home games, and can run 200 yards wearing an unwieldy 50-pound costume.

Interested parties can apply here. Select applicants will be invited to an audition, where they will have the opportunity to don the costumes and show their stuff.

For those who haven’t seen it before, here’s a sample of what the auditions were like in previous years at Nationals Park:

Racing presidents Herbert Hoover and Calvin Coolidge “retiring” to Nats new spring training ballpark.

Washington Nationals Racing President Herbert HooverWashington Nationals Calvin Coolidge Racing PresidentNationals racing presidents Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover are retiring to West Palm Beach, Florida.

The “visiting presidents,” who were introduced in the 2015 and 2016 seasons, respectively, as part of a promotion with the White House Historical Association, are departing today for their new home at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, according to the team.

The Nationals’ new spring training facility opens in February, and the new season will feature the start of a new tradition — a Nationals presidents race during the fourth inning of each home spring training ballgame.

The team shares its new state-of-the-art facility with the Houston Astros, and so only some of the Grapefruit League games between the two will be designated as home games. No word yet on whether “away” games at the stadium will also feature the presidents.

The team has invited fans to follow the pair of snowbirds on their southward journey via its Twitter page.

The move south by Cal and Herbie leaves an opening back in DC for the promotional partnership to continue with a new visiting president. The team has not officially acknowledged it yet, but the association will be honoring Franklin Roosevelt in 2017. A racing president FDR would be the first Democrat to participate in the presidents race.

Video: Jefferson slams Teddy Roosevelt into the stands as Nationals attempt to quell curse talk

thomas-jefferson-playoff-presidents-racethomas-jefferson-nats-playoff-presidents-race-3thomas-jefferson-shoves-teddy-roosevelt-playoff-presidents-race-3thomas-jefferson-wins-playoffs-presidents-raceThe Nationals can’t seem to win — and not just division series.

Faced with relentless criticism about an alleged curse of Teddy Roosevelt, the team responded by having Teddy win every playoff presidents race from 2012 to 2014 through last week’s Game 1.

When that didn’t work out so well, they shifted gears and plotted a victory for Thomas Jefferson for Sunday’s Game 2 — which the Nationals won.

So for Thursday night’s decisive Game 5, another elaborate plot had Roosevelt fooling his fellow presidents by running the wrong way, then reversing course and bolting for the finish.

Again, it was Jefferson who caught up from behind, this time plowing into the Bull Moose and knocking Teddy into the stands.

Sadly for Nationals fans, the victories for Jefferson turned out to be as unrelated to the outcome as those historic Roosevelt wins, as the Nationals lost an epic heartbreaker to the Los Angeles Dodgers to end their 2016 season.

It was nonetheless a great showcase game for a team that has come a long way in it’s relatively short tenure in DC. Fans stayed — and stayed on their feet — until nearly 1:00am despite the closure of the Metro an hour earlier. The #NatsRide program, generated entirely by fans the day before the game, was an unqualified success, and a badge of honor for the team’s passionate and supportive fan base.

Some fans (see below) manage to still blame things on Teddy, but here’s hoping we’re finally past that.

Thanks to LetTeddyWin contributor lfahome for another season of great finish line videos:

Nationals fans unable to rely on Metro for Game 5 create ride sharing hashtag

Washington Nationals fans are nothing if not smart, resourceful, and social media savvy.

Faced with the new 8:08pm start time for Thursday’s NLDS Game 5, combined with the DC Metro’s inability to extend operating times due to “Safe Track” maintenance, fans reliant on Metro faced the real possibility of choosing between sticking around for a late-inning clincher and getting home at all.

So on Wednesday, our friends at the TalkNats blog started a Twitter hashtag, and it has taken off like wildfire. Fans looking for or offering rides are simply using the hashtag #NatsRide to connect with each other, and it’s clearly working.

Fans with cars are using it to find and share the cost of parking. Fans without are lining up transportation home. Even parking broker Parking Panda has jumped into the conversation.

If only the folks at Uber were as on the ball. It seems like an awfully good opportunity to recruit drivers.

Nats botch attempt to break playoff “curse” as Teddy Roosevelt doesn’t cooperate

teddy-roosevelt-presidents-race-playoff-curset-rex-chases-teddy-roosevelt-racing-presidentst-rex-chases-teddy-roosevelt-nationals-presidents-raceteddy-roosevelt-presidents-race-playoff-curse-t-rex-fixWhen the Washington Nationals were a perennial loser, many blamed the curse of Teddy Roosevelt; but the narrative switched after 2012, and fans began to believe that the Nats couldn’t win a playoff series precisely because they had let Teddy win.

So on Sunday, with Roosevelt having won the presidents race in each of the team’s six historic playoff games, the team conspired to prevent a recurrence.

The race began innocently enough, as the presidents stopped on the warning track to entertain the fans with some dance moves.

When the music stopped, Teddy got the early jump and dashed toward the finish. That’s when one of the dinosaurs from Friday’s race emerged from the stands to chase Teddy down.

The T-Rex was clearly supposed to stop Teddy short of the finish line, but the Bull Moose was too much to handle, and Teddy broke the tape as he fell.

What happened then stunned the crowd, and judge Screech and PA announcer Jerome Hruska followed the script and declared Thomas Jefferson the winner anyway.


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