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

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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.

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