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.

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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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