Natsfest and Winter Caravan Schedule Announced

The Washington Nationals today announced the schedule for their 2010 “Winter Caravan”, in which members of the team will tour the Washington, DC area to meet fans and promote the upcoming season before heading south for spring training.

Participating players and front office staff include new acquisitions Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, Brian Bruney, and Matt Capps; manager Jim Riggleman; and players Adam Dunn, Ryan Zimmerman, John Lannan, Nyjer Morgan, Josh Willingham, Tyler Clippard, and Craig Stammen. Prospects Danny Espinoza, Ryan Speier, and Drew Storen will also participate in the first 3 days of activities. Nats broadcaster Rob Dibble will moderate the sessions.

The 10-stop tour will run from January 27th to January 31st, culminating in the second annual Natsfest on January 31st at Nationals Park.

Wednesday, January 27
11:00am – 12:00pm
Unity Health Care’s Southwest Health Center, Washington, DC
Meet-and-Greet and Book Donation

1:00pm – 3:00pm
Hard Times Cafe, Arlington, VA
Autograph Session

5:00pm – 7:00pm
Build-A-Bear Workshop, McLean, VA
Autograph Session

Thursday, January 28
12:00pm – 1:00pm
Ben’s Chili Bowl, Washington, DC

2:00pm – 4:00pm
USO of Metropolitan Washington Warehouse, Ft. Belvoir, VA
Care Package Assembly

6:00pm – 8:00pm
Potomac Nationals Pfitzer Stadium, Woodbridge, VA
Autograph Session

Friday, January 29
1:00pm – 4:00pm
Hot Stove Luncheon hosted by David Gregory,
Nationals Park, Washington, DC (Ticketed Event)

5:00pm – 8:00pm
Washington Capitals Game, Verizon Center, Washington, DC
Autograph Session

Saturday, January 30
11:00am
Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC
Atrium Visit with Patients

1:30pm – 3:30pm
Prince George’s Sports & Learning Complex, Landover, MD
Press Conference and Skills Demonstration & Autograph Session

Sunday, January 31
11:00am – 4:00pm
NatsFest, Nationals Park, Washington, DC (Ticketed Event)

If the second annual NatsFest is as good as the first, it will be a guaranteed good time for Nats fans. Expect long lines for to get autographs and take photos with Nationals players, but fans will otherwise roam freely in Nationals Park, tour the clubhouse, participate in question-and-answer sessions with the likes of Stan Kasten, Mike Rizzo, Jim Riggleman and George Will, and even take your shot in the Nationals batting cages for a $1 donation to the Nationals Dream Foundation. Nationals Season Ticket Holders will receive up to four complimentary tickets per account and additional tickets should be available soon for purchase at Nationals.com.

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Nationals offer half-price coupon code to Teddy fans to kick off “Screech Week”

The Washington Nationals have once again released a coupon code “for Teddy’s friends”: Order online at Nationals.com using Coupon Code “TEDDY” and get half-price tickets in select seating sections for the series starting Tuesday night vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Washington Nationals T-Shirt TuesdayThe coupon code is valid only for online orders and may be used to get outfield box seats, outfield corner, or mezzanine seats for $15.00 to $18.00 each.

This homestand is your last chance to cheer on the Nationals — and Teddy — in 2009, while getting a glimpse of young September call-ups including hot infielder Ian Desmond.

Tuesday night kicks off “Screech Week” with T-Shirt Tuesday, and a free Screech t-shirt for the first 10,000 fans.

The Screech theme continues with a new promotion on Sunday, September 27. The first 5,000 kids age 12 and under entering Nationals Park will receive a Build-a-Bear Workshop Screech doll — possibly the highest-value promotional item we’ve seen given away at the ball park.

Note also that $5.00 walk-up grandstand tickets have been readily available before the game for the recent series’ vs. the Marlins and Phillies. Grandstand tickets are available before the game at the Nationals ticket windows outside the Center Field Gate.

Teddy Roosevelt Scratched from Presidents Race, listed as “Day to Day”

Washington Nationals Teddy Roosevelt Scratched Injured Day to DayIn an unprecendented turn of events, the Washington Nationals announced during Saturday night’s game that racing president and fan favorite Teddy Roosevelt had been injured during pre-game warmups and would not participate in the presidents race.

With the Nationals trailing the Florida Marlins in the top of the 4th inning, the Nationals Park announcer said that Teddy’s status was “day to day.”

Sure enough, when the presidents race began, Teddy was nowhere to be seen.

It was “Pups in the Park” night at Nationals Park, with the Washington, DC Humane Society running its adopt-a-pet program for fans in the outfield picnic area, and dog owners invited to bring their dogs to the game. The sold out promotion filled up section 201, where Humane Society volunteers helped keep
George Washington Fire Hydrantan eye on the pets and their owners.

In keeping with the spirit of the evening, George Washington took the early lead in the 4th-inning race, and dropped a fire hydrant along the outfield warning track. Abe Lincoln tripped on the hydrant, leaving George with a clear path to another first place finish.

Photo of Teddy Roosevelt by Anthony Gualtieri
Video by YouTube member TheTeddyRoosevelt

Teddy dresses as Santa for Christmas in July

Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt dresses as Santa Claus for Christmas in JulyIt was Christmas in July tonight at Nationals Park, with the U.S. Marines Corps Reserves on hand all weekend collecting toys for the Toys for Tots Foundation; and for a brief time, it appeared that the fans in attendance were in store for an early gift in the form of victory for Teddy Roosevelt.

But a day after Teddy failed to win even after tackling the other presidents, only the most optimistic of Teddy supporters could be convinced that the second half of the season would be different for #26.

Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt dresses as Santa for Christmas in JulyWashington Nationals mascot Screech provided a clue about what was in store when he appeared in a Santa Suit to take his customary place at the finish line.

When Teddy burst out of the centerfield gate in full Santa regalia, he looked unbeatable, staking a big lead as he approached the first base stands.

Unfortunately, Teddy has never been good at multitasking, and when he reached into his big red bag and began tossing Webkinz stuffed animals to the fans, the other presidents passed him by. Teddy never finished the race.

The 4th annual Toys for Tots drive continues for Saturday’s and Sunday’s games at Nationals Park. The U.S. Marines will be stationed at all gates to accept donations from gate opening until the end of the fourth inning. The toys collected will be distributed to non-profit organizations and pediatric wards in the D.C. metropolitan area.

Voting open for Clint’s new Nationals Park co-host

Nationals Park in-game host Clint Khoury has drawn more than occasional scorn from those purists who think the stadium hype during games distracts from the baseball at-hand. If you fall into that category, then it appears you are due either for some relief, or for double the pain, depending on your perspective.

The Washington Nationals have opened up voting for the new co-host at Nationals ParkFans at Saturday’s Washington Nationals exhibition game vs. the Baltimore Orioles were asked throughout the night to vote via text message for the new Nationals “co-host,” with profiles of the three contestants — all women and all beauty pageant veterans — repeatedly shown on the giant HD scoreboard (photo courtesy of fellow Nats blogger Miss Chatter).

Now the Nationals have opened the voting to the general public, with votes being accepted online now through Tuesday, April 14, at 3:00pm.

Kate MichaelKate Michael could have the inside track on local votes, as she has been an emerging personality in DC media for several years, and knows a few things about promoting herself on the internet. The former Senate staffer and Miss District of Columbia threw out the first pitch at a 2007 Nats game (alas, quite weakly), and represented DC in the Miss America 2007 pageant. She boasts a personal web site, a separate blog called K Street Kate, and over 700 followers on Twitter. Her enthusiasm for new media could barely be contained on a recent episode of internet talk show The District Dish:

Guerin AustinGuerin Austin is a former Miss Nebraska USA (2004), and for what it’s worth appears to have become blonde only recently.

The self-proclaimed “military brat” claims to have moved over 20 times, and is a former competitive figure skater with a degree in broadcast journalism and experience as a TV journalist and host.

What Austin lacks in DC connections she appears to make up for in “emcee” experience on a variety of television shows. Her demo reel gives a pretty good sense of what she’d be like as Nationals Park co-host:

Yolanda MakleYolanda Makle is the only one of the three contestants who has experience with the Nationals, having spent last season as a member of the Nat Pack while juggling a full-time job as a telecommunications engineer (I caught this photo of Makle during the 7th inning stretch at last season’s Nationals Park 70s Night).

The striking DC mother of two is another pageant circuit veteran, having represented Puerto Rico in the 2006 Miss United States pageant and currently holding the title Ms. Belleza Latina 2009. She is an active volunteer in the community, has a blog and boasts just a handful of followers on Twitter.

Makle’s community service, DC roots, love of sports, and experience on The Nat Pack might otherwise make her a favorite in my book, but I don’t think I could cast my vote for somebody who openly calls Abe Lincoln her favorite racing president. Ouch.

Online voting ends Tuesday, April 14, at 3:00pm, with the winner to be announced at the Nationals game vs. the Marlins on Friday, April 17th.

Your chance to sing the National Anthem at Nationals Park

The Washington Nationals have announced that they will be hosting open auditions this Saturday, March 7 for those who wish to sing the National Anthem this season at Nationals Park.

Angela Calo sings the National Anthem at Nationals ParkThe first 100 performers to register through e-mail at anthem@nationals.com will have the opportunity to show the powers that be that they have the pipes to perform during a Washington Nationals home game this season. All applicants will be asked to perform the anthem behind home plate facing the seating bowl as they would during the season.

Applicants are asked to include the following in their e-mail:
– Performance Resume (If applicable)
– Headshot (or recent picture)
– Voice (and Instrument type, if applicable)

On Saturday, registration will begin at noon and end promptly at 12:30pm, at the Centerfield gates. Parking will be available in Lot C, located on the corner of First and N Streets, SE. Only the person auditioning will be allowed to enter the ballpark, except for contestants under the age of 18 who must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Renditions must be kept under 90 seconds.

If you can’t make it Saturday, you can still send an application via email along with a tape, but Nationals Entertainment Director Tom Davis reports that the team receives thousands of requests, so showing up Saturday may be your best bet to stand out.

My vote, however, goes to these kids!:

Billy Joel and Elton John to perform at Nationals Park in Washington DC this summer

As promised last week, the Washington Nationals announced today that the first-ever rock concert at Nationals Park will be a blockbuster.

Bill Joel and Elton John will perform at Nationals ParkBill Joel and Elton John will give a joint concert at Nationals Park on Saturday, July 11, at 7:30pm, as part of their Face to Face tour.

According to the Nationals, John and Joel “will open the concert together with a series of duets, playing twin pianos and trading vocals. Each artist will then perform a set with their own band. The grand finale reunites the two at center stage with their supporting musicians for a closing encore.”

Tickets go on sale on Saturday, February 28 at 10 a.m. through Tickets.com.

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