Taft “retiring” to Palm Beach as well, leaving original Rushmore racing presidents at Nationals Park

Nationals New Racing President William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft is introduced to Nats fans in 2013

Washington Nationals racing president William Howard Taft will arrive this weekend at the Ball Park of the Palm Beaches and stay for good, joining the other “retired” racing presidents Herbert Hoover and Calvin Coolidge in their new home in West Palm Beach.

According to a report in the The Palm Beach Post, the Nats have made the decision to “retire” Taft as well, leaving just the original Mount Rushmore Four — Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt — to race at Nationals Park during the Major League season.

The four were the only racing presidents for the beter part of seven seasons before Taft joined the presidents race in 2013. The addition of Taft was intended to “mix things up,” according to a marketing executive who is no longer with the team.

Teddy Roosevelt could not be reached for comment.

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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.

Teddy packs up for Spring Training

The Washington Nationals began packing for Viera, Florida, where next week pitchers and catchers will begin reporting for 2011 spring training. As part of a media event staged with team sponsor JK Moving and Storage, Teddy Roosevelt joined mascot Screech yesterday at the park to pack the moving truck for Viera.

Grapefruit League games begin March 1, and tickets are available now at nationals.com. Are you going this year?

On an unrelated note, Kurt Smith from the Ball Park E-Guides wrote a nice piece yesterday about the Let Teddy Win blog. Kurt is working on an E-Guide for Nationals Park to be released this spring. He hasn’t asked me for my tips yet, but if he’s been reading this blog since the Park opened, I’m sure he’s picked up a few.

Natsfest and Spring Training “Pre Sale” tickets available now

The Nationals are making 2010 Spring Training single game tickets available this morning at 10:00am for Nats Insiders HERE. The Presale runs today, Wednesday, January 20 at 10:00 a.m. through Friday, January 22 at 11:59 p.m. Use the passcode SPRING to purchase tickets. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Saturday, January 23 at 10:00 a.m.

2010 NatsFest tickets also go on sale to the general public this morning HERE. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids. Season ticket holders can claim a limited number of tickets for free.

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