Monday, February 18, 2008
Our Racing Presidents--On President's Day
“The Chance to be anonymous, and a bit of a star in DC is hard to pass up. This is quite appealing to me. Plus, the fact that I can carry a lot of weight. It also doesn't hurt that I can sweat a lot and run pretty fast. Why not try to do it. It would be crazy not to." Mick from The District was on hand at RFK Stadium this morning auditioning to become A Racing President for Our Washington Nationals--2008 Edition. On Presidents Day no less--GW, Abe, Tom and Teddy were looking for fresh help in their quest to make the Inaugural Season of New Nationals Park Special.
“They (the hopefuls) seem pretty excited, look at the turnout," stated Event Coordinator Tom Davis. "These folks are serious. Just from all the emails I have received—I know that many are pumped to tryout. That’s a good sign. There has been not only three or four blogs talking about this day—but the mainstream media as well. Its amazing how far these Racing Presidents have come in such a short period of time. Quite incredible actually.”
120 people originally applied for the job openings. 50 were invited to this final cut. These races were not open to the public. But, the invited guests were in a festive mood.
The only disappointment was the fact that Teddy himself--failed to post up. Yes, apparently, Our Lovable Loser himself is preparing for the new season. Mascot Coordinator Steve Roche says there is a good reason why: "We had Teddy at Spring Training last year. Again, he's in training this year. He's hoping that the conditions of the new ballpark will be a little more conducive to him winning. But as you know, he's a fan favorite. He loves getting the crowds attention. Unfortunately, that often times--distracts him from the race--which is pretty sad."
Thankfully, as it turned out--Teddy not being on hand this fine morning did not dampen the spirits of those looking for their chance to wear his costume. Tom Davis told me that Our Washington Nationals were looking for between 12 and 20 folks to become Racing Presidents. The catch was that these new hopefuls were also competing against those returning veterans from 2007.
"No guarantees for anybody," said Mr. Davis. (That’s tough--SBF) “Yeah, I know (laughing). Look, depending on the number of people we end up with—those we choose will work between 25 & 30 Games. That's a big committment, so we must choose wisely."
During today's auditions--each participant donned either a George, Abe or GW outfit and scurried around the park--racing from the former right field foul line at RFK to the Visitors Dugout. Whereupon--they were given some schtick to pull while returning. At the finish--each had to perform a Chicken Dance, A Victory Pose--or something showing expression inside the uniform.
Lorien—from Capitol Hill was ready: “I always wanted to be a mascot. In High School, College—its something that I know I would enjoy. But, the costume never quite fit right. Either it was too small or too tight. Now, look at these heads on these Presidents. They are GREAT!! I am a big baseball fan and this would just add to my enjoyment—if I am chosen. What could be better—enjoying baseball—in front of a big crowd—and having a great time in a special way. Really, I am very excited about this opportunity. Of course—Lorien didn't even let an injury stop her from competing. She was also wearing a sling to protect an injured left elbow. I told them (The Nationals) my elbow would be healed by Opening Night. The injury will not be a problem."
We can only hope. This young lady really wanted to become a Racing President.
Chris from DC--was just as excited: "I want to be a Racing President because I have a HUGE HEAD anyway. So, why not put it to good use. Really, its who I am. What more can I ask for (both of us chuckling). Look, it would be fun, man!! Just look at those costumes. They are CRAZY!! Crazy!! I am telling you. Who would not want to do this!! The moment I first saw them race--I said I had to give it a try some day."
Phil from The District added: "A 12 Foot President is so ridiculous. Who came up with this idea. It's INSANE!! I've got to do that. So, I am here."
And regular Nats320 commenter--Tom, was on hand to prove that being A Racing President--does not mean you have to be in your 20's. Go Tom Go!! You made Sohna and I proud today!!
Of course--excitement and willingness to join the fun is one thing--but everyone still had to bring some talent onto the field.
"We are looking out for certain characteristics we desire," said Roche. "Of course--these people are entertaining crowds so they need the ability to be an entertainer, a clown and a showman--all at once. We are looking for those traits. We are also looking for someone who loves baseball. Someone who can come out, run the race and enjoy the atmosphere of the park--while interacting with fans. And, we are looking for someone who is good with fans--no matter how they run the race. They must interact with fans, both young and old. We are looking for those type of characteristics today. Then, hopefully, the fans will see that represented when these folks run the race."
But Steve--have you seen any fresh talent today? (SBF)
"I HAVE seen some good talent. (laughing, nodding his head up and down). Some unique interpretations. We've had some good races and haven't had any spills yet. That's good. I am crossing my fingers though. But, with the great conditions today (70 Degrees, Sunny) and all the attitudes--I think its going well. I like The Crop we have here today." (I almost lost it on that last line by Steve. He had me rolling)
The Final Decisions, this mornings Winners & Losers in the pursuit to become Our Washington Nationals Racing Presidents--Class of 2008--will be decided by this weekend.
And we will finish on this note from Steve Roche: "We had quite the turnout from those who wanted to be a Racing President. Unfortunately, we can't take everybody and invite them to try out. The fact that we have this many people here, this enthusiastic about it--speaks volumes about how many feel about being a part of it--let alone--be a fan and watch it."
The opportunity given today to return to RFK Stadium for one last time before Our Washington Nationals begin play at New Nationals Park was not taken lightly by me. For the past three seasons of play on East Capitol Street, The African Queen and I have enjoyed many a fine moment there. Times which will never be forgotten. And its at this location--The Old Ballyard--that Our Racing Presidents were born. If you have read The Nats320 blog for any period of time--you may have come to realize that the fun off the field--sometimes is even better than the enjoyment found on the diamond. Our Racing Presidents are enjoyable to watch. And, it was only fitting today to witness their very final jaunts at RFK Stadium.
All that I could think about--the entire time on location--was that now famous chant:
"Let Teddy Win!!, Let Teddy Win!!, Let Teddy Win!!"
Now--let's bring on The Sausages & The Pirogues.