Nationals Park Extras –
Three “Don’t Miss It”s at Nationals Park

1) The Presidents’ Race – The whole idea of racing mascots started in Milwaukee, I think, with five different types of sausages racing against each other. The Presidents’ Race in Washington is in a similar vein, but with all due respect to the racing sausages, I like the Presidents’ Race better, because of Teddy Roosevelt.

Teddy (almost) never wins, you see, and it’s always for some wacky reason: unauthorized use of a feline, pre-game warmup injuries or dive-bombing a racing sausage when the Brewers come to town.

There is a terrific blog devoted to Teddy’s mishaps called “Let Teddy Win” (check out the celebration of Teddy's long-awaited first victory). Well worth seeing in the middle of the 4th inning, and the Nats do it again if there’s a 13th inning. The mascots often greet fans before the game outside of the center field gate.

2) The Motion Statues – OK, I get the whole idea of trying to create the illusion of motion in a statue, and sometimes statue makers can pull it off. This isn’t one of those times. Walter Johnson, possibly the greatest pitcher in history, looks as though he has six arms. What’s wrong with just depicting the guy in the middle of his windup? It worked just fine for Steve Carlton in Philly.

I hate to disparage Nationals Park, because it’s a great venue, but they really kinda goofed on this one. So that, in itself, makes these statues worth seeing. Check out Frank Howard swinging six bats, and Josh Gibson carrying a bat behind him with his third arm. And don’t try this at home.

3) The Upper Concourse View – As you get out into the right field area of the upper level, there is a really terrific view of the Anacostia River. Even if you don’t have a seat in this area, it’s worth taking the elevator or the stairs to get to the upper level and have a look. And from there it isn’t far to get to the party area behind the scoreboard.

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