SBD/October 4, 2012/Franchises

Mascot Race Victory For Nationals' Teddy Just One Of Many Franchise Firsts In '12

Teddy was outfitted with an Under Armour headband and gold Under Armour shoes
Yesterday's victory by the Nationals' Teddy Roosevelt mascot ended a losing streak that was "a contested issue, both inside and outside the team offices," according to Dan Steinberg of the WASHINGTON POST. Several Nationals players "had long advocated for Teddy to win the fan-pleasing race, which is typically held in the fourth inning of every Nationals home game." Fans "wondered if a Teddy win would kill the race’s charm, while team employees debated whether a Teddy win followed by a Nats loss would be seen as a bad omen." But the groundwork for yesterday's win "had actually been laid weeks ago." While there had been "several false alarms in past seasons, the momentum this time seemed inescapable, especially after ESPN aired a long piece in mid-September narrated by Ken Burns and detailing Roosevelt’s many losses." Sen. John McCain and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney last week opined on Teddy's losing streak, and it also "made the front page of the Wall Street Journal." A crew from “ABC World News Tonight” shadowed the mascot on Monday and the team "fanned the flames" by announcing the final three home games "would be dubbed the 'Teddy in 2012' series." The mascot yesterday was "outfitted with an Under Armour headband and gold Under Armour shoes." Octagon First Call Managing Dir David Schwab said, "People have been talking about it for weeks. And they turned it into a publicity stunt while taking care of an existing sponsor at the same time." Steinberg notes Nationals COO Andy Feffer and his staff are "already working on concepts for 2013, with plans to make the race more interactive, adding social media components and at least one significant twist" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/4).

NATS' BANNER YEAR: In DC, Dan Daly writes this is the season "that everything changed" for the Nationals. The team had previously "been little more than an opponent on another club’s schedule, a card to be punched." But now the Nationals are "officially one of the Haves, with a future as bright as their present." A season like '12 "basically announces to the world: You can win in Washington. It’s no longer just a Paycheck Place." Daly: "It also tells the players on the current Nationals roster, who will be free agents one day: The grass isn’t necessarily greener somewhere else. The contract might be greener, but grass might not be." With the Nats "trying to build something lasting, it can be a helpful selling point" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/4). The WASHINGTON POST's Thomas Boswell writes until Orioles Owner Peter Angelos "ran the Birds into the ditch, Washington was blocked, no matter how big and rich it became." But, "luckily for DC, Angelos succeeded in damaging his team so much that 29 other owners couldn't have cared less what he wanted and saw the good sense of putting the Expos in DC." Now, "both Washington and Baltimore have teams in the playoffs, and the combined average crowds of the two clubs are 56,529." Boswell writes, "If you don’t think that number will hit 65,000 by 2013 or ’14, you’re out of your mind." The Nats this season "not only turned the corner but virtually ensured that the entire Southeast waterfront renewal project, including the District’s gamble in building a new park and giving it to the Nationals, will work out to the city’s benefit and the entire region’s pleasure" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/4).

FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME: In DC, Mike Wise writes, "This is the first time, the best time, and nothing that came before or follows will ever have the same majesty again." If it is "true you never get over your first crush, then Washington’s baseball fans might as well enjoy the infatuation period" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/4). Also in DC, Sarah Kogod noted the Nationals went through "60 bottles of champagne and 480 cans of beer" during Monday's clubhouse celebration, and "one of the empty bottles can be yours for a cool $100." The team is selling the used bottles to "benefit the Nats charity arm, the Dream Foundation." Fans also can "apparently buy a cork for $50" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 10/3).

SAFE AND SECURE: Mayor Vincent C. Gray's office said that "efforts to ensure a safe and enjoyable environment around Nationals Park will cost the city" up to $75,500 per game in October. Gray said that he is "confident the city will make up the money in game-related sales-tax revenue" at the stadium and local businesses. His administration is "looking at everything from the fan experience outside the stadium to staging areas for television satellite trucks" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/4). 
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