Nats Fest Introduces President Taft, Brings Back the Love

William Howard Taft (center) is the new big man in the race with the Mount Rushmore Four, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt.
Bill Starrels
William Howard Taft (center) is the new big man in the race with the Mount Rushmore Four, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt.

Hometown fans of the Washington Nationals got a chance to play some baseball, see and meet some players and the newest racing president, William Howard Taft, Jan. 28 at the Washington Convention Center during the team's annual Nats Fest.

If you were a doubter, you could not help but feel the love of baseball by the fans and the players -- and of each other. All this for the Washington Nationals, who won the National League Eastern Division and seemed a few games away from their first World Series last October.

This season, the team is getting ready for spring training and then for the home opener April 1 against Miami. At least 20 players met with media to talk about the new season. With their great showing last year, many know that they have raised the bar for the expected success of the team. Shortstop Ian Desmond said, "The [Eastern] division is stacked," and added that he does not expect the team to win as many as it did last year. The Washington Nationals had the best record in baseball in 2012.

The introduction of President Taft as the fifth racing president was the news of the day. The Racing Presidents, a tradition since 2006, are 12-foot mascots who make their run every fourth inning at a Nationals home game. Taft is the first to become a regular with the original four presidents. The Teddy Roosevelt mascot had never won a race until September 2012. It remains to be seen how Taft will use his heft during the race.

It was not all baseball talk at Nats Fest. Bryce Harper talked about his 1969 Camaro -- and, no, he was not driving it to spring training. Ross Detwiler, who lives in D.C., said he likes Clyde's Restaurant. Second baseman Steve Lombardozzi said he enjoys shopping in Georgetown and found the new ice skating rink at Washington Harbour "impressive."

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Sat, 23 Aug 2014 15:49:36 -0400

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