Monday, July 09, 2007

For Love of the Game

Washington Nationals fans don't have a whole lot to cheer about. With the All-Star Break here, they have a record of 36-52, and are 12.5 games out of first. They have the second worst record in baseball.

When you go to a game, they realize that the on-the-field product is not quite up to snuff, so the team tries to offer other things to entertain. There song contests, giveaways, T-shirt launches -- and presidents' races:

Roll Call offers a nice look at DC's baseball silliness:

If you think it’s high school kids who had a choice between flipping burgers at McDonald’s or running the race for the Nats, you’re mistaken. The crew of roughly 15 presidents who take turns entertaining fans at RFK are adults, 9-to-5 employees who take on the second job because they love baseball and love entertaining kids.

On this night, the presidents are a teacher (George), an unspecified government employee (Abe), a “member of the legal community” (Teddy) and a government IT worker (Tom)...

So why, with steady, full-time jobs, do the presidents do what they do?

“Abe does it because he loves baseball. He does it for the fans,” Abe says. “He likes to make little kids smile and laugh. I think all the presidents like that.”

“Part of being in D.C. is being a part of the community — this isn’t New York,” Teddy says. “I can’t think of anything more quintessential of what people in D.C. get up for than doing something fun like this.”

Last season the presidents were a hodgepodge of friends of front office staff, but this year Davis hired a regular staff. About 50 people tried out at the beginning of the season, with around 15 accepted.

“It’s nice to have consistency,” Davis says. “I know these people, I hired them, and they know what they’re supposed to be doing.”

He said the presidents are a pleasure to work with.

“They really generally enjoy it,” Davis says. “Nobody comes to work saying, ‘Oh, we’ve gotta do this again?’ It’s also good to have a crew of this size so it never really gets old.”

I'll have to go for the tryouts next year...

No comments: