WASHINGTON — On Sunday, the Washington Nationals held tryouts for one of the most coveted jobs in D.C.: the honor of suiting up as a racing president.
This was the team’s 11th annual tryout, and approximately 35 guys–no gals this year–showed up to see if they could get the hang of wearing a costume that adds 40 pounds and makes them nearly twice as tall.
The dimensions of the heads make staying upright a challenge, much less racing around the outfield track and dealing with the shenanigans of the other mascots. Needless to say, there was quite a bit of failure, a few pretty epic faceplants.
Take George Washington, for example (via @KStewartWTOP):
As you might expect, staying upright isn’t the only challenge; it’s also pretty difficult to see out of the bulbous heads. That led to quite the pile up during another race:
In other racing presidents news, the Nationals also decided against adding another president to the mix this year–namely Franklin D. Roosevelt. Evidently, the idea didn’t strike the Roosevelt family as a good idea.
“While we engaged in extensive efforts to have FDR as a visiting Racing President for the 2017 season, in light of logistical challenges and lack of enthusiasm from the Roosevelt family, we were not comfortable proceeding,” a Nationals spokesperson said on Wednesday.
That decision comes after the Nats have used Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover over the last two seasons. According to The Washington Post, these mascots have been retired to the team’s Spring Training facility in Florida, but the idea for FDR has been nixed.
Even for one of the most iconic presidents in U.S. history, the idea is more controversial than meets the eye.
Roosevelt contracted polio in his late 30’s and spent much of the rest of his life in a wheelchair, although he was rarely seen in one in public during his presidency. How the Nats would depict Roosevelt–either running or wheeling–reportedly proved to be a complication without resolution.