Relief, please: Washington Nationals audition bullpen cart drivers

Would-be bullpen cart drivers audition in center field plaza at Nationals Park. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Would-be bullpen cart drivers audition in the center field plaza at Nationals Park. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein) (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
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Would-be bullpen cart drivers audition in center field plaza at Nationals Park. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

WASHINGTON — The job description seems perfect for any Washington Nationals fan: “Pay close attention to the game.”

Several dozen fans got their chance to reach for the dream of being on the field with the Nats during every home game of the 2019 season, driving one player at a time to the mound.

The grass field is still covered by a tarp, but the team held their first bullpen cart auditions in the center field plaza. Finalists navigated an electric cart (although not the official WGL Energy Bullpen Cart) through rubber cones in an obstacle course.

Would-be cart drivers brought a wide variety of experiences to the auditions.

Kevin used to drive a fire truck and ambulance through the District as a member of D.C. Fire and EMS. He said this is different: “You have 50,000 people watching you, on a national stage.”

In addition to being a huge Nats fan, Ann said she has plenty of driving experience — as a mother.

“I’m a very good driver. I used to drive my kids around, and they’re safe. I like driving,” she said.

Gary has driven electric carts on his family farm since he was young, but he won’t be bombing around like he does on the family acreage if he gets the job.

“You’ve got million-dollar players; you certainly can’t be running them over, or letting them fly off the back if you’re going 50 mph in one of those buggies,” he said.

As for the pressure of driving in front of a crowd of more than 40,000 people, he said, “I drive on 495 every day in my truck, so I’m used to driving in front of everybody.”

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