Post’s Stephen Hunter calls for Nationals fans to turn against the presidents race

With Manny Ramirez and the Los Angeles Dodgers arriving at Nationals Park tonight for another free T-Shirt Tuesday, Nationals fans are holding out hope that the homestand which begins today can help erase their painful memories of the last two home series in which the Nationals were dominated by the Mets and Rockies.

Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post thinks we should hate the Washington Nationals presidents raceIn today’s Washington Post, film critic and author Stephen Hunter writes about the pain and disappointment of following a losing team. Calling himself “an expert on baseball hurt,” Hunter argues that baseball is “just a toothache,” and the only way to cope is to learn to hate. Choosing the object of that hate is the beginning of the mission.

While Orioles fans have a ready-made villain in owner Peter Angelos, it’s not so obvious for Nationals fans. With no history, no curses, and no larger-than-life monstrous personalities to target, Hunter has concluded that Nationals fans must find something else to hate passionately, and his target of choice is the presidents race.

Hunter calls the team’s racing presidents “charmless, awkward, silly, sexless and pointless,” and is encouraging Nationals fans to channel their frustrations by nurturing vitriol against Teddy and his endless quest for victory.

I’ve always enjoyed Stephen Hunter’s writing, but on this point, I think he is deluded by his years of baggage as an Orioles fan. Hunter argues that hatred gives baseball fans purpose and a mission. I’m all for hating the Mets and Phillies, but do we need to hate our own team? A small pocket of presidents race haters has shown up here in the comments and on “About Me” page. What do you think?

Photo by flickr member Ron Hogan

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5 Responses

  1. I think the Presidents Race has gotten boring and tired. It needs to be turned into a REAL competition. “Let Teddy Win” is just another symbol of the banality of this totally scripted event. Instead, let Teddy compete along with the other three big heads, and let the chips fall where they may. Then the real drama of the race will have a chance to emerge, and it might indeed become worthy of its mantle The Main Event. Right now, it’s just the main sham.

  2. Ugh, Stephen Hunter, another baseball purist who doesn’t like any attempt to move the game into the 21st Century. He makes me want to become a Mets Fan. Stephen’s venom should be directed at the cheapskate Lerners and his co-worker, Minister of Propaganda Tom Boswell; not lovable Teddy, Abe, Tom, and George. GO TEDDY !!! !

  3. How about hating National’s GM Jim Bowden for some of the questionable moves he has made to the roster and for his managing style of the team? Bad playing may come from a lack of skills, but it also comes from low (or in the Nationals case, non-existent) team morale, easily fostered by a GM who makes sudden decisions that undermine any feelings of team cohesion. How can you expect the Nationals to play well everyday when they feel they could be dealt by Bowden and not even know until someone besides Bowden tells them?

    Hating the President’s Race is an easy way out. Hunter is afraid to dig deeper into the organizations problems.

  4. Interesting – so Hunter calls the team’s racing presidents “charmless, awkward, silly, sexless and pointless?” Judging by his article and the picture of him above, I would say Mr. Hunter has some personal knowledge about four of the five of those adjectives.

    *Charmless – check
    *Awkward – check
    *Sexless – in a different sense
    *Pointless – if you count reading anything he writes

    But, hey, at least he’s not silly! Let’s replace that one with “seldom correct.”

  5. Go Presidents, go! I love the Presidents Race and even the thought of someone saying that Nats fans should hate on the race fills me with hatred for the commenter. The race is a great break from a sometimes sad (sometime thrilling, sometimes satisfactory) baseball game!

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