Lincoln holds off challengers to take his 3rd title as the Nationals racing presidents bid farewell to Stan Kasten

In the end, it was no contest.

After a back and forth month in which both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson made strong runs at first place in the presidents race standings, back-to-back repeat champion Abraham Lincoln held off all challengers in the final race of the season, pulling away for a convincing victory and claiming the presidents race title for the third year in a row.

More importantly, the race marked the fifth straight season of futility for #26, Teddy Roosevelt, who failed to deliver in the final home game for Nationals president Stan Kasten, the aleged architect of the anti-Teddy conspiracy.

Racing presidents farewell to Stan KastenNo sooner had Nationals mascot Screech declared Lincoln the winner, when he joined the presidents in holding up signs of appreciation for Kasten, who announced last week that he would be leaving the team at the end of the season.

During his five year tenure with the Nationals, Kasten has been both praised and criticized for his marketing of the team and the Nationals Park experience, including the now-famous 4th-inning presidents race. A Nationals Park farewell tribute was punctuated by a presentation of cupcakes to Kasten by Teddy Roosevelt.

The racing presidents will carry some compelling story lines into the off season. After three straight titles, is it fair now to declare this a presidents race dynasty for the Great Emancipator? With Kasten departing, will we see the team take a tougher stance on Abe’s cheating? Most importantly, with new management in place, will 2011 be the year the Nationals finally let Teddy win?

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome (whose video of Tuesday’s race was featured tonight on ESPN)

Mr. Kool-Aid disrupts presidents race, tackles Teddy to set up season finale showdown

Mr. Kool-Aid tackles Teddy RooseveltWith a big assist from Mr. Kool-Aid, Thomas Jefferson lucked into his fifth straight presidents race victory Tuesday night, setting up an epic final race showdown for the 2010 presidents race title on Fan Appreciation Night, Wednesday at Nationals Park.

Teddy Roosevelt had once again led from the start, but as the bull moose headed down the first base line, Mr. Kool-Aid appeared from the stands and chased him to the ground, letting Thomas Jefferson run by for the victory.

With just one race left in the 2010 season, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington remain tied for first place in the standings, and Jefferson’s winning streak pulled him just one victory behind the lead.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome
Photo courtesy of Cheryl Nichols/Nats News Network

Abe and George to duke it out in season’s final series

The Washington Nationals have long been eliminated from playoff contention, but the Nats’ final series that begins today vs. Philadelphia still carries meaning in the standings.

No, the Nats can’t play spoiler vs. the Phillies, who have locked up the division title; but followers of the 4th-inning presidents race are finding a compelling story in the back-and-forth battle for first place between George Washington and two-time defending champion Abraham Lincoln.

Just one month ago, it appeared that George would finally end Lincoln’s two year stretch of presidents racing dominance; then Abe won 9 of 11 to soar into first place with a dominant lead in the standings heading into the final month of the season.

But last week, the father of our country returned the favor with a 5 game win streak of his own, creating a tie atop the standings with just a handful of races to go.

Predictably, the intense battle between George and Abe has led to some on-field incidents. On Friday night, Abe fell while jostling for position, but George tripped over Abe and Thomas Jefferson took the tape. In fact, TJ went on to win the next two as well, prompting some to question who wants it most.

For those looking for an excuse to catch one of the final Nats games of the season, here’s your story. The season title may come down to the wire on Wednesday night.

Photo by Flickr member afagen

The Grinch steals victory from Teddy Roosevelt

The final homestand of the season at Nationals Park has been filled with surprises for loyal Washington Nationals fans, with myriad promotions and giveaways as part of the team’s fan appreciation month.

But those fans lamenting another goose egg of a season by a certain racing president were merely teased by the prospect of getting the ultimate gift — a Teddy Roosevelt victory.

The Grinch prevents Teddy Roosevelt from winning the presidents raceOn Sunday at Nationals Park, that gift was dangled in front of them as it appeared outgoing team president Stan Kasten was finally going to let Teddy win. Roosevelt pulled away from the pack and appeared un-catchable heading into the home stretch.

Perhaps it was Kasten who was waiting in ambush, wearing a Grinch costume.

The Grinch flew onto the field from the first base stands, plowing into Teddy, knocking his glasses off and ensuring that the losing streak would remain intact.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

WTOP radio covers Teddy’s plight

Many people have asked today about the feature that ran this morning on DC’s WTOP radio in which Jim Riggleman was interviewed about the plight of Teddy Roosevelt.

If you missed it, you can listen here courtesy of WTOP.

UPDATE: A much lengthier piece ran later, and we will post the link to that as soon as it’s available.

Presidents race on bicycles to kick off final homestand of the season

The Washington Nationals returned to town Monday night for their final homestand of the season, and while the Nationals have guaranteed their spot at the bottom of the National League East standings, the race to see who will win the 2010 presidents race crown remains tight to the finish.

Nationals Racing Presidents on BicyclesThis homestand marks the finish to Fan Appreciation Month at Nationals Park, as the team has lined up a slew of promotions and giveaways for the Nationals Park faithful who head out to see the team one last time this season.

The racing presidents did their part to kick things off with a stunt we hadn’t seen before. In Monday’s 4th inning, they made a dramatic appearance
aboard red bicycles.

The stunt was in recognition of Capital Bikeshare, a new bicycle sharing service with 110 locations throughout Washington, DC. Capital Bikeshare employees were in attendance at Nationals Park Monday night, after celebrating their inaugural ride on Sunday to launch the new service.

With just ten home games to go, George Washington kept it interesting by pulling away to take another victory, and close within three games of 2-time defending champion Abraham Lincoln in the standings.

Photos courtesy of Flickr member ddotphotos

Behind the scenes at the Nationals presidents race (Video)

One thing we’re asked frequently (other then “When is Teddy gonna win?”) is whether the entire presidents race is scripted in advance.

Washington Nationals PA Announcer Jerome HruskaWhen I respond that Nationals Park PA announcer Jerome Hruska really calls the game live and unscripted, some people find that hard to believe.

So when the Nationals hosted several bloggers at the park last weekend, I made a special last-minute request, and the Nats were happy to oblige.

During the 4th-inning presidents race, the Nats allowed us to bring two video cameras up to the control room at
Nationals Park video control roomNationals Park, to give Let Teddy Win readers an inside look at the calling of the GEICO presidents race.

High above the field, a small army of directors, statisticians, and engineers communicates with camera operators and entertainment staff stationed throughout the park, mixing the feed live for the 101-foot HD scoreboard over the centerfield bleachers.

Washington Nationals PA Announcer Jerome Hruska's Presidents Race ScriptBehind a soundproof door, Hruska reads a script introducing the presidents race video, but from that point forward, the script just reads “(RACE).”

Video below. Thanks to Chad Kurz and the Washington Nationals for letting LTW readers behind the scenes.

Another Curse against the Nats? Or just the reason Abe Lincoln gets away with cheating.

In today’s Baltimore Sun, Mark Greenbaum and David O’Leary argue that the Nationals poor record in the team’s short history is not due to the fact that Major League Baseball decimated the Expos organization and talent pool, but because Nationals Park is haunted by the ghost of John Wilkes Booth.

Yes, it seems the the Nationals’ shiny new ball park happens to be on the site where Abraham Lincoln’s assassins were tried, hung, and buried.

Of course, the Nationals’ weak on-field performance dates not to the opening of Nationals Park, but to the introduction of the presidents race in 2006, leading others to have speculated about the curse of Teddy Roosevelt.

Interestingly, if any performance-related trend can be tied to the opening of Nationals Park, it’s the unlikely dominance of Abraham Lincoln in the team’s 4th-inning presidents race.

Back at RFK stadium, the first presidents race season titles went to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

But since moving to Nationals Park, Abe Lincoln has simply dominated, winning the crown going away in 2008 and 2009. This year, after losing his lead briefly to George, Abe went on a late season tear and with just ten home games remaining is positioned to take his third title in a row.

It’s been well established that Abe gets away with cheating, but perhaps it’s not Abe at all, and rather a higher power allowing the Great Emancipator to get away with murder…

What happened to baseball?

The Redskins opened their season last night, and you know what that means. Just as baseball’s playoff races get interesting, and the future of the Nationals goes on display every night with the team’s September call-ups, the nation’s pastime is no longer anywhere near the front page of the sports section in DC, and gets barely a mention on the weekend newscasts.

Washington Nationals Danny Espinosa

Nats September call-up Danny Espinosa goes 4-for-5 with 2 HRs and a grand slam in his Nationals Park debut, and gets almost no coverage because it's Dallas Week in Redskins country.
AP Photo - Nick Wass

Nationals fans can dream of the day when a Nats dynasty is a nationwide media darling and season ticket wait-lists make Nationals Park seats a hot commodity; but until that day comes, the Nationals PR team faces an uphill battle each fall.

Thankfully, the Nationals have one of the most vibrant blog communities in major league baseball to fill the gap. Collectively, the “Natosphere” misses nothing in its reporting on the team, and wisely, the Nats have been progressive in their embrace of blogs, issuing full season press credentials to select bloggers for the first time this year.

Saturday marked the team’s fourth “blogger day,” during which many more of us were again invited to the park to interview players and team representatives, and report on the game from the press box. The team has also brought on a Senior Manager of Social Media to provide us a point of contact and support when needed.

Kudos to the Washington Nationals for recognizing that this new media form is an outstanding way to break through and embrace their community of passionate fans — even those crazy enough to obsess over giant foam-headed dead presidents.

Speaking of which, the Nats honored my request to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the calling of a presidents race this past weekend. Video report to follow.

Teddy stops to pass out “Los Nacionales” T-Shirts

Let Teddy WinFriday was Hispanic Heritage Night at Nationals Park, with the team honoring the contributions of the hispanic community to baseball and society throughout the evening.

Latin influences permeated the evening, so it was no surprise when Teddy Roosevelt got into the act, passing out “Los Nacionales” t-shirts to fans along the first baseline.

Unfortunately for Teddy fans, our favorite #26 chose to engage in this bit of charity while in the midst of the 4th-inning presidents race, pulling off of the lead and allowing George to waltz to victory.

The victory kept the father of our country within range of Abe Lincoln in the standings with a dozen races left in the season. After Abe’s recent tear, in which he won 9 out of 11 races, George and Tom need to make up ground quickly to keep Abe from locking up the title for good.

Nats release coupon code for half-price tickets to Mets series

The Washington Nationals have released a coupon code “for Teddy’s fans” good for half-price tickets to the series vs. the New York Mets starting on Labor Day at Nationals Park.

The online code gets you half-price tickets in the outfield corners ($18), outfield mezzanine ($15), and upper infield gallery ($9). You must order at Nationals.com using Coupon Code “TEDDY”.

The 3-game series features day games on both Monday and Wednesday, with Jordan Zimmermann making another start on Labor Day, and the debut of highly-touted pitcher Yuneski Maya on Tuesday night.

For Monday’s game only, the Nats are also running a $1 kids ticket promotion. Buy one ticket at full price, and get additional tickets for the kids for just $1.00 each.

As always, 400 Grandstand-level seats (Section 401/402) will also be available for $5.00 each at the gate before the game. No coupon required for those.

Teddy returns to the scene of the crime, and it’s not pretty

It’s been more than a year since the Nationals racing presidents last appeared at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park — an infamous visit in which Teddy Roosevelt became a SportsCenter highlight when Pittsburgh Pirates racing pierogie Potato Pete took Teddy down in an open field tackle that ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt called “the greatest highlight I’ve ever seen.”

The presidents took the field at PNC Park once again this Labor Day weekend for a series of relay races vs. the pierogies, and by all accounts, Teddy was not about to let a renegade Pierogie take him down again.

On Saturday night, Teddy ran the anchor leg, and sure enough, he held the lead again in the home stretch, but the Pittsburgh mascots left nothing to chance, sending not one but two pierogies after him. Teddy was promptly flattened, keeping the presidents winless in their 3 seasons of visits to PNC Park.

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