Race vs. Teddy Roosevelt wins DC man his bride

Matt Jennie and Teddy Roosevelt - Photo by Emma Patti Photography

Photo: Emma Patti Photography


Jennifer Kushlis loves Teddy Roosevelt. In fact, her love for the Washington Nationals’ racing president runs so deep that her boyfriend of six years, Matt Hendrickson, decided he would have to literally win her affections from Teddy before asking for her hand in marriage.

“I absolutely love the Presidents’ Race,” Kushlis said. “It’s the highlight of my summer, several times over.”

Nationals Park Presidents Race Marriage Proposal Jennie Kushner Matt Hendrickson" title="Nationals Park Presidents Race Marriage Proposal Jennie Kushner Matt Hendrickson

Nationals Park Marriage Proposal - Matt challenges Teddy Roosevelt

Video: Emma Patti Photography

Washington Nationals Park Marriage Proposal Presidents RaceBut Matt was up for the challenge. After nine months of planning, it all came together Sunday at Nationals Park.

Kushlis, 27, an Account Director at a local PR firm, arrived at their Kalorama home to find a note announcing that a Town Car would be arriving shortly to pick her up.

The driver whisked her directly to Nationals Park, where a Nats employee met her and led her onto an empty field with a table set behind home plate.

That was the cue for the HD scoreboard to light up with a video in which Hendrickson explained his dilemma, and challenged Teddy to a race for her affections.

“I realize that you have strong feelings for another man,” he explained. “Teddy and I both know that it would be impossible to ask you to choose between us, so we’ve talked and decided that the only way to settle this once and for all is with a race.”

With that, Teddy appeared from the centerfield gate, followed closely by Hendrickson.

“[The video] was absolutely hilarious,” said Kushlis, “and the only thing that kept me from sobbing through the whole event.”

Nationals Park Marriage Proposal Presidents RaceNationals Park Marriage Proposal - Teddy Roosevelt hands over the bride-to-beNationals Park Marriage Proposal Jennie Kushlis Matt Hendrickson

Matt and Jennie Engaged at Nationals Park - Photo by Emma Patti Photography

Photo: Emma Patti Photography

Teddy put up a good fight, but Matt won the day, and when Jennie met him at the finish line, he got down on one knee and proposed.

The families of both DC natives had been hiding on the Nationals Park concourse, and when Kushlis accepted, the celebration began.

“It was, by far, the best day of my life,” said Kushlis. “Matt’s incredible. The proposal was truly the best ever.”

Hendrickson, who works for Washingtonian Magazine, began scheming up the proposal during last year’s baseball season. “As my jealousy over Jennie’s love for Teddy grew, the idea to race him for her heart emerged,” he said. “Having survived an earthquake and a hurricane the week of my big plan, I felt like it was meant to be.”

Hendrickson has nothing but praise for the Nationals and Director of Ballpark enterprises Maggie Gessner, who coordinated everything.

And what of the jilted Teddy? “He’s a great sport,” said Hendrickson. “Teddy was first class.”

No wedding date has been set, but as the planning begins, says Kushlis, “I wouldn’t put it past Matt to involve Teddy somehow.”

Meanwhile, she hasn’t lost her love for the hero of San Juan Hill, saying his huge smile is what separates him from the other presidents. “George and Tom are hard to tell apart at times, and Abe looks so stern. Teddy’s the one in the bunch you’d want to have a beer with.”

Now that she’s engaged, that’s the best Teddy can hope for.

Matt’s video is above. We’ll have the full video of Sunday’s events in a few days.

UPDATE: The full video, including Jennie’s amazing reactions, is now up here

Photos courtesy of Michelle Kushlis except where noted.

Mark Grace says “I’m coming for you,” Teddy says “Bring It!”

Racing Mark Grace on the Nationals Park scoreboardTeddy Roosevelt says Bring It Mark GraceArizona Diamondbacks TV analyst and “Racing Legend” Mark Grace responded to Wednesday night’s challenge with one of his own in the final race of the homestand Thursday night.

Following a decisive presidents race victory by Abe Lincoln, Nationals Park P.A. announcer Jerome Hruska intoned “Live from Chase Field in Arizona, it’s a special message for you Teddy.”

Just then on the HD scoreboard a video feed appeared of the Arizona Diamonbacks’ “Racing Legend” Mark Grace, holding a sign reading “Hey Teddy, I’m coming for you… We’ll see you in 2012.”

Teddy’s response? His own sign saying “Bring It!”

It appears we’ll see some Legends vs. Presidents action in the 2012 season. If so, it seems either Teddy or Mark will have to win.

After the race, the Nationals presidents met up with the real Mark Grace in the broadcast booth, where he was covering the game for Fox Sports Arizona.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome.
Mark Grace photo by @Teddy26Nats

Video: “Air Screech” introduced at Nationals Park

Air ScreechBetween innings Thursday at Nationals Park, the Washington Nationals welcomed a new mid-game distraction. Popping up along the third base line was “Air Screech,” an inflated, dancing, oversize costumed version of the Nationals official mascot.

The video speaks for itself, but just in case you were at a loss for words, Dan Steinberg at the Post has compiled some of the Tweets that appeared almost instantly.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Today’s man on the streeet: Thomas Jefferson

Each Thursday, the DC-focused blog SocialStudiesDC interviews a DC resident to get a slice of DC life, asking them what they are thankful for.

Today the blog took an unusual twist on the man-in-the-street interview and featured a more well-known resident,
the Washington Nationals’ own racing president Thomas Jefferson.

For the record, Tom is thankful to still be ahead of George Washington in the standings (as if Teddy doesn’t even count).

SocialStudiesDC is published by daily deal site LivingSocial, and recently featured Let Teddy Win on the DC Stereotype Map.

According to managing editor Eliot Stein, the team at LivingSocial loves the Let Teddy Win movement and blog, so presidents race followers might do well to keep an eye on this relative newcomer to the DC blogosphere.

Video: Racing Presidents issue challenge to Mark Grace

The Washington Nationals’ racing presidents are fond of taking on racing mascots from other teams, but Wednesday night at Nationals Park, they issued their first challenge on record targeting an opposing team’s broadcaster.

Washington-Nationals-Racing-Presidents-challenge-Arizona-LegendsMark GraceThe broadcaster in question was Diamondbacks color analyst Mark Grace, who was covering the game for FOX Sports Arizona.

Grace is one of the four “legends” portrayed in the Diamondbacks Legends Race, which was introduced just over a year ago. In a blatant appropriation of the Nationals’ own shameful gimmick, Grace has yet to notch his first victory.

Last season, the Nationals mascots challenged the new Legends to visit Nationals Park. With the mascots a no-show, the presidents turned their attention to the press box, holding signs that said “Come Race Us Grace!”

Grace stood up in Nationals Park broadcast booth and waved his arms, saying “You want a piece of this, fellas?” With one game left in the series, an appearance on Thursday is not out of the question.

Videos courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Video: George Washington makes Lincoln look foolish

Since the team moved to Nationals Park in 2008, Abe Lincoln has been the president to beat, taking 46% of all races through a combination of aggressive tactics and suspicious bursts of speed in the stretch.

Washington Nationals racing president George Washington watches as Abe Lincoln fallsBut this week, George Washington, having finished second in the standings for three straight years, seems to have received a wake-up call, taking three of four races in similar fashion, with Abe-like bursts of speed.

On Tuesday night at Nationals Park, it was the George and Abe show once again. With Lincoln in the lead, Washington burst past him at the turn.

Abe, desperate to catch up, put on a burst of his own, but couldn’t catch the founding father, and fell flat on his face trying.

With the final month of the season looming, it appears notice has been served. If Abe Lincoln wants to continue his dynasty, he’s going to have to work for it.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Video: Yet another wardrobe malfunction at Nationals Park

Washington Nationals Presidents Race Wardrobe MalfunctionA night after nearly pulling off victory #1, Teddy Roosevelt failed to compete in the presidents race at Nationals Park, trailing the pack from the start and giving up before reaching the finish line.

Thomas Jefferson, who hadn’t won a race since August 3, made up for lost time by leading wire to wire, but for the second time in just four days, his uniform popped open.

This time, a Nat Pack member raced to cover Tom and preserve his modesty. Memo to the Nationals: Can we suggest a tailor to reinforce Jefferson’s buttons?

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Video: Did Teddy give up at the finish?

Presidents Race photo finish - Washington NationalsPresidents Race photo finish - Washington NationalsTeddy Roosevelt seemed to have victory in hand Sunday at Nationals Park.

In one of his more inspired races, #26 overcame a bad start, working his way to the front of the pack with a burst of speed around the right field corner.

Teddy had the upper hand in one of the tightest presidential finishing packs ever, but he seemed to pull up at the end, taking a crooked angle towards the finish line as George barely edged Abe in a photo finish.

After seeminly handing the race to Washington, Teddy tweeted “This is your dayyyy….George!” Hardly the rallying cry Teddy’s fans are looking for.

Teddy shows no fight before record Nats Park crowd

Phillies fans at Nationals Park - CBP South - Citizens Bank Park SouthGeorge Washington wins the Washington Nationals Presidents RaceGEICO Gecko introducing the GEICO Presidents Race at Nationals ParkAn all-time record crowd of 44,675 squeezed into Nationals Park Saturday night, but everybody on the field, including Teddy Roosevelt, appeared to have nothing left after Friday night’s late-inning heroics.

It was estimated that as much as 50% of the standing room only crowd hailed from Philadelphia, but with the Phillies staking a 5-0 lead, and the Nationals doing nothing but squandering opportunities, the mood felt increasingly like a Phillies home crowd as the night wore on, capped by a group of fans in the outfield who held signs spelling out “Welcome to Citizens Bank Park South.”

In the fourth-inning presidents race, Teddy Roosevelt finished in last place for the second night in a row, as George Washington sneaked by Thomas Jefferson for the victory. Teddy seemed ready to admit that the race is fixed against him, tweeting after the race “Drats, foiled again!! If only I could race a vegetable or something!”

The night also featured a change to the presidents race introductions. For the last four seasons, Nationals Park P.A. announcer Jerome Hruska has intoned “Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time for the main event. It’s the GEICO Presidents Race!” Hruska’s bold introduction is the subject of much derision by fans who take offense at the notion that something other than the game would be called “The Main Event.”

While the unfortunate phrase didn’t change, the emphasis did, at least for one night. Fans on Saturday were instead greeted by a new video featuring the sponsor’s soft-spoken Gecko. It may not satisfy the critics, but it was a nice clarification between between the voice of the team and that of the race’s commercial sponsor.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Photos/Scott Ableman.  All rights reserved.

Video: Wardrobe malfunction at Nationals Park

Presidents Race wardrobe malfunctionThe Washington Nationals racing presidents were not all on their game Wednesday night at Nationals Park.

As the presidents were announced, George Washington banged his head into the centerfield gate, subsequently hitting Thomas Jefferson with a backwards head butt before the race even started.

The impact apparently knocked open Jefferson’s uniform, because the Sage of Monticello completed the race with his uniform open — a no-no in the usually Rated-G NatsTown. One of the mascot handlers raced to the finish line to cover him up and preserve his modesty.

Abe took the win.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Let Teddy Win makes the DC Stereotype Map

DC Stereotype Map - from LivingSocial's Social Studies DC blogSocialStudies, the DC-focused blog produced by daily dealmonger LivingSocial, today published the DC Stereotype Map, their own extremely blunt take on the map of DC, with Wards and neighborhoods replaced by stereotypes.

Notably, Nationals Park’s small corner of southeast DC is labeled not as the Navy Yard, but as “Let Teddy Win.”

I didn’t know we had become a stereotype, but the folks over at DCist called that one out as being particularly solid. What’s that they say about being the last to know?

Rather wisely, LivingSocial published the map without commentary, leaving the discussion to the community.

Video: Nats fans meet Stephen Strasmonkey, who promptly tackles Teddy

Teddy Roosevelt learned Tuesday night that what happens in Harrisburg doesn’t necessarily stay in Harrisburg.

With the team in Philadelphia last weekend, the Nationals’ racing presidents made their own road trip to Harrisburg’s Metro Bank Park, where the Class-AA Senators were hosting the Trenton Thunder for a 3-game series.

Washington Nationals Racing Presidents at Harrisburg Senators Metro Bank Park, photo by Gary CaveHarrisburg Senators racing monkey Steve tackles Washington Nationals president Teddy Roosevelt at the Harrisburg Senators' Metro Bank ParkHarrisburg Senators racing monkey Steve tackles Teddy RooseveltGeorge, Tom, Abe, and Teddy greeted fans and ran races during all three games, but the proceedings quickly turned contentious, as George Washington knocked out the Senators’ mascot Rascal during a 3rd-inning dance Friday night. Later, Senators racing monkeys Bingo, Bongo, and Steve ran onto the field and tackled Teddy Roosevelt just short of the finish line.

Flash forward to Tuesday night, where the racing presidents were ready to put their Harrisburg troubles behind them, and ditch their road greys for blue patriotic home uniforms.

Roosevelt in particular looked very much in his comfort zone, as #26 jumped out to a big lead in the fourth-inning race. With the crowd cheering what appeared to be a sure victory, racing monkey Steve appeared from the stands in section 133 wearing a Stephen Strasburg jersey.

Teddy bounced off the monkey and appeared to have withstood the attack, but lost his balance and fell on his back as Abe Lincoln raced past him to claim victory.

Slo-mo take-down below.


Harrisburg photos by Flickr member Gary Cave and by Mick Reinhard/The Sports Burger. Videos courtesy of YouTube member lfahome.

Video: Lobster runs onto the field, takes down Teddy

On Wednesday afternoon at Nationals Park, the hero of San Juan Hill ran into an ambush he never could have anticipated.

Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt attacked by Luc the LobsterRacing down the home stretch during the 4th-inning presidents race, a large, costumed Luc the Lobster dashed out of the stands and flattened the Teddy Roosevelt before the big Bull Moose knew what hit him.

What the red menace was doing at Nationals Park remains a mystery, but our best guess is that it had something to do with Wednesday being the opening day of the 64th annual Maine Lobster Festival.

After the race, Teddy tweeted “Ok you wana be like that? I see how it is. Luc the Lobster 1 – Me 0.”

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome.

MASN pulls a racing president bobblehead switcheroo

The MASN Broadcast truckBob and F.P. in the MASN Broadcast BoothRacing President Bobblehead SurgeryMASN's Byron Kerr and Ray KnightAstute watchers of Nationals broadcasts on MASN know that since the opening of Nationals Park in 2008, play-by-play man Bob Carpenter has displayed bobbleheads of the Nationals’ four racing presidents on a shelf behind him in the booth. What they may not have noticed is that just yesterday, the bodies changed.

MASN hosted a small group of Nationals bloggers at Nationals Park on Monday night, providing a behind-the-scenes tour and a chance to meet both players on the field and the team’s on-air personalities in the booth.

For this uniquely obsessed blogger, one thing immediately stood out on entering the MASN booth: The presidents had new bodies.

After this weekend’s Jason Werth bobblehead giveaway, MASN stage manager Joe Delpo decided to perform a little bobblehead surgery, taking the heads of the presidents and placing them on the more active bodies of Jayson Werth, Chad Cordero, Jose Guillen, and Nyjer Morgan.

In a bit of irony, Roosevelt’s head now sits on the body of Teddy-critic Jayson Werth.

Honestly, it’s a good look. Next season will have been 5 years since the Nationals gave away presidents bobbleheads (which now command a hefty premium on ebay). Perhaps it’s time to issue updated versions of the presidents in uniform, inspired by MASN.

Thanks to Jim Buckle of MASN, Chad Kurz of the Nationals, and the entire MASN crew for embracing the Nationals blogging community.

Teddy’s shark attack targeted Terry Francona

Shame on me for missing this one, but Sunday’s Shark attack by Teddy Roosevelt was more than just a celebration of Shark Week.

Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt celebrates Shark Week - Photo by Cheryl NicholsAs Dan Steinberg pointed out in the outstanding DC Sports Bog, there was a Boston Red Sox cap stuck in Teddy’s teeth.

The cap was a swipe at Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who had taken his own swipe at Nationals fans and the presidents race during a conversation with reporters. “We don’t need to have president races or mustard racing ketchup”, he said. “Our fans like our baseball, and I actually really think that’s cool. Nothing against mustard.”

Funny. When I visited last summer, Fenway felt like a giant after-work happy hour, they played a watered-down version of baseball with a DH, tossed beach balls in the stands, and fans poured out early because the team was losing.

Photo by Cheryl Nichols/Nats News Network

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,916 other followers

%d bloggers like this: