The Orioles’ Adam Jones weighs in on Teddy and the racing presidents

Baltimore Oriole Adam Jones is a Washington Nationals Presidents Race Teddy Roosevelt fanBaltimore Orioles star center fielder was warming up before Saturday’s game at Nationals Park, waiting for the Nationals to finish batting practice, and chatting with teammates about the Nationals’ racing presidents.

“Teddy never wins,” Jones asked. “Why doesn’t Teddy ever win?”

Jones, as it turns out, is a Teddy Roosevelt fan. He doesn’t miss the presidents race when the Orioles play the Nationals, knows about Jayson Werth’s attempts to help Teddy Roosevelt last season, and has a problem with the injustice served out nightly to the great president and war hero.

“They need to let him win,” Jones told me.

For Jones, the presidents race is a realization of a childhood misunderstanding.

“When I was like 5 years old, I thought they really held a race to determine who was going to be president,” he said. “I thought ‘that’s crazy,’ but I actually thought that’s how we picked the president.”

Jones’ memory triggered a novel suggestion. “I’d like to see them get some real presidents out there,” he said. “Have George W. race Obama. Who do you think would win that race?”

Jones sported a Let Teddy Win button until it was time to take the field, leading MLB.com to suggest that Jones’ homer Saturday was just following Teddy’s motto: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

Orioles Adam Jones takes BP with presidents race Let Teddy winBaltimore Orioles Adam Jones Let Teddy Win

Orioles Adam Jones supports Teddy Roosevelt in the Washington Nationals Presidents Race by wearing a Let Teddy Win button

Photo/MLB.com

Video: In his Sunday best, Abe Lincoln returns to form

Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt  - Photo by Luis AlbisuCivility ruled the day as another packed house came to watch Stephen Strasburg and the Nats put a hurt on the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday at Nationals Park.

Some were hoping to see a Teddy victory, and others just wanted to see another pummeling of the Orioles mascot, The Bird, but there were no shenanigans in store. When the fourth inning rolled around, the fans were treated to the rare gimmick-free race.

Wearing their Sunday best traditional uniforms, the Nationals racing presidents delivered on presidents race tradition, with Teddy Roosevelt taking an early lead and Abraham Lincoln turning on the afterburners to pass the field in the home stretch.

It was Honest Abe’s only win of the homestand and his first victory since May 3rd.

Photo and video courtesy YouTube member lfahome

Video: Teddy Roosevelt pummels the Orioles’ The Bird

Nationals Teddy Roosevelt tackels the Baltimore Orioles Bird Teddy Roosevelt Baltimore Oriole Bird Nationals Presidents RaceTeddy Roosevelt Pummels Baltimore Oriole Bird NatsWith the Baltimore Orioles in town, Teddy Roosevelt was looking for The Bird to show up, and finally got his wish Saturday night.

Teddy and the “creatively”-named Orioles mascot have a contentious history, but The Bird appeared ready to make peace as the fourth-inning presidents race began.

With Teddy rounding the outfield corner carrying a big lead, The Bird appeared on the first base line holding a “Go Teddy” sign.

But Teddy would have none of it.

With a sellout crowd of 42,331 cheering Teddy on, the site of an unprotected Bird was just too much for the Hero of San Juan Hill to resist.

He veered off course and put a highlight reel tackle on the mascot.

The Battle of the Beltways continues Sunday at Nationals Park.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Nationals announce first-ever Ignite Your Natitude Tweet-up

The Washington Nationals will be announcing the inaugural Ignite Your Natitute Tweet-up to be held at Nationals Park during the July 3 game vs. the San Francisco Giants.

The team will be setting aside a section in Nationals Park for those who RSVP via Twitter, with a special discount ticket package.  The exact location of the tickets will be announced late in June, and the team has promised that the location of the tickets will improve based on the number of RSVPs received.

To RSVP, simply tweet “RSVP” and use the hashtag #IYNT.  Tickets will go on sale June 22.

The Nats have promised an evening of prizes and giveaways based on Twitter activity, both before and during the game.

“Twitter will be integrated into the whole evening, from the pre-game through the end,” said Nationals Director of Creative Services and New Media Chad Kurz. “Teddy will have a hand as well.”

Washington (George, that is) returns to winning ways, Orioles Bird expected Saturday

The Orioles Bird did not make an appearance as expected during the presidents race for Friday night’s kickoff of the annual Battle of the Beltways.

Washington-Nationals-Presidents-Race 5-18In the fourth inning, the racing presidents mixed things up, running toward the third base side, but the Bird’s absence was no help for Teddy. George Washington easily passed a tired Roosevelt before doing jumping jacks at the finish line.

Teddy was quick to make excuses for his poor outing. “Still hurting a bit from last night,” he said via Twitter, but #26 promised he’d be ready to go on Saturday.  “Rumor has it a certain Bird will be visiting…”

Video: Teddy Roosevelt tackles Pittsburgh racing pierogie Potato Pete, avenging 2009 incident

Washington Nationals racing presidents Teddy Roosevelt tackles Pittsburgh Pirates racing Pierogie Potato PeteWashington Nationals racing presidents Teddy Roosevelt tackles Pittsburgh Pirates racing Pierogie Potato PeteWashington Nationals racing presidents Teddy Roosevelt tackles Pittsburgh Pirates racing Pierogie Potato PeteWashington Nationals racing presidents Teddy Roosevelt tackles Pittsburgh Pirates racing PierogiesRevenge was a long time coming, but Teddy Roosevelt finally got even.

The Bull Moose lived up to his promise from the night before, as the Pittsburgh Pirates racing pierogies brought Potato Pete out of retirement for one more race at Nationals Park.

Longtime Teddy fans are still haunted by the vicious  hit Teddy took at PNC Park in 2009, and with Potato Pete in retirement, Roosevelt had not gotten a shot at revenge.

But after Potato Pete showed up at Nationals Park on Wednesday, Teddy was single-minded.

“Tomorrow Pete, it’s on,” he tweeted after Wednesday’s victory.

When Thursday’s race began, Potato Pete was all alone in front, with Teddy nowhere to be found.

But Roosevelt was ahead of the pack. Emerging from the Nationals bullpen wearing a pirate’s bandana on his head, Teddy ran full speed at Potato Pete, left his feet, and plowed the dumpling into the warning track.

As the other presidents raced by, the remaining pierogies attempted to pile on, but Teddy would have none of it.  He tackled all of the pierogies, leaving Thomas Jefferson with a clear path to the finish line.

“Must Protect This HOUSE!,” Teddy tweeted after the race.  “Not on my watch Pete! NOW we are even!”

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Video: Pittsburgh’s Potato Pete returns. Teddy Roosevelt vows revenge. This could be fun.

It’s been nearly three years since retired racing pierogie Potato Pete leveled Teddy Roosevelt at PNC Park.  The 2009 incident that wouldn’t die was celebrated on ESPN’s Sportscenter and nominated for a “This Year in Baseball Award”. With Potato Pete officially retired, our favorite racing president never got a shot at revenge.

Racing presidents  Teddy Roosevelt sees Potato Pete pierogies Nationals ParkRacing presidents  Teddy Roosevelt sees Potato Pete pierogies Nationals ParkRacing presidents  Teddy Roosevelt sees Potato Pete pierogies Nationals ParkFor TR, the wound obviously remains as fresh as ever, because when Potato Pete made a surprise appearance Wednesday night at Nationals Park, Teddy stopped dead in his tracks.

The Four current Racing Pierogies started the evening running an extra-long relay race from the left field bullpen, with Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson taking the first leg against Oliver Onion and Jalapeño Hannah.

After a questionable tag from Abe Lincoln in center field, Teddy got a big jump on the second leg, but stopped in his tracks when Potato Pete appeared in the stands by section 134.

Teddy and Pete began sparring, and even took their scuffle into the stands as George Washington raced by for the win.

After the race, Teddy tweeted Ohhh, I see Potato Pete has come out of retirement and on MY home turf!? I haven’t forgotten what happened in 09! Tomorrow Pete, it’s ON!”

It sound like a grudge match is in the works for Thursday’s series finale. This could be fun.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Video: Today’s Chicken Sacrifice at Nationals Park

Washington Nationals Chicken Man Hugh Kaufman sacrificing a chickenEarlier today, we shared the full story of the chicken sacrifice at Nationals Park, performed by “Rubber Chicken Man” Hugh Kaufman in response to the team’s recent string of injuries.

Here now is the video chronicle, including notes on how to make a rubber chicken kosher, bonus theories about Ozzie Guillen’s voodoo dolls, and The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg cracking up as the ritual is finally completed:

Davey Johnson calls for the sacrifice. Chicken Man delivers.

After Monday night’s game vs. the San Diego Padres, Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson was asked whether the already injury-riddled team was snakebitten after losing two catchers in just three days.

“There’s been superstitions, to change our luck and do different kinds of things,” he said. “Sacrifice a chicken or something. I mean, you know, I’ve heard it all.”

What Johnson didn’t know was that Hugh Kaufman was listening.

If you’ve watched the Nationals on TV, chances are you’ve seen Kaufman. The self-styled “Rubber Chicken Man” sits directly behind the Nationals dugout for almost every game, waving a red Curly W flag in one hand and a bright yellow rubber chicken in the other.

And at some point during the season, the chicken loses its head.

Washington Nationals Rubber Chicken Man Hugh KaufmanWashington Nationals Rubber Chicken Man Hugh Kaufman at Nationals Park“The beginnings of the ritual Rubber Chicken Sacrifice started 7 years ago,” says Kaufman. After a hot start to their inaugural season in 2005, the Nationals found themselves losers of 11 of 15 games in July.

Kaufman felt that the good energy had been sapped from the ball park — that the fans and the team had become “flat,” “lame,” “out of sync.” So he got a rubber chicken and ritually sacrificed it at RFK Stadium.

With the bad Juju expunged, the mood seemed to improve, so Kaufman has repeated the ritual at least once a year ever since, starting each season with a new chicken, and decapitating it when it seems the Juju gods have turned on the team.

So when Davey Johnson called for the sacrifice, Hugh knew what he had to do. “I’ve probably sacrificed a dozen chickens in the last seven years,” Kaufman says.

At high noon on Wednesday, Kaufman and some of his Facebook followers met at the gates to Nationals Park, and the deed was done.

Washington Nationals Rubber Chicken Man Hugh Kaufman displays his Chicken Mode T-ShirtRubber Chicken Man Hugh Kaufman and Let Teddy Win Sacrifice a chicken at Nationals ParkIn response to Davey Johnson, Rubber Chicken Man Hugh Kaufman Sacrifices a chicken at Washington Nationals Park“I think Davey has recognized the whole history of baseball Voodoo into the whole history of the sport, and so again has shown tremendous leadership for this squad.”

Kaufman did his homework, following the orthodox Jewish tradition of Kaporos, in which chickens were ritually sacrificed before the Yom Kippur holiday. “This is an offshoot of that,” Kaufman explained before pulling out his butcher knife. “That’s where you transfer the sins to the animal, and so if there are any hidden sins in that Nats locker room, Cool Heat or something like that, that gets transferred to the chicken so when you take the head off, that gets rid of the bad Juju.”

After spinning the chicken counterclockwise above his head, Kaufman asked me to hold the bird, and brandishing a Davey Johnson autographed baseball, finished the job.

Kaufman, an engineer and longtime administrator for the EPA, has built a following since those early days at RFK Stadium. Last season, he started passing out rubber chicken pins from his perch above the Nats dugout as a means of welcoming members to the “Secret Society of the Rubber Chicken,” a group that now claims several Nationals players among its ranks (full disclosure: I am a long-time member as well).

Chicken Mode T-Shirts at Nationals ParkAt spring training this year, some members sported new Chicken Mode t-shirts as a fan counter-point to the “Beast Mode” shirt that’s most closely associated with outfielder Michael Morse.

“Michael Morse loves his “Chicken Mode” shirt,” says Kaufman, “even though he can’t stop laughing every time he looks at it.” Pitcher Gio Gonzalez is also a fan.

As for the chicken? It’s not going anywhere. “The Juju gods have been appeased,” says Kaufman. “No more injuries.” And for the rest of the season you’ll still find Hugh Kaufman right above the Nationals dugout, waving a red flag and a now-headless rubber chicken.

Update: DC Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg was there and filed this report for the Washington Post

Video to follow. Update: Here it is.

George Washington takes two in the rain. Pierogies next.

It’s still early, but George Washington is separating himself from the pack.

The Nationals racing presidents kicked off the latest homestand with two rain-soaked races Monday and Tuesday at Nationals Park, and apparently George Washington likes his track sloppy.

Washington Nationals Presidents Race by Cheryl NicholsOn Monday night, the presidents raced to the third base side and Washington separated himself early, then danced backwards over the tape in a showboat move. The next day, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt all slipped and fell on the warning track, leaving George with a clear path to the finish line, and a 3 game lead over second place Thomas Jefferson.

The forecast is outstanding for the rest of the homestand, but George’s opponents may have some different obstacles to deal with, as the Pirates and Orioles are both expected to bring their mascots along.

Photo:Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page

The Classical: “Now is the perfect time to let Teddy win”

Independent sports website The Classical today published an interview and profile of baseball’s greatest injustice — the conspiracy that prevents Teddy Roosevelt from winning the Washington Nationals’ presidents race.

Writer Aaron Gordon explores why the Nationals promote the race as “the main event,” and suggests that now is the perfect time to let Teddy win.

Nationals racing presidents at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park

The racing presidents accompanied the Washington Nationals to Pittsburgh’s PNC Park this week, marking the fifth straight year the presidents have faced off with Pittsburgh’s racing pierogies.

Racing Presidents vs Racing Pierogies at PNC Park, photo by Joseph GuevaraPNC Park has never been kind to the presidents — particularly Teddy Roosevelt, who famously got leveled there by Potato Pete in 2009.

Perhaps that’s why he and sat out the first race of the series Tuesday night. As George Washington and Abe Lincoln squared off against Jalapeño Hannah and Sauerkraut Sal, Teddy and Thomas Jefferson manned the finish line.

As they always seem to do at home, the pierogies trounced the presidents.

Photo courtesy Joseph Guevara

More video: ESPN visits Let Teddy Win & surveys NL players about the racing presidents, plus Teddy’s takedown

If there was any doubt that the Nationals are a hot national sports story, consider the hour-long Baseball Tonight pregame show preceding ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball coverage of Nats vs. Phillies.

ESPN - Nationals Presidents RaceJust a few minutes were devoted to the Phillies, while segment after segment focused on DC-centric topics, from Bryce Harper to the Nationals starting rotation to the team’s “Natitude” and “Take Back the Park” campaigns.

And yes, they even took the time to poll players around the league on the appeal of the Nationals’ racing
presidents:

After calling the fourth-inning presidents race, ESPN play by play man Dan Shulman references his visit earlier in the day to the Let Teddy Win website:

And our usual finish line video from regular contributor lfahome:

Video: Teddy assaults George Washington, breaks his glasses, then shills for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball

The Washington Nationals entered Sunday night’s game vs. the Phillies on a roll. With the league’s best record and a chance to sweep the Phillies on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, it was a prime opportunity to finally let Teddy win before a national audience.

Teddy Roosevelt pushes George Washington on ESPN Sunday Night BaseballNationals Presidents Race Teddy Roosevelt pushes George Washington on ESPN Sunday Night BaseballPresidents Race Teddy Roosevelt Broken Glasses by Cheryl NicholsPresidents Race ESPN Sunday Night Baseball by Cheryl NicholsPresidents Race ESPN Sportscenter by Cheryl NicholsThe ESPN crew, which hadn’t been back to Nationals Park since the stadium opened, certainly was ready for the moment, featuring the racing presidents in the Baseball Tonight pregame show, and at length again during the fifth and ninth innings.

ESPN play-by-play man Dan Shulman took note of the Let Teddy Win movement as well. “There are all kinds of blogs and websites devoted specifically to the fact that Teddy has never won a race here,” Shulman said on Sunday’s broadcast, getting it almost right.

“I don’t fully understand this because I wasn’t here,” Shulman added, “but Jayson Werth won a race last year, and Teddy Roosevelt has never won a race.  I looked up the standings.  I had some free time today.”

The presidents were dressed in their Sunday best for the nationally televised game, and Roosevelt, for his part, appeared ready to take on the challenge, going right after standings leader George Washington in retaliation for last night’s showboating.

But Teddy’s glasses came loose, and before he could get his bearings, Washington was on his feet again and sped past the field to take another victory.

Not realizing how much coverage they were getting, the presidents then pulled out signs at the finish line in an egregious attempt to get even more. The signs said “ESPN Sunday Night Baseball” one one side, and “ESPN This Is Sportscenter” on the other.

Clip from the ninth inning below.
More video to follow.

Post-race photos courtesy Cheryl Nichols/DistrictSportsPage

Teddy Roosevelt gives up lead to antagonize Phillies fans

Teddy Roosevelt stops in the Washington Nationals Presidents RaceWashington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt challenges the Phillies Phanatic“Take Back the Park” weekend continued on Saturday afternoon as a near-sellout crowd filled Nationals Park to see the Nats take on the Phillies.

As expected, buses from Philadelphia were lined up outside the Park, and the fans they brought made a lot more noise than they had the night before. Most notable were the taunts from the stands behind former Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth, who acknowledged the jeers with a tip of his cap before crushing a three run homer to break the game open in the fifth.

Teddy Roosevelt too had a chance to silence his critics, taking a big lead into the home stretch of the afternoon’s presidents race.

But Teddy spotted a fan with a sign along the first base line, and was inspired enough to stop cold and display it for the whole stadium to see.

The sign read “Teddy Can Beat the Phanatic!” The opportunity to antagonize the Phillies fans was too much for Roosevelt to resist.

On this day, even die hard members of the Let Teddy Win movement couldn’t find fault with Teddy’s priorities.

Video courtesy of Miss Chatter

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