Video: Grounds crew pummels presidents. Teddy wins again. Nats don’t.

For the third time since his historic first win last week, Teddy Roosevelt scored a victory in the Washington Nationals postseason presidents race.

Grounds Crew Attack racing presidentsUnfortunately, after the St. Louis Cardinals completed the biggest comeback in MLB playoff elimination game history, the race would prove to be Teddy’s last of the season.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln did their best to prevent Teddy’s win, ambushing him on the outfield warning track, with George Washington knocking him to the ground and Abe taunting him as they ran past him.

The race carried on with Teddy doubled over on the warning track, but as the other presidents entered the home stretch along the first base line, members of the Nationals grounds crew left their positions and attacked, mercilessly.

As the grounds crew pummeled his opponents, an inspired Teddy Roosevelt caught up and passed them to win what would be the final presidents race of the season.

UPDATE: Here’s the finish line video. Note the joy with which the grounds crew pounds the racing presidents. One gets the sense that they are unleashing seven years of pent up October Natitude:

With the Nationals out of contention for 2012, Teddy’s fans are wondering what the team has in store for him. Rumors have run rampant about Teddy’s retirement (which the mascot denies), and about the possibility of adding new presidents to the mix.

Video: Chicken sacrifice precedes Nats Game 4 victory

After suffering blowout losses in games 2 and 3 of the National League Division Series playoffs, Nats fan and “Rubber Chicken Man” Hugh Kaufman announced his plans to sacrifice a chicken at Nationals Park before Thursday’s Game 4.

Chicken Sacrifice at Nationals Park - Chicken ModeChicken Sacrifice at Nationals Park dugout - Chicken ModeApparently, it worked.

The videos below show Kaufman leading a crowd including two stilt walkers (!) in the sacrifice before the game, and completing the ritual above the Nationals home dugout.

“What you want to do (first) is see: Is there evil eye on the dugout?” Kaufman explains.  “In Italian it’s called the malocchio.”

Kaufman then brings out the beheaded rubber chicken to complete the ritual. “In the latin culture, there’s a religion called santeria, similar to the Jewish culture of Kaporos,” Kaufman says. “You put the animal over the area that needs help.  You take the sins, and you put it into an animal, and you sacrifice the animal.”

Kaufman, has sacrificed dozens of rubber chickens since 2005 on behalf of his beloved Nationals, attracting the attention of fans and of pitcher Gio Gonzalez, and inspiring Chicken Mode t-shirts.  With Gio on the mound Friday to start game 5, expect to see some Chicken Mode on display.

Video: Teddy triumphs in all star villains presidents race

Teddy Roosevelt Wins Kool Aid Man helpsTeddy Roosevelt Wins presidents race Kool Aid ManTeddy Roosevelt celebrates victory Nationals presidents raceTeddy Roosevelt celebrates victory Nationals presidents raceIt’s been a postseason of redemption for Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt, who is on a sudden winning streak after losing 525 straight races.

Facing possible elimination Thursday night at Nationals Park, infielder Mark DeRosa read the team a speech by Teddy Roosevelt before the game. Then, when the presidents race began, the Nats trotted out an all star cast of Teddy’s past nemeses to help exorcise his demons.

As George, Tom, and Abe raced around the warning track towards the first base line, they were met in succession by a who’s who of bad guys.

Long-time interloper That Cat tackled George Washington.  Then a shark who attacked Teddy in August took out Thomas Jefferson.

Luc the Lobster, who has made several appearances over the years, tackled Abe Lincoln.

By that time, George Washington was back on his feet and actually passed Teddy and looked ready to steal the victory, but Mr. Kool Aid, a fan favorite who last appeared in 2010, appeared from the stands and decked the founding father.

Teddy turned around and fell backwards over the finish line, then pranced and posed around the stadium, basking in the glow of victory as the sellout crowd chanted his name.

On the national broadcast, TBS analyst Bob Brenley took Teddy to task for his celebration. “You’re pimping it a little bit in front of the other presidents,” he said. “Act like you’ve done it before.”

After 7 seasons of losing, most fans seemed willing to cut the Rough Rider some slack.

Teddy Roosevelt speech spurs Nationals to Game 4 victory

Mark DeRosa Man in the ArenaFollowers of this blog are familiar with Teddy Roosevelt’s famous “Man in the Arena” speech, in which Roosevelt praised the virtue of those who strive for greatness even in the face of failure. Arizona Senator John McCain read from the speech in a recent ESPN profile of the Let Teddy Win movement, and quotes from the speech have long been available on our t-shirts.

On Thursday night, the Nationals faced elimination in the National League Division Series playoffs, and so veteran infielder Mark DeRosa chose the occasion to read Teddy’s words to the team before the game.

DeRosa, the only member of the Nationals with an Ivy League degree, told reporters that he reads the speech to himself before big games, but this was the first time he read it out loud.

“I wanted to say something that brought the whole team together, a band of brothers,” DeRosa said.

“With our backs against the wall, I wanted to say something that brought us together, a little band of brothers to go out and fight and see what happens,” he told The Post later. “I feel that was fitting.”

“Epic,” Drew Storen added. “The stuff movies are made of.”

So you don’t have to look it up, here it is:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

After two blowout losses in playoffs, fans plan chicken sacrifice Thursday at Nationals Park

Nationals Playoffs Baby - Photo by Kim WrightWashington Nationals Rubber Chicken Man Hugh Kaufman at Nationals ParkWashington Nationals Rubber Chicken Man Hugh Kaufman displays his Chicken Mode T-ShirtLongtime readers and serious Nats fans are familiar with Hugh Kaufman, aka Rubber Chicken Man.  Kaufman is best known for the signs he displays from his seats behind the Nationals Park home dugout, but more significantly, he has been sacrificing rubber chickens to break various Washington Nationals’ strings of bad luck since 2005.

The ritual has inspired Kaufman’s followers to create Chicken Mode t-shirts, and even pitcher Gio Gonzalez jumped on the bandwagon, wearing one on FOX 5 News, and asking Hugh to make him and the other players some chicken soup (Kaufman obliged).

2012 has been largely devoid of panic, the lone exception being in May, when a string of injuries led manager Davey Johnson to actually call for a chicken sacrifice. Dutifully, Kaufman delivered.

Which brings us to the National League Division Series playoffs.

With the Nationals suffering consecutive crushing defeats at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals, and facing the first playoff elimination game in team history, Kaufman has announced a rubber chicken sacrifice to take place Thursday at 1:30pm outside the Nationals Park center field gate.

The unsanctioned event is open to the public.

Video: Presidents race Gangnam Style 강남스타일 again as Teddy steals Nationals’ first postseason race

Nationals Park Standing Room OnlyTeddy Roosevelt as Psy Gangnam StylePresidents Race Gangnam Style Washington NationalsNationals racing presidents Gangnam StyleRacing presidents Gangnam Style - Teddy Roosevelt Washington NationalsTeddy Roosevelt dances Gangnam StylePresidents Race Gangnam Style Teddy Roosevelt WinsThe Washington Nationals hosted the first playoff game in the team’s short history Wednesday, and area fans showed up in droves, crushing previous attendance records to pack the house with a record standing room only crowd of 45,027.

Many of the usual stadium promotion breaks featuring in-game host Clint Khoury were usurped by Major League Baseball for the playoffs, so when the middle of the fourth inning arrived, the crowd rose to its feet and cheered as P.A. announcer Jerome Hruska announced presidents race.

Coming off last week’s historic first win for Teddy Roosevelt, and with the record crowd on hand, fans were wondering what the Nationals would do for an encore. Speculation was rampant in social media circles. Would Teddy retire, or would he keep winning? Would the Nats introduce a new president? A rumor was spreading that the route might even change.

In the end, the team used the extra long commercial break to revise a fan favorite from just last month.

The September 1 race in which the racing presidents danced “Gangnam Style” is the most viewed video in Let Teddy Win history, amassing nearly a quarter million views in the month since since it was first shared. So, figuring you can’t get too much of a good thing, the Nats went back to the well, with a twist.

Teddy Roosevelt bolted out wearing sunglasses in the style of Korean dance pop star Psy, and was met in right field by Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln, wearing similar glasses.

After shedding their uniforms for Hawaiian shirts, the presidents broke into the familiar dance to the delight of the crowd; but unlike September, when the other presidents left Teddy behind to head for the finish line, this time it was Teddy who turned the tables on the other Rushmores, stopping mid-dance to leave them in the dust.

As Teddy celebrated his second victory of all time on the field, the Nationals Park crowd began chanting “Teddy, Teddy, Teddy!”

It was unfortunately one of the few highlights of the game for Nats fans. Unlike Teddy’s first win one week ago, the team did not respond with a barrage of hits to tie the game, and fell behind in the series to St. Louis, 2 games to 1.

The racing presidents playoff standings are now Teddy 1, George 0, Tom 0, Abe 0.

Here’s a close-up video from Maggie at First Ladies of Baseball:

And here’s our full finish line video by YouTube member lfahome:

Presidents race is no longer “The Main Event”

The two longest standing criticisms of the Nationals presidents race appear to have been addressed in consecutive games.

The Nationals’ refusal to let Teddy Roosevelt win for nearly seven seasons was, of course, nationally known — a concern that reached even as far as the White House.

GEICO Presidents Race

Presidents race scoreboard introduction as it has appeared since Nationals Park opened in 2008
(Photo:Adam Fagen)

Presidents Race Nationals Park Scoreboard

Presidents race scoreboard introduction on Wednesday

(Photo:Adam Fagen)[/caption]But more grating to many Nationals fans was the introduction of the presidents race as “The Main Event” at Nationals Park.

Since opening day 2008, Nationals P.A. announcer Jerome Hruska has announced the arrival of the middle of the fourth inning with “Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time for the main event. It’s the GEICO presidents race!”

For true baseball fans, even those who liked the antics of the Rushmore Four, this was like nails on a chalkboard.

But on Wednesday afternoon, amid the frenzy of Teddy’s second victory and the heartbreak of a second playoff loss, was a gift to serious Nats fans.

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” Hruska announced, “it’s time for the Presidents Race!”

Whether this change is permanent, is tied to limitations on playoff sponsorships, or is related to a longer-term change remains to be seen. The announcement was accompanied by a new graphic that omitted the familiar GEICO logo, the GEICO logo was omitted from the presidents’ uniforms, and the ever-present GEICO Gecko was not in his usual spot at the finish line.  

State Farm is the official insurance company of MLB.

Teddy says retirement is out of the question

Teddy Roosevelt chats with The Washington PostStill basking in the glow from Wednesday’s historic victory, Nationals mascot Teddy Roosevelt participated in a live online chat Friday with The Washington Post, and gave an emphatic denial to rumors of his retirement.

“Retirement? RETIREMENT?,” the mascot wrote. “Let me make this clear, I will NOT be retiring anytime soon! The best is YET to come!”

Nats broadcast F.P. Santangelo had speculated about a night of boozing it up on the town in celebration Wednesday, but Teddy tried to put that to bed as well.

“To tell ya the truth, I went home and got some much needed rest.,” he wrote. “…I want to make sure I am ready to go when the Nats come home for NLDS Game 3!”

On his relationships with George, Tom, and Abe:

“We don’t really talk about the racing much. On the field, we are all fierce competitors, but off the field we are good friends.”

Full transcript here.

Photo: The Washington Post

Video: Teddy’s victory inning as called on MASN

With Teddy Roosevelt’s historic win coming on a weekday afternoon, it’s likely most fans at home found out via social media, highlight shows, and websites such as this, and not the live game broadcast.

Turns out that’s a shame, because MASN broadcasters Bob Carpenter and F.P. Santangelo sure enjoyed the moment, along with the offensive barrage that immediately followed Teddy’s victory. In fact, they talked about it for nearly 20 minutes, but we’ve abridged the highlights for you here:

The team speculates about what happens with the Let Teddy Win website, and at one point Santangelo calls for the Nats to prevent further victories by Teddy, allowing him to enjoy only the one victory in honor of the team’s special 2012 season. Here’s hoping the team takes the opposite approach, allowing Teddy’s continued victories to carry the Nats through the World Series.

Some highlights:

F.P.: “He might have to pass a drug test to make it official”
Carp: “Do I hear horns honking on 395? Is the word getting out?”

And after Zimmerman’s home run:

Carp: “Teddy Wins! Zimmerman goes deep! And the game is tied!”
F.P.: “Is this a movie? Unbelievable.”
F.P.: “Just think of how many home runs the Nats would hit if Teddy would have won sooner.”

After Morse doubles, MASN puts up a graphic on total bases since Teddy’s win:

F.P. “They are such a better ball club since Teddy won. Way better.”
Carp: “If he’d have won on opening day they’d be 161-0 right now.”
F.P.: “How do you think Teddy winning affected Cliff Lee? That’s got to rattle him.”

After Tyler Moore doubles, Santangelo goes on through the end of the inning:

F.P.: “If Teddy doesn’t win, that ball’s foul. Teddy’s 3-for-3 with 2 runs scored, a home run, and 2 doubles… Think Teddy’s pounding some champagne right now?… I just want to find out where Teddy’s going after the game and I want to party with him all night. He’s got to have a table somewhere. VIP, bottle service. I mean, he’s got to celebrate. Maybe he’s going to the White House. Yeah. Party at the White House with Teddy tonight, everybody. Let’s all go.”

And finally:

Carp: “Thanks to Teddy, Nats 2, Phils 1″

Are the Nationals planning to retire Teddy Roosevelt?

Teddy Roosevelt wins his first presidents race at Nationals ParkThe National’s plan to let Teddy Roosevelt win the presidents race Wednesday was one of the most poorly kept secrets in Washington history. The team promoted the event for a week, even bought ads in the newspaper; yet many Teddy fans, having been burned in the past, remained skeptical.

However, in light of Teddy’s historic victory, must the Nats’ rumor mill be taken more seriously?

Before Wednesday’s historic race even took place, rumors were flying around Nationals Park about not just a victory for Teddy, but about the team’s plans for the 26th president after the celebration was over.

Chillin' with Teddy

Will the Nats retire Teddy?

Nobody would speak on the record, but the story was consistent from employees working all corners of the Park: The Nats would let Teddy Roosevelt win, then retire him and replace him with a new racing president in 2013 — possibly John F. Kennedy.

The first part came true. Is part two in the cards?

One fan, hearing the same rumors, has already started a Facebook campaign to keep Teddy.

Sounds downright heretical to me. In the meantime, Teddy fans are hoping to see more victories as the Nationals host their first home playoff game next Wednesday.

Speaking of retirement, one question that’s been pouring in from all corners is “What happens to LetTeddyWin.com?” On that there is no discussion. As long as the readers keep coming, we’ll keep writing.

Scoreboard photo by reader Alfonse Mannato

Teddy’s victory in slow motion, set to Chariots of Fire

From blog contributor and YouTube member lfahome. Soak it in:

Teddy Wins His First Presidents Race on Historic Day at Nationals Park (Videos, Photos, & More)

Teddy Roosevelt wins the presidents race
Let Teddy Win Poll - When will Teddy winTeddy Roosevelt Pep Talk Video from Nationals ParkTeddy Roosevelt Golden Shoes video Nationals Park scoreboardTeddy Roosevelt scoreboard video: Teddy gets his Golden ShoesNationals Presidents race Teddy Wins October 3 2012 - Starting gateTeddy Wins the presidents race vs the fake Philly PhanaticTeddy Roosevelt Wins his first Nationals Presidents Race - October 3, 2012Teddy Roosevelt October Playoff NatitudeA near-capacity house of 37,075 filled Nationals Park Wednesday afternoon with two things in mind: A record 98th win for the Nationals, and a record first win for racing president Teddy Roosevelt.

Rumors had swirled that today would be the day for Teddy to break his epic streak — rumors fed by the team’s own “Teddy in 2012″ theme that dominated the final series vs. the Phillies.

A Let Teddy Win reader poll showed fans were expecting nothing less, with 39% expecting Wednesday to be the day.

The Nats, in fact, played it out to such a degree that anything short of a win for the Rough Rider might have sparked a riot. Videos played on the HD scoreboard for the series showed Teddy training with the U.S. Army, getting pep talks from WWE wrestler John Cena, and working out at the Under Armour training facility in preparation for Wednesday’s Fan Appreciation Day.

The movement turned out in vast numbers, with with “Let Teddy Win” t-shirts and homemade signs dotting the stands, and Twitter abuzz before the game with rumors that turned out to be true, but not before one final tease.

In the third inning, the HD scoreboard lit up with a video pep talk for Teddy by Nationals players Kurt Suzuki, Craig Stammen, Mike Morse, Drew Storen, coach Bo Porter, and GM Mike Rizzo.

“Time to turn it up,” Rizzo said. ” It’s playoff time. Now get it going, and finish strong.”

“There’s still time to save the season,” added Storen. “We need you Teddy.”

Teddy then was presented with a glowing pair of Usain Bolt-style golden Under Armour sneakers.

When the fourth inning race began, Teddy came out wearing his new sneakers, but trailed the pack by a significant margin. Then, as Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln approached the outfield corner, a character resembling the Phillie Phanatic mascot appeared from the bullpen.

The “Fake-natic” proceeded to take out Honest Abe and the Founding Fathers single-handedly, despite losing his fake nose in the process.

That left only Teddy Roosevelt on his feet. As he and the Fake-Natic turned the corner together, the crowd went wild with the knowledge that Nationals brass would never have allowed Teddy to be defeated by such an unsavory foe with the Phillies watching from the visitor’s dugout.

The Fake-natic bowed out quickly, leaving the Rough Rider with a clear path to victory, as fans along the first base line chanted “Teddy, Teddy, Teddy” in celebration.

The Hero of San Juan Hill, victorious for the first time after seven long years and 525 races, posed for the crowd, displaying an October Playoff Natitude t-shirt beneath his jersey.

Twitter exploded with the news, and within minutes it was a national story, with articles appearing on sites as diverse as Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, The New York Times, ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, every local news outlet, and multiple stories by The Washington Post including the intrepid DC Sports Bog.

Turns out the Post even had an infographic prepared for the event, based on a recent interview with this blog.

In the at-bats immediately following Teddy’s victory, Ryan Zimmerman hit a home run, Michael Morse doubled, and Tyler Moore doubled to score Morse. Coincidence?

Below is the team’s official race video, capturing Nationals Park P.A. announcer Jerome Hruska’s live call from the ball park:

This fan video by Ryan Eades captures the euphoria of fans behind the Nats dugout:

Here’s Teddy getting his golden shoes:

And here’s Teddy’s pre-game workout with Under Armour:

Finally, our finish line video from stalwart contributor lfahome:

Teddy Wins!

He did it!

20121003-173504.jpgWearing golden shoes he received as a gift from the #Nats in the 3rd inning, Teddy Roosevelt dodged a fake Philly Phanatic to take his first presidents race at Nationals Park.

Photos videos and all the details to follow after the game!

Update: Stuck in the rare weekday game day traffic. Thanks for all the tweets and messages. Photos, videos and full story coming soon!

Video: George Washington out-cheats Teddy at the wire

A fog-filled “Teddy in 2012” celebration continued Tuesday night at Nationals Park, and with the division championship locked up, the only question left in many minds was when Teddy Roosevelt would win his first race.

Teddy fans at Nationals Park, by Cheryl Nichols

Photo Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page

Racing president Teddy Roosevelt locks out Abe and TomPresidents Race Teddy falls by Cheryl NicholsAfter bursting through the center field gate in the middle of the fourth inning, the Rough Rider promptly turned to lock the gate behind him. The Teddy-crazed crowd could barely make out the tops of Abe Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson through the fog, trapped on the other side of the wall.

With his rivals struggling to get through the gate, Teddy took off unopposed. The cheers grew as Teddy turned into the home stretch, but George Washington appeared through the tunnel on the first base line and leapt over the fence, landing in front of Roosevelt.

After gaining his balance, the Founding Father took off for the finish line. Teddy took a flying leap at victory, but fell short as Washington stole the penultimate race. His fourth straight win moved GW into first with one game remaining.

Wednesday’s Fan Appreciation Day will be Teddy’s last chance to pay off on the Nationals’ “Teddy in 2012″ promotion. Readers looking for a Teddy victory this year believe Wednesday is the day. Whatever happens, it’s sure to be a raucous finale on South Capitol Street.

Two perspectives tonight:


Videos courtesy of Twitter user @OldTownHome and YouTube member lfahome

Video: Nats player gives Teddy a beer shower during post game celebration

Teddy gets a post-game champagne or beer showerHaving depleted the supply of champagne in the locker room, Nationals players returned to the field to celebrate their National League East championship Monday night and began spraying themselves and nearby fans with beer.

Though Teddy and the racing presidents had joined them on the field to celebrate, they kept their distance from the beer soaking — that is, until one Nationals player (Is that Ryan Mattheus?) did his best to annoint the Rough Rider with brew.

This video courtesy of Twitter user @OldTownHome shows the attack.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,998 other followers

%d bloggers like this: