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.

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