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: