Teddy takes an early lead in fan voting as race vs. Taft begins

William Howard Taft Racing President departing on adventure to Mt. RushmoreNats Racing presidents Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft took off this morning on their Executive Adventure to Mt. Rushmore, with Taft tweeting a photo from the starting line.

Fans who follow the presidents on Twitter @Teddy26Nats or @NatsBigChief27 are being asked to use the hashtags #VoteTeddy or #VoteBill to voice their support.

Results appear real-time at Nationals.com, and no surprise: in the early hours, support for Teddy is nearly tripling that for Taft.

The race ends Monday at Mt. Rushmore.

Racing president auditions postponed as Teddy Roosevelt & William Howard Taft race to Mt. Rushmore

Racing president auditions will not be held on Presidents Day weekend this year.

The Washington Nationals announced this evening that they would break the tradition in order to promote their newly-conjured rivalry between racing president fan favorite Teddy Roosevelt and newcomer William Howard Taft.

The two presidents will take off Friday in a 4-day race to race to Mt. Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota, where they will meet up with their fellow racing presidents on Presidents Day.

The Nationals will promote the race as “Bill and Teddy’s Executive Adventure,” and ask fans on Twitter to use the hashtags #VoteBill or #VoteTeddy beginning Friday to pick their favorite. One supporter of each president will win a “private mascot appearance” with her choice.

The Nats had been mum about confirming the date for auditions, and now we know why. Ted and Bill’s road trip have pushed the auditions to Saturday, March 2.

Nationals Presidents Race AuditionsPresidents Race AuditionsApplicants have only until next Wednesday, February 20 to apply for the part-time summer position by sending a cover letter, resume and photo to entertainment@nationals.com.

As always, applicants must be adults between 5’7” and 6’ 6” in height, can handle wearing a 45-pound costume for hours, can commit to at least 35 home games, and can run 200 yards in 40 seconds or less (yes, that’s with the costume still on).

The Nationals typically select 50 to 60 applicants to be invited to auditions, in which they will race against each other, run a 40-yard dash, dance, and show their celebration skills.

For a sense of what’s in store, check out our video chronicle from last year’s auditions:

Nationals Promotion/Giveaway Schedule for 2013

The Washington Nationals 2013 game day promotion/giveaway schedule is out, including three bobblehead nights and four Saturday night post-game concerts, up from the three highly successful concert nights last season.

Based on past years’ choices, it’s a good bet we’ll see the team’s first bobbleheads for stars Bryce Harper and Gio Gonzalez and new centerfielder Denard Span (unless new racing president William Howard Taft gets the nod).  We’ll update the schedule below as soon as confirmed.  Additional giveaways will include a cap, t-shirt, pilsner cup, lunch tote, baseball tote, kids arm sleeve, team poster, and backpack.

UPDATE: Retiring manager Davey Johnson got the nod for Bobblehead #3 behind Harper and Gonzalez (see below), and the concert performers have been announced (Blues Traveler, Thompson Square, Gavin DeGraw, and Montgomery Gentry).

The popular Pups in the Park promotion, in which a section is reserved for canine guests, returns to Nationals Park for four dates in April, May, June, and September. The team has also added food promotions, including $1 Hot Dog, $1 Ice Cream, and $5 beer + peanuts nights.

It’s a robust promotion schedule, with only a few oddities (a cap that’s only for adults, a poster giveaway on post-game concert night).  Families should note that Kids cannot run the bases after the late Sunday start on August 11.

2013 Washington Nationals Promotional/Giveaway Schedule

Date/Time Opponent Promotion
Fri Mar 29 2:05 NYY Exhibition Game
Schedule Magnet (1st 20,000 fans)
Mon 4/1 1:05 FLA Opening Day Cap (1st 20,000 fans)
Wed 4/3 7:05 FLA $1 Hot Dog Night
Wed 4/10 7:05 CWS $5 Beer + Peanuts Night
Sat 4/13 1:05 ATL Gio Gonzalez Bobblehead (1st 15,000 fans)
Sun 4/14 1:35 ATL Pups in the Park
Screech’s Birthday
Kids Opening Day
Kids Run the Bases
Signature Sunday
Sat 4/27 1:05 CIN Patriotic Series - Military Appreciation Day
Sun 4/28 1:35 CIN Kids Run the Bases
Signature Sunday
Tue 5/7 7:05 DET MLB Network Backpack (1st 25,000 fans)
Wed 5/8 7:05 DET $1 Hot Dog Night
Fri 5/10 7:05 CHI Pilser Cup (1st 15,000 fans age 21+)
Sat 5/11 7:05 CHI Pups in the Park
Sun 5/12 1:35 CHI Signature Sundays
Kids Run the Bases
Sat 5/25 7:15 PHI Lunch Tote (1st 15,000 fans)
Sun 5/26 1:35 PHI Signature Sundays
Kids Run the Bases
Mon 5/27 1:05 PHI Patriotic Series – Memorial Day
Thu 6/6 7:05 NYM Ladies Night
Sat 6/8 4:05 MIN NatsLive Post-Game Concert: Blues Traveler
Sun 6/9 1:35 MIN Pups in the Park
Kids Run the Bases
Signature Sunday
Thu 6/20 7:05 COL $1 Ice Cream Night
Sat 6/22 12:05 COL Baseball Tote (1st 20,000 fans)
Sun 6/23 1:35 COL Bryce Harper Bobblehead (1st 15,000 fans)
Kids Run the Bases
Signature Sunday
Wed 6/26 7:05 ARI $1 Hot Dog Night
Black Heritage Night
Mon 7/1 7:05 MIL $1 Hot Dog Night
Tue 7/2 7:05 MIL $1 Ice Cream Night
Wed 7/3 6:05 MIL Post-Game Fireworks
Thu 7/4 11:05 MIL Patriotic Series – Independence Day
Sat 7/6 4:05 SDG NatsLive Post-Game Concert: Thompson Square
Sun 7/7 1:35 SDG Signature Sunday
Kids Run the Bases
Sat 7/20 7:05 LAD Davey Johnson Bobblehead (1st 15,000 fans)
Sun 7/21 1:35 LAD Kids Arm Sleeve (1st 10,000 fans 12 & under)
Signature Sunday
Kids Run the Bases
Fri 7/26 7:05 NYM T-Shirt (1st 20,000 fans)
Sun 7/28 1:35 NYM Signature Sundays
Kids Run the Bases
Mon 8/5 7:05 ATL $1 Hot Dog Night
Thu 8/15 4:05 SFG Adult Cap (1st 15,000 fans age 21+)
Patriotic Series
Wed 8/28 7:05 FLA Hispanic Heritage Night
Sat 8/31 7:05 NYM NatsLive Post-Game Concert: Gavin DeGraw
Sun 9/1 TBD NYM Kids Run the Bases
Signature Sunday
Fri 9/13 7:05 PHI Patriotic Series – Heroes Day
Sat 9/14 7:05 PHI Pups in the Park
Sun 9/15 1:35 PHI Kids Run the Show
Kids Run the Bases
Signature Sunday
Mon 9/16 7:05 ATL $1 Hot Dog Night
Wed 9/18 7:05 ATL $5 Beer + Peanuts Night
Sat 9/21 7:05 FLA Team Poster
NatsLive Post-Game Concert: Montgomery Gentry
Sun 9/22 1:35 FLA FANtastic FANale
Kids Run the Bases
Signature Sunday

UPDATE: Here is the Nationals Promotion Schedule 2014, in which the number of bobbleheads will triple

Who is the new racing president? Everybody weighs in.

The sports world is buzzing about tomorrow’s anticipated announcement of a fifth racing president.

Major League Baseball, not generally a fan of gambling in baseball, published its own odds on its Cut 4 blog, listing John F. Kennedy as a 5-to-2 favorite. Apparently Barack Obama’s not far behind, but Grover Cleveland is listed as a 1000-to-1 long shot.

Yahoo’s Big League Stew put forth their own presidential odds, giving Grover Cleveland only a slightly better chance at 500-to-1. Their top pick: Ronald Reagan (“That winning smile, that Brylcreem hair”), at 5-to-1. Arizona Senator John McCain added his vote for Reagan (with a nod to Teddy) via Twitter.

The always great Dan Steinberg of the Post’s DC Sports Bog invited his readers to chime in at a special Washington Post forum devoted to the topic, where fans have put forth a range of off-the-wall ideas ranging from FDR in a wheelchair, to Confederate president Jefferson Davis (to “bring out more fans from VA”). Ouch.

At The City Paper, Will Sommer that William Howard Taft would “represent all of the lesser known presidents.” Taft also shows up as the well-reasoned pick at the Nationals 101 blog.

Several outlets are asking their readers to chime in, with mixed results. At The Huffington Post, the leading candidate so far is “None of the above.”

CNN is running a Political Gut Check poll on Facebook. Andrew Jackson is hanging on to an early lead in a WTOP listener poll. This after Teddy’s 5th cousin Franklin Roosevelt (who married Teddy’s niece Eleanor), emerged as the fan favorite in a DCist reader poll from the end of last season. Note that poll ruled out voting for any presidents that came after Eisenhower.

Perhaps it seems a bit like piling on, but in keeping with the spirit of things, here are my own odds:

John F. Kennedy (3-to-1): If you’re looking for a president with a unique personality and charisma, somebody who’s iconic yet distinct from the Rushmore 4 and easy to caricature, then JFK could be your man.

Richard Nixon (5-to-1): If you want a president who doesn’t show up for every race, but appears every once in a while to interfere with things, then “Tricky Dick” fits the bill perfectly. You can also count on a strong contingent of Nixon fans to get riled up over it.

William Henry Harrison (20-to-1): Dark comedy would be pretty groundbreaking territory for the Nationals, but the potential is too great to ignore. The president known mainly for dying just after his inauguration could be the Nats’ new designated loser, finding creative ways to repeat his fate nightly along the warning track.

Zachary Taylor/Millard Fillmore/Chester Arthur/Warren Harding (25-to-1): It’s a tie between these four presidents who would also make worthy candidates for “loser” status when compared to the Rushmores. They share in common a relative obscurity, an indistinguished record of service, and importantly, a funny name.

Gerald R. Ford (30-to-1): If you’re looking to replace Teddy Roosevelt as the mischaracterized loser, then look no further. Ford was an All American football star, yet after tripping in public a couple of times, Saturday Night Live successfully turned his national image into that of a bumbling fool. You can bet if the Nats continued that tradition, they’d rile up some Ford fans.

William Howard Taft (35-to-1): Lots of fans on Twitter think our only 300 pound president would make a great racing caricature. I’m just not sure the fat jokes would pass the PC test or be terribly sustainable.

Ronald Reagan (40-to-1): It’s hard to argue with Yahoo’s top pick, as Reagan is among the most easily caricatured presidents, but his recency and still-controversial standing in this highly-political town tells me the Nats will shy away.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (50-to-1): He’s iconic, with his own coin and his own memorial on the mall. The prospect of a FDR in a motorized wheelchair carries a ton of possibilities; but the Nats already have one larger-than-life Roosevelt.

Bill Clinton (100-to-1): See Reagan, above. Plus he’s still alive.

Nationals to introduce 5th racing president on Saturday

The Washington Nationals confirmed this morning that they will be introducing a fifth racing president to fans this Saturday at NatsFest at the DC Convention Center.

Nationals 5th racing president Twitter

Is JFK the 5th Racing President Washington Nationals
Twitter is abuzz with speculation as to who it will be, but the most common guess seems to be JFK.

A giant Kennedy likeness made a surprise appearance during a race two years ago, and was seen again posing with fans at The Fairgrounds outside the stadium after Game 5 of October’s playoff series at Nationals Park

Who do you think it will be?

UPDATE: Everybody weighs in (including me)

Twitter photo by Rebecca Evans

Nationals “presidential announcement” planned for Saturday

Since Teddy Roosevelt’s historic first victory at the end of last season, the Nationals have been promising some new twists for the season ahead.

A giant John Kennedy was spotted outside Nationals Park after the final playoff game of 2012, leading some to speculate about expansion of the Rushmore Four. Rumors also swirled about retirement for Teddy, but Roosevelt himself has vehemently denied the possibility.

It appears that the speculation will finally end on Saturday at NatsFest, the team’s mid-winter fan festival. This Tweet came from team officials on Wednesday:

Nationals NatsFest Announcement Racing Presidents

Details here as soon as they are available.

Natsfest returns January 2013 at DC Convention Center

Bryce Harper at NatsFest 2011Jayson Werth and Michael Morse at NatsFest 2011Racing Presidents at NatsFest 2011The Washington Nationals have announced the return of NatsFest, an off-season fan festival featuring meet-and-greet opportunities with players, staff, and future prospects, plus interactive sessions, family activities, memorabilia, and of course racing presidents.

The winter weekend event was a hit with fans in previous years, but was poorly attended after being moved to a weekday in late March 2011. There was no NatsFest in 2012, and the team had been mum about whether the event would return.

NatsFest 2013 will take place Saturday, January 26 at DC’s Walter E. Washington Convention Center from 12:00pm – 4:00pm. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children. Children 2 and under are admitted free.

Season ticketholders get a $5.00 discount per ticket, and get an exclusive admission from 11:00am – Noon.

In previous years, lines for player autographs have stretched to over an hour. The Nationals hope to quell this problem by limiting autographs to those who purchase $20.00 “autograph vouchers.” The number of vouchers will be limited, and proceeds go to the Nationals Dream Foundation.

There will be separate area for kids including face painting, balloon art, inflatables, and mascot appearances, including the racing presidents.

Full details at Nationals.com.

UPDATE: Fan activities will include player and mascot photo stations (this is separate from the pre-purchased autograph tickets), “Player Story Times” for kids, caricatures, games, a trophy display (Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards?), and booths with giveaways including MASN, 106.7 The Fan, and the Junior National Kids Club.

Major league players in attendance will include new off-season additions Dan Haren and Denard Span, plus Tyler Clippard, Ian Desmond, Ross Detwiler, Danny Espinosa, Christian Garcia, Gio Gonzalez, Bryce Harper, Steve Lombardozzi, Ryan Mattheus, Tyler Moore, Drew Storen, Kurt Suzuki, Chad Tracy, Jayson Werth, and Jordan Zimmermann. No word yet on whether Rafael Soriano will be there, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

Notably absent from the list are manager Davey Johnson (traveling in Africa), third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (on his honeymoon), pitcher Stephen Strasburg (hosting his annual charity 5K run in San Diego), and first baseman Adam LaRoche.

Minor Leaguers on board for NatsFest include Corey Brown, Brian Goodwin, Nathan Karns, Ryan Perry, Anthony Rendon, Will Rhymes, and Matt Skole.

GM Mike Rizzo, owner Mark Lerner, and broadcasters Bob Carpenter, F.P. Santangelo, Charlie Slowes, and Phil Wood are also scheduled to participate in special presentations and Q&A sessions.

Teddy Roosevelt Nominated for MLB Greatness in Baseball Award. Voting is Open.

Major League Baseball has nominated Teddy Roosevelt for a 2012 Greatness in Baseball (GIBBY) award.

MLB GIBBY AwardIt’s not MVP or even Comeback Player of the Year, but Teddy Roosevelt’s historic first victory has been nominated in the “Oddity of the Year” category.

The Nationals seem likely to take the category. Teddy’s big moment is competing against Michael Morse’s “phantom” home run just a few days earlier in St. Louis.

Voting is open now.

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.

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.

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

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:

Presidents show playoff Natitude, ambush Teddy on Pups in the Park day

Pups in the Park say "Let Teddy Win"

Sarge the black lab joins the movement

Presidents Race NatitudeA sold out Nationals Park crowd had much to celebrate Saturday afternoon, from Pups in the Park day, to a post-game concert by Dierks Bentley, to a stellar league-leading 20th victory for pitcher Gio Gonzalez.

Those expecting a Teddy Roosevelt win unfortunately had less to celebrate.

The movement has spread to the canine community, as evidenced by dogs now showing up in Let Teddy Win t-shirts; but despite looking good out of the gate for the second day in a row, Teddy was ambushed in the right field corner by his fellow commanders-in-chief.

The hit by George Washington knocked Teddy out of the lead, and Abraham Lincoln pulled away for the win.

The presidents then yanked off their uniforms to reveal president-sized versions of the Nationals’ official
playoff “Natitude” t-shirts.

Twitter photo by espnW’s Amanda Rykoff
Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Why do the presidents keep running left? We have the answer.

Observers of the Nationals presidents race have been asking why it seems the presidents have suddenly begun running so many race to the 3B side of the field.

Washington Nationals Racing Presidents running leftIn fact, as of Friday night, six straight races and 11 of the past 14 have had the finish line along the 3B side of the field, rather than the traditional spot along the first base line.

We have the answer.

Beginning with the previous homestand that started August 17, the Nationals mascot team has switched sides every time the Nationals lose a game.

Most recently, after the September 1 loss vs. the Cardinals, the Nats began a six game winning streak which kept the presidents running “left” all this week. If form holds, today’s race will move back to the traditional “right” side after last night’s extra-innings loss.

Why the change?

A team spokesman denied the link. “The direction of the races have shifted between base sides over the last few seasons.,” she said. “It’s really just another way to keep things interesting for our fans.”

But down on the field, members of the mascot crew were not so quick with their denials. “You figured it out,” one admitted Thursday.

The Nationals have clearly come to the conclusion that the presidents race has an impact on the luck of the team, which raises the question, why do they continue to prevent Teddy from winning?

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