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?

Video: Presidential Steeplechase concludes week of Olympic-themed races

Nationals racing presidents steeplechase OlympicsNationals racing presidents Thomas JeffersonNationals racing presidents Olympics steeplechase TeddyThe Nationals racing presidents pushed the envelope once again as they wrapped up an Olympic-themed homestand at Nationals Park.

After taking on race walkingfencingrhythmic gymnasticstrack, swimming, and sailing, the Nats had turned to Twitter looking for suggestions for the final event.  Fan suggestions leaned toward the unlikely, such as shooting, rowing, handball, trampoline, and badminton; but nobody anticipated what happened on Sunday — the racing presidents turned equestrian with a Steeplechase that incorporated racing, hurdles, and water.

Of course, in the actual Olympics, the point is to jump over the water on horses, but on Sunday the presidents jumped into kiddie pools scattered around the warning track.

Unfortunately, Teddy Roosevelt took his time and seemed more interested in splashing around than in winning. As Jefferson raced ahead to victory, Roosevelt splashed in the pool, and failed to cross the finish line.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Racing presidents take on Olympic sailing via Segways fitted with sails

Nationals Racing Presidents Olympic Sailing SegwaysThe Nationals racing presidents once again stretched beyond the boundaries of track & field as their week of Olympic tributes continued at Nationals Park.

After taking on swimming on Friday, the mascot team stayed in the virtual water Saturday with their own unique take on an Olympic sailing regatta.

George, Tom, Abe and Teddy entered the field aboard Segway personal transporters, each of which was fitted with a sail.

Alas, the wind was no help to Teddy Roosevelt, who brought up the rear for loss #497.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Racing presidents take up swords in Olympic fencing tribute

Racing presidents Olympic fencing with swords Teddy v Abe LincolnRacing presidents Olympic fencing with swords Teddy v GeorgeRacing presidents Olympic fencing with swords Teddy v TomThe Nationals racing presidents continued their week of Olympic tributes on Wednesday night at Nationals Park with a rare non-race event — fencing.

Teddy Roosevelt emerged from the centerfield gate bearing a foil, a flexible sword used in Olympic competitions. With Abe Lincoln waiting to confront Teddy on the warning track, the two crossed swords, but Teddy knocked Lincoln’s foil into the air, and ran past.

George Washington was next, and Roosevelt quickly dispatched him with a thrust move that sent the Founding Father to the ground.

Teddy took off, but Thomas Jefferson was waiting for him at the finish line, standing motionless and blocking his path with a sabre. Roosevelt advanced and swung at Jefferson, but Teddy’s foil shattered against Tom’s much stiffer sword.

Jefferson lunged at the defenseless Bull Moose to score the victory. Teddy collapsed to the ground, and Jefferson walked across the finish line.

Here’s the finish line video, followed by the call by Bob Carpenter on MASN, with some good close-ups of Lincoln’s parry.

Finish lideo courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Video: Abe Lincoln as Batman knocks out Teddy Roosevelt’s Bane

Abe Lincoln as Batman The Dark KnightTeddy Abe Bane Batman Dark KnightYes, you read that correctly. With the highly anticipated Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises opening in theaters Friday, Nationals racing presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Abe Lincoln took the field Wednesday night dressed as Batman comics villain Bane and the Dark Knight himself, respectively.

Roosevelt jumped out to a big lead, with Abe bringing up the rear. As the finish line approached, Teddy/Bane turned to knock out George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, but Lincoln/Batman caught up to Teddy and took him down, leaving Jefferson with an open path to victory.

The mascot team has a history of saluting popular culture with the presidents race. Wednesday’s movie tie-in led some in the stands and on Twitter wonder whether the Nationals have begun selling presidents race product placements, but rest assured no sponsor would pay for costumes this bad.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Presidents race on tandem bikes, George & Tom take the tape

Nationals Presidents race on tandem bikesNationals Presidents race on tandem bikes for 2Abe Lincoln has a reputation for pushing and shoving his way to the finish line, but pair him with Teddy Roosevelt for a night, and the Great Emancipator becomes a pussycat. Whether it’s a relay race or a shared bike ride, Lincoln has never one when teamed with Teddy. Coincidence? Hardly.

The team kicked off the second half of its home season Tuesday with a thrilling 10-inning victory over the New York Mets, and while the presidents livened things up by trotting out the tandem bikes, the result was more of the same. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson cruised to victory, and Teddy picked up loss #485.

Video by YouTube member lfahome

Teddy Roosevelt learns you can’t run and Tweet at the same time

Nationals Ignite Your Natitude TweetupWashington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt participates in the Nats tweetupWashington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt participates in the Nats tweetupWashington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt participates in the Nats tweetupWashington Nationals Racing Presidents Vote for Bryce HarperJackson Fleischauer and Corbin Haviland hold the presidents race finish lineThe Nationals celebrated the first “Ignite Your Natitude Tweetup” at Nationals Park Tuesday night, as the team kicked off its final homestand before the All Star break.

Among the near-sellout crowd were over 700 Twitter users who RSVP’d to the event, filling section 140 and collectively doing their part to bring local cellular networks to their knees.

Participants who registered in advance via Twitter were treated to a variety of surprise gifts and experiences, from posters to t-shirts to opportunities to leave their seats and rub elbows with Stephen Strasburg and yes, Teddy Roosevelt.

The 26th president participated by tweeting before and after the 4th-inning race, and by posing with tweetup participants afterwards.

Unfortunately, Teddy tried to tweet during the race as well.

When the gates opened, TR emerged carrying an oversized Curly W cell phone.  He surged ahead to a huge lead, which he held into the home stretch.

But then he tried tweeting.

Fans following @Teddy26Nats saw Teddy’s tweet as he approached the finish line looking at his phone:

This is it, I’m soo close! I’m winnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

And with that, the Hero of San Juan Hill tripped and executed a face plant along the first base line.  Abe stole the win.

The team continues to use the racing presidents to promote All Star voting, and Tuesday night enlisted the Rushmore Four to hold signs up after the race imploring fans to use hashtag #BryceIn12 and cast their vote for Bryce Harper in the MLB “Final Vote” contest.

The effort to get out the vote has certainly had an impact on young Nats fans Jackson Fleischauer and Corbin Haviland, who won the opportunity to hold Tuesday night’s presidents race finish line. All they had to do was fill in 10,000 paper All Star ballots.

Yes, ten thousand. Congrats Jackson and Corbin. Well deserved!

Finish line video below, but first, Bob Carpenter’s call (he was a bit confused):

Finish line video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Video: Thomas Jefferson whacks George, Abe and Teddy, but is not disqualified. Bob Carpenter calls for an inquiry.

Nationals Presidents Race Thomas Jefferson CheatsNationals Presidents race Thomas Jefferson Cheats Shoves Teddy RooseveltNationals presidents race Teddy Roosevelt LosesPresidents Race Teddy Roosevelt finish line Amanda RykoffThe Nationals’ conspiracy against Teddy Roosevelt was on full display Sunday at Nationals Park, as Thomas Jefferson flaunted the rules to steal a race from our favorite president, yet avoided disqualification.

Over the years, it’s been president #16 Abe Lincoln who has built up a reputation for cheating, but something got into Jefferson Sunday, as the Sage of Monticello went on a rampage, first slamming George Washington into the outfield wall, then pushing aside Abe Lincoln in the corner.

That left only Roosevelt to beat, and the crowd roared with anticipation as Teddy surged ahead in the home stretch, but just before the finish line, Jefferson reached out and shoved Teddy to the ground. There was nothing subtle about it, yet Screech declared Jefferson the winner.

The double standard was not lost on MASN play-by-play announcer Bob Carpenter. “I think we should find out why Screech did not disqualify Tom Jefferson,” he said on the broadcast, “because Teddy, in my opinion, won that race. Inquiry!”

Inquiry indeed. Here’s Carpenter’s call of the race, followed by the finish line video. Note that’s espnW’s Amanda Rykoff holding the sign at Sunday’s finish line.

Finish line 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…”

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

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