Teddy goes off-course into the outfield

Yet another offensive outburst Thursday night left Nationals fans wondering what they’re putting in the drinking water at Nationals Park.

While the Nats’ bats are suddenly on fire, the racing presidents’ behavior has reached a new level of unpredictability.

Teddy Roosevelt Cheats in Nationals Presidents RaceOn Thursday, Teddy Roosevelt got off to a solid start, then ran off-course into the middle of the outfield, only to redirect himself back into last place. “WOW!,” Teddy commented from his Twitter account. “The grass looked sooo pretty I wanted to touch it! (sic)”

Abe Lincoln then briefly took the lead, only to stop, turn, and briefly run backwards, leading Nationals PA announcer Jerome Hruska to exclaim “What’s going on?”

George Washington survived to take his second win in a row.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Santangelo guarantees Memorial Day victory for Teddy

It appears that Jayson Werth may have lit a fire under Teddy and the Nationals.

Washington Nationals Presidents Race 5-29-11Werth’s call for Nats management to let Teddy Win drew the attention of NBC 4 and The Washington Post yesterday, in addition to a slew of online chatter; so all eyes were on Teddy at the start of Sunday’s race at Nationals Park.

Roosevelt had an unusually strong start, and surged mid-way through the race to take the lead into the home stretch. Rather than fade as usual, Teddy kept his momentum, but was passed by George Washington at the wire.

Werth did not come out of the dugout to watch.

In the wake of Werth’s public criticism, Teddy’s tweets included “Jayson I’m trying!,” and “Sooo close I could taste it today!! I’ve gotta good feeling about tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, on MASN’s TV broadcast, color commentator F. P. Santangelo upped the ante. “Teddy’s going to win tomorrow,” he declared after today’s race. “That’s my call, and I’m sticking to it.” He repeated the prediction later in the broadcast.

With Roy Halladay scheduled to take the mound for the Phillies Monday, Nats fans may need something to celebrate.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Teddy takes out his frustrations on Milwaukee’s sausages

The Nationals hosted a rare doubleheader vs. the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday at Nationals Park, and if you’re a Nats fan, you couldn’t have asked for a better afternoon of baseball and presidents race excitement.

Teddy manning the barbeque by Kirsten Rae IrwinIn fact, even Teddy fans got to taste a little sweet victory — not in the standings, but in the form of revenge against those cocky racing sausages from Wisconsin.

In the first race, the “un-racing sausages” jumped out to a big lead, followed closely by Teddy Roosevelt; but nine (9!) mascots from other local teams were waiting for them in ambush, and gang-tackled them all as they reached the home stretch.

Teddy had a clear path to the finish line, but chose instead to put a full body slam on “No-lish Sausage,” who’d already been knocked to the ground. George sneaked by for the win.

It was a convincing hit, and may be the only time Teddy’s fans have cheered him enthusiastically for blowing a race.

The other teams’ mascots were on
Mascots at Nationals Parkhand to help celebrate Screech’s birthday, and included Uncle Slam (Potomac Nationals), Pinch (Southern Maryland Blue Crabs), Talon (DC United), Testudo (University of Maryland), The Patriot (George Mason University), Jack (Georgetown University), George (George Washington University), Clawed Z. Eagle (American University), and YoUDee (University of Delaware).

In the second game, “Un-italian Sausage” replaced Teddy in a race against George, Tom, and Abe, and had the lead heading into the home stretch, but Teddy was waiting in foul territory, tending a kettle grill filled with sausages.

As the sausage ran by, Teddy nonchalantly lifted his arm and clotheslined the imposter, eliciting gasps from the crowd as Abe ran by for the victory.

The Nats now hit the road as a winning ball club for the first time in memory. Perhaps Teddy will be inspired and get back in the race by the 26th when the next homestand begins vs. the New York Mets.

Teddy photo courtesy of Kirsten Rae Irwin.
Mascot photo and videos courtesy of YouTube member lfahome.

Teddy commemorates space flight, but is defeated by gravity, and George

Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt dresses as a CosmonautLivan Hernandez and the Washington Nationals treated fans to a decisive victory over the Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday night at Nationals Park, evening the team’s record at 5-5 as
they kicked off this week’s homestand vs. the Phils and the Milwaukee Brewers.

Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt in a cosmonaut helmetNationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt rarely misses an opportunity to celebrate history, and as Tuesday was the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s first human space flight, our favorite #26 took the field in the fourth inning wearing a makeshift cosmonaut helmet.

Unfortunately for Teddy fans, the Rough Rider took the tribute a little too seriously, pretending to run in zero gravity slow motion, and allowing George, Tom, and Abe to sprint past.

George took the tape, and the early
lead in the presidents race standings.

Photo and video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Presidents to race Ringling Bros. clowns Wednesday night

When the Philadelphia Phillies come to Nationals Park, the clowns usually follow, and Wednesday night will be no exception.

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus hits town this week with a 17-show run beginning Thursday at the Patriot Center. To kick off the festivities, the troupe will be in attendance tomorrow night as the Nationals take on Roy Halladay and the Phillies.

The Ringmaster will sing the national anthem, and Ringling’s famous circus clowns will take on George, Tom, Abe, and Teddy in the 4th-inning presidents race.

Let’s hope Teddy doesn’t find the clowns too distracting.

Nats roll out the red, and Teddy falls on wet, cold opening day

It’s fair to say that the 39,055 Nationals faithful who packed the home park for opening day are accustomed to end-of-game suffering. Unfortunately, a near-freezing drizzle forced them to suffer non-stop from Thursday afternoon’s opening pitch.

The home team sported a new look for 2011, with six new position players, an improved defense, new home uniforms, and a variety of other changes to the stadium experience; yet these improvements were little consolation for failing to score against the Atlanta Braves pitching staff.

While the team’s refreshingly solid defensive performance may portend good times ahead, there were no such signals from Teddy Roosevelt.

The 2011 presidents race season kicked off with an unusual relay race in which Abe Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson jumped over hurdles in the outfield before attempting to push Teddy and George, respectively, to the finish line aboard rolling carts.

As Tom pushed George over the finish line, Teddy failed to gain his balance and fell off the cart onto the warning track.

The shared victory knocked winless fan-favorite Teddy into 3rd place in the presidents race standings after just one race. It could be a long season ahead.

The Nationals promised changes to the in-stadium experience for 2011. Unfortunately, letting Teddy win does not appear to be one of them.

This fan captured his own video from the upper deck. It’s notable not for the camera work, but for the drunken despair expressed over Teddy’s fate.

When the team introduced its new uniforms back in November, they also promised a renewed marketing focus for the Nationals around the color red and the Curly W logo.

Today, further progress was revealed in the form of new uniforms for the Nat Pack, new Curly W signage around the parking garages, Curly W backgrounds on all of the featured HD scoreboard videos, and revised scoreboard graphics featuring bright whites and reds to match the uniforms.

To this observer, these changes are well done and help to solidify the Nats’ marketing identity.

Now if only we could get Teddy’s Barbeque back…

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Roll Call covers the presidents race. It must be baseball season.

Opening day is here, and that means people who aren’t obsessed with baseball 12 months a year have started paying attention. Congressional daily Roll Call weighs in today on Teddy’s plight.

Who knows? The Nats have promised some surprises for the upcoming presidents race season. Perhaps today they’ll finally Let Teddy Win!

Deadline approaching for 2011 presidents race auditions

As pitchers and catchers prepare to report to Florida to try to nab one of the final spots on the Washington Nationals roster, the Nats’ entertainment team is working to finalize the mascot roster back here in DC. The team has set a deadline of next Friday, February 11, to receive applications. Selected candidates will receive invitations to participate in the 2011 racing president auditions on — when else? Presidents Day weekend.

Interested candidates should e-mail a cover letter, resume and recent photo to entertainment@nationals.com and include “2011 Racing Presidents” in the subject line.

Presidents Race auditions announced for 2011 season

Washington Nationals Presidents Race AuditionsThe Washington Nationals presidents race audition details have been announced for 2011.

In what has become an annual tradition, the Nats will be holding auditions on Presidents Day weekend for candidates who want to compete as racing presidents George, Tom, Abe, and Teddy at Nationals Park.

The tryouts will be held on Saturday, February 19th. In previous years, candidates have been asked to run a 40-yard dash, race on the field, dance, and show their celebration skills during the tryouts, which are held rain or shine. Last year, the auditions went forward in deep fresh snow, which made for a cold but hilarious afternoon.

Candidates must also:
• Be between 5’7″ and 6’6″ in height
• Be able to run approximately 200 yards in 40 seconds
• Be able to wear a costume weighing about 45 lbs for several hours
• Be available for at least 35 Nationals home games

Presidents race auditions are closed to the public. If you’d like to score an invitation, e-mail a cover letter, resume and recent photo to entertainment@nationals.com and include “2011 Racing Presidents” in the subject line. The team typically invites 50 to 60 finalists to the auditions.

Video from last year’s tryouts:

New Nationals Uniforms (and no more “Natinals” jokes)

As anticipated, the Washington Nationals revealed their new uniforms Wednesday night at a Nationals Park fashion show featuring members of the team.

The new Nationals Uniforms offered few surprises, with a new emphasis on the Curly W logo, and many other small changes including the elimination of the gold trim around the lettering and numbers.

Focus on the Curly W as the major identity of the team is a good move, but lost in most of the coverage is the elimination of the block “Nationals” that has adorned the team’s jersey’s since its inaugural season.

I’m going to miss it, but it’s a good PR move, in that it should help the team finally put the 2009 “Natinals” misspelling incident behind them forever.

Great comprehensive coverage of the event over at Nats News Network.

Flickr photo courtesy of Miss Chatter.

Lincoln holds off challengers to take his 3rd title as the Nationals racing presidents bid farewell to Stan Kasten

In the end, it was no contest.

After a back and forth month in which both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson made strong runs at first place in the presidents race standings, back-to-back repeat champion Abraham Lincoln held off all challengers in the final race of the season, pulling away for a convincing victory and claiming the presidents race title for the third year in a row.

More importantly, the race marked the fifth straight season of futility for #26, Teddy Roosevelt, who failed to deliver in the final home game for Nationals president Stan Kasten, the aleged architect of the anti-Teddy conspiracy.

Racing presidents farewell to Stan KastenNo sooner had Nationals mascot Screech declared Lincoln the winner, when he joined the presidents in holding up signs of appreciation for Kasten, who announced last week that he would be leaving the team at the end of the season.

During his five year tenure with the Nationals, Kasten has been both praised and criticized for his marketing of the team and the Nationals Park experience, including the now-famous 4th-inning presidents race. A Nationals Park farewell tribute was punctuated by a presentation of cupcakes to Kasten by Teddy Roosevelt.

The racing presidents will carry some compelling story lines into the off season. After three straight titles, is it fair now to declare this a presidents race dynasty for the Great Emancipator? With Kasten departing, will we see the team take a tougher stance on Abe’s cheating? Most importantly, with new management in place, will 2011 be the year the Nationals finally let Teddy win?

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome (whose video of Tuesday’s race was featured tonight on ESPN)

Mr. Kool-Aid disrupts presidents race, tackles Teddy to set up season finale showdown

Mr. Kool-Aid tackles Teddy RooseveltWith a big assist from Mr. Kool-Aid, Thomas Jefferson lucked into his fifth straight presidents race victory Tuesday night, setting up an epic final race showdown for the 2010 presidents race title on Fan Appreciation Night, Wednesday at Nationals Park.

Teddy Roosevelt had once again led from the start, but as the bull moose headed down the first base line, Mr. Kool-Aid appeared from the stands and chased him to the ground, letting Thomas Jefferson run by for the victory.

With just one race left in the 2010 season, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington remain tied for first place in the standings, and Jefferson’s winning streak pulled him just one victory behind the lead.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome
Photo courtesy of Cheryl Nichols/Nats News Network

Abe and George to duke it out in season’s final series

The Washington Nationals have long been eliminated from playoff contention, but the Nats’ final series that begins today vs. Philadelphia still carries meaning in the standings.

No, the Nats can’t play spoiler vs. the Phillies, who have locked up the division title; but followers of the 4th-inning presidents race are finding a compelling story in the back-and-forth battle for first place between George Washington and two-time defending champion Abraham Lincoln.

Just one month ago, it appeared that George would finally end Lincoln’s two year stretch of presidents racing dominance; then Abe won 9 of 11 to soar into first place with a dominant lead in the standings heading into the final month of the season.

But last week, the father of our country returned the favor with a 5 game win streak of his own, creating a tie atop the standings with just a handful of races to go.

Predictably, the intense battle between George and Abe has led to some on-field incidents. On Friday night, Abe fell while jostling for position, but George tripped over Abe and Thomas Jefferson took the tape. In fact, TJ went on to win the next two as well, prompting some to question who wants it most.

For those looking for an excuse to catch one of the final Nats games of the season, here’s your story. The season title may come down to the wire on Wednesday night.

Photo by Flickr member afagen

The Grinch steals victory from Teddy Roosevelt

The final homestand of the season at Nationals Park has been filled with surprises for loyal Washington Nationals fans, with myriad promotions and giveaways as part of the team’s fan appreciation month.

But those fans lamenting another goose egg of a season by a certain racing president were merely teased by the prospect of getting the ultimate gift — a Teddy Roosevelt victory.

The Grinch prevents Teddy Roosevelt from winning the presidents raceOn Sunday at Nationals Park, that gift was dangled in front of them as it appeared outgoing team president Stan Kasten was finally going to let Teddy win. Roosevelt pulled away from the pack and appeared un-catchable heading into the home stretch.

Perhaps it was Kasten who was waiting in ambush, wearing a Grinch costume.

The Grinch flew onto the field from the first base stands, plowing into Teddy, knocking his glasses off and ensuring that the losing streak would remain intact.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Behind the scenes at the Nationals presidents race (Video)

One thing we’re asked frequently (other then “When is Teddy gonna win?”) is whether the entire presidents race is scripted in advance.

Washington Nationals PA Announcer Jerome HruskaWhen I respond that Nationals Park PA announcer Jerome Hruska really calls the game live and unscripted, some people find that hard to believe.

So when the Nationals hosted several bloggers at the park last weekend, I made a special last-minute request, and the Nats were happy to oblige.

During the 4th-inning presidents race, the Nats allowed us to bring two video cameras up to the control room at
Nationals Park video control roomNationals Park, to give Let Teddy Win readers an inside look at the calling of the GEICO presidents race.

High above the field, a small army of directors, statisticians, and engineers communicates with camera operators and entertainment staff stationed throughout the park, mixing the feed live for the 101-foot HD scoreboard over the centerfield bleachers.

Washington Nationals PA Announcer Jerome Hruska's Presidents Race ScriptBehind a soundproof door, Hruska reads a script introducing the presidents race video, but from that point forward, the script just reads “(RACE).”

Video below. Thanks to Chad Kurz and the Washington Nationals for letting LTW readers behind the scenes.

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