Who to root for in the Nationals’ presidents race? Fangraphs breaks it down

For everybody who ever claimed “the Nationals always lose when Teddy wins,” the baseball stat geeks over at FanGraphs have attempted to create the definitive analysis of who to root for in the Nats’ presidents race.

Nationals Racing President George Washington

If you’re Bryce Harper or Jordan Zimmerman, you should root for George Washington, according to FanGraphs

Using data compiled here at the Let Teddy Win blog, sports reporter Zachary Abate has analyzed our data beginning in 2013 — the first year after the Nats allowed Teddy Roosevelt to win, as well as the first year president William Howard Taft joined the mix.

During that time, Abraham Lincoln has won the most races, and the Nationals have won 61% of home games. After FanGraphs added run differential and player stats to the mix, Abate concludes that George Washington is the president to root for.

His reasons: The Nats win the most games and have the biggest run differential when George wins. Even more impressive: Bryce Harper also has the highest batting average and Jordan Zimmermann has the lowest ERA when George wins.

Which president is the worst for Harper? “Honest Abe” himself, Abraham Lincoln.

Bryce Harper Presidents Race stats
As for cause and effect, it’s not quite as clear. Perhaps George is more inspired by what’s happening on the field? To know for sure, FanGraphs would have to break down production before and after the 4th inning race.

But that’s the beauty of baseball. Advance presidents race stats are apparently just in their infancy.

And Teddy? Yes, it’s true. The Nats’ winning percentage is lowest when the Rough Rider wins the race, despite a positive run differential per game that’s second only to George. In other words, it seems Teddy has the worst luck.

Read the full analysis here.

Video: On historic day at Nationals Park, Teddy wins his first presidents race championship (and some other stuff)

With playoff home field advantage wrapped up by the home town Nats, the only thing undecided going into Sunday’s regular season finale was question of who would win the 2014 presidents race championship.

Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt with Madagascar PenguinsTeddy Roosevelt beast William Howard TaftTeddy Roosevelt Wins presidents raceTeddy Roosevelt Presidents Race Champion BeltSo while fans at Nationals Park expected little on-field drama, anticipation was high about the final tie-breaking dogfight between four-time champion Abraham Lincoln and perennial loser Teddy Roosevelt.

What unfolded defied every fan’s expectations.

The final presidents race of the season wasn’t a dogfight at all, but rather a staged relay race featuring the racing presidents and the characters from the upcoming Dreamworks motion picture Penguins of Madagascar.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abe Lincoln, and William Howard Taft lined up in tandem with penguins Private (pushed on a cart by George), Skipper, Rico, and Kowalski. Roosevelt did not participate.

Then, halfway through the race, the hero of San Juan Hill emerged from center field and darted past the relayers, passing Taft in the home stretch and running away uncontested with the presidents race title.

(Nats fans know that what the presidents race championship lacked in drama, Jordan Zimmerman provided as he tossed the first no hitter in team history. Congratulations to JZimm, and to September call-up Steven Souza, who sealed the no-no with a spectacular 9th inning catch.)

After over 600 losses, Teddy Roosevelt is now presidents race champion for the first time. The Nationals sport a record of 18-8 when Teddy wins this season (18-6 when Teddy wins in the fourth inning), a record which suggests that a few more Teddy victories in the playoffs would not be a bad idea.

Here’s your finish line video:

As always throughout the season, finish line video for LetTeddyWin.com is by the intrepid lfahome of the Gnome Garden.
Photos/Washington Nationals, lfahome

Is it too early to talk magic numbers? Not if you’re Teddy Roosevelt

With a month of baseball to go, it may be too early to start talking about a magic number for the Washington Nationals to clinch the 2014 division championship.

Teddy Roosevelt holds up the Presidents Race Championship Belt

Teddy Roosevelt shows off the Presidents Race Championship Belt. The Rough Rider is exploring uncharted territory in 2014

But the presidents race season may be another matter.

The first half of the Nats’ home season marked uncharted territory for perennial loser Teddy Roosevelt, who won enough races to jockey back and forth for first place with all-time presidents race victory leader Abraham Lincoln.

But since the All Star break, it’s been all Teddy. The Rough Rider has won ten times to Lincoln’s two. In fact, Wednesday’s win was the Great Emancipator’s sole victory in the month of August.

When the team returns Friday to Nationals Park, Teddy will have a seven game lead with just a dozen home games to go, for a magic number of 3.

There are many who still say the Nationals should never have let Teddy win, but those people should take note: The Nationals are 16-8 when Teddy wins this season.

Doris Kearns Goodwin on getting Teddy and Taft together

Doris Kearns Goodwin Teddy Taft Racing PresidentsHistorian, author, and baseball fan Doris Kearns Goodwin appeared on CBS Sunday Morning to discuss her new book “The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism.”

Goodwin talks about her favorite president, Theodore Roosevelt, and of visiting Nationals Park and realizing her dream of getting Teddy and William Howard Taft to stand together.

Seamheads.com & SABRmetrics expert says dump Taft, Let Teddy Win

The folks over at Seamheads.com know a thing or two about baseball, having authored 90 books about the subject. So the Washington Nationals might do well to pay attention when Seamheads managing editor, baseball author, longtime MASN contributor and SABRmetrics expert Ted Leavengood offers some advice for getting the season on track.

Seamheads Ted LeavengoodOn Thursday at Seamheads.com, Leavengood makes the case that the Nats messed up their juju by introducing new racing president William Howard Taft for the 2013 season, while turning Teddy Roosevelt into a perpetual loser once again.

“What must be accepted,” Leavengood writes, “is that the Natinals (sic) have violated the first rule of Juju. You don’t change the narrative when your team is winning.”

Citing The Juju Rules by Hart Seely, Leavengood argues that the prescription is simple. “The first step must be to have Teddy win again. He must win by running directly over William Howard Taft. That may be enough, but if not then Taft must be shipped out to Syracuse. The Nationals need to get down to the business at hand and it is all about Teddy.”

You can find some of Leavengood’s books on Washington baseball here.

Chicken sacrifice planned for noon Thursday at Nationals Park

In response to Davey Johnson, Rubber Chicken Man Hugh Kaufman Sacrifices a chicken at Washington Nationals ParkChicken Sacrifice at Nationals Park dugout - Chicken ModeIn an effort to break the team’s losing streak, Washington Nationals “Rubber Chicken Man” Hugh Kaufman will perform a ritual sacrifice of a rubber chicken in front of the Nationals Park center field gate at noon on Thursday.

Kaufman has performed the ritual many times since 2005, whenever he determines that the Nationals have hit a streak of particularly bad luck. Last season, chickens were sacrificed after a string of injuries to the team’s catchers, and again after the Nationals lost Game 3 of their playoff series vs. the Cardinals. Just ten weeks ago, Kaufman was called into service by a Washington Capitals fan to help end their own losing streak.

Kaufman, who inspired Chicken Mode t-shirts, also plans to burn sage on Thursday, to honor a postgame request by outfielder Jayson Werth. “Somebody was talking about Phil Jackson the other day,” Werth said after Wednesday’s loss. “We need to call him up, have him come in and burn some sage or something. We’re not very feng shui.”

No word on whether Jackson will make an appearance, but the ritual will be open to the public.

Teddy’s Presidents Race Win Makes Most Buzz Worthy Moments of 2012

Yahoo Buzz-Worthy Moments of 2012 - Teddy Roosevelt WinsWhat does Teddy Roosevelt have in common with Honey Boo Boo, Gangnam Style, and Binders Full of Women?

They all made Yahoo!’s new video tribute to the Most Buzz-Worthy Moments of 2012.

Watch the video at Yahoo! News (including the Blog’s finish line video by regular contributor lfahome).


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