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).

Racing Presidents named Best On Field Promotion of 2012

Nationals racing presidents win best on field promotion from GameOps.comThe Washington Nationals presidents race has been named Best On Field Promotion in Sports for 2012.

The award is bestowed annually by Gameops.com, a web site which connects sports teams and event producers with ideas and tools for on-field promotions. This is the third time that the Nats’ racing presidents have nabbed the award, having taken the prize in 2007 and again in 2009.

Gameops editor John Cudo, who works for the Cleveland Cavaliers and spent 7 years as the mascot for the Minnesota Timberwolves, has written frequently about the racing presidents, and follows it via the blog, which he called “a season long tutorial on how to keep a promotion you do every night interesting.”

Petraeus and Broadwell: Teddy fans

David Petraeus throws out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Military Appreciation Day September 9, 2012 (AP)

David Petraeus throws out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Military Appreciation Day September 9, 2012 (AP)

Turns out General David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell were members of the Let Teddy Win movement. According to a new article by Dave Kindred, Petraeus, a known fitness freak, was asked about Teddy before a planned visit to Nationals Park on the team’s Military Appreciation Day in September.

Communicating through Broadwell, Kindred asked if Petraeus would be doing one of those segments where he coaches Teddy Roosevelt before the race. Broadwell told Kindred that Petraeus “insists he won’t coach unless the Nats let Teddy win.”

So that’s one thing that worked out well for them this fall.

Teddy Roosevelt speech spurs Nationals to Game 4 victory

Mark DeRosa Man in the ArenaFollowers of this blog are familiar with Teddy Roosevelt’s famous “Man in the Arena” speech, in which Roosevelt praised the virtue of those who strive for greatness even in the face of failure. Arizona Senator John McCain read from the speech in a recent ESPN profile of the Let Teddy Win movement, and quotes from the speech have long been available on our t-shirts.

On Thursday night, the Nationals faced elimination in the National League Division Series playoffs, and so veteran infielder Mark DeRosa chose the occasion to read Teddy’s words to the team before the game.

DeRosa, the only member of the Nationals with an Ivy League degree, told reporters that he reads the speech to himself before big games, but this was the first time he read it out loud.

“I wanted to say something that brought the whole team together, a band of brothers,” DeRosa said.

“With our backs against the wall, I wanted to say something that brought us together, a little band of brothers to go out and fight and see what happens,” he told The Post later. “I feel that was fitting.”

“Epic,” Drew Storen added. “The stuff movies are made of.”

So you don’t have to look it up, here it is:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

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:

Teddy Wins!

He did it!

20121003-173504.jpgWearing golden shoes he received as a gift from the #Nats in the 3rd inning, Teddy Roosevelt dodged a fake Philly Phanatic to take his first presidents race at Nationals Park.

Photos videos and all the details to follow after the game!

Update: Stuck in the rare weekday game day traffic. Thanks for all the tweets and messages. Photos, videos and full story coming soon!

Video: John McCain pumps up Teddy Roosevelt on HD scoreboard. Teddy listens. Could victory #1 be next?

Teddy Roosevelt 26 Eye Black Teddyin2012John McCain gives Teddy Roosevelt Pep Talk on the scoreboardJohn McCain gives Teddy Roosevelt Pep Talk on the scoreboardTeddy Roosevelt Falls in the outfieldGeorge Washington dives for the finish lineThe Washington Nationals did nothing to dispell the notion that they are preparing to let Teddy win the presidents race after clinching their first division championship Monday night at Nationals Park.

Fans arriving early for the newly-minted “Teddy in 2012″ series were given Teddy-themed “eye black” decals promoting the cause for #26 himself. That much was known before the game.

But few expected Arizona senator John McCain to appear on the Nationals Park HD scoreboard in the third inning, giving the Rough Rider a pep talk in advance of the race.

In the video, shown below, McCain catches Teddy playing in a kiddy pool in the Nationals Park tunnel.

“You’re my hero. You’re the guy I admire the most,” McCain says, “and this is the way you get ready for a game?” McCain goes on to call Teddy “the victim of a vast left wing conspiracy by the Commie pinko libs in this town.”

After promising a full investigation by the United States Senate, McCain goes inspirational. “The Nats are winning,” he says in the video. “They are there, and you’re gonna lead ‘em, Teddy, and you’re gonna win.”

The next inning, Teddy gave it a spectacular effort and looking fit as a bull moose, sprinted out to a big lead, but fell forward onto the warning track under his own momentum.

Perhaps inspired by McCain’s words, Teddy lept back to his feet and pushed ahead for the finish line, with George Washington hot on his tail.

That’s when the father of our country put his finish line experience into play, diving head first to take the tape and move into a tie for first with Abraham Lincoln.

Congratulations to the 2012 Nationals League East Champions.


In the two weeks since McCain appeared on ESPN and called for a congressional investigation in a Ken Burns-narrated video about Teddy and the presidents race, the Arizona Senator has become the most high-profile member of the Let Teddy Win movement. In fact, the publicity it generated, including a response by the White House, inspired the Nationals to turn this final homestand into a Teddy-themed series.

Finish line video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome
Teddy 26 “Eye black” photo courtesy of reader Maurice Werner.

Nationals are NL East Champs

Had to share this image shared by alert reader Conor Lastowaka, who created it just as the Nationals were celebrating their clinching of the National League East Championship.

Survey says he may be right…

Teddy Roosevelt - Soon

Congratulations to the entire Nationals organization.

Wall Street Journal reports Teddy seeks meeting with Obama, McCain calls it a “vast left wing conspiracy”

Teddy Roosevelt Racing President sketch Wall Street Journal

Dot drawing of Teddy Roosevelt from the front page of Saturday’s Wall Street Journal

The Nationals are seeking a tête-à-tête between racing president Teddy Roosevelt and Barack Obama, as Arizona Senator John McCain calls Teddy’s losing streak a “vast left-wing conspiracy being organized by pinko commie liberals,” according to Saturday’s Wall Street Journal.

The front page story by diplomatic correspondent Neil King, Jr. caps a week in which the Let Teddy Win movement has become national news, following an ESPN profile by Ken Burns and a White House statement in support of the cause.

King’s profile revisits the outrage expressed by McCain and White House spokesman Jay Carney over Teddy’s losing streak, adding additional perspectives from Roosevelt biographer Edmund Morris, and from Teddy’s great great grandson Kermit Roosevelt.

“I find this whole thing extraordinarily unfunny,” Morris tells the Journal.

“Teddy would have physically dominated any of those guys,” adds Roosevelt, who turns out to be a Phillies fan, and believes in a curse. “The Nationals will not win the World Series until Teddy wins the presidents’ race,” he said.

The Let Teddy Win blog gets a few nods as well, and the online story features a compilation of our race videos taken by longtime blog contributor lfahome:

Huffington Post says: Don’t let Teddy be our goat

Brandon Wetherbee of the Huffington Post writes today about the Let Teddy Win movement from the perspective of a Cubs fan, arguing that the Nationals shouldn’t let Teddy win until the season after a World Series victory.

It’s not that Wetherbee isn’t a supporter. He simply argues that a Teddy victory followed by anything short of a championship will forever link Roosevelt to an alleged curse, much like the probably-coincidental Curse of the Billy Goat that has haunted Wrigley Field for 104 years.

On the other hand, perhaps we’re already suffering from the Curse of Teddy Roosevelt.

Reader Poll: When Will Teddy Win?

Speculation about a looming victory for Teddy Roosevelt has reached an all-time peak, with dozens of media outlets reporting that an October victory for Teddy is in the cards.  A feature article is expected on the front page of Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, and even the Nats themselves have gotten in on the act.

Everybody including the president of the United States seems to have an opinion these days on when it’s going to happen.  Today’s WTOP listener poll seems to point to next week as the date, but we think the choices are inadequate, thus we introduce the OFFICIAL LET TEDDY WIN READER POLL.  We’ll keep it open until Teddy Wins, or until after the playoffs, whichever comes first.

Don’t like the choices? Share your theory in the comments below.

U.S. News report: Teddy could win on October 3

Washington WhispersSpeculation continues to run rampant about an impending first victory for Teddy Roosevelt in the Washington Nationals’ presidents race.

Today’s “Washington Whispers” column in U.S. News and World Report speculates that Teddy Roosevelt’s first victory is likely being planned for the Nationals’ season finale next Wednesday, October 3.

Reporter Elizabeth Flock cites cites a number of recent indicators that hint at an October 3 win for Teddy, including the Nationals’ own announcement of a “Teddy in 2012″ theme for the final homestand.

Lara Potter, VP of Communications for the Nationals, didn’t deny that the fix was in, telling Flock “that’s just something that I’m not going to comment on.”

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