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.

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