Video: Ken Burns narrates and John McCain featured as ESPN E:60 profiles the Let Teddy Win movement

As usual, Teddy Roosevelt pulled up the rear but stole the show, as  ESPN’s E:60 ended  Tuesday night with an eight minute Ken Burns-narrated feature story on the conspiracy surrounding Nationals racing  president Teddy Roosevelt.

Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt ESPNTeddy Roosevelt's great great grandson Winthrop RooseveltJohn McCain with Teddy Roosevelt DollTeddy Roosevelt Presidents Race Abe CheatsESPN’s Michael Johns set out to produce the definitive piece on the Let Teddy Win movement, and by all accounts, a new bar has been set. The mini-documentary featured the Let Teddy Win blog along with interviews with Senator John McCain and the great great grandson of Theodore Roosevelt himself, Winthrop Roosevelt.

“Theodore Roosevelt is one of the great presidents in history,” McCain says in the video. “I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the fact that one of the truly great presidents in history has never won a race. I’m outraged. That’s why I’m calling for congressional hearings to right this horrible wrong.”

The Arizona senator called Teddy’s losing streak “one of the more traumatic experiences I’ve had as I watch my hero, my childhood idol, being treated in such a cavalier fashion.”

“He is Mount Rushmore’s Rodney Dangerfield,” Burns intones has he describes Teddy’s lot in modern day Washington, “a legendary president that gets no respect.”

Moments after the feature aired on ESPN, it had already inspired a “Make Teddy Win” charity campaign.

Charity Fund applies Game Theory to pressure Nats to Let Teddy Win

CORRECTION: Because of a tweet I attributed to Senator John McCain, I inadvertantly reported  Tuesday night that this fund had been established by McCain.  My apologies to Mr. Halperin and Mr. McCain.

Moments after  Tuesday night’s ESPN E:60 profile about the Let Teddy Win movement, Nats fan Jon Halperin announced the establishment of a charitable fund designed to put pressure on the Nationals to let Teddy win.

“I have been attending Nats games since April 14, 2005,” Halperin writes. “I have seen Teddy suffer vicious attacks and unfair disqualifications. After watching the ESPN E:60 report, I decided enough was enough. I am going to do something to help ‘Make Teddy Win’.

Halperin set up the fund at Indiegogo.com, and is soliciting donations from members of the movement. 50% of the funds collected will be designated to be split between the DC Central Kitchen and the The Fisher House Foundation.

Then here’s where it gets interesting, as Halperin applies a little game theory logic on the Nationals:

If the Teddy wins a race this year and the win is officially recognized in the standings by the team, then 50% of the funds collected will go to the Nationals’ own Dream Foundation. If Teddy doesn’t win, those funds will be split between the other two charities.

“I have been going to Nats games since they moved back to DC and I have always cheered for Teddy,” Halperin told me via email. “I wanted to pick causes that all of DC area can support. The Fisher House does a great job supporting Military families while members of our Armed Forces are hospitalized and DC Central Kitchen helps fight against hunger and homelessness while providing job training. Also both organizations have a strong record of accountability.”

But will it work?

“I do think there is a certain amount,” Halperin says, “where the Nats would have to stop and think if its worth Letting Teddy Win.”

The goal set for the campaign is $6,000, but here’s hoping Teddy fans will bust through that mark (it might take more than that to sway the Nats).

ESPN’s E:60 profiles the Let Teddy Win movement (Preview)

ESPN’s E:60 will will be profiling the Let Teddy Win movement this Tuesday night at 7:00pm on ESPN and WatchESPN.com. I haven’t seen the final piece by Michael Johns, but he set out to produce the definitive documentary on the presidents race and Teddy Roosevelt’s travails, visiting Nationals Park and the area monuments with the presidents earlier this season.

ESPN got a lot of cooperation from the Nats, so it’s good to see this airing before the postseason.  It seemed doubtful the Nats would let Teddy win before before it aired.

UPDATE: Here it is, narrated by Ken Burns and featuring Senator John McCain.

U.S. Embassy tweets about racing presidents Gangnam Style dance

The Nationals’ racing presidents “Gangnam Style” dance during the recently-completed homestand has quickly become the most viewed presidents race video of all time, having been picked up by media outlets and bloggers worldwide.

Gangnam Style racing presidents Washington NationalsThe Rushmores’ riff on the Korean dance pop phenomenon further cemented the racing presidents’ role in popular culture, reaching as far as the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Korea, which tweeted the following:

“#GangnamStyle has infiltrated Washington! Watch the Presidents salute Psy at a @Nationals game.”

In Korean, of course:

Racing Presidents Gangnam Style Korea US Embassy Tweetb

Video: The Post Profiles some seriously insane Nats fan

When The Washington Post asked me to stay mic’d up during yesterday’s game, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Here it is. The Post released the companion video to presidential speechwriter Paul Orzulak’s must-read opinion piece on the Let Teddy Win movement, and well, the video speaks for itself.

I am amazed by how quickly producer Brad Horn pieced this together.

Orzulak calls for Teddy to win on August 18

If presidential speechwriter Paul Orzulak gets his way, Teddy Roosevelt will win the Nationals’ 500th presidents race on August 18.

Washington Nationals' Teddy RooseveltIn an opus for the Washington Post opinion pages entitled “Seriously, Nats: It’s time for Teddy to win,” Orzulak presents the most thorough and cogent case yet for the Washington Nationals to finally let Teddy win.

“In the long history of organized sports, no team or individual at the collegiate or professional level has ever lost 500 times in a row,” Orzulak writes.

But that is, in fact, the fate that awaits Teddy on August 18, rainouts or extra overtime races notwithstanding.

“Teddy winning wouldn’t just make sense for the 2012 Nats — it could even boost the national mood,” Orzulak writes, laying out a meticulous list of president Roosevelt’s qualifications and of the injustices handed his 2012 counterpart.

It’s today’s must read. Video report to follow.

NPR Charts Teddy Roosevelt’s Losses

Over the weekend, I noticed that NPR’s data journalist Matt Stiles had created a data set based on this blog (yes, I find these things). His plans weren’t clear until yesterday, when he published Charting Presidential Mascot Races at The Daily Viz.

Presidents race results chart by Matt Stiles

Let Teddy Win Word TreeStiles says he tries to create a data visualization every day, and the above chart does a nice job of visualizing Abe Lincoln’s slow decline.

Stiles also set up a link where you can create word trees from the blog based on any keyword you choose.

Check it out …if you want to waste your lunch hour.

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