Video: Winthrop Roosevelt no help as William Howard Taft pushes Teddy around in his debut race

Winthrop Roosevelt at Nationals ParkWilliam Howard Taft Tackles Abe LincolnPresidents Race William Howard Taft Tackles Teddy RooseveltWilliam Howard Taft Tackles Teddy RooseveltWinthrop Roosevelt was on hand to cheer on his great-great grandfather for the opening day presidents race at Nationals Park, but the Nats’ newest racing president established himself as an enforcer who was prepared to put himself between Teddy and the finish line.

The direct descendent of Theodore Roosevelt ushered in the 2013 season with a shout of “Play Ball” before the first pitch, drawing cheers from the record opening day crowd despite the Nats’ unfortunate misspelling of his name on the HD scoreboard (it read “Wintrhop”).

A Bryce Harper first-pitch home run and 4 nearly-perfect Stephen Strasburg-pitched innings later, the Nationals’ new racing president William Howard Taft (the Nats plan to call him “Bill”) made his presidents race debut.

Winthrop Roosevelt was recruited to hold the presidents race finish line and cheered loudly for his namesake, but Taft established his new role quickly, shoving Abraham Lincoln to the ground as they ran along the outfield warning track.

After Jefferson tripped on the fallen Lincoln, Taft chased down Roosevelt, slamming him into the right field wall before both fell to the ground.

With George Washington crossing the finish line alone, Bill and Teddy rose to their feet and got into a shoving match in the foul territory below section 133.

The Nationals are clearly out to establish Taft as the presidents race villain and new nemesis for Teddy Roosevelt. Who knows where this will lead, but those who thought Teddy’s brief playoff winning streak would carry into the new season were sorely disappointed.

More photos and observations from opening day 2013 to follow.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

No Teddy, no Taft for racing president auditions

George Washington President Race Auditions Nationals ParkThe Nationals held their annual racing president auditions Saturday at Nationals Park, but hopefuls looking to taste a first victory dressed as William Howard Taft left disappointed.

In continuing with a long-standing tradition, only the costumes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abe Lincoln were available for the auditions. Teddy Roosevelt, as usual, was reportedly on vacation, and contestants were told newcomer William Howard Taft is resting for the season.

With the Nats expected to draw record crowds this season, the part-time job is as coveted as ever. 58 candidates were invited to the tryouts from about 300 applicants. Previous jobholders must reapply annually.

Racing president auditions have become a Presidents Day weekend tradition in DC in recent years, but the 2013 tryouts were postponed to March as the presidents paid a special visit to Mt. Rushmore and the Black Hills of South Dakota to celebrate Presidents Day this year.

Video: WTOP

Racing president auditions postponed as Teddy Roosevelt & William Howard Taft race to Mt. Rushmore

Racing president auditions will not be held on Presidents Day weekend this year.

The Washington Nationals announced this evening that they would break the tradition in order to promote their newly-conjured rivalry between racing president fan favorite Teddy Roosevelt and newcomer William Howard Taft.

The two presidents will take off Friday in a 4-day race to race to Mt. Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota, where they will meet up with their fellow racing presidents on Presidents Day.

The Nationals will promote the race as “Bill and Teddy’s Executive Adventure,” and ask fans on Twitter to use the hashtags #VoteBill or #VoteTeddy beginning Friday to pick their favorite. One supporter of each president will win a “private mascot appearance” with her choice.

The Nats had been mum about confirming the date for auditions, and now we know why. Ted and Bill’s road trip have pushed the auditions to Saturday, March 2.

Nationals Presidents Race AuditionsPresidents Race AuditionsApplicants have only until next Wednesday, February 20 to apply for the part-time summer position by sending a cover letter, resume and photo to entertainment@nationals.com.

As always, applicants must be adults between 5’7” and 6’ 6” in height, can handle wearing a 45-pound costume for hours, can commit to at least 35 home games, and can run 200 yards in 40 seconds or less (yes, that’s with the costume still on).

The Nationals typically select 50 to 60 applicants to be invited to auditions, in which they will race against each other, run a 40-yard dash, dance, and show their celebration skills.

For a sense of what’s in store, check out our video chronicle from last year’s auditions:

Nationals introduce William Howard Taft (Photos, Video)

Nationals New Racing President William Howard TaftNationals Racing President William Howard TaftWashington Nationals Racing Presidents with TaftThe Washington Nationals introduced their new racing president Saturday at the team’s NatsFest fan festival.

With a packed crowd gathered around the NatsFest mainstage, Nationals broadcaster Charlie Slowes welcomed the fifth presidents race regular as “The Big Chief,” a reference to Taft’s years as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Slowes proceeded to interview the Big Chief, rather awkwardly given that the former president was of course silent; but one thing was made clear. Taft is not here to make friends. When Slowes mentioned the other presidents, the packed crowd burst into chants of “Teddy, Teddy, leading the Rough Rider to come out from behind the stage and confront his old nemesis Taft.

After the festivities, Taft immediate stung back at Teddy, tweeting “It was lovely meeting all the fans and my only real competition – George, Tom & Abe – at #NatsFest today.”

Immediate reactions on Twitter seemed to focus on Big Bill’s girth, or lack thereof:

@KirbysLeftEye He doesn’t look very fat.

@gregjbarry too thin.

@DavidYoungTBLA insufficiently corpulent

@MMisurek he should be MUCH more hefty #335lb

@jasontfisher3 not big enough

@ChiefAgitator Prez Taft was MUCH fatter

@mrsplacedsoul shouldn’t he be more… well… more?

Full video below, courtesy of front row mainstay and Rubber Chicken Man Hugh Kaufman:

Video: Racing Presidents in Washington Ballet’s The Nutcracker

Nationals Racing Presidents Dance The NutcrackerThe Nationals racing presidents continued a three year old tradition on Thursday by appearing in The Washington Ballet’s annual production of Septime Webre’s The Nutcracker.

The racing presidents took the stage one at a time to perform ballet’s famous Russian Dance, with Teddy Roosevelt making the final entrance and of course drawing the loudest applause from the partisan crowd.

Here, courtesy of The Washington Ballet, is their performance:

Video courtesy of The Washington Ballet

Teddy loses to GMU Patriot. Crowd boos.

Teddy Roosevelt’s unprecedented post-season winning streak apparently doesn’t extend beyond the Nationals Park presidents race, but the Rough Rider’s popularity clearly does.

The University of Virginia Cavaliers basketball team visited the George Mason Patriots Friday night, and the Patriot Center crowd was treated to a dance competition between Nationals racing presidents Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and GMU’s mascot The Patriot.

Teddy drew extended cheers from the Patriot Center crowd, and when The Patriot was declared the winner, booing ensued.

In a basketball shootout that followed, The Patriot tackled Teddy.

Videos courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Video: Grounds crew pummels presidents. Teddy wins again. Nats don’t.

For the third time since his historic first win last week, Teddy Roosevelt scored a victory in the Washington Nationals postseason presidents race.

Grounds Crew Attack racing presidentsUnfortunately, after the St. Louis Cardinals completed the biggest comeback in MLB playoff elimination game history, the race would prove to be Teddy’s last of the season.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln did their best to prevent Teddy’s win, ambushing him on the outfield warning track, with George Washington knocking him to the ground and Abe taunting him as they ran past him.

The race carried on with Teddy doubled over on the warning track, but as the other presidents entered the home stretch along the first base line, members of the Nationals grounds crew left their positions and attacked, mercilessly.

As the grounds crew pummeled his opponents, an inspired Teddy Roosevelt caught up and passed them to win what would be the final presidents race of the season.

UPDATE: Here’s the finish line video. Note the joy with which the grounds crew pounds the racing presidents. One gets the sense that they are unleashing seven years of pent up October Natitude:

With the Nationals out of contention for 2012, Teddy’s fans are wondering what the team has in store for him. Rumors have run rampant about Teddy’s retirement (which the mascot denies), and about the possibility of adding new presidents to the mix.

Video: Chicken sacrifice precedes Nats Game 4 victory

After suffering blowout losses in games 2 and 3 of the National League Division Series playoffs, Nats fan and “Rubber Chicken Man” Hugh Kaufman announced his plans to sacrifice a chicken at Nationals Park before Thursday’s Game 4.

Chicken Sacrifice at Nationals Park - Chicken ModeChicken Sacrifice at Nationals Park dugout - Chicken ModeApparently, it worked.

The videos below show Kaufman leading a crowd including two stilt walkers (!) in the sacrifice before the game, and completing the ritual above the Nationals home dugout.

“What you want to do (first) is see: Is there evil eye on the dugout?” Kaufman explains.  “In Italian it’s called the malocchio.”

Kaufman then brings out the beheaded rubber chicken to complete the ritual. “In the latin culture, there’s a religion called santeria, similar to the Jewish culture of Kaporos,” Kaufman says. “You put the animal over the area that needs help.  You take the sins, and you put it into an animal, and you sacrifice the animal.”

Kaufman, has sacrificed dozens of rubber chickens since 2005 on behalf of his beloved Nationals, attracting the attention of fans and of pitcher Gio Gonzalez, and inspiring Chicken Mode t-shirts.  With Gio on the mound Friday to start game 5, expect to see some Chicken Mode on display.

Video: Teddy triumphs in all star villains presidents race

Teddy Roosevelt Wins Kool Aid Man helpsTeddy Roosevelt Wins presidents race Kool Aid ManTeddy Roosevelt celebrates victory Nationals presidents raceTeddy Roosevelt celebrates victory Nationals presidents raceIt’s been a postseason of redemption for Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt, who is on a sudden winning streak after losing 525 straight races.

Facing possible elimination Thursday night at Nationals Park, infielder Mark DeRosa read the team a speech by Teddy Roosevelt before the game. Then, when the presidents race began, the Nats trotted out an all star cast of Teddy’s past nemeses to help exorcise his demons.

As George, Tom, and Abe raced around the warning track towards the first base line, they were met in succession by a who’s who of bad guys.

Long-time interloper That Cat tackled George Washington.  Then a shark who attacked Teddy in August took out Thomas Jefferson.

Luc the Lobster, who has made several appearances over the years, tackled Abe Lincoln.

By that time, George Washington was back on his feet and actually passed Teddy and looked ready to steal the victory, but Mr. Kool Aid, a fan favorite who last appeared in 2010, appeared from the stands and decked the founding father.

Teddy turned around and fell backwards over the finish line, then pranced and posed around the stadium, basking in the glow of victory as the sellout crowd chanted his name.

On the national broadcast, TBS analyst Bob Brenley took Teddy to task for his celebration. “You’re pimping it a little bit in front of the other presidents,” he said. “Act like you’ve done it before.”

After 7 seasons of losing, most fans seemed willing to cut the Rough Rider some slack.

Video: Presidents race Gangnam Style 강남스타일 again as Teddy steals Nationals’ first postseason race

Nationals Park Standing Room OnlyTeddy Roosevelt as Psy Gangnam StylePresidents Race Gangnam Style Washington NationalsNationals racing presidents Gangnam StyleRacing presidents Gangnam Style - Teddy Roosevelt Washington NationalsTeddy Roosevelt dances Gangnam StylePresidents Race Gangnam Style Teddy Roosevelt WinsThe Washington Nationals hosted the first playoff game in the team’s short history Wednesday, and area fans showed up in droves, crushing previous attendance records to pack the house with a record standing room only crowd of 45,027.

Many of the usual stadium promotion breaks featuring in-game host Clint Khoury were usurped by Major League Baseball for the playoffs, so when the middle of the fourth inning arrived, the crowd rose to its feet and cheered as P.A. announcer Jerome Hruska announced presidents race.

Coming off last week’s historic first win for Teddy Roosevelt, and with the record crowd on hand, fans were wondering what the Nationals would do for an encore. Speculation was rampant in social media circles. Would Teddy retire, or would he keep winning? Would the Nats introduce a new president? A rumor was spreading that the route might even change.

In the end, the team used the extra long commercial break to revise a fan favorite from just last month.

The September 1 race in which the racing presidents danced “Gangnam Style” is the most viewed video in Let Teddy Win history, amassing nearly a quarter million views in the month since since it was first shared. So, figuring you can’t get too much of a good thing, the Nats went back to the well, with a twist.

Teddy Roosevelt bolted out wearing sunglasses in the style of Korean dance pop star Psy, and was met in right field by Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln, wearing similar glasses.

After shedding their uniforms for Hawaiian shirts, the presidents broke into the familiar dance to the delight of the crowd; but unlike September, when the other presidents left Teddy behind to head for the finish line, this time it was Teddy who turned the tables on the other Rushmores, stopping mid-dance to leave them in the dust.

As Teddy celebrated his second victory of all time on the field, the Nationals Park crowd began chanting “Teddy, Teddy, Teddy!”

It was unfortunately one of the few highlights of the game for Nats fans. Unlike Teddy’s first win one week ago, the team did not respond with a barrage of hits to tie the game, and fell behind in the series to St. Louis, 2 games to 1.

The racing presidents playoff standings are now Teddy 1, George 0, Tom 0, Abe 0.

Here’s a close-up video from Maggie at First Ladies of Baseball:

And here’s our full finish line video by YouTube member lfahome:

Video: Teddy’s victory inning as called on MASN

With Teddy Roosevelt’s historic win coming on a weekday afternoon, it’s likely most fans at home found out via social media, highlight shows, and websites such as this, and not the live game broadcast.

Turns out that’s a shame, because MASN broadcasters Bob Carpenter and F.P. Santangelo sure enjoyed the moment, along with the offensive barrage that immediately followed Teddy’s victory. In fact, they talked about it for nearly 20 minutes, but we’ve abridged the highlights for you here:

The team speculates about what happens with the Let Teddy Win website, and at one point Santangelo calls for the Nats to prevent further victories by Teddy, allowing him to enjoy only the one victory in honor of the team’s special 2012 season. Here’s hoping the team takes the opposite approach, allowing Teddy’s continued victories to carry the Nats through the World Series.

Some highlights:

F.P.: “He might have to pass a drug test to make it official”
Carp: “Do I hear horns honking on 395? Is the word getting out?”

And after Zimmerman’s home run:

Carp: “Teddy Wins! Zimmerman goes deep! And the game is tied!”
F.P.: “Is this a movie? Unbelievable.”
F.P.: “Just think of how many home runs the Nats would hit if Teddy would have won sooner.”

After Morse doubles, MASN puts up a graphic on total bases since Teddy’s win:

F.P. “They are such a better ball club since Teddy won. Way better.”
Carp: “If he’d have won on opening day they’d be 161-0 right now.”
F.P.: “How do you think Teddy winning affected Cliff Lee? That’s got to rattle him.”

After Tyler Moore doubles, Santangelo goes on through the end of the inning:

F.P.: “If Teddy doesn’t win, that ball’s foul. Teddy’s 3-for-3 with 2 runs scored, a home run, and 2 doubles… Think Teddy’s pounding some champagne right now?… I just want to find out where Teddy’s going after the game and I want to party with him all night. He’s got to have a table somewhere. VIP, bottle service. I mean, he’s got to celebrate. Maybe he’s going to the White House. Yeah. Party at the White House with Teddy tonight, everybody. Let’s all go.”

And finally:

Carp: “Thanks to Teddy, Nats 2, Phils 1″

Teddy’s victory in slow motion, set to Chariots of Fire

From blog contributor and YouTube member lfahome. Soak it in:

Video: George Washington out-cheats Teddy at the wire

A fog-filled “Teddy in 2012” celebration continued Tuesday night at Nationals Park, and with the division championship locked up, the only question left in many minds was when Teddy Roosevelt would win his first race.

Teddy fans at Nationals Park, by Cheryl Nichols

Photo Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page

Racing president Teddy Roosevelt locks out Abe and TomPresidents Race Teddy falls by Cheryl NicholsAfter bursting through the center field gate in the middle of the fourth inning, the Rough Rider promptly turned to lock the gate behind him. The Teddy-crazed crowd could barely make out the tops of Abe Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson through the fog, trapped on the other side of the wall.

With his rivals struggling to get through the gate, Teddy took off unopposed. The cheers grew as Teddy turned into the home stretch, but George Washington appeared through the tunnel on the first base line and leapt over the fence, landing in front of Roosevelt.

After gaining his balance, the Founding Father took off for the finish line. Teddy took a flying leap at victory, but fell short as Washington stole the penultimate race. His fourth straight win moved GW into first with one game remaining.

Wednesday’s Fan Appreciation Day will be Teddy’s last chance to pay off on the Nationals’ “Teddy in 2012″ promotion. Readers looking for a Teddy victory this year believe Wednesday is the day. Whatever happens, it’s sure to be a raucous finale on South Capitol Street.

Two perspectives tonight:


Videos courtesy of Twitter user @OldTownHome and YouTube member lfahome

Video: Nats player gives Teddy a beer shower during post game celebration

Teddy gets a post-game champagne or beer showerHaving depleted the supply of champagne in the locker room, Nationals players returned to the field to celebrate their National League East championship Monday night and began spraying themselves and nearby fans with beer.

Though Teddy and the racing presidents had joined them on the field to celebrate, they kept their distance from the beer soaking — that is, until one Nationals player (Is that Ryan Mattheus?) did his best to annoint the Rough Rider with brew.

This video courtesy of Twitter user @OldTownHome shows the attack.

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.

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