Natsfest begets a Bryce Harper meme

 Bryce Harper up in arms memeIt’s been a quiet winter here in Let Teddy Win World, but what better way to kick off the season and reignite Nats fan frenzy than a new Bryce Harper internet meme?

On the main stage at Saturday’s Natsfest, I caught Harper reacting with a shrug as he was announced winner of the afternoon’s Wheel of Fortune contest.

Today, Dave Brown at Yahoo!’s Big League Stew turned the photo into an internet meme, saying the photo was “sure to be iconic,” and calling for readers to download the “up in arms” photo and manipulate it for a bit of informal fun.

Here below the original are just a few of the entries to have appeared on Twitter so far.

Facing Stephen Strasburg and Tyler Clippard on stage Saturday, the hyper-competitive Harper had figured out quickly that there was no “Lose a Turn” option on the game wheel, and so he kept spinning and racking up dollars, refusing to guess or give up control until he had amassed enough points to leave Strasburg and Clippard in the dust.

Nationals radio personality and Wheel of Fortune game host Dave Jageler declared Harper the winner, and Harper gave the shrug that will apparently live on forever…

Brown is accepting entries via Twitter at @bigleaguestew.

No word yet on what either the criteria or the prize will be for the chosen winner.

Teddy Roosevelt learns you can’t run and Tweet at the same time

Nationals Ignite Your Natitude TweetupWashington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt participates in the Nats tweetupWashington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt participates in the Nats tweetupWashington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt participates in the Nats tweetupWashington Nationals Racing Presidents Vote for Bryce HarperJackson Fleischauer and Corbin Haviland hold the presidents race finish lineThe Nationals celebrated the first “Ignite Your Natitude Tweetup” at Nationals Park Tuesday night, as the team kicked off its final homestand before the All Star break.

Among the near-sellout crowd were over 700 Twitter users who RSVP’d to the event, filling section 140 and collectively doing their part to bring local cellular networks to their knees.

Participants who registered in advance via Twitter were treated to a variety of surprise gifts and experiences, from posters to t-shirts to opportunities to leave their seats and rub elbows with Stephen Strasburg and yes, Teddy Roosevelt.

The 26th president participated by tweeting before and after the 4th-inning race, and by posing with tweetup participants afterwards.

Unfortunately, Teddy tried to tweet during the race as well.

When the gates opened, TR emerged carrying an oversized Curly W cell phone.  He surged ahead to a huge lead, which he held into the home stretch.

But then he tried tweeting.

Fans following @Teddy26Nats saw Teddy’s tweet as he approached the finish line looking at his phone:

This is it, I’m soo close! I’m winnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

And with that, the Hero of San Juan Hill tripped and executed a face plant along the first base line.  Abe stole the win.

The team continues to use the racing presidents to promote All Star voting, and Tuesday night enlisted the Rushmore Four to hold signs up after the race imploring fans to use hashtag #BryceIn12 and cast their vote for Bryce Harper in the MLB “Final Vote” contest.

The effort to get out the vote has certainly had an impact on young Nats fans Jackson Fleischauer and Corbin Haviland, who won the opportunity to hold Tuesday night’s presidents race finish line. All they had to do was fill in 10,000 paper All Star ballots.

Yes, ten thousand. Congrats Jackson and Corbin. Well deserved!

Finish line video below, but first, Bob Carpenter’s call (he was a bit confused):

Finish line video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Nationals trot out “classic” presidents for Harper’s debut

Washington Nationals racing presidents begin the presidents race at Nationals ParkPresidents Race runs left George Washington Wins photo by Cheryl NicholsPresidents Race Teddy Roosevelt Loses with bulging pantsNationals Park was buzzing Tuesday night as the hometown fans got their first glimpse of rookie sensation Bryce Harper.

Harper is already beloved for his throwback-style approach to the game, and perhaps in appreciation, the Nationals brought back the “classic” racing presidents to kick off the homestand.  It was their first appearance of the season, and with luck they’re back to stay.

For those who hoped Harper’s debut might be an excuse for the team to finally let Teddy win, the fourth-inning festivities were yet another cause for disappointment.

The presidents ran left for the third time this season, moving the finish line to the third base side.  Teddy had an early lead, but may have been slowed by his bulging belly, which seemed to drop lower and lower as the race progressed.

George Washington put on a burst of speed to take the victory and move past Abe Lincoln in the season standings.

Finish line photos courtesy Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page

A crazy night of milestones for the Nats and the presidents

Was it the moon?

The beautiful bright moon that hovered over the Nationals Park scoreboard wasn’t officially full, but what other explanation could there be for the 4 1/2-hour spectacle that unfolded Thursday night.

The night that had it all started with an awesome display by one young superstar-to-be and ended with a burst bubble about another.

In between, the game that saw 43 players pound out 30 hits over 13 innings was overflowing with personal drama.

Take your pick: Jordan Zimmerman’s return from Tommy John surgery, the roughing up of St. Louis Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter, Albert Pujols hitting his 400th career home run, then twisting his ankle in extra innings, Drew Storen blowing his first save, Roger Bernadina hitting his first home run at Nationals Park to tie the game in the 9th, Ian Desmond’s walk-off RBI in the 13th inning…

As if on queue, the Nationals racing presidents were prepared to match the drama step by step with a few oddities and milestones of their own.

In his 4th appearance this season, Teddy Roosevelt’s longtime nemesis “That Cat” appeared along the first baseline, dancing about in front of the stands during the 4th-inning presidents race.

Teddy jumped out to a big lead in the race, but when he spotted the panther, he veered off course to pummel him into the stands.

Thomas Jefferson took the tape.

As the game advanced into the night and the crowd thinned, the Bull Moose took to the stands to entertain the crowd.

In the 12th inning, Teddy parked in centerfield section 101, posing for photos with fans. When he was still there at the top of the 13th, we knew trouble was in store.

For the seventh time in presidents race history, the Nationals took a home game into the 13th inning, leading to that rare treat for presidents race fans:
a second official race of the night.

Apparently Teddy didn’t get the memo.

When Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln burst out of the centerfield starting gate, Teddy was still hanging out with fans in the stands. He jumped up from his seat and raced around the concourse, but didn’t make it to the field in time to compete.

In another milestone, George, Tom,
and Abe crossed the finish line in a dead heat. The race was too close to
call, and Screech awarded a first-ever
presidents race tie to Tom and Abe.

Here are two great videos courtesy of YouTube member lfahome, including a great capture of Teddy’s encounter with That Cat!

Will the Nationals Let Teddy Win on Strasmas Day?

DC sports fans are gearing up for the most hyped debut in Washington sports history, as fans have dubbed Tuesday Strasmas Day in anticipation of the major league debut of pitcher Stephen Strasburg, aka Baseball Jeezus.

With the team expected to choose hitting phenom Bryce Harper today with the #1 pick in baseball’s amateur draft, Nats fans see this week as a symbolic turning point in the short history of the franchise.

The Nationals are surely eager to send the message that a new era has arrived. With a record sellout crowd expected, and every major national media outlet on hand, what better opportunity could the Nats have to let Teddy win? It seems a wise move, both to send a signal to the fans, and to avoid risking a chorus of 41,000 boos during their moment in the spotlight.

Here’s hoping history is made on the warning track as well as the pitcher’s mound.

One character who clearly hopes to prevent it is Abe Lincoln. The all-time presidents race victory leader has set aside his dirty tricks and gone on a tear, earning his 5th consecutive come-from-behind victory Sunday at Nationals Park. Teddy’s eyeglasses fell off his nose, but he gutted it out and finished the race blind. We’re hoping he manages to get them fixed on his off day today. The racing presidents were sporting their traditional period garb for just the second time this season.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

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