Video: Nats get superstitious, reverse presidents race direction and put a stop to Teddy victories

Blame the team. Blame Twitter. But the seven year conspiracy against Teddy Roosevelt seems to have been resurrected.

Racing president Teddy Roosevelt takes a dive July 25

Teddy Roosevelt takes a dive just short of the finish line July 25

Rally Cicada arrives too late to tackle Teddy Roosevelt July 26…

Teddy Roosevelt Takes a Dive Jul 26 Nationals Presidents Race 2

…but Teddy Roosevelt pretends to be tripped and falls anyway

Abe Lincoln leaps from the stands to tackle Teddy Roosevelt in the Washington Nationals Presidents Race

Abe Lincoln leaps from the stands to tackle Teddy Roosevelt July 27…

Abe Lincoln leaps from the stands to tackle Teddy Roosevelt 4

…as George Washington races by for the win


The Washington Nationals’ struggles have prompted hundreds of Tweets tallying the team’s total record since letting Teddy win at the end of last season, with some even calling it “the curse of Let Teddy Win.”

After suffering their sixth straight loss Wednesday, the Nats tried to shake things up. The direction of the race was switched, with the presidents now running towards a finish line on the third base side of the field. More significantly, a familiar but suspicious pattern suggests that the team revived its longstanding ban on Teddy Roosevelt victories at the same time.

On Thursday, the presidents ran left for the first time all season, and Teddy took a huge lead into the home stretch, but stumbled as if on queue, falling flat on his face just short of the finish line.

The next day, the Rally Cicada returned to Nationals Park, and appeared ready to ambush Teddy along the finish line. The bug arrived late and missed Teddy completely, yet Teddy pretended to be tripped and fell just short of victory.

Nats play-by-play announcer Bob Carpenter captured it best. “This town loves a good conspiracy,” he said on the broadcast. “That was the worst, ever.”

On Saturday, the Rough Rider once again took a big lead into the home stretch, but Abe Lincoln was waiting in ambush, and jumped out of the stands along the third base line, tackling Teddy to the ground, allowing George Washington to race by for the win. On Sunday, George Washington slammed into Teddy with a bicycle.

Teddy had won five races this season, but none on this homestand, and the team has won 4 of 5 games since the changes. If superstition holds, Teddy may be in for a long rest of the summer.

Another Curse against the Nats? Or just the reason Abe Lincoln gets away with cheating.

In today’s Baltimore Sun, Mark Greenbaum and David O’Leary argue that the Nationals poor record in the team’s short history is not due to the fact that Major League Baseball decimated the Expos organization and talent pool, but because Nationals Park is haunted by the ghost of John Wilkes Booth.

Yes, it seems the the Nationals’ shiny new ball park happens to be on the site where Abraham Lincoln’s assassins were tried, hung, and buried.

Of course, the Nationals’ weak on-field performance dates not to the opening of Nationals Park, but to the introduction of the presidents race in 2006, leading others to have speculated about the curse of Teddy Roosevelt.

Interestingly, if any performance-related trend can be tied to the opening of Nationals Park, it’s the unlikely dominance of Abraham Lincoln in the team’s 4th-inning presidents race.

Back at RFK stadium, the first presidents race season titles went to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

But since moving to Nationals Park, Abe Lincoln has simply dominated, winning the crown going away in 2008 and 2009. This year, after losing his lead briefly to George, Abe went on a late season tear and with just ten home games remaining is positioned to take his third title in a row.

It’s been well established that Abe gets away with cheating, but perhaps it’s not Abe at all, and rather a higher power allowing the Great Emancipator to get away with murder…

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