Racing presidents chase White Sox Southpaw on Segways

The Washington Nationals returned to town Friday night for a short homestand of interleague play against the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals, sandwiched at either end with starts by rookie pitcher Stephen Strasburg.

Chicago White Sox Mascot Southpaw at Nationals ParkPresident Barack Obama joined the sellout crowd on Friday to see his beloved White Sox take on the Nationals new main attraction, and unlike his previous visit to Nationals Park, he stayed until the 9th inning, and got to witness his first Nationals presidents race.

Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt rides a Segway during the presidents raceChicago White Sox mascot Southpaw has joined the team in DC for the weekend series, and surprised the crowd by emerging alone out of the gate for the beginning of the 4th-inning presidents race.

Just as the crowd was wondering where the presidents were, they emerged in centerfield aboard Segway personal transporters, with Thomas Jefferson at the front of the pack, and
Teddy sadly lagging far behind.

As they passed Southpaw and approached the finish line, Jefferson appeared to lose control, and Abe Lincoln passed him to claim the victory. As he broke the tape, Illinois’ favorite son pointed up to Obama’s box along the third base line.

The racing presidents were sporting brand new red running shoes to kick off the homestand, but as it turned out, they had no need for them at all.

Opening day disaster for the Nats and Teddy

Until the 4th inning, it was looking pretty good for both the Washington Nationals and Teddy Roosevelt on opening day at Nationals Park. Then the bottom fell out.

Pitcher John Lannan lost control in the top of the 4th, gave up the lead, and let the Phillies bat around the order.

Teddy too, looked good coming out of the gate following an exciting new scoreboard introduction in the middle of the 4th. He took a close lead around the final turn, but appeared to pull up lame after high-fiving a fan in the stands. As the other presidents and members of the Nat Pack tried to help Teddy up, Abe Lincoln raced from behind to claim the first presidents race victory of 2010.

With that, the spring hopes of many Washington Nationals fans were muted considerably. Hopes had been running high for signs of both a Nationals team turnaround and an end to Teddy’s losing streak, but the Nats’ pitching could not deliver, and Teddy’s status for Wednesday’s race is now uncertain.

Fans of the presidents race had been hoping that president Barack Obama would perhaps make a presidents race appearance of his own.

Our 44th president was on hand to throw out the first pitch, continuing a long-standing tradition of presidential first pitches in Washington.

Obama, a devout fan of the Chicago White Sox, took the field at the end of an elaborate 30-minute opening ceremony.

President Obama First Pitch Nationals ParkHe approached the pitchers mound wearing a Nationals warm-up jacket, but pulled a White Sox cap out of his pocket and donned it before tossing the ceremonial pitch to Ryan Zimmerman. Much to the dismay of many Nats fans, the First Fan made it clear where his allegiances lie.

Obama left before the 4th inning, and failed to see either the game or the presidents race.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

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