Post’s Stephen Hunter calls for Nationals fans to turn against the presidents race

With Manny Ramirez and the Los Angeles Dodgers arriving at Nationals Park tonight for another free T-Shirt Tuesday, Nationals fans are holding out hope that the homestand which begins today can help erase their painful memories of the last two home series in which the Nationals were dominated by the Mets and Rockies.

Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post thinks we should hate the Washington Nationals presidents raceIn today’s Washington Post, film critic and author Stephen Hunter writes about the pain and disappointment of following a losing team. Calling himself “an expert on baseball hurt,” Hunter argues that baseball is “just a toothache,” and the only way to cope is to learn to hate. Choosing the object of that hate is the beginning of the mission.

While Orioles fans have a ready-made villain in owner Peter Angelos, it’s not so obvious for Nationals fans. With no history, no curses, and no larger-than-life monstrous personalities to target, Hunter has concluded that Nationals fans must find something else to hate passionately, and his target of choice is the presidents race.

Hunter calls the team’s racing presidents “charmless, awkward, silly, sexless and pointless,” and is encouraging Nationals fans to channel their frustrations by nurturing vitriol against Teddy and his endless quest for victory.

I’ve always enjoyed Stephen Hunter’s writing, but on this point, I think he is deluded by his years of baggage as an Orioles fan. Hunter argues that hatred gives baseball fans purpose and a mission. I’m all for hating the Mets and Phillies, but do we need to hate our own team? A small pocket of presidents race haters has shown up here in the comments and on “About Me” page. What do you think?

Photo by flickr member Ron Hogan

The Racing Presidents Invade Baltimore

This afternoon as the Washington Nationals’ welcomed Jason Bergmann back to the bigs with a thrilling 1-0 victory (and series win) over the Mets in New York, the racing presidents — George, Tom, Abe, and Teddy — took to the streets of Baltimore in preparation for this weekend’s series against the Orioles at Camden Yards.

Accompanied by team mascot Screech, the presidents taunted the Orioles Bird at the Inner Harbor, carrying signs that included “Old Bay Stinks!” (Tom), “Honestly, The Nats Will Sweep Baltimore Hun!” (Abe), “I Can Not Tell A Lie–The Nats Will Win!” (George), and of course “I’ll Race the Orioles Bird and Beat Him!” (Teddy) .

I was fortunate enough to be in Baltimore for business today, but didn’t have my camera with me(!). However, this video by WNST in Baltimore captures the spirit, and there are some other great shots over at Nats 320. Washington Post writers Dan Steinberg and Marc Fisher had separately predicted an unfriendly and even dangerous reception for the presidents by Baltimore locals; but while the presidents heard a smattering of boos and O’s cheers, the reception in the tourist-heavy Inner Harbor area was mostly enthusiastic.

Most surprisingly was the reaction by Orioles owner Peter Angelos, the long-time nemesis of DC baseball fans, who reacted politely to the visit, telling the Baltimore Sun “They’re welcome to do that. It is one huge megalopolis, you know? It’s about time we realize it.”

UPDATE: The Nationals confirmed that the presidents will not be racing at Camden Yards this weekend, but Screech will be there to represent the team.

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