Nationals “presidential announcement” planned for Saturday

Since Teddy Roosevelt’s historic first victory at the end of last season, the Nationals have been promising some new twists for the season ahead.

A giant John Kennedy was spotted outside Nationals Park after the final playoff game of 2012, leading some to speculate about expansion of the Rushmore Four. Rumors also swirled about retirement for Teddy, but Roosevelt himself has vehemently denied the possibility.

It appears that the speculation will finally end on Saturday at NatsFest, the team’s mid-winter fan festival. This Tweet came from team officials on Wednesday:

Nationals NatsFest Announcement Racing Presidents

Details here as soon as they are available.

Video: Ken Burns narrates and John McCain featured as ESPN E:60 profiles the Let Teddy Win movement

As usual, Teddy Roosevelt pulled up the rear but stole the show, as  ESPN’s E:60 ended  Tuesday night with an eight minute Ken Burns-narrated feature story on the conspiracy surrounding Nationals racing  president Teddy Roosevelt.

Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt ESPNTeddy Roosevelt's great great grandson Winthrop RooseveltJohn McCain with Teddy Roosevelt DollTeddy Roosevelt Presidents Race Abe CheatsESPN’s Michael Johns set out to produce the definitive piece on the Let Teddy Win movement, and by all accounts, a new bar has been set. The mini-documentary featured the Let Teddy Win blog along with interviews with Senator John McCain and the great great grandson of Theodore Roosevelt himself, Winthrop Roosevelt.

“Theodore Roosevelt is one of the great presidents in history,” McCain says in the video. “I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the fact that one of the truly great presidents in history has never won a race. I’m outraged. That’s why I’m calling for congressional hearings to right this horrible wrong.”

The Arizona senator called Teddy’s losing streak “one of the more traumatic experiences I’ve had as I watch my hero, my childhood idol, being treated in such a cavalier fashion.”

“He is Mount Rushmore’s Rodney Dangerfield,” Burns intones has he describes Teddy’s lot in modern day Washington, “a legendary president that gets no respect.”

Moments after the feature aired on ESPN, it had already inspired a “Make Teddy Win” charity campaign.

Why do the presidents keep running left? We have the answer.

Observers of the Nationals presidents race have been asking why it seems the presidents have suddenly begun running so many race to the 3B side of the field.

Washington Nationals Racing Presidents running leftIn fact, as of Friday night, six straight races and 11 of the past 14 have had the finish line along the 3B side of the field, rather than the traditional spot along the first base line.

We have the answer.

Beginning with the previous homestand that started August 17, the Nationals mascot team has switched sides every time the Nationals lose a game.

Most recently, after the September 1 loss vs. the Cardinals, the Nats began a six game winning streak which kept the presidents running “left” all this week. If form holds, today’s race will move back to the traditional “right” side after last night’s extra-innings loss.

Why the change?

A team spokesman denied the link. “The direction of the races have shifted between base sides over the last few seasons.,” she said. “It’s really just another way to keep things interesting for our fans.”

But down on the field, members of the mascot crew were not so quick with their denials. “You figured it out,” one admitted Thursday.

The Nationals have clearly come to the conclusion that the presidents race has an impact on the luck of the team, which raises the question, why do they continue to prevent Teddy from winning?

Nats send a message as George Washington Head Butts Teddy Roosevelt to prevent a win in presidents race #500

With fans far and wide clamoring for a Teddy Roosevelt victory in presidents race #500, the Washington Nationals sent a clear and decisive message Saturday night:

Don’t even think about it.

Nationals Teddy Roosevelt gets tackled in presidents race #500Nationals Teddy Roosevelt gets tackled by George WashingtonNationals Presidents Race George Washington Hits Teddy Roosevelt - Photo by DaraStarA sellout crowd of 42,662 was on hand in anticipation of the 500th running of the fabled Nationals Park presidents race, and the Nationals used the occasion to put a stop to all speculation about Teddy’s fate.

When the gates opened for the fourth inning race, Roosevelt took the field first, trailed only by Abe Lincoln. Teddy held a big lead through the home stretch, but George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were waiting there in ambush.

Washington got there first, leaving his feet to deliver a devastating head-to-head hit. If it were the NFL, the father of our country would have been issued a 3-game suspension. A chorus of boos rained down from the stands as Abe Lincoln crossed the finish line.

“That is bush league, bro,” said Nationals play-by-play man Bob Carpenter on the MASN broadcast. Color commentator Ray Knight added “That is weak.”

From the stands to the broadcast booth, the Nationals’ message was received, and it was less than welcome.


Finish line photos courtesy of Jenn Jenson/Nats Fangirl
Overhead Twitter photo by @Darastar
Finish line video courtesy YouTube member lfahome

Videos: Jayson Werth & the Nats’ bullpen pitchers interfere with Friday’s presidents race

Washington Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth has made no secret of his disgust at the conspiracy that is the Teddy Roosevelt’s losing streak in the fourth-inning presidents race.

Washington Nationals Jayson Werth interferes with the Presidents RaceJayson Werth of the Washington Nationals Interferes with the Presidents RaceWashington Nationals Bullpen interferes with Presidents RaceOn Friday night at Nationals Park, Werth took matters into his own hands, staying on the field after the top of the fourth inning, and leading his own conspiracy of Nationals players who interfered on Teddy’s behalf.

With Abraham Lincoln in the lead heading towards right field, Werth stepped onto the warning track, jumping in front of the pack, and shoving first Abe and then George Washington to slow them down.

If that wasn’t bizarre enough, a half dozen members of the Nationals bullpen were waiting to storm the field right behind Werth, and again shoved George and Abe enough to slow them down; but Thomas Jefferson ran onto the grass and cut the outfield corner, evading Werth and the cadre of pitchers to break away from the pack and steal his fourth victory in a row.

(I haven’t been able to figure out which bullpen pitcher it was who managed to slam Abe into the outfield wall. Whoever it was is my hero for life.)

At race end, the presidents gathered at the finish line with Nats mascot Screech to pay a tribute to Nationals Executive VP Bob Wolfe, a former Atlanta Braves exec who is moving back to the Braves next season.

The signs, which spelled out “We will miss you Bob!,” led to a sudden burst of tweets wondering whether MASN play-by-play announcer Bob Carpenter was leaving the team.

Meanwhile, TJ’s win streak has pulled the founding father within one victory of 3-time champion Abe Lincoln with just two games to go. Expect fireworks this weekend as the presidents close out their season.

Two videos of the event, including this one from the MASN broadcast:

Fan video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Teddy goes off-course into the outfield

Yet another offensive outburst Thursday night left Nationals fans wondering what they’re putting in the drinking water at Nationals Park.

While the Nats’ bats are suddenly on fire, the racing presidents’ behavior has reached a new level of unpredictability.

Teddy Roosevelt Cheats in Nationals Presidents RaceOn Thursday, Teddy Roosevelt got off to a solid start, then ran off-course into the middle of the outfield, only to redirect himself back into last place. “WOW!,” Teddy commented from his Twitter account. “The grass looked sooo pretty I wanted to touch it! (sic)”

Abe Lincoln then briefly took the lead, only to stop, turn, and briefly run backwards, leading Nationals PA announcer Jerome Hruska to exclaim “What’s going on?”

George Washington survived to take his second win in a row.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Behind the scenes at the Nationals presidents race (Video)

One thing we’re asked frequently (other then “When is Teddy gonna win?”) is whether the entire presidents race is scripted in advance.

Washington Nationals PA Announcer Jerome HruskaWhen I respond that Nationals Park PA announcer Jerome Hruska really calls the game live and unscripted, some people find that hard to believe.

So when the Nationals hosted several bloggers at the park last weekend, I made a special last-minute request, and the Nats were happy to oblige.

During the 4th-inning presidents race, the Nats allowed us to bring two video cameras up to the control room at
Nationals Park video control roomNationals Park, to give Let Teddy Win readers an inside look at the calling of the GEICO presidents race.

High above the field, a small army of directors, statisticians, and engineers communicates with camera operators and entertainment staff stationed throughout the park, mixing the feed live for the 101-foot HD scoreboard over the centerfield bleachers.

Washington Nationals PA Announcer Jerome Hruska's Presidents Race ScriptBehind a soundproof door, Hruska reads a script introducing the presidents race video, but from that point forward, the script just reads “(RACE).”

Video below. Thanks to Chad Kurz and the Washington Nationals for letting LTW readers behind the scenes.

Abe & Teddy break away in 3-legged presidents race

Livan Hernandez and the Washington Nationals celebrated the summer solstice with a 2-1 victory Monday night at Nationals Park, and what better to welcome in the summer than that classic summer staple, the 3-legged race.

George Washington was teamed with Thomas Jefferson and Abe Lincoln was teamed with Teddy Roosevelt as the race began.

With their legs tied together, George and Tom took an early lead, but they took a 1/2-minute to reach right field.

Rather than risk violating the MLB limit for time between innings, members of the Nat Pack ran out to cut the ropes. Abe Lincoln broke free first, and bolted ahead of the pack to claim the victory.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Racing Presidents do the limbo on Ladies Night

Washington Nationals racing president Abraham Lincoln shows off his new Hawaiian shirtThursday night was the first Ladies Night of 2010 at Nationals Park, as ticket-holders were treated to a Hawaiian-themed Luau party on the Rooftop Party Deck before the game.

Not ones to miss out on a good time, the Nationals racing presidents joined in on the fun, donning Hawaiian shirts for the occasion.

After showing off new red racing uniforms in April, this marked another of the new costumes the Nationals promised we’d see in 2010.

The famous Pittsburgh Pierogies were in town for the final game of the series between the Nats and Pirates, but rather than run alongside the presidents during the 4th inning race, they were stationed along the outfield warning track, preparing the Hawaiian-themed antics for the night.

Racing presidents do the limbo at Nationals ParkAfter emerging from the centerfield gate, the racing presidents encountered a limbo pole being held by two pierogies. Teddy Roosevelt went through first, using his stature as the shortest racing president to his advantage, but the Bull Moose ducked the big stick, cheating his way under the pole.

Teddy’s shortcut gave him the lead as they then approached the hula hoops in the outfield corner, but he was too enthralled by the toys to continue, and while too-tall Abe Lincoln continued to struggle with the limbo pole, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson made a mad dash to the finish.

George Washington beats Thomas Jefferson by a Nose in the Washington Nationals presidents raceGeorge and Tom broke the tape together in a photo finish, and Nationals PA Announcer Jerome Hruska was unable to call a winner, deferring to on-field judge and Nationals Mascot Screech.

Screech made the call for George, which our photo suggests was the right call — by a nose.

This video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome captures the photo finish, and at the very end, some members of Teddy’s Texas cheering section that were in attendance Thursday.

A birds-eye view of the presidents race

Abe Lincoln extended his winning streak to 4 games at Nationals Park Saturday night, as the Let Teddy Win blog was invited once again to take part in the team’s semi-annual blogger’s night.

Nationals Park video control room

Live coverage of the presidents race from the Nationals Park video control room

For most of the bloggers in attendance, the highlights were likely the myriad interview opportunities with Nats players and management, and the opportunity to cover the game from the press box; but for this Presidents Race Fan, the high point was reporting on the race from the video control room high atop Nationals Park, where the magic is created for the stadium’s live HD scoreboard.

Nationals Park PA Announcer Jerome Hruska calls the presidents race

And the winner is... Abe!!!

It’s safe to say that Nats Park regulars would be blown away by the sheer number of people and skill required to deliver the elaborate graphics and live in-stadium coverage of every race; and speaking of that coverage, those who believe the play-by-play is all scripted need only watch Nationals PA Announcer Jerome Hruska call it live as the race unfolds on the field below.

Unfortunately, down on the field it was deja vu for Teddy fans, as Roosevelt took a huge lead before his glasses fell off, and Abe Lincoln came from behind to win for the 4th night in a row. George Washington fell into the Geico Gecko at the finish line, marking the first time in presidents race history that the sponsor was taken down.

Before the game, I had a chance to speak to catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who guaranteed that he’d be behind the plate for Stephen Strasburg’s debut on Tuesday night. With 3 networks covering and over 200 press credentials issued, the buzz is building for that sellout game. Up in the press box, there was much speculation that Tuesday could be the night for Teddy to end his streak. We can only hope…

A special thanks to Nationals Senior Manager of New Media Chad Kurz for arranging the day.

Here’s the race as seen from the stands, courtesy of YouTube member lfahome:

And here’s the race as edited live in the booth and called by Jerome:

Abe gets his revenge on Tom

Abe Lincoln Wins the Washington Nationals presidents race.What do George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and the Washington Nationals have in common? All were mathematically eliminated from any shot at a championship during the homestand that ended Thursday night at Nationals Park.

In a night filled with heroics on the field, Teddy Roosevelt looked uninspired. With Teddy lagging far behind in the 4th-inning presidents race, Abe Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson battled down the stretch once again, but this time it was Abe who prevailed.

Abe did a little dance and Jefferson bowed in reverence. For the second consecutive season, the Great Emancipator has locked up the presidents race title with several weeks still remaining. With his second crown, Abe will become the first 2-time presidents race season champion.

Teddy dresses as Santa for Christmas in July

Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt dresses as Santa Claus for Christmas in JulyIt was Christmas in July tonight at Nationals Park, with the U.S. Marines Corps Reserves on hand all weekend collecting toys for the Toys for Tots Foundation; and for a brief time, it appeared that the fans in attendance were in store for an early gift in the form of victory for Teddy Roosevelt.

But a day after Teddy failed to win even after tackling the other presidents, only the most optimistic of Teddy supporters could be convinced that the second half of the season would be different for #26.

Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt dresses as Santa for Christmas in JulyWashington Nationals mascot Screech provided a clue about what was in store when he appeared in a Santa Suit to take his customary place at the finish line.

When Teddy burst out of the centerfield gate in full Santa regalia, he looked unbeatable, staking a big lead as he approached the first base stands.

Unfortunately, Teddy has never been good at multitasking, and when he reached into his big red bag and began tossing Webkinz stuffed animals to the fans, the other presidents passed him by. Teddy never finished the race.

The 4th annual Toys for Tots drive continues for Saturday’s and Sunday’s games at Nationals Park. The U.S. Marines will be stationed at all gates to accept donations from gate opening until the end of the fourth inning. The toys collected will be distributed to non-profit organizations and pediatric wards in the D.C. metropolitan area.

After false start, Pittsburgh pierogie wins Nationals presidents race

Its fair to say that after almost three years of presidents race mishaps and oddities, it would be hard to imagine any result that would stun the Nationals Park crowd; but last night, the unthinkable happened.

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ racing pierogies were at Nationals Park for the final game of their 4-game series. In the 4th inning, Nationals pitcher Craig Stammen was cruising through a perfect start in his major league debut. Perhaps the quick work Stammen was making of the Pirates caught the racing presidents off guard, but when the gates opened for the mid-inning presidents race, Abe Lincoln false-started, then pulled back. The Pierogies took off, and nobody caught them. Cheese Chester was first to the finish line, marking the first time ever that a president did not win the presidents race!

It’s been tough to get any official word from the team, but indications are that this was not what they had planned.

Video by YouTube member TheTeddyRoosevelt

Presidents race blindfolded. Teddy runs the wrong way.

The Washington Nationals presidents race blindfolded.The Washington Nationals racing presidents surprised the crowd at Nationals Park tonight by emerging from the centerfield gate for the 4th-inning presidents race wearing red blindfolds around their giant heads.

Thus the first-ever blindfolded presidents race plunged into chaos
Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt runs blindfolded into the Nationals Park standsfrom the start.

Abe Lincoln jumped out first and crashed into the outfield wall, while poor Teddy Roosevelt got spun around and ran the wrong way. Meanwhile, Thomas Jefferson’s blindfold slipped down to his neck.

With George and Abe bumping into each other, and Teddy wandering right into the stands along the 3rd base line, Jefferson won uncontested. Somebody tell Teddy that dropping your blindfold is apparently not grounds for disqualification.

Photos by flickr member afagen
Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome.

Tom levels Abe in the outfield. George notches win #1.

Perhaps Thomas Jefferson is as frustrated with the Washington Nationals bullpen as the rest of us.

On a day when the Nats’ bullpen notched it’s third and fourth blown saves of the 3-game series vs. the Florida Marlins, our nation’s third president took out his frustration on Abraham Lincoln during the 4th-inning presidents race at Nationals Park.

After George Washington took an early lead, Tom and Abe followed behind and began scuffling almost immediately. Tom slammed Abe against the outfield scoreboard wall, with Abe falling as Teddy Roosevelt raced by.

Teddy was unable to catch George, who notched his first presidents race victory of the young season. Alas, Teddy is now in familiar territory as the only racing president who has yet to win this season.

Video courtesy of YouTube user lfahome

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