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.

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