Nats get first victory of the season — Not so for Teddy

On a beautiful spring night at Nationals Park, 20,000 fans witnessed a display of the Washington Nationals new power as they grabbed their first victory of the season tonight in an 8-2 drubbing of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Alas, Teddy Roosevelt did not join the Nationals in the win column.

Thomas Jefferson trips in the Washington Nationals presidents race, but is granted the victory.Unlike opening day, Teddy did participate in the presidents race from start to finish. Our #26 actually built an early lead and had a clear path to the finish line, but Abe Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson passed him in the home stretch, with Abe appearing to cross the tape first as Jefferson fell at the finish line (or was he tripped by Abe?).

The close finish was initially called for Abe, but after video review it was announced that the win was granted to Thomas Jefferson.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user philliefan99
Video by YouTube member Rockthered8

Teddy plays the spoiler on opening day at Nationals Park

The largest crowd in Nationals Park history showed up today to witness an opening day game that was filled with promise, but was ultimately jinxed both on and off the field.

On the field, some fine performances by the young Nationals roster were eclipsed by dropped balls, errant throws, and hit batsmen, leading ultimately to a 9-8 loss at the hands of the world champion Philadelphia Phillies.

Meanwhile, Teddy Roosevelt fans who eagerly anticipated the 4th inning President’s Race were dissapointed when Thomas Jefferson emerged alone from the center field gate to grab a big lead from the start.

Opening day presidents race - Teddy waits in the stands for Thomas JeffersonWhen Abe Lincoln and George Washington followed him out, several paces behind, the question on everyone’s mind became “Where the heck is Teddy?”

The answer came after Jefferson turned the outfield corner, where Teddy was waiting for him in the stands along the 1st base line. Jefferson paused, and Teddy presented him with a bouquet of red balloons in honor of Jefferson’s 266th birthday (who knew?).

That Cat tackles Thomas Jefferson during the opening day presidents race at Nationals ParkThat’s when “That Cat” emerged from behind Teddy, jumped from the stands, and tackled Tom.

Lincoln and Washington ran past him, with Abe easily taking the tape for the first official presidents race victory of 2009.

Teddy never got out of the stands.

That Cat is no stranger to the Nationals presidents race, having first interfered last season, when he attacked Teddy in April and again in June.

Could it be that the panther has joined forces with Teddy to undermine the other presidents? Has Teddy given up on winning to simply play the spoiler? If the reaction of fans around me was any indication, this would not be a popular move. The fans want a clean race. They want to see Teddy get a shot at victory in 2009!

The 2009 season is underway.

Photos courtesy of Flickr user afagen and Luis Albisu

Your chance to be a Washington Nationals racing president!

Presidents RaceJust as they did last year, the Washington Nationals will be holding auditions on Presidents Day weekend for those who want to compete as racing presidents George, Tom, Abe, or Teddy during the 2009 season at Nationals Park.

The tryouts will be held on Sunday, February 15th at Nationals Park, with registration beginning at 10:00am. Candidates will be asked to run, dance and show their celebration skills during the presidents race auditions, which are closed to the public. If you’d like to score an invitation, you may e-mail a cover letter, resume and recent photo to entertainment@nationals.com. The deadline for applications is Monday, February 9 at 5:00pm.

In announcing the auditions, the Nationals said they are looking for “energetic individuals, between 5’7” and 6’ 6” in height, with the ability to run from right field to home plate while wearing a 45-lb costume, and who are available for at least 40% of Nationals home games” (that’s a minimum of 33 games… plus playoffs, you know, for us dreamers).

Teddy wannabes note that the roles rotate between the staff, so don’t expect to get a chance to choose your favorite prez; and don’t be surprised if you are asked to fill in as the occasional giant panther or banana. Still, winning this gig could land you in some exclusive territory beyond just the ball park. This past year, the Nationals racing presidents made multiple appearances at the White House and the inaugural festivities, among other plum assignments, though posing in a 12-foot tall costume might not quite be the same as getting invited to a state dinner.

Segways are no help to Teddy in presidents race

The Washington Nationals are pulling out all the stops for the final week of the home season, with a promotional schedule filled with special events and fan giveaways.

Presidents race riding segways at Washington Nationals gameToday at Nationals Park, the team upped the ante for the presidents race as well, putting all four of the racing presidents on Segway personal transporters for the last day game of the season.

Teddy Roosevelt pulled out first and took and early lead, followed closely by Thomas Jefferson and Abe Lincoln. With the Segways acting as natural speed-equalizers, it was Teddy’s race to lose, but he lost control of his segway at the outfield turn, and started spinning in circles. Tom beat Abe to the finish line to take his first presidents race victory since August.

Perhaps Teddy needs to take Segway lessons from general manager Jim Bowden, who rides a Nationals logo-covered Segway around the team’s spring training fields in Viera, Florida.

After a day off Monday, the Nationals will host the Florida Marlins for the final home series of the season starting Tuesday night.

Photo by flickr user culhanen

14-inning game features two presidents races (and two wins for George)

Friday night’s 14-inning affair between the Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres featured a treat reserved only for the truest of die-hard Nationals fans — a second unofficial presidents race, run only at home games that stretch past the 13th inning.

Five hours, 30 hits, and 18 pitchers into the game, as midnight approached, the Washington Nationals’ racing presidents returned to the field for presidents race #2. It was only the second 14-inning game in the short history of Nationals Park (the other being June 20 against the Texas Rangers). The late hour took its toll on most of the racing presidents, who simply gave up and let George run uncontested to the finish line.

For this final homestand of the season, it appears that George, Tom, and Teddy have had enough of Abe Lincoln, and have been pulling out all the stops to block him from the finish line. The result has been a mini-streak of his own for George, who won both races tonight and will be looking to lock up second place for the season this weekend.

Recurring story lines for Teddy and the Nationals

The Washington Nationals returned to town last night for the last homestand of the 2008 season, hoping to erase the memories of a long road trip in which they went 2-7 and were swept by the Florida Marlins. They found just what the doctor ordered: the powerful New York Mets hanging onto a slim division lead in the final weeks of the season.

New York fans don’t need to be reminded that they suffered a historic collapse at this time last year. With a seemingly insurmountable lead over the Philadelphia Phillies in late September, the Mets lost 5 of 6 games to the Nationals and missed the playoffs. With the pressure on once again, John Lannan one-hit the Mets last night to cut their division lead over the Phillies to just a half-game. If you love a recurring story line, the next two nights at Nationals Park should be grand.

Teddy Roosevelt is obviously a fan of recurring story lines as well. As this video by blog reader Rebecca Prowler shows, Teddy sprinted to a strong start last night in the fourth-inning presidents race. It was a clean race, but Teddy ran out of steam and Abe Lincoln took his record 45th win of the season.

The fireworks should continue tonight at Nationals Park with free T-Shirt Tuesday, and tomorrow with the big St. Patricks Day celebration and exciting young pitcher Shairon Martis on the mound. Hope to see you there!

Racing Presidents Run Hurdles to Honor Olympics

Teddy Roosevelt hurdles in Sunday's Olympic-inspired Washington Nationals Presidents RaceIn their last home game to be played during these 2008 Olympics, the Washington Nationals pulled out all the stops to stage an Olympics-inspired presidents race during the fourth inning Sunday at Nationals Park.

If Saturday night’s race-walk didn’t impress you, then the sight of our favorite 10-foot tall racing presidents jumping over hurdles certainly had to. That’s right — hurdles.

In a scene reminiscent of a previous Olympiad, Abe Lincoln, who has whipped the competition this season, emerged during the race introductions wearing Michael Johnson-inspired gold running shoes. Teddy Roosevelt and Abe Lincoln each ran the anchor leg of a hurdle relay which was confined to the outfield. Abe beat Teddy to the finish, and was declared the winner along with teammate George Washington. This is the first time a joint victory has been awarded in presidents race history.

I hope at least one of you readers captured this memorable spectacle on video.

Photo courtesy of flickr member Liliang

Teddy Gives Up Lead, Turns to Chase Panther

Teddy Roosevelt, Washington Nationals Presidents RaceThe air was thick with anticipation last night at Nationals Park as over 32,000 filled the stands for Teddy’s T-Shirt Tuesday. As Teddy Roosevelt’s faithful poured into the stadium, many were disappointed to find that the team had given out all 10,000 free “Run Teddy Run” t-shirts nearly an hour before game time.

The skies were clear, the weather was warm, and the always popular New York Mets were in town to kick off a six game homestand; but make no mistake about it. The attraction drawing so many fans on this Tuesday night was the Bull Moose, who was looking to continue the racing presidents’ unbeaten streak on their T-shirt Tuesdays.

Washington Nationals Racing President Teddy Roosevelt Gives Up Lead to Chase PantherWhen the fourth inning presidents race began, Teddy’s fans were rewarded as he jumped out to a huge lead and maintained it throughout the race.

As Teddy neared the finish line, it appeared that he might actually pull this one out, but he suddenly stopped short and turned around. His frequent nemesis, a panther wearing a “That Cat” t-shirt, appeared near the right field corner. Teddy turned, apparently conflicted between chasing the panther and chasing the finish line. He chose the panther, and Abe raced by him to steal yet another victory from our beloved #26.

The panther is becoming a frequent visitor to Nationals Park. After first attacking Teddy in April, it returned in June wearing the t-shirt and chased Teddy down from behind. Then, just 2 weeks ago, it returned to chase Screech into a collision with Teddy.

Teddy Roosevelt Fans at Nationals ParkThat Cat is quickly becoming Teddy’s Moby Dick.

We spotted some Let Teddy Win t-shirts as soon as we walked by the ticket booth and met many more of the blog readers at the pre-game rally and again after the presidents race down by the first base line.

It was great to meet all of you, despite sharing Teddy’s 173rd consecutive loss.

Presidents Race Results: The Readers Take Over

Washington Nationals Presidents Race at Nationals Park, by flickr member K GiffordGreetings from Italy, where I am unable to attend the Nationals six-game homestand that starts tomorrow vs. the Phillies and Reds. Rather than recruit somebody to update the blog during this stretch, I’ve realized the best thing to do is to let you the loyal Let Teddy Win readers take over!

Going to the game? Please leave a reply on this blog post with your reports describing what happened in the presidents race (be sure to mention the date). Got photos? Add them to the Flickr presidents race group. When I return I will update the Presidents Race Standings page with all the results!

Photo by flickr member K Gifford

Lincoln unfazed as Uncle Slam joins the presidents race.

For the Washington Nationals’ last game before the All Star break, the team today welcomed Potomac Nationals mascot Uncle Slam to Nationals Park to cheer on the team and participate in the Nationals presidents race for the first time. Unfortunately for Teddy fans, the extra competition did nothing to slow down a juggernaut called Abe Lincoln.

Potomac Nationals Mascot Uncle SlamFor those unfamiliar with Uncle Slam, he is the mascot for the Washington Nationals’ Class A minor league affiliate Potomac Nationals, which play just a short drive down I-95 in Prince William County Virginia. It was a timely appearance. With the Nationals away until July 29, the next two weeks are the perfect time to check out some of your future Nationals at intimate Pfitzner Stadium. The current roster includes such top prospects as pitcher Ross Detwiler and first baseman Chris Marrero, and rehabbing Nationals such as Ryan Wagner. Even Ryan Zimmerman is expected to get two rehab starts next week with the P-Nats.

As for the presidents race, Teddy came out in front and was followed by Uncle Slam, but as has become so common this season, Abe Lincoln turned on the afterburners to pass everybody before they reached the finish line. Abe’s seventh straight victory marks a first-ever homestand sweep of the presidents race. Teddy, Tom, and George all need to hit the training room over the all star break if they are to have any hope of catching Abe this season. Maybe Teddy should ask Abe what he’s been eating for breakfast.

Photo: Scott Ableman

Abe goes for homestand sweep Sunday at Nationals Park

Washington Nationals fans filled the stands Saturday night to watch pitcher Collin Balester’s inauspicious Nationals Park debut vs. the Houston Astros.

Despite the home team’s recent string of misfortune, it’s good to see the weekend crowds consistently topping 30,000 regardless of opponent. Great weather has certainly helped, and by now Washingtonians are figuring out that parking at Nationals Park is easy and getting to the stadium is a piece of cake whether driving or taking Metro.

Abe Lincoln extended his presidents race winning streak on Saturday at Nationals ParkUnfortunately Saturday night’s presidents race offered no drama for Teddy fans. Abe Lincoln remains on a tear and showed no signs of letting up, chasing Thomas Jefferson from behind and taking the lead in the stretch to keep his streak alive. Teddy Roosevelt did not appear to even try.

Sunday marks the last game before the All Star break and Teddy’s last chance at presidents race glory for several weeks. If Abe wins, it would be his 7th straight and a first-ever presidential sweep of an entire homestand. Somebody’s got to stop him. Why not Teddy? The weather should be good and tickets are available, so Teddy fans — I hope to see you all cheering him on tomorrow at Nationals Park!

Photo by flickr member afagen

Teddy runs the wrong way, Abe takes 5th straight.

Tonight’s sunset over the Anacostia River turned the sky a beautiful shade of pink over the left field wall at Nationals Park.

Perhaps that’s why Teddy Roosevelt chose to run in that direction after taking the field for the 4th inning presidents race.

As George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abe Lincoln raced along the right field warning track, Teddy headed left and never made it to the finish line, stopping to engage a ball girl along the way.

Back across the field, Abe was making quick work of George and Tom, bursting ahead to extend his winning streak to 5 straight (and skipping across the finish line), and with only two games to go before the all-star break, raising the possibility of a first-ever homestand sweep of the presidents race.


Video by YouTube member SchwartzVideo

Teddy Roosevelt/Stan Kasten interview on ESPN’s First Take

CORRECTION: I had originally thought this would air Friday, but it aired this morning on ESPN2:

Nationals’ president Stan Kasten says in the interview that the presidents race is not fixed, and that “it’s inevitable” that Teddy will win. He also hints that there may be more 1-on-1 races in Teddy’s future like his recent race against the Orioles Bird.

Video of Last Night’s Presidents Race

From Vimeo member Ed, here’s a new video of last night’s T-Shirt Tuesday presidents race in which Teddy took a huge lead, but suffered a wardrobe malfunction near the finish line:

Teddy skips presidents race to assist grounds crew

Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt skipped the presidents race to help the Nationals Park grounds crewPerhaps racing president Teddy Roosevelt was just tired from yesterday’s big win vs. the Orioles bird, but today at Nationals Park a lot of Teddy fans were disappointed to see our #26 give up any chance of building on last night’s momentum.

Through the early innings of today’s game vs. the Baltimore Orioles, Teddy was seen on the field with the grounds crew, pitching in and raking the turf to the best of his awkward ability.

Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt skips the race to help the grounds crewWhen the runners were introduced for the 4th inning presidents race, Teddy was not there to take the field. Instead he was shown on the Nationals Park high-definition scoreboard, driving a Toro in circles and playing with the grounds crew equipment.

Unlike last night, there were enough participating presidents to make this last presidents race of the homestand official. Abraham Lincoln overtook Thomas Jefferson to resume his winning ways, keeping Abe on pace to set a presidents race record for victories in a season.

Flickr photos courtesy of Nats fans Miss Chatter and afagen
Video by YouTube member VelocityAtrocity

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