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

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