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.

Teddy please don’t curse Drew Storen!

Drew Storen Washington Nationals 26A day after picking closer Drew Storen in the first round of the draft, the Washington Nationals signed the #10 overall pick to his first contract and introduced him to the fans at Nationals Park.

In a young season that has already had more than its fair share of screw-ups, the quick signing and introduction was meant to show Nats fans that Nationals management can get things right.

So what the heck were they thinking when they put their new pitcher in uniform #26?

#26 is, of course, Teddy Roosevelt’s number…
a number which the Nationals avoided issuing
Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt wears #26, the same number issued to first round draft pick Drew Storento any player this season… a number which, frankly, should be retired until Teddy Roosevelt breaks the curse and wins the presidents race.

Hasn’t this organization had enough bad luck? Wearing #26, Teddy has easily been the most snakebitten National of all.

Lest you think the number has nothing to do with it, remember that the last Nationals player to don #26 gave Teddy a run for his money. It was outfielder Wily Mo Peña, the slugger with the .205 batting average who hit a whopping two home runs for the Nationals last season before being chased out of town.

Why curse the new kid?

Last night, Storen got a first-hand introduction to Teddy’s travails as the newest National was on hand to throw out the first pitch. In the 4th inning, the crowd went wild as Teddy broke out to a huge and seemingly insurmountable lead, but Teddy stopped just short of the finish line to pull out a sign for the cameras welcoming the new #26 to Nationals Park.

Oh Teddy…

AP photo by Gerald Herbert
Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Teddy imitates Nats bullpen and collapses

Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt collapsesToday at Nationals Park, Teddy Roosevelt did a nice impression of the home team Washington Nationals, staking a big lead and giving his cheering fans much hope, only to collapse in the home stretch.

For the home team, the collapse came at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies, who scored the game-tying and go-ahead runs on an 8th-inning fielding error by second baseman Anderson Hernandez.

Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt collapsesThe difference with Teddy was that the collapse was literal.

After taking a seemingly insurmountable lead out of the outfield turn, Teddy hit the home stretch, stopped and keeled over.

With Teddy on his knees and members of the Nat Pack rushing to his aid, George, Tom and Abe raced by, with Abe narrowly claiming the victory.

Stan Kasten with Mayor of Nats Town Jeff and Colleen ShermanCongratulations to season ticket holders Jeff and Colleen Sherman, who were honored today as the “Mayors of Nats Town.” Jeff and Colleen (and their fabulous monkey) never miss a game in section 128, and are great friends of the Let Teddy Win blog.

A well deserved honor!

Videos courtesy of YouTube member lfahome and TheTeddyRoosevelt

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

Nats fans need a victory — Will Teddy deliver?

Washington Nationals racing presidents' Teddy Roosevelt at Nationals ParkThe Washington Nationals begin their home season Monday afternoon at Nationals Park against the world champion Philadelphia Phillies, and after an 0-6 start on the road against the Marlins and Braves, the question on the mind of some Nats fans is “Who will win first: The Nationals or Teddy Roosevelt?”

In the first three years of the Nationals presidents race, three different presidents have taken the season crown (George in ’06, Tom in ’07, and Abe last year), which begs the question: Will 2009 be Teddy’s year?

If the last two season openers are any indication, the opening day presidents race will be nothing if not entertaining. In 2007, Teddy was disqualified after flying into RFK Stadium on a zip line. On opening day 2008, Teddy was disqualified again for cutting across the outfield. If Teddy runs a clean race on Monday, we can hold out hope that a change of fortune is in store for 2009.

Nationals Park presidents race bobbleheadsIn April, there’s always hope.

If you don’t have tickets yet, grab your Let Teddy Win t-shirts and head down to Nationals Park tomorrow to take in all the changes at Nationals Park. The team may be having a rough start, but an afternoon at our new ballpark remains one of the best entertainment values in town, and it looks like tickets will still be available at the gate.

This year brings lower seat prices, more (and cheaper) open parking, open home batting practice, the renovated Red Porch restaurant, improved food concessions, the new statues installed in the centerfield plaza, and new 7-foot racing president bobbleheads in the Nats Family Fun Area — perfect for photo ops with Teddy (photo at right courtesy of Teddy fan Shanna Comai).

The centerfield gates open at 12:30pm, with festivities leading up to the first pitch:

12:30pm – Face painting & balloon artists, centerfield plaza
12:30pm – The music of Dr. Fu, new Centerfield Plaza Stage
12:30pm – The music of Road Soda, Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk Stage
12:45pm – Home team batting practice
2:00pm – Nats Xtra with Ray Knight and Johnny Holliday, centerfield plaza
2:35pm – David Gregory hosts pregame ceremonies with singer Patti Austin
3:05pm – First pitch

See you there!

New look for Nationals mascot Screech

Washington Nationals mascot Screech on 70s night at Nationals ParkThe Washington Nationals will unveil a “new look” for their mascot Screech this coming Monday, March 2, at ESPN Zone in Washington, DC. In-game host Clint Kouhry and members of the Nat Pack will be on hand for the unveiling.

If Screech seems a bit young to be getting a facelift, perhaps it’s because he is so clearly at the bottom of the pecking order in terms of Nationals mascot fan-favorites, with Teddy Roosevelt, of course, at the top of the pack. For my money, it’s going to take a lot more than a facelift to boost favor for Screech, who as judge of the Presidents Race, has disqualified Teddy Roosevelt a few too many times.

The Nationals announced today that Screech will make a variety of appearances during March to show off his “fresh-feathered look” before the start of the 2009 baseball season. Monday’s 1:00pm unveiling will be open to the public.

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