Behind the scenes with the genius behind the Nats Star Wars Day Racing Presidents costumes

Washington Post intern Lauren Loftus has published a wonderful behind-the-scenes profile of the genius behind the customized racing presidents costumes from Sunday’s Star Wars Day promotion at Nationals Park.

Nationals Star Wars Day Racing Presidentsracing presidents star wars costumes Natsracing presidents star wars costumesLongtime readers know that the Nationals’ racing presidents were built by Randy Carfagno Productions in New York City, but when Star Wars costumes, wigs, astronaut helmets, or other repairs or embellishments are called for, who do the Nationals call on?

DC-area parents are no doubt familiar with the work of Ingrid Crepeau, longtime puppeteer behind the children’s shows produced by Silver Spring-based Dino Rock Productions. Loftus’s piece explains how Crepeau has in recent years built a successful side business building, repairing, and costuming local sports mascots.

Crepeau tells the Post she’s been working on the presidents for six years, which makes a lot of sense. It was six years ago that Teddy missed several races when his costume frame cracked, an incident that the Post at the time called a “classic Washington cover-up.” On several other occasions, Teddy’s glasses have been damaged. With Crepeau on board, there’s no longer a need to send costumes to New York for repairs.

The piece also includes behind-the-scenes video. It’s a lovely profile of somebody who loves her work. “I love children’s laughter,” Crepeau tells Loftus. “That’s the best sound in the world, isn’t it?”

Video and Photos: The Washington Post

Teddy says retirement is out of the question

Teddy Roosevelt chats with The Washington PostStill basking in the glow from Wednesday’s historic victory, Nationals mascot Teddy Roosevelt participated in a live online chat Friday with The Washington Post, and gave an emphatic denial to rumors of his retirement.

“Retirement? RETIREMENT?,” the mascot wrote. “Let me make this clear, I will NOT be retiring anytime soon! The best is YET to come!”

Nats broadcast F.P. Santangelo had speculated about a night of boozing it up on the town in celebration Wednesday, but Teddy tried to put that to bed as well.

“To tell ya the truth, I went home and got some much needed rest.,” he wrote. “…I want to make sure I am ready to go when the Nats come home for NLDS Game 3!”

On his relationships with George, Tom, and Abe:

“We don’t really talk about the racing much. On the field, we are all fierce competitors, but off the field we are good friends.”

Full transcript here.

Photo: The Washington Post

Is tonight the night? Let the Speculation Begin

For years now, many Nationals fans have been advancing a common theory about the presidents race: Teddy will win when the Nationals win.

Teddy Roosevelt Washington Nationals presidents raceFrom the Nationals Park stands to the Red Loft bar to Twitter and online discussion forums, the only thing up for debate among many fans is the exact timing.  When they make the playoffs. When they win the division. When they finish their first winning season. When they host their first playoff game. When they win a pennant. When they make the Worlds Series. When they win the World Series.  Everybody has a theory.

On Thursday night, the first of those milestones passed.  The Nationals clinched their first playoff berth, and if the chatter on Twitter is any indication, quite a few people are expecting a Roosevelt victory Friday night at Nationals Park.

In today’s Washington Post, columnist Tracee Hamilton argues that the Nats can’t let Teddy win now.

“If, say, Teddy wins during the Nationals’ first home playoff game, and the Nats subsequently lose that game,” Hamilton writes, “the ‘When will Teddy win?’ discussion will devolve into ‘The Curse of Teddy.’

Hamilton’s solution? “Avoid the decision. Announce he’s reached his (between) innings limit for the season, and shut him down. It worked with Strasburg.”


Personally, I don’t know when Teddy’s going to win. I just know I have to be there when it happens.

Video: The Post Profiles some seriously insane Nats fan

When The Washington Post asked me to stay mic’d up during yesterday’s game, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Here it is. The Post released the companion video to presidential speechwriter Paul Orzulak’s must-read opinion piece on the Let Teddy Win movement, and well, the video speaks for itself.

I am amazed by how quickly producer Brad Horn pieced this together.

Orzulak calls for Teddy to win on August 18

If presidential speechwriter Paul Orzulak gets his way, Teddy Roosevelt will win the Nationals’ 500th presidents race on August 18.

Washington Nationals' Teddy RooseveltIn an opus for the Washington Post opinion pages entitled “Seriously, Nats: It’s time for Teddy to win,” Orzulak presents the most thorough and cogent case yet for the Washington Nationals to finally let Teddy win.

“In the long history of organized sports, no team or individual at the collegiate or professional level has ever lost 500 times in a row,” Orzulak writes.

But that is, in fact, the fate that awaits Teddy on August 18, rainouts or extra overtime races notwithstanding.

“Teddy winning wouldn’t just make sense for the 2012 Nats — it could even boost the national mood,” Orzulak writes, laying out a meticulous list of president Roosevelt’s qualifications and of the injustices handed his 2012 counterpart.

It’s today’s must read. Video report to follow.

Nats say presidents race move wasn’t to avoid foul play

The Nats are saying Thursday’s surprise change in direction of the opening day presidents race was not designed to avoid foul play by the likes of Jayson Werth, according to a report this morning by Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post.

The source said that the team plans to alternate which side of the field the presidents run on, a strategy that’s equally likely to confound any sabotage plans, and anybody else who wants to (ahem) cheer and/or photograph the finish line.

Steinberg is a close follower of the Let Teddy Win movement, and thank goodness, because the Post gets messages returned a lot faster than the rest of us. LTW’s inquiries about future plans for the race were not answered.

UPDATE: Soon after this posted, I heard back from a Nats spokesperson who wanted to point out that Thursday was not the first time that the Presidents have run that path. “We like to keep fans on their toes and mix the race up from game to game, depending on what works best,” she said. When had they run that path before? On the final race of the 2011 season.

Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page

Jayson Werth tells the Post he’s not joking

In this Redskins-obsessed sports community, it’s fair to say that many people locally haven’t paid close attention to the Nationals’ amazing September.

Jayson Werth blocks Thomas Jefferson in the presidents race - Photo by Chris TatemSo it’s also not surprising that when people hear about Jayson Werth’s attempt to interfere with the presidents race, many who weren’t there assume it was a scripted gag.

But as we’ve known since May, Werth again made it clear to the Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore that he is a serious member of the Let Teddy Win movement.

The self-proclaimed “last member of the Bull Moose Party” is passionate about putting an end to any remnants of what he saw as “an expectancy of losing,” and while he believes the team has turned the corner, he sees Teddy’s losing streak as a remnant of that mentality.

“It was a joke on some levels, but on some levels not,” Werth told Kilgore. “There’s an expectancy of losing there. It goes back to the first month of the season when we won two games in a row and [a reporter] asked me about the two-game winning streak. It’s like, ‘No.’ That whole thing had to stop. That had to stop in a big way. When an organization or a team is really young and is coming from many losing seasons, it starts to get ingrained. I’m not saying that I’m the one who changed it. It’s got to be a conscious effort on everybody’s part. But I definitely wasn’t complacent when I saw that happening.”

It’s safe to say that Werth won’t be interfering with the presidents race again, but here’s hoping our new favorite National doesn’t drop his membership in the Bull Moose party. If Werth can recruit more players and fans to the cause, and the team does well, perhaps the pressure will build for the Nationals to let Teddy win in the 2012 season.

Photo courtesy of Flickr member Chris Tatem


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