Taft plays Jason for Friday the 13th, gets clocked by George

Friday 13th William Howard Taft as Jason Washington Nationals Presidents RacePresidents Race Friday the 13th Jason GIF William Howard TaftThe Nationals racing presidents kicked off the final homestand of the season as the presidents race was meant to be, with the Rushmore four — George, Tom, Abe, and Teddy — racing closely along the warning track.

But it being Friday the 13th, this season’s interloper William Howard Taft emerged from the bullpen midway through the race wearing a hockey mask, and mucked up the proceedings, attacking the competition and leaving them lying in the outfield.

But “Jason” took his time grandstanding for the crowd as he proceeded towards the finish line, and George Washington caught him from behind.

As the crowd cheered, the father of our country triumphantly waved an American flag as he crossed the tape.

With nine home games to go, Washington’s magic number is three.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Videos: Taft competes with Teddy for Twitter followers, Abe slams him with a folding chair, and more

The cheating is getting out of hand in the Nationals presidents race, and if that sounds like nothing new, the difference vs. previous years is that now even Teddy isn’t getting disqualified.

Nationals Tweetup Taft vs TeddyTaft tackles Teddy at Nats tweetupAbe Lincoln hits William Howard Taft with a Folding ChairAbe Lincoln hits William Howard Taft with a Folding ChairOn Tuesday and Wednesday nights at Nationals Park, Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft escalated their 100 year-old war, taking each other out as race judge Screech looked the other way.

The Nationals sponsored a #VoteNats Tweetup on Wednesday evening, and the team’s longtime face of Twitter Teddy Roosevelt paced the field, holding up a sign as he approached the finish line reading “#voteNATS Tweetup ’13 Follow me @Teddy26Nats.”

But Taft was trailing close behind with his own sign, and slammed the Rough Rider to the ground, taking the victory and holding up his own sign saying “No Teddy, they should follow ME @NatsBigChief27.”

Taft’s antics were simply revenge for the previous night, when Teddy had enlisted the help of longtime nemesis Abraham Lincoln to take Taft out of the competition.

On Tuesday, “Honest” Abe sat out the race — literally. When the race began, Lincoln parked himself on a folding chair on the warning track by the Nationals bullpen.

Teddy Roosevelt tore out of the starting gate and slapped hands with the Great Emancipator as he race by the bullpen.

Lincoln then stood up, folded up the chair, and swung it right into the oncoming Taft.

With the Chief Justice flattened to the ground, Abe unfolded the chair, stood on it, and taunted his victim. No disqualifications were issued.

Here’s Teddy’s victory from Tuesday night:

And Taft’s take down of Teddy on Wednesday:

I was not around for the race on the 27th, but here is the video, in which Lincoln apparently celebrated the anniversary of the decommissioning of Route 66:

Orioles Bird takes out racing presidents, struggles with Taft

Baltimore Orioles Bird Tackles Nationals Racing PresidentsBaltimore Orioles Bird Tackles Nationals Racing Presidents William Howard TaftBaltimore Orioles Bird Tackles Nationals Racing PresidentsBaltimore Orioles mascot “The Bird” made his annual appearance at Nationals Park Tuesday night as the Nats took on the Orioles in the “Battle of the Beltways.”

The creatively named mascot has been known for disrupting the presidents race in the past, but Tuesday marked the first time the Oriole had ever faced five presidents at once.

As the fourth inning race began, The Bird charged at the racing presidents along the outfield warning track.

The Bird made quick work of front-runners George Washington, Abe Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt, but charging behind was big Bill Taft, who proved to be more of a load than anticipated.

As the Oriole struggled to pull down the portly Chief Justice, Thomas Jefferson slipped by and raced ahead unobstructed for the victory.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Video: Big Bill Taft leads wire to wire, earns victory #2

Bill Taft wins 2nd presidents raceThe Nats returned from a lengthy west coast road trip Friday night, and Jordan Zimmermann welcomed fans and Phillies back to Nationals Park with a dominating performance.

In the fourth inning presidents race, William Howard Taft put on an uncharacteristic display of speed, jumping out to a quick start and leading wire to wire for the first time in his brief racing career.

It was Big Bill’s second presidents race victory. Abe Lincoln remains inexplicably winless.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Video: Taft notches his first-ever presidents race victory, beating Teddy at the wire

Racing Presidents Abe Attacks JeffersonRacing Presidents Teddy Attacks GeorgeNationals Racing Presidents William Howard Taft First VictoryThe recent spate of violence and cheating in the Nationals’ presidents race escalated Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park as Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and George Washington all got into the act.

Thomas Jefferson took an early lead, but Abe Lincoln put a quick end to that by head butting the Sage of Monticello on the warning track.

Standings leader George Washington quickly got back at “Honest” Abe, slamming him into the right field wall and knocking him out of the race.

Season-long losers Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft were hot on Washington’s trail, and as they reached the home stretch, Teddy grabbed Washington from behind and knocked him out, ensuring that one winless president would notch his first victory of the season.

In the second photo finish in as many days, it was newcomer William Howard Taft who leaned forward to break the tape and win his first-ever presidents race at Nationals Park.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Seamheads.com & SABRmetrics expert says dump Taft, Let Teddy Win

The folks over at Seamheads.com know a thing or two about baseball, having authored 90 books about the subject. So the Washington Nationals might do well to pay attention when Seamheads managing editor, baseball author, longtime MASN contributor and SABRmetrics expert Ted Leavengood offers some advice for getting the season on track.

Seamheads Ted LeavengoodOn Thursday at Seamheads.com, Leavengood makes the case that the Nats messed up their juju by introducing new racing president William Howard Taft for the 2013 season, while turning Teddy Roosevelt into a perpetual loser once again.

“What must be accepted,” Leavengood writes, “is that the Natinals (sic) have violated the first rule of Juju. You don’t change the narrative when your team is winning.”

Citing The Juju Rules by Hart Seely, Leavengood argues that the prescription is simple. “The first step must be to have Teddy win again. He must win by running directly over William Howard Taft. That may be enough, but if not then Taft must be shipped out to Syracuse. The Nationals need to get down to the business at hand and it is all about Teddy.”

You can find some of Leavengood’s books on Washington baseball here.

Video: Washington gets his revenge on WH Taft

Racing president William Howard Taft hits the ground 4-4-2014Racing president William Howard Taft hits the ground 4-4-2014After William Howard Taft tried to knock out the competition during his debut presidents race on opening day, George Washington decided to send a message.

On Wednesday night at Nationals Park, Taft raced out of the gate to take a big lead, but the father of our country sat out to wait in ambush along the first base line.

After turning back to taunt the other presidents, Taft ran into a wall of Washington and hit the ground, allowing a trailing Thomas Jefferson to take the tape.

Meanwhile, Teddy is off to an 0-2 start for the seventh time.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Video: Winthrop Roosevelt no help as William Howard Taft pushes Teddy around in his debut race

Winthrop Roosevelt at Nationals ParkWilliam Howard Taft Tackles Abe LincolnPresidents Race William Howard Taft Tackles Teddy RooseveltWilliam Howard Taft Tackles Teddy RooseveltWinthrop Roosevelt was on hand to cheer on his great-great grandfather for the opening day presidents race at Nationals Park, but the Nats’ newest racing president established himself as an enforcer who was prepared to put himself between Teddy and the finish line.

The direct descendent of Theodore Roosevelt ushered in the 2013 season with a shout of “Play Ball” before the first pitch, drawing cheers from the record opening day crowd despite the Nats’ unfortunate misspelling of his name on the HD scoreboard (it read “Wintrhop”).

A Bryce Harper first-pitch home run and 4 nearly-perfect Stephen Strasburg-pitched innings later, the Nationals’ new racing president William Howard Taft (the Nats plan to call him “Bill”) made his presidents race debut.

Winthrop Roosevelt was recruited to hold the presidents race finish line and cheered loudly for his namesake, but Taft established his new role quickly, shoving Abraham Lincoln to the ground as they ran along the outfield warning track.

After Jefferson tripped on the fallen Lincoln, Taft chased down Roosevelt, slamming him into the right field wall before both fell to the ground.

With George Washington crossing the finish line alone, Bill and Teddy rose to their feet and got into a shoving match in the foul territory below section 133.

The Nationals are clearly out to establish Taft as the presidents race villain and new nemesis for Teddy Roosevelt. Who knows where this will lead, but those who thought Teddy’s brief playoff winning streak would carry into the new season were sorely disappointed.

More photos and observations from opening day 2013 to follow.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Taft skips first presidents race of 2013, Gecko flattens Washington

New racing president William Howard Taft sat out the first presidents race of 2013 at Nationals Park.

Taft sits out first presidents raceThe unofficial race was part of Friday’s exhibition opener vs. the New York Yankees. Taft wasn’t part of the introductory video, and spent the entire race in the stands at section 133, taking notes on his new opponents in preparation for Monday’s official opener.

The race was otherwise reminiscent of previous seasons, with Teddy Roosevelt trailing far behind Abe Lincoln at the tape. George Washington tried to take out his frustrations on the sponsor GEICO Gecko, who was ready for George and flattened him.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Taft Gains on Teddy in race to Mt. Rushmore

Racing president Teddy Roosevelt reaches IllinoisRacing President William Howard Taft reaches IllinoisRacing president William Howard Taft gained ground on Teddy Roosevelt late Friday evening as they both crossed the Illinois line after just one day of their race to Mt. Rushmore.

The Big Chief followed Teddy in tweeting from the border just before sunset, nearly 700 miles from the day’s starting point.

In a Nationals-sponsored Twitter contest, fans have been asked to use the hashtags #VoteBill or #VoteTeddy to show support for either Taft or Roosevelt. Teddy shot out to an early lead, but voting has been light, meaning a Taft comeback isn’t out of the question.

Given that one randomly selected user of each hashtag will win a private mascot appearance with that racing president, a vote for Taft right now is
carrying pretty nice odds.

Teddy takes an early lead in fan voting as race vs. Taft begins

William Howard Taft Racing President departing on adventure to Mt. RushmoreNats Racing presidents Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft took off this morning on their Executive Adventure to Mt. Rushmore, with Taft tweeting a photo from the starting line.

Fans who follow the presidents on Twitter @Teddy26Nats or @NatsBigChief27 are being asked to use the hashtags #VoteTeddy or #VoteBill to voice their support.

Results appear real-time at Nationals.com, and no surprise: in the early hours, support for Teddy is nearly tripling that for Taft.

The race ends Monday at Mt. Rushmore.

Nationals introduce William Howard Taft (Photos, Video)

Nationals New Racing President William Howard TaftNationals Racing President William Howard TaftWashington Nationals Racing Presidents with TaftThe Washington Nationals introduced their new racing president Saturday at the team’s NatsFest fan festival.

With a packed crowd gathered around the NatsFest mainstage, Nationals broadcaster Charlie Slowes welcomed the fifth presidents race regular as “The Big Chief,” a reference to Taft’s years as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Slowes proceeded to interview the Big Chief, rather awkwardly given that the former president was of course silent; but one thing was made clear. Taft is not here to make friends. When Slowes mentioned the other presidents, the packed crowd burst into chants of “Teddy, Teddy, leading the Rough Rider to come out from behind the stage and confront his old nemesis Taft.

After the festivities, Taft immediate stung back at Teddy, tweeting “It was lovely meeting all the fans and my only real competition – George, Tom & Abe – at #NatsFest today.”

Immediate reactions on Twitter seemed to focus on Big Bill’s girth, or lack thereof:

@KirbysLeftEye He doesn’t look very fat.

@gregjbarry too thin.

@DavidYoungTBLA insufficiently corpulent

@MMisurek he should be MUCH more hefty #335lb

@jasontfisher3 not big enough

@ChiefAgitator Prez Taft was MUCH fatter

@mrsplacedsoul shouldn’t he be more… well… more?

Full video below, courtesy of front row mainstay and Rubber Chicken Man Hugh Kaufman:

Nationals new racing president: William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft is the Washington Nationals’ new racing president, joining George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt in the team’s fourth-inning presidents race.

Nationals Racing President William Howard TaftThe peerless Dan Steinberg broke the story for The Washington Post late Friday, in advance of the team’s official announcement planned for today at NatsFest, the Nationals’ mid-winter fan festival at the DC Convention Center. “Bill,” as the Nats will call him, will make his official appearance at 2:15pm.

Taft, who also served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, has been nicknamed “Big Chief” by the Nats brass. A Twitter account appeared Friday evening at @NatsBigChief27, signaling the prominent role the team plans for him in social media. He is just the second racing president to have his own Twitter account.

Taft had been pegged as a 35-to-1 longshot on this page just this morning, but apparently Teddy Roosevelt himself made the decision to go with the notoriously obese Republican who succeeded him as president.

“Teddy has handpicked the next president for the Presidents’ Race,” Nationals COO Andy Feffer told Steinberg. “There was a great amount of banter and discussion back and forth, but Teddy won out with his recommendation.”

If Big Bill is to in fact displace Teddy as a fan favorite, it would not be the first time that Roosevelt hand-picked his successor. At the beginning of his second term, Roosevelt tapped the former judge to be his Secretary of War, then four years later campaigned aggressively for Taft and helped hand him the White House.

It wasn’t long, however, before Roosevelt concluded that Taft had abandoned his progressive ideals, and became one of President Taft’s most vocal critics. Roosevelt ultimately formed the Progressive “Bull Moose” Party to run against his former colleague.

Looks like more than enough fodder for 4th-inning antics to come. Photos to follow.

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