Was it the moon?
The beautiful bright moon that hovered over the Nationals Park scoreboard wasn’t officially full, but what other explanation could there be for the 4 1/2-hour spectacle that unfolded Thursday night.
In between, the game that saw 43 players pound out 30 hits over 13 innings was overflowing with personal drama.
Take your pick: Jordan Zimmerman’s return from Tommy John surgery, the roughing up of St. Louis Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter, Albert Pujols hitting his 400th career home run, then twisting his ankle in extra innings, Drew Storen blowing his first save, Roger Bernadina hitting his first home run at Nationals Park to tie the game in the 9th, Ian Desmond’s walk-off RBI in the 13th inning…
As if on queue, the Nationals racing presidents were prepared to match the drama step by step with a few oddities and milestones of their own.
In his 4th appearance this season, Teddy Roosevelt’s longtime nemesis “That Cat” appeared along the first baseline, dancing about in front of the stands during the 4th-inning presidents race.
Teddy jumped out to a big lead in the race, but when he spotted the panther, he veered off course to pummel him into the stands.
Thomas Jefferson took the tape.
As the game advanced into the night and the crowd thinned, the Bull Moose took to the stands to entertain the crowd.
In the 12th inning, Teddy parked in centerfield section 101, posing for photos with fans. When he was still there at the top of the 13th, we knew trouble was in store.
For the seventh time in presidents race history, the Nationals took a home game into the 13th inning, leading to that rare treat for presidents race fans:
a second official race of the night.
Apparently Teddy didn’t get the memo.
When Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln burst out of the centerfield starting gate, Teddy was still hanging out with fans in the stands. He jumped up from his seat and raced around the concourse, but didn’t make it to the field in time to compete.
In another milestone, George, Tom,
and Abe crossed the finish line in a dead heat. The race was too close to
call, and Screech awarded a first-ever
presidents race tie to Tom and Abe.
Here are two great videos courtesy of YouTube member lfahome, including a great capture of Teddy’s encounter with That Cat!