The Nationals racing presidents continued their week of Olympic tributes with Friday’s doubleheader at Nationals Park, mixing the predictable with the absurd, and extending Teddy Roosevelt’s winless streak to 496 races.
The newly dismantled Miami Marlins arrived in town early for an afternoon makeup game, and the lightly-attended affair included a presidents race first: members of the Nat Pack and the “Secret Service” who escort the presidents around the ball park participated in an Olympic presidents race 4-man relay.
Secret Service member Scott took the first leg vs. Nat Packer Terrance before handing things off to Abe Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson, respectively. Lincoln extended the lead, and by the time Nat Packer Jason got the baton to George Washington for the anchor leg, he was way behind, but Teddy’s baton transition was weak and he faded in the home stretch, handing George the win.
By the time game 2 began, 32,334 fans had arrived, and the day of presidents race firsts continued as the evening crowd was treated to a 4th-inning spectacle that was worthy of a Fellini movie.
In the first-ever presidents race swim meet, the giant-headed Rushmores entered the stadium wearing goggles and swim caps, and advanced around the warning track making swimming motions with their arms in the styles of the 400 Meter Individual Medley– first the butterfly, then the backstroke, the breast stroke, and freestyle.
Teddy, of course, tried to “swim” while carrying an inner tube.
As if the surreal image of Thomas Jefferson leading the pack of “swimmers” down the first base line wasn’t enough for the Nationals Park crowd, a person in a shark costume then appeared out of the Nationals’ bullpen.
With the shark chasing the field, what happened next was inevitable, and Teddy’s humiliation was complete.
“And that is the most mutant looking shark I’ve ever seen in my life,” said color commentator F.P. Santangelo on the MASN broadcast. “That is an outfield shark, folks.”