Presidents race is no longer “The Main Event”

The two longest standing criticisms of the Nationals presidents race appear to have been addressed in consecutive games.

The Nationals’ refusal to let Teddy Roosevelt win for nearly seven seasons was, of course, nationally known — a concern that reached even as far as the White House.

GEICO Presidents Race

Presidents race scoreboard introduction as it has appeared since Nationals Park opened in 2008
(Photo:Adam Fagen)

Presidents Race Nationals Park Scoreboard

Presidents race scoreboard introduction on Wednesday

(Photo:Adam Fagen)[/caption]But more grating to many Nationals fans was the introduction of the presidents race as “The Main Event” at Nationals Park.

Since opening day 2008, Nationals P.A. announcer Jerome Hruska has announced the arrival of the middle of the fourth inning with “Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time for the main event. It’s the GEICO presidents race!”

For true baseball fans, even those who liked the antics of the Rushmore Four, this was like nails on a chalkboard.

But on Wednesday afternoon, amid the frenzy of Teddy’s second victory and the heartbreak of a second playoff loss, was a gift to serious Nats fans.

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” Hruska announced, “it’s time for the Presidents Race!”

Whether this change is permanent, is tied to limitations on playoff sponsorships, or is related to a longer-term change remains to be seen. The announcement was accompanied by a new graphic that omitted the familiar GEICO logo, the GEICO logo was omitted from the presidents’ uniforms, and the ever-present GEICO Gecko was not in his usual spot at the finish line.  

State Farm is the official insurance company of MLB.

4 Responses

  1. “State Farm is the official insurance company of MLB.”

    There is your answer. You can’t have a GEICO race when State Farm is the MLB ins company. It all changes in the playoffs. I am surprised that they were allowed to hold it. It actually seems a bit bush league to have a presidents race during the playoffs.

  2. I understand about not having GEICO there. That doesn’t explain the missing “Main Event” part. I hope that sticks.

  3. Just idle curiosity, but at last night’s game, the rankings chart showed 30 wins apiece for two of the presidents and 27 for the other (plus the four post-season wins for theodore)…. that adds up to 87 regular-season wins… but they only had 81 home games, right? were there six ties that counted as wins for two presidents, or something else?

  4. Paul, this is a great question, and one that is the source of much confusion. The numbers that the Nats show on the outfield scoreboard don’t match the number of races, and they don’t match the numbers here on There are two issues at hand:

    1) Sometimes two wins are awarded for a single race. For example, George and Tom race on a tandem bicycle, each gets credited with a win. This explains why the number of ‘W’s doesn’t match the number of games.

    2) Sometimes the Nationals inexplicably screw up the numbers that appear on the outfield scoreboard. For example, on May 19 this year, the Nats awarded two ‘W’s to Jefferson after one race. On September 9, they awarded a ‘W’ to Lincoln after Jefferson won and was declared the winner. That’s why we created the standings here on the site — because frankly the Nats numbers aren’t reliable. I would love to have our numbers match, but I have contacted the Nationals and they refuse to explain their bizarre numbers.

    As you probably know, the presidents race has gotten a lot of press recently. Both NPR and The Washington Post had editors fact check the standings, so that they could know which numbers were accurate when they referred to the total number of wins and losses. In both cases, they chose to quote the numbers from this blog instead of the ones the Nats display.

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