We’re about to have a World Series presidents race, and Teddy needs to win

Nationals Park is hosting its first World Series game Friday, and the national spotlight on all things Nats has never been brighter. So when the fourth inning arrives, if the team knows what’s good for them, they’ll make sure Teddy Roosevelt wins the presidents race.

Washington Nationals Teddy Roosevelt Racing Presidents Race SignsThe superstitious among us will point to Teddy’s season trajectory, which eerily mirrors that of the team. Teddy lost his first races of the season, and floundered into late May, but then ran off a five-race winning streak starting May 24 and dominated the field from that point forward and taking the season title. Sound familiar?

In the playoffs, the Nationals’ lone loss in five home games came during the NLDS, when the team inexplicably allowed Thomas Jefferson to cross the finish line first. It was the only postseason presidents race that Teddy Roosevelt didn’t win.

Now, consider the trajectory of the entire franchise. Among the worst teams in baseball from 2006 when the presidents race was first introduced, the Nationals finally had a breakout year in 2012. Over the next seven seasons, the Nationals became an elite team, winning their division four times, but still getting tagged by some as losers for failing to advance past the first round. Teddy, too, broke out in 2012, winning his first race after going winless for 6 1/2 years.

The Nats won their division again in 2014 and 2016, when Roosevelt won the presidents race season title, but much like the Nationals themselves, Teddy couldn’t shake his image as a lovable loser.

Former Nationals star Jayson Werth openly complained that the team needed to let Teddy win because Teddy represented the wrong image for a winning team. You can’t build a winning culture, he argued, around a lovable, grinning, happy-go lucky loser.

“The Presidents Race and Teddy Roosevelt are very symbolic of where this organization goes,” Werth said on ESPN. But what if Werth was right while getting it all wrong?

The Nationals spent much of the decade as the feared juggernaut of the NL East, with nothing but early exits from the playoffs to show for it. Now, through a remarkable season-long makeover, the team has emerged as the quintessential lovable, happy-go-lucky, confident sub-500 team who snuck up on the world, and on Friday bring a 2-games to none World Series lead home to Nationals Park.

They did it with group hugs. They did it with dugout dances. They did it with childrens songs about baby sharks. And looking at the numbers, perhaps they did it with the help of Teddy. Perhaps it’s finally time to recognize that there could not be a better model for the ethos of this team than a confident, happy, grinning, and winning racing president Teddy Roosevelt.

Wild indeed! Nats “Lose Control” of PA system during NL Wild Card game, run presidents race in silence, and Brittney saves the day

An hour into Tuesday’s NL Wild Card game at Nationals Park, as Max Scherzer was completing his 4th inning on the mound, the stadium’s emergency alert system malfunctioned. Alarms blared in the press box, and the stadium’s PA system went silent.
Nat Pack tries to stop Teddy Roosevelt Racing presidentsRacing president Teddy Roosevelt is sent backBrittney Saves the Daywashington Nationals Racing Presidents Lose Control

For baseball purists, it was a rare opportunity to temporarily enjoy the sounds of the game without modern “influences.”

But then the Brewers side was retired, and the Nats presidents race began.

The usual introductory video played on the Nats HD scoreboard, and the racing presidents entered through the center field gate, but there were no introductions or play-by-play to be heard from Nationals Park PA announcer Jerome Hruska. There was no “Runnin’ Down a Dream” playing by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. And when the “Secret Service” handlers placed a fake boom box on the field so that the presidents could pause and perform a dance number to “Lose Control” by Missy Elliott, there was only silence.

Without a clear Plan B, chaos ensued. Teddy Roosevelt ignored his handler’s pleas to stop, and raced past the dance spot toward the finish line, only to be stopped there by another handler. Abe Lincoln zoomed by, accidentally breaking the finish line tape; but both were sent back to the boom box to perform their dance number. Without music.

Waiting there was Nats in-game host Brittney Ramsey, who crouched on the sideline and shouted out the rhythms so the presidents could follow along and perform their dance moves while a confused sellout crowd looked on in silence.

Finally, one of the handlers yelled “Go, Teddy, Go! Finish the race!” Teddy broke for the finish line, and took the first presidents race victory of the postseason.


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