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.

In new book, professor argues that Nats should never let Teddy Roosevelt win again. Wait. What?

This week marked the publication of an excellent new book on Teddy Roosevelt and his relationship with American sports and fitness. The 329-page volume The Strenuous Life: Theodore Roosevelt and the Making of the American Athlete is a lively account of how a sickly child became obsessed with athletic and fitness, carried that obsession into the White House, and influenced a nation.

The Strenuous Life Theodore Roosevelt by Ryan Swanson

A new book on Teddy Roosevelt argues against the Let Teddy Win movement

The book also paints a less than flattering portrait of the 26th president from the perspective of most baseball fans.

Author Ryan Swanson, a history professor at the University of New Mexico’s Honor’s College, devotes an entire chapter to Theodore Roosevelt’s relationship with baseball, which at the turn of the 20th century has already established itself as “the national game.”

Titled “Baseball’s great Roosevelt Chase,” the chapter references the Nationals’ presidents race and the Let Teddy Win movement, but harkens back to myriad rebuffed efforts by representatives of the Major Leagues to get Roosevelt to make an appearance at games including the World Series.

After failing to attend a single game during his first term of office, the American League’s Ban Johnson made a show of offering Roosevelt an unlimited free pass to games, according to Swanson.  “The management has issued a golden pass to President Roosevelt, who may desire to see what a real, strenuous, bold athlete looks like,” the Sporting Life reported in 1906.

Swanson explains that when that didn’t work, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Leagues presented a solid gold “Presidents Pass” to Roosevelt on May 16, 1907 at the White House. Engraved with Roosevelt’s image, the gold pass conferred lifetime membership, including free admission to 36 leagues and 256 cities. 

That didn’t work either. Swanson writes that the hero of San Juan Hill had very poor eyesight as a child, and expressed a fear of being hit, citing Roosevelt as saying “I don’t think that I should be afraid of anything except a baseball coming at me in the dark.”

Perhaps more significantly, he opens the chapter with a quote from Teddy’s oldest daughter Alice: “Father and all us regarded baseball as a mollycoddle game.  Tennis, football, lacrosse, boxing, polo, yes – they are violent, which appealed to us.  But baseball? Father wouldn’t watch it, not even at Harvard.”

So Teddy was apparently not a fan. And now that the book has been published, Swanson is openly calling for the Nationals to return to the tradition of not letting Teddy win. “Don’t let TR, a noted baseball curmudgeon, win anymore. No mas!” Swanson wrote this week. “Get right with baseball history and perhaps, just maybe, the Nationals will find themselves playing playoff baseball again this October.”

(Don’t tell Swanson, but before Teddy won, most believed that the curse worked the other way around.)

Yankees fan runs the numbers, concludes Nats fans should root for George, opponents should root for Teddy

On Tuesday, Reddit user and Yankees fan Constant_Gardner11 posted a detailed analysis of presidents race results during the Nationals Park era, using data we’ve collected here at Let Teddy Win. His conclusion: Nats fans should root for George Washington. Nats’ opponents should root for Teddy.

The many comments from the Reddit community show that conspiracy theories about Teddy Roosevelt remain prominent in the public eye. Of course, rooting for Teddy may be a moot point, since the powers-that-be in the Nationals front office have clearly decided never to let Teddy win again. The Bull Moose went winless last year (which didn’t seem to change the team’s playoff luck), and has lost 86 straight entering the 2018 season.

His analysis:

 

The Nats are halfway through the home season and Teddy Roosevelt hasn’t won a race, so the Loss-O-Meter returns.

Teddy Roosevelt Nationals presidents raceEaster Presidents Race 002Teddy Roosevelt dives into the stands

Racing presidents washington Nationals Teddy Roosevelt blueberry pie day

Teddy Roosevelt has been shoved, tackled, pushed, and tossed aside on the way to 0 victories in the first half of 2017

Teddy Roosevelt Loss-o-Meter Let Teddy Win

Sadly, Teddy Roosevelt hasn’t won in 2017, so the Loss-O-Meter is returning

Before the 2017 baseball season started, fans of the Nationals’ presidents race celebrated on social media when recent additions Taft, Coolidge, and Hoover were “retired” to the new Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. That meant a return to the original “Rushmore Four” who patrolled Nationals Park from 2006 through 2012.

What fans didn’t anticipate was the Nats bringing back the ugliest aspect of that period — a conspiracy that kept Teddy Roosevelt from winning the first 525 presidents races over a 6 1/2 year stretch.

Alarm bells sounded on opening day, when Washington and Jefferson pushed Roosevelt from behind to rob the Bull Moose of an easy victory. It was eerily reminiscent of past collapses, and sure enough, the scene has repeated itself from April into July, with Teddy getting shoved, tackled, tripped, distracted, or otherwise tricked before reaching the finish line. Even mascot Screech the Eagle has more wins this year than Teddy.

Teddy’s sole victory this season? At the annual Congressional Baseball Game, which doesn’t count in the standings.

By the time the home season reached its halfway point Tuesday, fans had started to take notice, and they aren’t happy. So sadly we’ve brought back the Teddy Roosevelt Loss-O-Meter to help shine a spotlight on this injustice, and encourage the Nationals to end the conspiracy. It will stay in the top margin of this blog until justice is served.

Let’s end this nonsense before the curse talk starts up again, not to mention before Jayson Werth ends the final year of his contract (Werth was famously outspoken about the need to let Teddy win, and took some credit for finally making it happen in 2012).

Forty three consecutive losses (going back to last year’s playoffs) is plenty. Teddy’s previous losing record was one for the ages.

Fans agree. Let’s keep it that way.

Video: Nats racing presidents faint in the heat, Teddy Roosevelt perseveres

Racing presidents faintingTeddy Roosevelt wins presidents raceIt was hot enough to fry a pierogie at Nationals Park Friday night, which may be why for the first time since it opened in 2008, the Pittsburgh Pirates arrived in DC for a series but their racing pierogie mascots bowed out.

With the heat index hovering in the triple digits, Herbert Hoover didn’t even make it onto the field for the fourth inning race. Then sturdy George Washington, who took an early lead, fainted on the warning track.

One by one the racing presidents went down, until Teddy Roosevelt, who loved the tropics and preached about living “the strenuous life,” was the only man left standing.

Video for LetTeddyWin.com by lfahome

Teddy Roosevelt pulls the rug out from racing presidents on opening day

Teddy Roosevelt pulls the rug from racing presidentsTeddy Roosevelt wins opening day presidents race nationals racingOn a blustery opening day at Nationals Park, Teddy Roosevelt sent a message to his fellow Nats racing presidents, pulling a new trick out of his sleeve to run away with the first presidents race of the 2016 season.

The commanders-in-chief were greeted by a new Nats HD introduction video, after which Roosevelt appeared first from the center field gate. Teddy laid a welcome rug out for his fellow presidents, but as they entered the field, he pulled the rug out from under them, causing an outfield pile up.

Teddy dashed ahead unopposed, celebrating as he crossed the finish line. For now, Roosevelt can enjoy the rare distinction of being undefeated atop the presidents race standings.

Video for LetTeddyWin.com by lfahome

For the First Time, Teddy Talks

Washington Nationals racing president Teddy RooseveltIn what appears to be a presidents race first, Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt has given an interview to Chris Cwik of Yahoo’s Big League Stew, making this the first time since the Nats’ presidents appeared on the scene ten years ago that any of them has spoken.

In the interview, published on Presidents Day, Teddy says he’s “much better prepared for this season than I have ever been before.” He discusses his offseason film study, two-a-day workouts, and his ambitions to win the presidents race belt back from Abe Lincoln.

He also mentions his fear of the Easter Bunny.

As for the curse some fans attribute to him, he’s not buying it. “…if there a connection between how I do and the team, I don’t see it, we both have our sights set on giving everything we got to win.”

%d bloggers like this: