Earlier this week the Washington Nationals earned their first postseason season berth since relocating from Montreal in 2005, so it seemed only fitting that, on the last day of the season, one of baseball’s longest losing streaks came to an end at Nationals Park. But this streak had nothing to do with sabermetrics or even any of Washington’s players – nope, this one had to do with a president.
Theodore Roosevelt – known by Nationals fans as Teddy – won the presidential mascot race that has taken place at every Washington home game since the team moved to Washington. The event started as a gimmick, an on-the-field race between a giant-sized Teddy, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington back at RFK Stadium, but eventually turned into the highlight of Nationals games – especially when the team struggled in recent years.
Teddy’s winless streak wasn’t usually because of a lack of effort, but rather because there was always some unforeseeable incident that would prohibit him from crossing the finish line first.
But not today.
After 525 consecutive races, Teddy finally got into the win column as the Nationals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-1 in front of a near sold-out crowd. Before the race he was wearing a red headband and bright gold shoes in the hopes of channeling his inner Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man. It was a slow start for Teddy but an imitation Phillie Phanatic knocked over his opponents in the right field corner, allowing the nation’s 26th president to strut home with a win in hand.
He followed up his performance by ripping off his typical jersey, which revealed a red shirt with Washington’s “Natitude” slogan written across the chest, causing the crowd to erupt. Fitting that all this happens on the day of the Presidential Debates, which leads us to believe the fix was in. We’ll leave that to all those conspiracy theorists out there. Right now it’s time to enjoy how far Teddy – and the Nationals – have come in recent years.
Where will Teddy go from here – nobody really knows? This could be the start of a long winning streak for the fan-favorite mascot but there’s no time for rest, he still has at least two more races his season.
Photo Credit: Getty Images