The Nationals are going to get some high-profile national media attention this week, and it doesn’t involve a prime time game, a controversy about a pitcher not pitching or an inside look at a star player (though MLB Network’s Saturday afternoon look at Ryan Zimmerman and his affinity for Washington, D.C., and effort to raise money for multiple sclerosis research was pretty sweet).
Come 7 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN, the whole sporting world will be introduced to one of Nationals Park’s most beloved denizens - albeit one who can’t win while the team he supports does so with some regularity.
“E:60,” the network’s sports magazine, will feature a segment on Teddy, the erstwhile never-wins-at-all Racing President, whose losing streak between RFK Stadium and South Capitol Street is legendary.
(For the record, Teddy has won a race. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Back in 2007, I believe, Tom and George stumbled at the finish, careening off one another before the Geico gecko could wave George as the winner. Teddy was just off the pace and actually broke the ribbon before either of the other three Rushmores could cross. The whole ballpark was stunned and the public address announcer stuck with the script and announced George as the victor, even though the most honest of presidents was squirming on the warning track like a slug doused in salt. But that race, for reasons known only to the FBI and former Nats president Stan Kasten, was never deemed a win for the bespectacled Mr. Roosevelt. It was all very WWE-like, with the rules being made up as the race unfolded.)
Teddy may be the most popular of the Presidents Race combatants, but he has, shall we say, both attention issues and a knack for just plain bad luck. Teddy could tee it up dockside at National Harbor, use a canoe paddle instead of a golf club and be swinging at a rubber bouncy ball and still not hit the water.
He’s been distracted by costumed cats and hot dogs, not to mention the occasional pretty girl. He has been disqualified for riding a motorized scooter, a golf cart and a Segway, or for cutting through the outfield. He’s sometimes taken off in the wrong direction. In the final Presidents Race at RFK Stadium, on Sept. 23, 2007, he went to the wrong ballpark; as Tom, George and Abe cavorted without their hard-luck pal, the scoreboard screen showed Teddy traipsing around the construction site at what would become Nationals Park.
Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth has made it a mission to try and get Teddy in the win column, even enlisting members of the bullpen in his surreptitious plan, but has yet to succeed.
Teddy’s travails have spawned a blog dedicated to convincing the Nationals to end his long national nightmare. Let Teddy Win caretaker Scott Abelman will be featured prominently in the “E:60” feature. Here ‘s an advance promo clip of the piece, courtesy of ESPN’s public relations staff (and former Nationals Buzz maven Kristen Hudak):
Come Tuesday, you can watch the feature online here. If you’re planning on attending Tuesday night’s game against the Dodgers, you can access “E:60” via your mobile phone, tablet or online (provided your cable provider is Comcast Xfinity, Verizon FiOS, Time Warner, Brighthouse or Midcontinent).