During the middle of the fourth inning of Wednesday’s game between the NL East Division Champion Washington Nationals (that has an awesome ring to it, admit it) and the Philadelphia Phillies, the Nats held the traditional President’s Race with cartoon caricatures of Abe Lincoln, Tom Jefferson, “Gorgerous” George Washington and Teddy Roosevelt. It started with all the charm and tomfoolery of the 500+ races that came before it, since 2006 when the current incarnation of the races appeared, but this one ended differently than all the others.
Teddy Roosevelt, who had never laid victory to one single race, did today with the help of some sort of Philly fanatical creature or something. However it happened, Teddy’s 525 winless drought came to an end on this day in the year of our Lord 2012 and brought happiness and ecstasy to fans who took time out of their day to actually pay attention to this sort of thing– and with one race, completely killed the whole President’s Race concept.
Thank God. Now we can move on to more important crusades like bringing back the Teddy Rough Rider to Nationals Park.
Look, the Races were what they were. Between-inning entertainment hinging on a gimmick to entertain the kiddies. Now that the gimmick has been exposed I have a hard time believing anyone will honestly be giving a sh*t anymore. What is the point? I’m sure they’ll try to spruce it up with other presidents and other storylines, but let’s be honest: I think the charm is gone– unless of course they hold the races with starving lions released on the presidents’ heels.
And I have to be honest: I put the President’s Races in the same boat as the infamous “Wave.” And don’t try and sell me the wave takes place during play and the Race doesn’t. It does. The same monkeys bashing the wave are the same people gushing and wondering on social media or out loud in the stands innings before the race if “today Teddy wins one for the gipper!” If it is two outs, bases loaded and Strasburg is dishing I don’t want to hear, read or think of that sort of caca-poo-poo. The races are distracting. It sort of takes you out of the game a bit.
Recently we had a Philly columnist go on the saddest-sot sort of rants that contained the most shameful display of sore loserness I have ever seen in print for public consumption and colorful language like:
“..[Nationals Park] game day is a succession of desperate gimmicks broken up by nine innings of baseball.“
I give the author no credit for writing anything close to a well thought out or highly researched piece, but while taking in the media, blogs, radio, TV, etc. about the Nats in the days leading up to Clinch Night, I had to wonder if on some distant planet the article might have the smallest tad of credence when I was bombarded by Teddy pieces, Teddy news segments, etc. The team was about to make history and take it’s first division pennant and we were talking about mascots?
I am thinking a tad bit deep here, I know. I am just trying to think objectively here about the Races if I had to. I can see where some might accuse the gimmick of becoming bigger than the game at points just as I can see where people might be annoyed by the Wave. I accept both as just part of the game. The Wave isn’t going to go away much like the President’s Race (or another gimmick that has evolved from it) isn’t either. Or booing. Or that one guy who never learned to not get up during innings. Or Clint.
Congratulations to Teddy, but his victory came with a price. The Races are technically “over.” What comes next for them I haven’t the faintest clue. It isn’t because I am not in the know (I’m not), but because I’m going to go back to paying attention more to the game.
Did you hear the Nats are in something called the postseason?
I’m going to Wikipedia right now to look that up.