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Friday, October 5, 2012

Splat-ter of the Week: Teddy Roosevelt

We’re talking about the mascot, of course, as opposed to the real former president.

By way of background, professional baseball beat a path out of the Capitol in 1972 -- the Senators left town, briefly raising citizens’ hopes that the House of Representatives would follow them.  As soon as people realized that, not only did they lose their baseball team but they were still stuck with all of Congress, a cloud of gloom descended on the city. 

The sports funk lasted about 30 years.  It lifted in 2005 when Canada realized that a baseball team had somehow landed in its hockey collection.  Shortly thereafter Montreal sold its unwanted Expos on EBay for a quarter, plus $600 million for shipping and handling.  D.C. snapped up Canada’s reject, plopped it into RFK stadium and called it the Nationals.

But not all reinventions go as smoothly as Madonna’s, and this one ran into a slight snag: the team stunk.  Fortunately, the owners had planned for this contingency and made sure the games had enough between-innings entertainment to keep fans engaged, no matter how the team fared.  The most popular gimmick was the Presidential Races, instituted in 2006.  At first the footrace between the four Mount Rushmore presidents took place in cartoon form on the stadium big screen.  Eventually, the team owners sprang for mascots, and live action racing began.  Even as the format of the event evolved, one thing remained constant: Teddy never crossed the finish line first.  He lost as creatively as he did consistently, not unlike the Nats in 2008 and 2009 (when they boasted the worst record in the league).  His splat lasted 500 games and featured hundreds of unsuccessful comeback attempts.  But despite his record, he didn’t give up. 

On October 3—the day after the Nationals clinched the National League East-- Teddy finally crossed the finish line first.  No one knows how his history-making dash will affect future fourth inning derbies but one thing’s for sure: The race between the four Ruchmore presidents with enormous caricature heads is way more entertaining than the contest between Barack and Mitt.

For getting up off the ground after being stuck in it for years, you deserve the prize, Teddy. And the golden pancake will look great alongside that NL East trophy.  


  1. Karen, you are my cousin and I respect your choice as a dead president for the golden pancake. But a living president deserved the prize last week over the splatastic debate performance. I know you try to remain non-partisan as much as possible; however, if Mitt's 47% comment behind closed doors while asking donors for money earned him a golden pancake, then surely President Obama's performance on Wednesday at least deserves an honorable mention. The President didn't do bad enough for a Manhatten Liberal like your cousin Lauren to think the prez lost, (she actually texted me after the debate certain Romney lost the election because Obama was so good during the debate!) but there are two more left and Lauren's political hero VP Joe "Syracuse" Biden is on deck for this weeks golden pancake... just a suggestion!

    1. And it's a great suggestion, not just because it comes from a family source! One small problem: even journalistic integrity (if I had any) couldn't get me to watch the debate. But it looks like I'm going to have to suck it up and take in a little bit of political theater. Maybe I'll learn the art of verbal tap dancing in the process--looks like I'll need it if I'm going to enter the ring with you and your sister. :)

  2. I understand. I actually work for the government now. I am working at the VA and have just started my mid-life crisis move which is still trying to get into law school. Now that I have a steady desk job and Uncle Sam's (the red, white, and blue one) job security I am ready! Drexel or Temple in 2013 and I hope to be an attorney before Mitt Romney's eight years are up!!! Count it.

  3. Haha! By way of confessions, I must tell you I completely let you down. My self-preservation gene kicked in with a vengeance and prohibited me from watching any of the debates. The closest I got was that story about Pizza Hut trying to get a concerned citizen to ask about sausage v. pepperoni. Way to go on the gov gig! I did my time there, too, and it served me very well. Compared to the other stuff you've already accomplished, you'll knock out law school in no time. I'm a betting woman and my money's on you.