Teddy would’ve thought his Nats race win was ‘just bully’
Just as the Boston Red Sox had the Curse of the Bambino, the Washington Nationals had Teddy Roosevelt’s 525-round losing streak in the mascot races–until today.
“The Nats have been in the basement since they were the Expos in Montreal,” said Rick Marschall, author of “Bully!: The Life and Times of Theodore Roosevelt.”
“My guess is ownership finally said, ‘Now that we’re in the playoffs, let’s break the jinx and have TR win,’” he said. “How it became a joke that he never won, I don’t know, but it’s been a real crime against humanity.”
The Roosevelt mascot won the Presidents Race today for the first time ever since the promotional event’s inception in 2006. Conservatives had started to see the losing streak of Roosevelt, who first won the presidency on the Republican ticket in 1901, as just one more example of widespread liberal bias.
“I’m a National League East fan, so I’ve been aware for a while now that I guess it became a standing joke–or a running one, no pun intended,” he said.
For all his competitiveness as a sportsman, baseball was one of the sports TR did not follow, Marschall said. William H. Taft, his successor to the presidency, was a baseball fan from Cincinnati, and was the first president to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game.
That would have been a very Rooseveltian thing to do, he said.
“But he wasn’t a hog of the spotlight, as history says he is. But any love of a sport, a clean sport, he would have gravitated to,” he said.
“As far as being a papier-mache mascot, when all’s said and done, I think he would’ve smiled for the cameras and said, ‘Oh, isn’t that bully that I finally won,’ but he would’ve thought it was an insult to the other three presidents,” he said.
“He had a big thing about the dignity of the office of the president and he was very reluctant to be photographed,” he said.
“In fact, he advised Taft never to be photographed golfing, probably because the guy was 350 pounds and looked absurd in knickerbockers,” he said.
TR, for his own part, was never photographed in his tennis whites, despite being an avid player. He held the office of the president with too much regard for that sort of thing, Marschall said.
Had he seen the races up to today, he would have been galled to lose to Jefferson, who wasn’t very athletic, Marschall said. “On the other hand, he wouldn’t have minded losing to Lincoln, who was very strong, even up to the age he was assassinated.”