The big news from this afternoon’s Nationals/Phillies game wasn’t that the Nats locked up the N.L.’s top seed with a 5-1 victory. No, the baseball story that most gripped the nation’s capital today was that after Teddy Roosevelt, finally bested George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln in the fourth inning Presidents Race.
Teddy’s first win came in the final game of the Presidents Race’s sixth season, in his 538th try. His quest for victory had become something of a cause celebre, with ESPN picking up on a meme this fall that had already spawned a blog, a Twitter account, and countless opinions from Nats fans on when and if Teddy was ever going to cross the finish line in first place.
Lost in all the Teddy hoopla however, was the weirdest part of today’s race. Teddy’s victory was made possible by an assist by some amorphous green…thing, ostensibly patterned Philly Phanatic, but looking more like a fake Christmas tree wrapped in a Chase Utley jersey.
With Teddy trailing early in the race, The “Philly Phakenatic” (as the Nats PA announcer referred to him) emerged from the bullpen and tackled other three presidents, who had already taken a sizable lead.
Then, he did the Philly Phanatic’s trademark belly shake/roll.
Before escorting Teddy to the finish line
Sooo…What was the motivation for including the Phillies in the race? There is, of course, a somewhat spirited baseball rivalry between Washington and Philadelphia, with Philly fans swarming to Nationals Park in droves as they’re series of division winning teams repeatedly stomped on the hapless Nats. Earlier this year, the Nats decided they’d had enough of this and launched a “take back the park campaign.”¬†If this was some sort of lame attempt to troll the Phillies and their fans, poorly played. You know what’s a great way to get back at a team that’s kicked your ass for year? Starting to kick their ass, as the Nats have done to the Phillies this year. You know what’s not a good way to get back at said team? Parodying their mascot with a costume that looks like it was designed by Homer Simpson.