August 7, 2012

Regarding Paul Orzulak’s Aug. 5 Outlook commentary, “Time to let Teddy win”:

I have attended many Washington Nationals and Washington Capitals games, and I must say that Teddy is probably the laziest mascot that I have seen. At my last Nats game, I saw the other presidential mascots working diligently in the outfield before the game began, stretching and doing pushups. I also saw them eating fruits and vegetables.

Teddy was at the hot dog stand holding two bags of Cracker Jack and a beer. I have found myself rooting for Teddy to stumble and fall during most races, so if he doesn’t start training better, he could lose the Presidents’ Race a thousand times in a row, and that would warm my heart.

Still, even with all of his flaws, I like Teddy better than the rest of the D.C. mascots. (Who hasn’t rooted for Slapshot to get checked into the boards by the Great 8 during the Caps’s warmup?)

I think I have a solution to Teddy’s losing streak. I believe Teddy should have his own Presidental Division, like the bowl subdivision in college football. He could be the big president in a smaller division — maybe include a William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Millard Fillmore and some of the other more obscure presidents. This additional race could be run in extra innings or before warmups, until Teddy gets in shape and is ready to really compete with his fellow prominent presidents.

Dan Hughes, Potomac Falls

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Paul Orzulak says he can’t understand why the Nationals still won’t let Teddy Roosevelt win the Racing Presidents. The answer is obvious: Once Teddy wins, everyone will stop caring about the race. No more “Let Teddy Win” blogs or T-shirts. No more highlights on ESPN — unless a player attacks one of the contestants, the way a Pittsburgh player once clubbed the racing Italian Sausage in Milwaukee. And no more stories on the front-page of Outlook.

Of those fans who care about the race, some are watching to see if this might be the time Teddy pulls it off, while the rest just want to see how he’s going to blow it. I personally think the shtick got old a long time ago, but I understand why the Nats want it to continue.  

Chuck Hadden, Arlington

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Paul Orzulak missed the point. Teddy is the perfect symbol for the Nationals. Like the team, he is going to go from last place to first place. Up until now, he’s been boxed in, blindsided and always left behind. But he never quits, and he won’t until he wins. His victory lap will take place when the Nationals win the pennant.  

John P. Donnelly, Reston

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Like Paul Orzulak, I’ve also seen Teddy lose at innumerable Presidents’ Races at RFK Stadium and Nationals Park. I don’t think merely letting Teddy win a race (or two, or 50) on the field would be sufficient to redress the balance.

In Milwaukee, Bernie Brewer comes down a slide when the Brewers score a home run. If the Nationals could have Teddy zip in from a high point in Nationals Park to mark home runs and wins, this would accomplish three things: It would honor the athleticism of President Theodore Roosevelt. It would change Teddy’s image from lovable loser during between-innings entertainment to integral part of Nationals celebrations. Finally, “Zip, zoom — here comes Teddy” would add some needed pizzazz to the submarine horn that announces home runs.

Janet Wamsley, Arlington

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Has Paul Orzulak noticed that Ted is also the nickname of the Nats’ owner, Theodore N. “Ted” Lerner?  Teddy will win when Ted wins — and throughout Ted Lerner’s life, victory hasn’t meant winning a few games or even being on top of the National League East for most of the season.

Teddy doesn’t see himself as a winner yet. He is still an underdog and will remain so until the Nats make the World Series. Maybe not this year but soon. God willing.

Neal J. Meiselman, Chevy Chase

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By all means, it’s time to let Teddy Roosevelt win the Presidents’ Race at Nationals Park. But not before his 500th race next Saturday. Instead, let him win on Sunday, Sept. 2, when the Nats play the St. Louis Cardinals (and hopefully will have clinched the pennant).

It’s also the 111th anniversary of Teddy’s famous “Speak softly and carry a big stick” speech at the 1901 Minnesota State Fair. He can carry a big stick to beat off George, Tom and Abe.

Albert Eisele, Falls Church