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Running Taft

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As baseball fans know, every stadium has some version of the “race” between innings where the fans can root for a meaningless computerized competition between different colored objects. In Seattle for instance, it’s speedboats. Usually these remain computerized.

The Washington Nationals have taken a different tack, having people in president outfits run the race. They have 4–the Mt. Rushmore presidents. Until now:

The most anticipated move of the Washington Nationals offseason was finally made Friday night, as the club announced that William Howard Taft would become the 5th Racing President.

The justification for this is that Taft was the first president to throw out a first pitch, for the Washington Senators in 1910.

The real reason: the world likes to see fat men run.

The clear next frontier is to have a James Madison character. The battle between a fat man and a tiny man who barely weighed 100 pounds is sure to enrapture the baseball-game attending public.

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  • wyrm1

    Actually they need someone to be the lovable loser of the races, since they stupidly allowed Teddy to win a race.

    • drkrick

      A lot of us were hoping that Teddy’s wins last year would mark the end of the races now that the team on the field is likely to be worth watching. No such luck.

  • efgoldman

    Could be worse. They could have picked Buchanan, or Nixon, or (FSM forbid!) Shrub!

  • Madison should beat Taft, especially if you tell him the White House is on fire.

  • Michael Rebain

    Sorry, Rushmore is Rushmore. No additions required. Unless it’s FDR in a wheelchair.

    • efgoldman

      Unless it’s FDR in a wheelchair.

      Really brilliant idea. No snark.

      • rbcoover

        How about just the leg braces?

  • Mike Smith

    I believe that the between-innings races began here in Texas with the Texas Rangers. They initiated a “Dot Race” where three dots, colored red, green, and yellow, would race and the crowd would choose a dot and cheer for it. The announcer would intone that the race was for entertainment purposes only: “No wagering please.”

    The sneaky secret was that for years and for some unknown reason, the Red Dot always won the season series and frequently cheated in races to win them.

    It is less silly and less fun now at The Ballpark.

    • efgoldman

      I believe that the between-innings races began here in Texas with the Texas Rangers.

      I wondered who to blame.

      It is less silly and less fun now at The Ballpark.

      With that good a team, you shouldn’t have to create “fun” for anybody older than 10.

      • Jim Lynch

        “They” lost me when clubs began to play popular tunes at games. It apparently never occurred to them that there is always a percentage of fans who will despise whatever song it is that is played. I mean, come on, “Sweet Caroline”? Fuck You, Turn It Off!

        • efgoldman

          “Sweet Caroline”? Fuck You, Turn It Off!

          Oh FSM, yes! Especially that one.
          I’m old enough to remember nothing but live organ music at sports venues – I certainly don’t want to go back to John Kiley playing for the Sox, Bruins, and Celtics!
          Marching bands! That’s the ticket!

      • Sherm

        You might feel differently if you took children to a game. The kids love the music, the races, the tee-shirt tosses, etc..

        • Jim Lynch

          The kids would also enjoy cigars and beer. That doesn’t mean they should be exposed to them.

          • Murc

            They would?

            My experience has always been that when kids (and I’m assuming you mean preteens here) manage to get their hands on either booze or smokes, their reaction is near-universally “GROSS.”

            • Sherm

              My five year old loves beer! Little bastard will take a chug whenever he can get away with it.

              • Malacylpse

                I always let mini-Mal have a sip whenever she wanted, as this way she remembers she hates beer. Then, unfortunately, she had a raspberry lambic.

                • herr doktor bimler

                  Oh yes. I remember letting the Doktorling Sonja taste a Boon Kriek once, and her reaction of surprise to the fact that for once I was actually drinking something tasty.

  • efgoldman

    …every stadium has some version of the “race” between innings…

    Not Fenway. They couldn’t figure a way to monetize it.

    • rbcoover

      They should do a race between people, horses, and an oncoming flood of molasses.

      • efgoldman

        They should do a race between people, horses, and an oncoming flood of molasses.

        Wow! What’s the blog comment equivalent to a triple word score? An old Boston historical reference!

      • Win.

      • Vance Maverick

        Alas, Wikipedia tells me Robert Coover’s middle name is “Lowell”.

        • rbcoover

          I used to get his emails sometimes, since our Yahoo! account usernames were very close. After a while I found out the right address for him and just started forwarding the emails. He was nice enough to thank me.

      • Woodrowfan

        and have a Redcoat fire the starting gun!

    • Beat me to it.

    • Richard

      Not Dodger Stadium

      • Sherm

        They do them after the fans leave in the middle of the sixth. Just kidding. But they don’t have a digital race on the scoreboard? At mets games, it’s airplanes. At yankee games, it’s subway cars. It would thus make sense that you’d have cars at dodger stadium.

  • Davis

    Chris Christie!

  • commie atheist

    Apparently they put Taft on a diet. Disappointing.

    • efgoldman

      Apparently they put Taft on a diet.

      Boooo!!
      Next there gonna’ roll out some kind of ripped Santa. Boo!

      • MAJeff

        Boston’s got that one covered: http://www.ssrunners.org

        • efgoldman

          Not all fit any reasonable definition of “ripped.”

          • MAJeff

            True. Several do, though.

    • This is completely unacceptable.

    • JKTHs

      Goddammit. Now I’m looking forward to the races 90% less than if there was a cartoonishly fat Taft.

  • Origuy

    Go to a minor league game sometime. The San Jose Giants (class A California League) used to have fans run the bases for prizes and have players throw balls at a junker car, trying to break headlights. I don’t know if they still do. Minor league games are a lot of fun for a lot less money, especially if you have kids.

    • Hogan

      The Trenton Thunder do that too. They also have a golden retriever who fetches the bats.

  • bill

    San Francisco Giants: John Sutter, Willie Brown, Carol Doda, Emperor Norton. Fifth guy: Carlos Santana.

    • Hogan

      Phillies: Benjamin Franklin, Nicholas Biddle, W. C. Fields, Teddy Pendergrass. Fifth man: Joey Coyle.

    • commie atheist

      Fifth guy: Carlos Santana.

      Or Grace Slick, who would be falling-down drunk for every race. I keed, Gracie, I keed.

    • efgoldman

      John Sutter, Willie Brown, Carol Doda, Emperor Norton

      Carol Doda? This Carol Doda?

      In 1964 Doda made international news, first by dancing topless at the city’s Condor Club, then by enhancing her bust from size 34 to 44 through silicone injections. Her breasts became known as Doda’s “twin 44s” and “the new Twin Peaks of San Francisco.”

      • Malacylpse

        Because without that Carol Doda, would anybody not be rooting for Joshua I?

      • Hogan

        You run the race with the cultural icons you have, not the cultural icons you wish you had.

      • bill

        The one and only.

    • rea

      Carlos Santana plays catcher for Cleveland.

  • Sherm

    I have to admit, I kind of like the sausage races in Milwaukee.

    • ResumeMan

      Well the best part of those races was the time about 10 years ago when the visitors’ 4th outfielder took a whack at the Bratwurst with his bat as the sausages ran by. Classic.

    • Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  • Mrs Tilton

    the world likes to see fat men run

    Why isn’t Campos all over this?

    The clear next frontier is to have a James Madison character

    Come on. You have to admit, a Madison/Taft Death Match would be something to see.

    • drkrick

      You have to be able to see the costume from the upper deck.

    • jdN

      MarsBar-y v. Madison?

  • dave brockington

    Not presidential, but contemporaries of Madison: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.

  • NorthLeft12

    Well, it is a baseball game people. There is more sustained excitement in that race than anything that can happen in a baseball game, outside of a rundown with a really quick runner between a few terrible fielders.

    And yes I am used to be a dedicated baseball fan.

  • Wouldn’t Taft make more sense as a sumo-wrestler costume? He and Fillmore could bump it out.

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