President Theodore Roosevelt Won Something Today: An Explainer

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If you are confused by a bunch of political reporters are making a big deal about deceased former President Theodore Roosevelt 'winning' something today, know you are not alone. Just know Teddy's win today is a bigger deal than you think. 

Teddy Roosevelt is running for president? He's been dead for 93 years.

You're not much of baseball fan, are you? OK, no worries: at every Washington Nationals game there's a President's Race during the fourth inning. Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and the beloved Teddy Roosevelt have a foot race. 

I saw something like this at a Yankees game. They had a subway race up on the big screen and people cheered.

No, these are real, live, living men wearing huge, foam caricatures of the Presidents' heads and period clothes. They look like they're playing a videogame on 'big head' mode. 

Who normally wins? 

Abe Lincoln is the all time winningest President, who, like Teddy was a Republican.

When was the last time Teddy won?

Mr. Roosevelt has never, ever, ever won a President's race. The race started in 2006, which was the Nationals' second season in Washington. His drought has been a running joke in Washington. The Wall Street Journal's Neil King Jr. wrote a history of Teddy's ineptitude on the weekend. 

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Why did Teddy take so long to win a race? Is this even a race?

Well, it's more theater than sport. The Nationals has never given a specific reason why Teddy always comes up short. His losses have progressively got more and more ridiculous since the race began. "This year alone, Teddy has been felled by a shark, distracted by an apple pie, waylaid on a busted motorcycle and enticed by a Popsicle on a sweltering afternoon," King wrote. John McCain thinks it's something more sinister. "This is a vast left-wing conspiracy being organized by pinko commie liberals within the Beltway," he (slightly) jokingly told King. 

Was it really a left-wing conspiracy? 

Before today's race, Nationals general manager Davey Johnson was asked if Teddy was going to win today. "Those decisions are way above my pay grade," he said. If it isn't the general manager deciding these things, who could it be? The Illuminati have been keeping Teddy down, duh. Either way, this might be one of the best days of John McCains's life. 

What do Teddy fans think?

They aren't happy! Unsurprisingly. His descendants are pissed because Teddy was cooler and way more badass than the other three dorks: 

"Teddy would have physically dominated any of those guys," says 41-year-old Kermit Roosevelt III, a great-great grandson of the former president, noting that presidents Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln never shot lions in Africa, canoed white-water rapids in Brazil or practiced jujitsu in the White House.

Why win now? Why couldn't he lose forever?

Because Teddy's inept running ability was a metaphor for the Nationals' own inability to make the post-season. This year has been the most exciting year for the Nationals since they hit the Major Leagues. They finally clinched their first post-season birth since moving from Montreal in 2005. Now that they finally made the post-season, it was time for Teddy to finally win. The fix was in

Seriously? It was a metaphor?

The proverbial monkey has been removed from two backs. 

Today, we are all Teddy Roosevelt. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.