Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013



The DUNER BLOG staff loves sports.  So, we are thrilled about the return of baseball in a fortnight's time.  Hungry for silly sports stories, everyone salivated when we heard a new president was being added to the famed "Presidential Sprint" at Washington Nationals home games.  Sorry, for our international readers (and American's who don't follow ridiculous pop culture..) here's a quick definition.  During lulls in American sporting events, we have mascots entertain us with dances, skits and cheers.  The silliest such routine is the 'Presidental Sprint' in D.C.  Every fourth inning, twelve-foot-high goofy replicas of US Presidents race each other in foul territory. 

We here at the DUNER BLOG live for this sort of activity.  (We also love Milwaukee's Sausage Race and the Pittsburgh Pirogi Race).   Our only problem with the Presidential Sprint is: The four contestants are the same presidents that appear everywhere.  To review: George Washington, ($1, Quarter coin, Mt. Rushmore) Abe Lincoln, ($5, Penny, Mt. Rushmore), Tom Jefferson ($2, Nickel, Mt. Rushmore) and Teddy Roosevelt (Postage stamp, Mt. Rushmore, Night at the Museum movies).  So...when Nats team spokesman Clint Khoury announced a new president was joining the mascot crew...everyone assumed it would be another famous one...like Jackson, FDR or Kennedy.  However....imagine our amazement when we heard the new president was WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT!

Never heard of Taft?  For starters, the 27th President was our nation's largest. He weighed over 300 LBS (135 kg).  There's a legend about Tubby Taft getting stuck in the White House bathtub...but we'll stick to the important stuff.  In the 1908 election, Taft soudly defeated William Jennings Bryan.  Historians credit Teddy Roosevelt's endorsement for this victory, as the Republican Party was riding a crest of popularity.  In office, Taft's term was rather uneventful.  Domestically, he employed a conservative fiscal policy.  Internationally, he stayed out of Mexico's violent revolution.  His stand-offish relationship with the press hurt his re-election campaign in 1912, when he was defeated by Woodrow Wilson.  Hmm...not exactly a resume comparable with his peers in the Presidential Sprint!?!

So why choose lesser-known William Howard Taft over such heavy-weights as Monroe, Madison or Reagan?  Well...it turns out that Taft was the first president ever to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Major League Baseball game.  It happened at Griffith Stadium in Washington DC on April 14, 1910.  While this is a logical explanation, we here at the DUNER BLOG know the truth.   Of the 530 sprints, Teddy Roosevelt has won only four times (.007%), thus ensuring him the title of 'fan favorite.' (Americans love the underdog).  Although once friends...over time...Teddy and Tubby became bitter enemies who shoved each other around.  Thus, the Washington Nationals organization is setting the stage for some crazy mascot hi jinks this season when Bill and Ted start slugging!

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