Nationals add Taft to Presidents' Race

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Sports,MLB,Nationals

Selection likely sets up a rivalry with Teddy

The Nationals' Presidents' Race just got a whole lot bigger.

The team unveiled William Howard Taft as its fifth racing president Saturday at its NatsFest at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

The fictional version of Taft, to be known as "Bill," kicked off a likely rivalry with Teddy on Friday, firing the first shot via Twitter.

"Listen up @Teddy26Nats -- we've run against each other in the past, now we'll run together in 2013! #5thPresident," he tweeted from @NatsBigChief27.

The two real-life presidents had a long history. Taft succeeded Roosevelt -- with his blessing -- becoming the United States' 27th president in 1908. But Roosevelt broke with Taft politically and opted to run against him in 1912 after creating the "Bull Moose" Progressive Party. The two split voters, allowing Woodrow Wilson to win the presidency.

In 1910, Taft became the first sitting president to throw a ceremonial first pitch, doing so before the Washington Senators' home opener at Griffith Stadium. Every president since has participated in the tradition.

Taft is sometimes credited with creating the seventh-inning stretch, although many historians believe the tradition predates his presidency.

In addition to Roosevelt, Taft joins George Washington, Abe Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson in the race. Taft will be the only racing president who does not appear on Mount Rushmore.

Roosevelt traditionally lost every race, often in slapstick fashion, since the race began in 2006, leading to fans launching "Let Teddy Win" campaigns. Roosevelt finally won during the last regular-season game of 2012 and followed with victories in all three playoff games at Nationals Park. - From staff reports

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