A funny thing happened on the way to the Nationals mid-game Presidents Race Saturday afternoon: Jayson Werth got involved.
In order to full understand Werth’s involvement with the Nationals Park Presidents Race, let’s go back a few months to when Werth made some comments after the team was swept out of Milwaukee that cryptically referenced “changes” that needed to be made. When those comments were interpreted as pointing directly to then-manager Jim Riggleman’s office, Werth refuted that notion.
“I didn’t want to get into it,” Werth said that day in May. “There’s more to it than that. If you want to start talking about it, we can talk about it. Why doesn’t Teddy get to win? There’s a lot of things. There’s a lot of things I said I had on my mind. There’s thing we need to change.”
Now, Werth including Teddy in the his list of things he’d like to see done differently turned into something of a running theme with him. In the next day’s Presidents Race, Teddy gave it a valiant effort but lost. Werth, who stood at the top step of the dugout to watch the race, gave a dismissive hand wave as Teddy began to fade down the stretch.
So it was with a smirk that he of all people involved himself — along with Rick Ankiel and several members of the Nationals’ bullpen — in the penultimate Presidents Race of the season, acting as blockers to the other three presidents in an effort to get Teddy to the finish line. It didn’t work, though Werth did to a pretty violent takedown of Tom, and Werth actually ended up crossing the finish line as the “announced winner.”
Here’s what the right fielder had to say after the game — including perhaps the first reference to the Bull Moose Party ever to come out of a major league clubhouse:
“I can’t really comment,” he said. “When you stage a coup, it’s better to keep it quiet.
“Let’s just say it’s Teddy Roosevelt’s last stand of the Rough Riders.”
Asked if he knew that he was actually the winner, Werth smiled.
“Well, if Teddy can’t win, then no one wins in my book,” he said. “I’m the last remaining member of the Bull Moose Party, I guess. I don’t really know what else to say.”