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After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

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Teddy Wins! Washington Nationals' Mascot Snaps 525-Game Losing Streak

Oct 3, 2012
Originally published on October 4, 2012 11:15 am

As monumental as the Washington Nationals' first trip to Major League Baseball's playoffs has been, this news may come close in importance for some fans in the nation's capital:

Teddy, one of the team's four presidential mascots, finally won a "race" today.

For seven seasons and 525 home games, Teddy had always lost in races around the Nats' stadium against the faster and seemingly smarter Abe (as in Lincoln), George (Washington) and Tom (Jefferson).

A fierce debate had grown. Should the team Let Teddy Win! (as the blog by that name demanded) or would that tempt fate and ruin the rapidly rising Nats' fortunes?

The White House got involved — spokesman Jay Carney called Teddy's losing streak an "outrage." Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, gave Teddy a pep talk — and said he was the victim of a "vast left-wing conspiracy by the commie pinko libs in this town."

Well this afternoon in D.C., Teddy did it. Coming from way behind, and with a little help from what appears to have been a fake "Philly Phanatic," Teddy broke the tape first during the mascots' dash.

And has that jinxed the team? Maybe not. The next Nat to come to the plate, Ryan Zimmerman, hit a home run. Two teammates followed with doubles. As of this moment, in the seventh inning, Washington leads Philadelphia 3-1.

McCain, or at least the person who handles his Twitter account, is thrilled:

"#Teddy won! #Teddy won! #Teddy won! We've defeated the massive left wing conspiracy!"

Update at 4:15 p.m. ET: The Nats won today's game, 5-1.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Finally this hour, we have news from the presidential race.

(SOUNDBITE OF BASEBALL BROADCAST)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #1: Abe is out first; Tom is second. George is third, and Teddy's last!

CORNISH: Nobody knew today would be the most important day in Washington baseball history.

(SOUNDBITE OF BASEBALL BROADCAST)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #1: Come on, Teddy! You've got to catch up, buddy!

CORNISH: Sure, the Washington Nationals had already won the National League East Division title earlier this week. The nation's capital will host playoff baseball for the first time in almost 80 years. But what happened at Nationals Park today was just as remarkable.

(SOUNDBITE OF BASEBALL BROADCAST)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #1: Abe is in the lead. Tom is second. But George is making to a move on the outside!

CORNISH: For seven years, mascot versions of Abe Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt - all with massive foam heads - have raced in the fourth inning of every Nationals home game. For seven years, Teddy has found a way to lose. Some days, he was just slow; some days, distracted by a fan. He's even been the victim of attacks by other mascots.

(SOUNDBITE OF ESPN DOCUMENTARY)

TOM DAVIS: He was taken out by a leprechaun. A lobster has taken Teddy out. Last year, Teddy was in the lead, by far. No one was going to stop him; it was going to be the day that Teddy wins the race. And Kool-Aid Man busts out of a wall; just flat, laid out Teddy. And that one pretty much caught everybody off-guard.

CORNISH: That's Nats official Tom Davis, appearing in a recent ESPN documentary about Teddy's long losing streak. Fans, players and Washington media have all lobbied on Teddy's behalf. He's the subject of a popular fan blog, called "Let Teddy Win." Even Sen. John McCain has had enough. Here he is, in that ESPN documentary.

(SOUNDBITE OF ESPN DOCUMENTARY)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: One of the truly great presidents in history has never won a race. I am outraged. That's why I'm calling for congressional hearings - to right this horrible wrong.

CORNISH: Well, today, justice was done. Wearing a red headband and gold shoes - like Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt - Teddy was all alone in the home stretch.

(SOUNDBITE OF BASEBALL BROADCAST)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #2: The winner is going to beeeeeee - Teddy!

(CHEERS)

CORNISH: The stunned crowd roared as Teddy tore open his Nats jersey, and beat his chest in celebration. Meanwhile, the Nationals' TV announcer put everything into perspective.

(SOUNDBITE OF BASEBALL BROADCAST)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #3: It's history. It is history.

CORNISH: Congratulations, Teddy. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.