The Washington Nationals have a history of scavenging the Reds for players and front office personnel. Now they’ve come for William Howard Taft. The infamously portly Cincinnati native has joined George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt in the Presidents Race, D.C. baseball’s less delicious version of Milwaukee’s Racing Sausages. We caught up with the nation’s 27th president via e-mail (he doesn’t have an iPhone).
Have you kept up with America’s Pastime? Aren’t you supposed to ask me where I went to high school first? Woodward. Class of ’74. If you’re asking whether I know that on-base percentage is more important than batting average now, of course. I’m a progressive! No matter what Teddy thinks.
The Nats say Roosevelt, who lost this race over 500 times, handpicked you. Do you smell a rat? I’m not afraid of losing. Last time I lost to Teddy, in the 1912 election, I ended up becoming Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. And Bud Selig isn’t going to live forever.
The team’s website says racers have to run from centerfield to home plate in 40 seconds or less. Are you up to doing that 81 times? It’s all about post-game recovery. The Nationals’ clubhouse has the most amazing soaking tub. It’s huge.
Do you still follow the Reds? Absolutely, though I miss Adam Dunn. Now there was a beautiful athletic specimen!
Any predictions for this season? I have a bet with Teddy if the Nationals and Reds meet in the playoffs. Let’s just say my face is going up on Rushmore…
Last question. Peanuts or Cracker Jack? Why do I have to choose? The song says “and.”
Originally published in the May 2013 issue.
Illustration by Tim Lane