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Jul 11

Bad Teddy

The Nats are doing well but poor Teddy remains the lovable loser.

Why would the Nationals mock one of our best Presidents? You would think that they would have picked someone else, and there are others, Buchanan comes to mind. How about Millard Fillmore and of course there is Nixon but TR? What goes?

After years of pain staking research our research staff was finally able to crack the secret. The Nationals are just giving it back to Teddy.

January 1903, The White House stunned local baseball fans by announcing that the Federal Government would stay in business till 430PM instead of the normal 4PM closing time. This of course would interfere with the start of the Washington Baseball Club’s games.

Sporting Life writes, “In the District baseball and government has been intertwined ever since the game first started. But, speaking of explosions, all of those ever known in the Washington base ball world are as nothing to that of last Friday, which may leave no Washington Club to be managed and cause the loss of till the capital invested in it. The innocent author of this baseball cataclysm was no less a person than President Roosevelt, and, as is usual when the Rough Rider gets into the game, there was something doing, sure enough!

The event referred to was the issuance of an executive order that hereafter the government departments shall be open for business until 4.30 PM., instead of 4PM as heretofore. As a majority of Washington baseball patrons are in the civil service of the government  the effects of the order will probably be disastrous, if not absolutely destructive to the professional game in this city, unless it, is modified in some way. While Washington has enjoyed a gratifying growth in recent years, the population having increased to 318,000 or thereabouts, according to the last semi-official figures, its baseball attendance would be small without the patronage of the several thousand enthusiastic followers of the game who work in the executive departments. These, under favorable conditions, would, in a majority of cases, attend nearly all the games and swell the number of spectators to twice what any other place of Washington’s size could turn out. Without them, however, Washington is simply a dead one to the diamond world, and would probably be passed up by the stronger minor leagues. Of course the executive order may be so modified as to add the extra .half-hour before nine, the present hour of opening, instead of after four. Probably if a large majority of the persons affected wish it, and the interests of the community appear to require it, it will be so ordered. A local paper states that in one division of the Agricultural Department all but two persons out of seventy-live prefer the 8.30 plan. Of course, if that arrangement was made baseball would not be interfered with at all.

One of the most serious phases of the situation is its probable effect upon the pending sale of the club. Unless the extra half-hour’s work is added in the morning, instead of the afternoon, it will probably cause the deal to fall through. It has been intimated in some quarters that the transfer had already struck a snag, but the allegation that President. Johnson said, in the west a week ago, that he would have to seek outside owners for the local club after all, should not be accepted with confidence. It. can be stated from positive, unquestioned able personal knowledge that at that exact time the deal was in a very healthy condition. If Mr. Johnson made any such assertion I think I know the facts upon which it was based, and it is possible that during the time while the matter was waiting for the papers to be drawn, signed, sealed and delivered, the prospective buyers may have concluded to ask a reduction of the price originally agreed upon, which was a pretty good one, though not unreasonable in any sense. That or some similar consideration may have led Mr. Johnson to counter with some such half-hook as the alleged remark referred to, but it seems very doubtful whether he said anything of the sort, even in that way.

11 January One local paper suggest the team purchase lanterns or invest in electric lights because of the delayed game times because of the executive order by President Roosevelt.[1]

23 January President Johnson, of the American League, arrived in town to-day about 4PM He was accompanied to Washington by Secretary Bruce, of the National Commission. The following impressions were derived from an evening spent with the aforesaid gentlemen. Considering his two days sojourn at the Laughery Club, Mr. Johnson was in a remarkably active condition, and ready for business. He was of the opinion that the extension of the hours of work in the executive departments of the Government would not injuriously affect base ball in Washington In this opinion Mr. Johnson is probably quite correct. It has already become evident that the Administration, which has always been so strongly inclined by a sort of natural bent to respect the popular will, is likely to consult the wishes of the persons affected by the new regulations so far as is possible consistently with its interpretation of the law. This disposition on its part will probably lead to some modification of the rules so as to cause the additional half hour’s work to be added in the morning instead of the afternoon, either throughout the year or between April 1 and October 1, or April l5 and October 15. Thus one obstacle to the success of the Senators, and a serious one will probably be done away with. The deal for the sale of the club is still regarded as very much alive and likely to go through to a successful issue, in case the above very reasonable expectations are realized.

The issue is resolved and the schedules adapted as to not interfere with the baseball games. Thus there was no impact on the Washington Club. But baseball fans like government employees have long memories, over 100 years later they had their revenge on poor Teddy.


[1] Washington Times