The Nationals have a new, bad racing president

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The Brewers introduction of the Racing Sausages was pretty fantastic when it started all of those years ago because nothing like it had really been seen before. And it was aesthetically wonderful, as the tall, skinny sausages bobbed up and down awkwardly and hilariously. More so than they do now, actually, likely because of the improved nature of the costumes and the fact that the people racing have a bit more of a clue. Originally, though, it was an odd bit of almost, I dunno, David Lynchian weirdness entering baseball.

Many teams now have derivative versions of the Sausages. Large mascots involved in a foot races and the like, corporately sponsored or otherwise. The Washington Nationals version — the Presidents Race — is one of the better ones, I think. The costumes are fun. They’ve even built in some comedy and character notes to it all (the “Let Teddy Win” thing from a couple of years ago, etc.).

The originals were the Mount Rushmore presidents: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt. In recent years we’ve gotten William Howard Taft and Calvin Coolidge, though not always. Those newer additions aren’t Rushmore-worthy but they’re not objectionable I don’t suppose. Taft’s better legacy was as a Supreme Court justice and Coolidge was more of a competent steward than an truly inspiring leader, but no one, I hope, gets too worked up about them these days.

Yesterday, however, a new president showed up. Herbert Hoover. Interesting choice. I get that the Nats probably don’t want recent presidents as part of the race as they may be polarizing, but I think Hoover is one of older presidents who probably still inspires a bit opinion. He was really bad. The Great Depression wasn’t exactly his fault — even if he was in two administrations which preceded his own —  but he addressed it remarkably poorly, either unable or refusing to recognize the scope of the crisis while steadfastly and stubbornly adhering to conservative, hands-off principles when hands definitely needed to be on. An engineer and technocrat by nature, he likewise had almost no ability to communicate with the American people and came off as profoundly distant and uncaring as a result. And it wasn’t all just bad image and deportment. After the Depression hit he signed into law a a tariff that fueled trade wars and made the Depression even worse.

Maybe after the Rushmore guys we just don’t have any truly inspiring presidents to turn into racing mascots. FDR, I guess, but having a man who was confined to a wheelchair in a footrace is a bit of an issue. Maybe the could go full comedy with it and get a series of those now rather anonymous 19th century presidents involved. Zachary Taylor and Franklin Pierce don’t exactly have a current legacy of, well, anything, but you could probably make ’em funny.

Oh well. I’m just stuck on the idea that it’s hard to find a less-inspiring guy than Herbert Hoover.

UPDATE: I learn that this is a historical society thing. So, OK. Still Hoover sucked:

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Cardinals beat Brewers, both clinch postseason berths

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. LOUIS (AP) Harrison Bader tripled and homered to help the St. Louis Cardinals clinch a postseason berth on the final day of the regular season with a 5-2 win over Milwaukee, and the Brewers also earned a playoff spot Sunday via help on the West Coast moments later.

St. Louis (30-28) will be the fifth seed in the NL and open a three-game wild-card series at San Diego on Wednesday. By winning, the Cardinals avoided having to travel to Detroit for two makeup games Monday. St. Louis finished the regular season with 23 games in 18 days as it made up a slew of postponements caused by a coronavirus outbreak in the clubhouse.

“You had to throw some of the expectations out the window not knowing what to expect after taking those couple weeks off and all those doubleheaders and so many new guys,” Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said. “It was very different, very fulfilling to make the playoffs.”

The Brewers (29-31) locked up the eighth seed and a third consecutive postseason berth after the Padres beat San Francisco 5-4 in a game that ended about 15 minutes after St. Louis’ victory. The Giants finished with an identical record as the Brewers but lost out on a tiebreaker due to an inferior intradivision record.

“It’s fitting for 2020 and everything we went through,” Brewers left fielder Christian Yelich said. “It felt just as good as past years. This year’s a unique one. There’s so many challenges we had to go through on a daily basis behind the scenes, things you don’t deal with in a normal year.”

Milwaukee will face the top-seeded Dodgers in Los Angeles in a three-game series that also starts Wednesday.

The Brewers haven’t had a winning record at any point this season. Milwaukee and Houston will be the first teams ever to qualify for the playoffs with a losing mark.

“It’s a celebration,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We’re in the playoffs. That’s how you see it. There’s no reason to apologize for getting into the playoffs.”

Cardinals starter Austin Gomber allowed one run, one hit and two walks and struck out three over four innings.

Giovanny Gallegos (2-0), Genesis Cabrera and Alex Reyes combined to pitch the final five innings. Reyes got his first save.

“We’d have been happy getting in as the eight seed,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “We’d have been happy being the one seed, but people can say we got in if there was no expanded playoffs so that’s even another feather in this group’s cap.”

Brett Anderson (4-4) surrendered a triple to Bader and a walk to Tyler O'Neill to start the third inning before departing with a blister on his left index finger. Anderson opened the season on the injured list with a blister on the same finger and did not make his debut until Aug. 3.

Freddy Peralta replaced him a day after being activated from the paternity list, and O’Neill promptly stole second. Kolten Wong then hit a line drive off Peralta’s leg that Peralta threw into right field to score Bader and O’Neill.

Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong each added RBI singles to push the St. Louis lead to 4-0.

After Milwaukee scored in the top of the fifth, Bader hit his fifth home run of the season.

“That was a big counterpunch,” Shildt said of Bader. “Got them on their heels again.”

THREE TIMES THE FUN

Yadier Molina grounded into a triple play in the eighth inning when he hit a one hop grounder to Jace Peterson at third base in the eighth inning. It was Milwaukee’s first triple play since Sept. 23, 2016, when Cincinnati’s Joey Votto lined out to first base. Molina was also the last Cardinals player to hit into a triple play when he grounded out to third base at Boston on Aug. 15, 2017.

TRAINING ROOM

Brewers: Counsell said it was too early to prognosticate Anderson’s status after departing with the blister.

Cardinals: St. Louis president of baseball operations John Mozeliak announced that RHP Dakota Hudson will have Tommy John surgery on his right elbow Monday. Hudson went 3-2 with a 2.77 ERA in eight starts before leaving his start on Sept. 17 at Pittsburgh with right elbow discomfort after two innings.

UP NEXT

Brewers: The Brewers head to Los Angeles and will likely be without two of their top starters in Anderson and Corbin Burnes, who sustained a left oblique injury on Thursday.

Cardinals: This will be the fourth postseason series between St. Louis and San Diego, who faced each other in 1996, 2005, and 2006 in the Division Series.