The Washington Nationals were in need of some motivation before their elimination game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday, and there was no better source of inspiration than a former Washingtonian who had won his share of battles: Teddy Roosevelt.
Nationals infielder Mark DeRosa has always looked to Roosevelt before big games, and he figured his teammates could use a dose of the 26th President on Thursday.
"With our backs against the wall, I wanted to say something that brought us together, a little band of brothers to go out and fight and see what happens," DeRosa told the Washington Post. "I feel that was fitting."
DeRosa grabbed the clubhouse microphone before the game and began reading an excerpt from Roosevelt’s 1910 speech "The Man in the Arena." As DeRosa proceeded, more and more players filed into the locker room. While DeRosa did not say which part of the speech he read, this is the most oft-cited part of the address:
"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
Players were blown away by Roosevelt's words and DeRosa's presentation.
"Epic," Drew Storen told the Washington Post. "The stuff movies are made of."
DeRosa, 37, is not on the Nationals playoff roster, but that doesn't mean he can't have an impact in the clubhouse.
"I feel like if they’re going to keep me around and keep me here, there’s a reason for it," DeRosa said.
It's been a solid week for Teddy Roosevelt in Washington. Not only did his words inspire the Nationals before their pivotal game 4, but he is also on an improbable three-race winning streak in Washington's Presidents Race.
(H/T to USA Today)