Sporting a White Sox jacket and some rather square dad-esque jeans (Bugle Boy?), lefty President Obama did a perfectly respectable job throwing out the first pitch at the All-Star game in St Louis this evening.
Though it was tough to tell on TV, the president *seemed to* throw the ball over the plate to Cardinal first baseman Albert Pujols, who inched up from a catcher’s normal spot.
There were some scattered boos, but more cheers.
Smiling like he just clinched the final game of the World Series, the president then pumped his arm, seemingly pleased with the high-pressure pitch he’d been practicing.
President Obama joined sportscasters Joe Buck and Tim McCarver for some chit-chat in the FOX booth.
Why wear the White Sox jacket? He was asked.
“I’m a White Sox fan and my wife thinks I look cute in this jacket so why not?” said the president.
Unlike some White Sox fans, the president noted that he is NOT a Cubs hater, “I just don’t root for them.”
To meet Stan Musial and Stan Gibson on the field, he said, was “such a reminder about what’s great about this country, and you can’t beat it.”
Was his heart pounding beneath the jacket before the pitch?
The president coolly pointed out that he’d thrown out a first pitch during the American League Championship Series in 2005 when the White Sox hosted the Angels.
But “when you’re a senator they show you no respect,” he joked, and he didn’t get to warm up four years ago. This time he did, and “we did a little practicing in the Rose Garden.” He noted that after he threw out the first pitch, the White Sox won their next eight games.
The sportscasters noted that the last two teams he predicted would win it all — the North Carolina Tarheels for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and the Pittsburgh Steelers for the Super Bowl — won. So he’s “two for two.” Did he have any predictions for this year’s World Series?
“It’s a little early,” he joked, “I tend to get a little more information” before he makes picks like that.
The president said there’s “a lot of parity” across MLB, “which I think is terrific….Everybody around the country, there’s a little hope for their team, except for maybe the Nationals.”
The president pointed out that All Star and Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino, “is a Hawaiian kid.” Former Phillies catcher McCarver pointed out that Victorino is the first “position player to come out of Hawaii,” though three pitchers have hailed from the president’s home state.
It was pointed out to the president that the National League hasn’t won the All Star Game since 1996 when he was starting his political career.
“This is a problem,” the president said, asking Buck and McCarver, “what’s your best theory on this?” Three or four years’ worth of losing is one thing, you can say it’s “just happenstance,” but this was something else. McCarver cited the American League’s designated hitter rule.
“So there’s no bailout plan for the National League?” one of the sportscasters asked, laughing.
“No,” said the president, “we’re out of money.”