Obama’s First Pitch

President Obama threw out the ceremonial first pitch in last night’s All Star game.  Although I didn’t watch the game, I happened to catch the pitch:

What I found interesting is the camera angle: The showed the windup and the pitch but not the landing. There’s a consensus in the righty blogosphere that, despite standing in front of the mound, he was short.  But, unless they showed a different angle later, how would anyone know?

President Bush’s first pitch when baseball resumed play after a hiatus following the 9/11 attacks, is making the rounds, too. It was quite impressive by presidential standards:

Of course, throwing a baseball in street clothes is not an important standard by which to judge presidents. But it’s an interesting spectacle.

UPDATEDavid Pinto agrees that it was “a poor camera angle” live but that “They showed another angle when Obama was in the booth during the bottom of the second, and it did fall short of the plate.  It wasn’t a bad pitch, however — better than most celebrities, but not up to Bush standards.”

Glenn Reynolds links a Reuters video clearly showing it short. The reporter bemoans the fact that “the pitch barely makes the plate” despite having practiced in the Rose Garden beforehand.

The commentary is rather amusing, if only for the dry, British delivery.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Not just street clothes, but street clothes and a bulletproof vest, yes?

    I saw Obama’s pitch as well, and it was okay, although a bit of a slow arch. Bush’s was better.

    Still, it was certainly far better than that one that Carl Lewis threw that they replay on PTI constantly!

  2. James Joyner says:

    Still, it was certainly far better than that one that Carl Lewis threw that they replay on PTI constantly!

    Or even Wilbon’s pitch! No word on whether Obama tucked his jersey in, since he had a jacket on top.

  3. markm says:

    Not only did B.O. not toe the rubber, Pujols was in front of the plate and had to reach out to snare the rainbow. Hmmph!.

    http://tinyurl.com/md4upb

  4. Boyd says:

    I happened to catch a clip of Edie Falco throwing the “first pitch” at some Mets game. She definitely throws kinda like a girl (but I’m not commenting on Obama’s throwing style one way or the other), but she did a much better job of getting the pitch over the plate than President Obama did.

    Which gave me a bit of a chuckle. I guess actresses get more practice at throwing things than Presidents do.

  5. David says:

    Not to nitpick, but that’s not really the first game after 9/11, is it? Since it’s D-Backs/Yankees, I’m guessing it was Game 1 of the 2001 World Series. I remember that moment, though; pretty poignant and definitely an “American” moment.

  6. Alex Knapp says:

    In fairness to the President, he’s a basketball player, not a baseball player.

  7. markm says:

    In fairness to the President, he’s a basketball player, not a baseball player.

    ..c’mon…he even practiced in the Rose Garden with an aide.

  8. Furhead says:

    Well if we’re choosing sides for a pick-up baseball game, I’m definitely going with Bush. For basketball, Obama.

    Now that THAT’s settled …

  9. PD Shaw says:

    I remember watching my dad bounce one in the dirt, when he threw out the first pitch at a minor league game. His retort was that he had never thrown off a mound before and it makes the plate look closer than it is.

  10. hiscross says:

    Let’s see, he can’t bowl or throw, but he can shoot some hoop. When GW threw his pitch at Yankee Stadium he asked Derek Jeter if he should throw from the front of the mount. Jeter told him pitchers throw off the mount in Yankee Stadium. Bush threw a 4 seam strike. BTW, Michael Jordon played some baseball, and he seemed to be a pretty good basketball player. Besides Pole Vaulting, playing baseball is the hardest sport to play.

  11. JorgXMcKie says:

    Well, hiscross, as Sam Snead said to Ted Williams, “at least when you hit one in the stands you don’t have to play it from there.”

    And I’m not a golfer.

    Oh, Clinton cheats at golf. I wonder if Obama does, too.

  12. Eric Florack says:

    Was listening to Pitssburgh radio this monring on the way into work. Catcher said it was short.

    But hey, maybe we shouldn’t take it too seriously. After all, Baseball is a game American kids play… an advantage Obama never had.

  13. Larvell Blanks says:

    despite standing in front of the mound, …

    Not only did B.O. not toe the rubber, …

    Guys, his foot is right on the rubber, as the video makes abundantly clear. No need to invent obviously falsifiable “facts” to make it seem worse than it is. The only important point is that the White House was obviously so concerned that he would bounce it that they negotiated a camera angle that wouldn’t show the flight of the ball — and Fox went along with it. I don’t blame the guy for not throwing a strike, but it’s kind of wussy to insist that the network not show the pitch, and it’s just as bad for Fox to agree to that demand. Bush would never have asked for a deceptive camera angle, and no network would have agreed to it.

  14. Trouble says:

    Bush did throw a strike,and he did it from the mound to a catcher behind the plate.

    Interesting crowd noise for the Prez – sort of a “Whoaaaaa” sound. On Yahoo, they tried to spin the “boos” as being directed at his White Sox jacket. Nice try, but… no cigar. Anyone who knows anything about baseball knows that Cardinals fans hate on the Cubs, but don’t give a flying rip about the ChiSox.

  15. sherlock says:

    The photo on Drudge looks like he’s putting the shot, not throwing a baseball.

  16. PD Shaw says:

    IIRC Obama took some shots at himself about his poor baseball skills when he went up to the broadcast booth around the 3rd inning. It was a nice little change of pace; relaxed chit-chatting and no scolding.

  17. Dave (in MA) says:

    I thought it was nice to see our President take a nice break from wrecking the economy to participate in the evening’s mid-season festivities celebrating America’s pastime. You guys really ought to cut him some slack on the throw — Ø had to Eephus it a bit to get the trajectory such that it cleared the teleprompter. You think that’s easy?

  18. art says:

    Really? This is what’s the most important thing in the world? That his pitch didn’t make it to the plate? That the left-wing MSM purposely didn’t show the pitch not getting to the plate? Come. On.

    Another conspiracy to add to the list…

  19. David says:

    Really, art? We’ve never heard the complaints of the “conveniently” placed flags, banners, words and slogans behind W during his terms? It’s honestly exactly what people on staff for presidents and celebrities are paid to do; enhance the image of the big dog.

  20. Grewgills says:

    Where are the boos?
    I hear cheering before the pitch, a dip in sound during, and cheering after. Can someone direct me to the point where the booing is supposed to be happening?

  21. Here’s hoping President Obama’s pitches for nationalized health care, Stimulus II, Cap and Trade, and Card Check fall short of the mark as well.

  22. PD Shaw says:

    Where are the boos?

    I didn’t hear any last night or in these tapes.

    As a Cardinal fan, I agree with the above comment that Cardinal fans don’t have any rivalry with the White Sox.

    And Cardinal fans aren’t big boo’ers anyway. I’ve seen them applaud an awesome play by the opposing team, and former Cardinal baseball players returning in Cub gear (the first time, anyway).

  23. Dave (in MA) says:

    Can someone direct me to the point where the booing is supposed to be happening?

    Hope this helps.

  24. DL says:

    It matters not one iota where the pitch landed, or how well, or poorly, it was thrown. What matters here,and it was obvious to grade school deceiver watchers, was that the angle was unorthodox and clearly chosen to protect him from the event of a bad pitch. This man orchestrates every move for image.(foam pillars and faux haloes anyone?)

  25. floyd says:

    I agree with grewgills, the Booing is wholly inadequate!
    But then we all know the quote attributed to old “honest” Abe!…
    “”You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.””
    Axelrod must laugh out loud when hearing this, satisfied that that is enough!

    BTW; Surely the crowd was only booing his “SOX” jacket!?!?

  26. Drew says:

    Not much baseball played in Indonesia, eh?

  27. JKB says:

    Someone should have told Obama that the weak jog doesn’t look good, especially when wearing body armor with ceramic plates. Without training, you can’t run well with an extra 60 lbs on your upper torso. In any case, that was no pitch but what Obama thought a pitch should look like. Too little experience, to much left brain.

    Bush looks better because he didn’t pretend he was a pitcher, he walks out in a dignified manner, then throws the ball. Obama tries to look like what he’s seen on TV and doesn’t pull it off.

  28. IrishTexan says:

    Obama did ok, but that’s about it.

    Now, if you want to see a bad pitch, check out Cincinnati’s Mayor at opening day a few years ago.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC1dLxYwWJc

  29. An Interested Party says:

    After all, Baseball is a game American kids play… an advantage Obama never had.

    Not much baseball played in Indonesia, eh?

    And yet, he is still our president…how annoying it must be to some people…what a shame that a real red-blooded American like Sarah Palin will never find herself in this situation under these same circumstances…

  30. Hilo Hawaii says:

    I’d pick Sarah Palin for my team (baseball or otherwise) any day, over “Dribbles” Obama. I bet she could throw a strike (or at least reach the plate).

  31. Brian Knapp says:

    Obama’s pitch was slightly above average as far as celebrity pitches go.

    Bush’s is like the upper echelon. Matter of fact, I remember watching that game and thinking that I had never seen a better first pitch. I don’t think I have since, either.

    The only important point is that the White House was obviously so concerned that he would bounce it that they negotiated a camera angle that wouldn’t show the flight of the ball — and Fox went along with it.

    And

    What matters here,and it was obvious to grade school deceiver watchers, was that the angle was unorthodox and clearly chosen to protect him from the event of a bad pitch. This man orchestrates every move for image

    Really? Why waste conspiracy theories on a baseball game? And that Fox would oblige? Really?

    But hey, maybe we shouldn’t take it too seriously. After all, Baseball is a game American kids play… an advantage Obama never had.

    Well, the guy who caught the ball isn’t American, but he does pretty well I hear.

  32. Cher says:

    Obama throws like me & I have tried unsuccessfully all my life to NOT throw like a girl. (I am a girl) I, a NC hillbilly, & no Whitesox fan fer sher, can however, pronounce Comiskey Park, which Obama the brilliant orator & number one Whitesox fan, cannot.