Monday, April 3, 2017

EXTRA: No Opening Day for Trump? How little Taft, W. Bush, other presidents must think of The Donald

I can’t help but think that somewhere, George W. Bush is sneering at President Donald J. Trump for taking a pass on what may be one of the biggest public perks of being president of the United States.
Trump falling short of century-old baseball tradition

Being the guy who gets to kick off the entire baseball season by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch of the game

NOW THAT LITERALLY didn’t happen, as Trump wasn’t present in St. Louis for the Cardinals’ season opener Sunday against the Chicago Cubs. But he was invited to be at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., on Monday, when the Washington Nationals start the 2017 season against the Florida Marlins.

Yet Trump turned down the “first pitch” duties. He claimed to be too busy to take to the pitcher's mound and toss a ball 60-feet, six inches without bouncing it.

Too busy?!?

There has been a part of me that always suspected that for Bush, the younger, being able to be the president and do first pitch duties was his favorite part of being president.

CONSIDERING THAT ONE of the few times Bush got unilateral respect as president was when he did threw the ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium during the 2001 World Series – which came just weeks following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City – it’s no wonder he’d feel that way.

Does anyone seriously think Trump will get ...
First pitch duties are a presidential task going back to the days of William Howard Taft, who way back during his presidency in the days when the Chicago Cubs were worthy of being taken seriously was a regular site at Griffith Stadium for Washington Senators games.

In fact, the most memorable baseball artifact I remember seeing when the Baseball Hall of Fame had a traveling exhibit across the country a few years ago was the extra-large seat that accommodated Taft’s 300-pound-plus frame when he watched ballgames.

Even Barack Obama carried out first pitch duties – despite the criticism it created of his weak left-handed tosses that clearly revealed his top game personally was basketball.
... a baseball card like either Bush or Obama?

YET TRUMP, WHO played prep school baseball and has tried claiming he was a possible prospect for the Philadelphia Phillies, couldn’t be bothered. It’s putting him in the same category as Jimmy Carter – who famously (among baseball fans) only attended one ballgame as president.

The final game of the 1979 World Series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles, where players gave him grief for taking long enough (he had already been president for three years) to get out to a game.

Is that destined to be Trump’s sporting fate? Is he so afraid of being boo’ed by fans (Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos said he had no interest in seeing Trump doing duties at his Camden Yards ballpark) that he’ll just skip baseball altogether.

Meaning he won’t get his place on a baseball bubblegum card (which as Lucy from the Peanuts comic strips once said was the mark of what is truly important in life).
Making Taft look slim

WE WON’T GET to see for ourselves whether there are traces of him ever having played ball (W. Bush showed he probably really was once a pitcher for Yale, while his father, H.W. Bush, played first base for the Bulldogs a couple of generations earlier). Or the idea that Trump really follows a team the way Obama did as the "first fan" of the White Sox.

And it means that Trump had better get used to more magazine covers like the one that the New Yorker recently created – a cartoon image of a very unflattering side of Trump trying to play golf on the White House lawn but looking more like a Japanese sumo wrestler.


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