From Sunlen Miller:
Marking a 100-year tradition, President Obama today threw out the first pitch at Nationals Stadium, kicking off the season at the opening game of the Washington Nationals vs. the Philadelphia Phillies.
The presidential pitch went high and wide, yet cleared the plate and was successfully caught by National’s third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.
Contrary to his first pitch at the All-Star Game last year , this time there were no “mom jeans” nor white tennis shoes. The president wore a bulky, red Nationals jacket, dress pants, and dress shirt. Preceding his pitch, while on the mound he pulled out a black Chicago White Sox cap – smiling wide at his allegiance – as boo’s flooded the stadium.
“I was a little disappointed by the pitch,” Obama said from the announcers box during his post-pitch analysis, “It was a little high and outside. I was intentionally walking the guy. But fortunately Zimmerman is a tall guy and had enough reach.”
Watching a slow motion playback of his pitch delivery, the president said that his problem was that he just released the ball a little too early and high – contrary to his practice rounds at the White House earlier in the week.
“You know what breaks your heart on these; you’re down there practicing, throwing a punch, throwing strikes. Heat. Come out here, the thing slips out of your hand a little bit. It’s heartbreaking.”
The president predicted that if he had a whole inning, he’d “clean up”.
The president shook hands with referees, fans, and also gave presidential coins to wounded warriors honored by the stadium. Beforehand – and off camera – the president went into each team’s locker room to say hi. Mr. Obama sat for several innings with baseball commissioner Bud Selig, Nationals owners and next to Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter wearing a Phillies jacket.
The president said that it’s pretty clear that he should stick to playing basketball.
“I never played organized baseball so I love watching it,” he said, “But my skills are not where they need to be. In basketball I could pretend that I could have had a career. In baseball I think it’s very clear that I wasn’t going anywhere on that front.” Obama offered up a little March Madness prediction –and said that while Butler is a “great story” that he believes Duke is going to be able to pull out a win tonight in the championship game.