President Obama throwing out the first pitch - predictions and reviews

President Obama will throw out the first pitch at the All-Star Game tonight. How will he do? Will he man up and throw from the mound or take the sissy route from 50 feet?

My guess is that he will do OK. He’ll get it to the catcher in the air but it will have a pretty good arc on it. I don’t think he’ll actually take the mound or at least not the official rubber like President Bush did. Bush had a fair amount of arc but it was definitely a strike. It also looked like he had some sort of protective vest under his jacket. I’d give Bush 8/10 for his effort.

President Obama is athletic but passing a basketball is nothing like throwing a baseball. My prediction is 6/10 for Obama.

What say you Dopers?

He’s thrown a first pitch before, during the 2005 ALCS. He said it was over the plate but very slow. I can’t find footage of it, but this article includes a picture. He looks like he’s on the mound and not putting much oomph into it.

Fox showed him throwing the pitch from the mound, and the announcer said it made it into Pujols’s glove, but there was a bad camera angle and they didn’t actually show it making it in. :smack:

They just replayed it. He threw from the rubber, but came up short (and Pujols was squatting in front of the plate as well).

Just saw it. At least it wasn’t in the dirt.

And I tell you, Wiki has an article for everything: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceremonial_first_pitch

From your linked article:

I never knew that. Not much of a “first pitch” if it’s the third time, eh?

I’ve seen it before. Usually when a group of Boy Scouts or Little League team is visiting or somesuch.

Yeah, as a pitcher… he’s got a good jumpshot. Definitely in the dirt on the reply I saw.
I caught a couple minutes where he was in the announcer’s booth. Obama mentioned he never played organized baseball growing up (OMG! It’s true, he’s not a real American!), and only had a little practice in the Rose Garden.

Still, what is it with everyone short-arming every first pitch? I mean, if you’re a playboy bunny or something where you’re image would be hurt if you showed any actual athleticism, I guess you have a reason for throwing the ball ten feet, but if you’re a healthy adult, why aim for the dirt? Isn’t it less embarassing to loft one in that at least reaches the catcher?

You think people AIM for the dirt? Throwing accurately off of a mound is tough.

More to the point, throwing a ball hard enough to it maintains a relatively flat trajectory for 60 feet is really tough.

I don’t think anyone is asking for a 90mph fastball. I’d settle for upper 40’s or low 50’s. Like I said in the OP, I think Bush did a pretty respectable job given his clothing restraints.

Looks like he did a perfectly respectable job of getting the pitch there. He threw off the mound and it got to Pujols. It wasn’t a strike and his motion is storky and awkward but he did better than most first-pitchers do.

Nobody aims for the dirt. The ball tends to come up short when you aim. These guys aren’t professionals, so they try to guide the ball to the catcher rather than rearing back and throwing. And they may also be aware that if the ball lands in front of the catcher it’s still going to get caught, but if it goes over his head it’ll be more embarrassing.

I wish I’d been able to hear Obama’s appearance during the Fox broadcast. How did that go?

I’m on the other side of the aisle and I thought he did a good job. He was relaxed and just seemed like a normal guy talking baseball. Foxsports has the video here.

“Storky” is my new favorite adjective. Thanks! :smiley:

I saw Obama in the broadcast booth. He was there for maybe six or seven minutes, and did fine. He talked about his love of the White Sox, the fact that he’d once thrown out the first pitch while a U.S. senator and the Sox had then gone on to win their next eight games, and joked that there were no Federal stimulus funds available for the National League to help it start winning All-Star games. He said that although he loves the Sox, he’s not “a hater” of the Cubs. He said he didn’t play organized baseball as a kid, but preferred basketball. He declined to pick a World Series winner just yet.

Presidents used to the throw the ball out from the stands, just a short distance to a player standing on the field. Maybe we should return to that custom, both for security and to avoid the indignity (minor though it is) of an incomplete pitch: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d8/Kennedy_1962_All_Star_Game.gif

ETA: Thanks, KRM, for posting a link.

I thought he came across as a regular, down-to-earth guy who is also very smart and knowledgeable—the kind of thing that explains a lot of his appeal as a politician.

Pujols claims it didn’t hit the ground (though a did a little scoop-save just in case).

The guy sitting in the passenger seat of the car sure was delighted to get to shake Obama’s hand. The guy driving must have voted for McCain…

I think it’s very possible that the driver was Secret Service and was trained to not look at the President. Just a guess tho.

Stan Musial looked happy as a clam.

After looking at the video on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer blog a few more times, I’m going to agree - he did catch the ball in the air, but just barely. (It’s a YouTube video filmed off someone’s TV, so it’s not the clearest.) Pujols appeared to be right over the plate. If he’d been in a normal catcher’s position I think it probably would’ve landed right on the plate or right in front of it.

I enjoyed the footage Fox showed of Obama in the locker rooms prior to the game – he was making knowledgable conversation with a lot of the players and then they cut to a silent scene of him signing a ball for Ichiro, who had a look on his face very much akin to those on kids who’ve had a ball signed by Ichiro. Pretty endearing moment for him.