Athletics

First-Pitchgate Redux: Barack Obama, For All His Faults, Already Clearly a Better President Than Gerald Ford

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Say what you (and by you, I mean me) will about President Barack Obama's underwhelming Eephus pitch at yesterday's MLB All Star Game.

The video below, tagged by reader anon in past comments, offers a second view of the pitch, which clearly shows Albert Pujols scooting up to snag the toss well before it hit the dirt before home plate.

The same clip, however, reminds us of just how lame past presidents have been at the All Star Game. The last prez to toss the inaugural horsehide at an All Star Game was Gerry Ford in 1976. He couldn't even be bothered to leave the seats before giving the sort of spaz toss that would have sent him packing from the Bad News Bears in the trequel movie with Tony Curtis, fer chrissakes. It's exactly this sort of half-ass effort that gave rise to Jimmy Carter's historic "malaise" speech a few years later on this very day. That, and all those checked pants and the stovepipe hats. And Thurman Munson's flying skills. And the fact that Bake McBride didn't get to play.

Just how lame was Gerry Ford at chief executive? Even his finale ultimo Bicentennial Minute clocks in at just 41 seconds.

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  1. The really offensive thing was the camera angle used to cover the pitch live and the filtering out of boos. Joe Goebbels would have been proud.

  2. “… a loyal White Sox fan.”

    Sounds like it.

    And Breitbart spells it wrong in the URL.

    (!!!)

  3. I’ll take good old stumbling Gerry over Saint Barack any dsy.

    Barry’s deficit so far is already bigger than the total of Gerry’s budget for his entire Presidency. (Granted, I am not adjusting for inflation.)

    At least Gerry never pretended he could solve every problem.

    And Gerry’s WIN program was a lot less harmful than Barry’s stimulus.

  4. Obama is like an insecure teenager, always straining to look cool. Everything about him is mannered and self-conscious. His speech patterns affect this ridiculous wigger accent which gets even more pronounced when he’s trying to be “authentic” around other blacks. But he’s basically a geek from Hawaii. Even his slow jog onto the field looks fake.

  5. I like the how the video narrator called it a “perfect strike”, even though the ball failed to reach the plate. Did they change the strikezone again?

  6. Worse than Bush.

    Obama’s deficit is 4x worse than Bush’s worst deficit so no surprise he throws a worse pitch too.

    Obama is teh suck.

  7. I’m glad no one’s trotting out the “but he’s good at basketball, and that’s a real sport with no fat guys” spin here. He’s white Urkel on the hardwood, too.

  8. I would point out that, although may have sucked as prez, he does have afairly large reservoir of actual athletic credibility to fall back on. I don’t think Obama has that. Ford was also 15 years older.

  9. He couldn’t even be bothered to leave the seats

    Which is the way Presidential (and other) first pitches used to be, though, from Taft to Woodrow Wilson to Nixon to Ford. Wikipedia’s got photos.

    I’m not sure when it became a real pitch from the mound; perhaps Reagan started it, because he did some from the mound.

  10. How the hell did this become a “-gate”?

  11. Listening to the many Geral Ford retrospectives around the time of his death I realized that he was not a particularly bad president, relatively speaking. With apologies to Dennis Miller, the worst thing Ford did was give us Chevy Chase. By the time Chocolate Jesus is out of office Ford will look like George Washington by comparison.

  12. How the hell did this become a “-gate”?

    This is baseball we are talking about…

  13. I think that back in the day, Presidential first pitches often took place from the stands. Strange, yes, but it was the custom back when Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, etc were throwing out the first pitch for that unapologetic racist Kenesaw Landis.

  14. President Ford is my hero, baseball throwing skills notwithstanding. (Besides, he was a football player in college, anyway.) Here’s why: he could really pitch a veto– 66 in only 2 1/2 years in office. Not a bad record, if you ask me.

  15. How the hell did this become a “-gate”?

    When the video feed was messed with, and the audio commentary falsified, to keep the Big O from coming off as a doofus.

  16. I think people underestimate how hard throwing a strike from the mound is if you don’t at least play catch with a ball and glove regularly.

    Many adult men remember how well they could throw the ball as teenagers and assume they would still throw the ball the same way. I’m here to tell you, guys, you wouldn’t.

    I was a good baseball player from age 8 to age 17. I didn’t touch a baseball for 10 years after that. I tried to throw a baseball in my late 20’s, and was stupefied at how hard it was. Your arm gets tight in weird ways and weak in weird ways and it’s incredibly hard to time your release point. Basically you have to pretend it’s spring training and throw the ball to your friend four feet away from you, then take a step back and throw it again, take another step, etc. until you’re at a reasonable distance. Most people who throw out ceremonial first pitches do a horrible job [check youtube for footage of Mark Wahlberg hitting people twenty feet to the left of home plate at a Red Sox game this year] because they think they can just walk on the field and throw a ball when they haven’t thrown one in a long time.

  17. I’m sure obama was wearing a pretty heavy flak / bulletproof vest, which no doubt made throwing a little more difficult.

  18. All the more reason, Fluffy, for the Prez not to be a camera hog and try to throw from the mound, but instead toss it in from the stands.

    Obama deserves all the abuse he gets for this, because he volunteered for it.

  19. I believe the original phraseology was “throw out the first ball.” An enterprise easily and properly carried out from the stands; when it became “first pitch” I neither know nor care.

    I would be delighted if the Presidential Suit would go into seclusion for six months with a professional pitching coach, to prepare himself for the 2010 season.

  20. And-

    I am in no position to throw rocks (!) at anybody who “throws like a girl.” As a fifty-something former college footbal and lacrosse player, my shoulders are so fucked up I couldn’t throw a baseball from one side of my driveway to the other accurately.

  21. All the more reason, Fluffy, for the Prez not to be a camera hog and try to throw from the mound, but instead toss it in from the stands.

    Obama deserves all the abuse he gets for this, because he volunteered for it.

    I would agree that he deserves ridicule for overestimating his abilities.

    But I don’t think he deserves ridicule for not throwing the ball well. Because that ridicule is based on a lot of other people overestimating their own abilities: “That Obama’s a nerd and not a real man like me. I would have thrown a perfect strike.”

  22. But I don’t think he deserves ridicule for not throwing the ball well. Because that ridicule is based on a lot of other people overestimating their own abilities: “That Obama’s a nerd and not a real man like me. I would have thrown a perfect strike.”

    Obama’s isn’t a nerd. That would imply he is smart. He’s a pansy. Maybe you couldn’t throw a strike, but I could. Every single time unless I’m trying to bean the batter or give him false confidence. At almost 40 years old and with no practice I can throw perfect strikes because, unlike Larry Sinclair’s girlfriend, I’m not a choad smoking pussy.

  23. I like the how the video narrator called it a “perfect strike”, even though the ball failed to reach the plate.

    Was it joe?

  24. In fairness to Gerry Ford, he was an all-American football player at Michigan who turned down NFL contracts from the Lions and Packers.

    And, in fairness to President Onehopper McMomJeans, he was a top reserve on the Columbia hackysack squad.

  25. He couldn’t even be bothered to leave the seats before giving the sort of spaz toss that would have sent him packing from the Bad News Bears in the trequel movie with Tony Curtis, fer chrissakes.

    Ford’s “throw from the seats” was standard for ceremonial pitches at the time. This taking the mound shit is a recent development of media hounds.

  26. my shoulders are so fucked up I couldn’t throw a baseball from one side of my driveway to the other accurately.

    This made me think…

    A ceremonial first hit-by-pitch would be a hell of a lot more fun. It would give Craig Biggio, Don Baylor, and Ron Hunt something to do, too.

  27. On critiquing the throw, it’s not so much that it wasn’t a perfect strike, it was that it was a noodle-armed toss that was in the right direction but bounced in front of the plate. If he had any sack, he would have thrown harder and risked missing left, right or overhead… Assuming he could in fact throw it all the way to home from the mound, of course.

  28. Maybe the media could start comparing him to for… trying to open go into a window like it’s a door, tripping in the doorway, hitting his head on the door in the jet… etc…

  29. Don’t diss the athleticism of Ford. According to the Times:

    President Gerald R. Ford also tossed two first pitches, but took it up a notch by throwing one right-handed to Bench and one left-handed to Carlton Fisk.

  30. It was a looping toss that landed in the dirt. Bush threw a genuine strike in 2004, you know, as in an actual pitch.

    Obama even claimed to have practiced in the Rose Garden, but I’m sure that’s a total fiction, like most of what else comes out of both sides of his mouth.

  31. You’d think he’d have a stronger throwing arm, considering all the time he spends patting himself on the back.

  32. And he was wearing hideous mom jeans. Which is interesting given that Michelle Obama is hailed as the new Queen of Fashion – you’d think she’d want her husband to look a little more ‘with it’.

    Personally, I think his repartee in the dressing room was totally phony, and his variable frequency Ebonics, depending upon his audience, is rather grating.

  33. Y’all have to remember that where Chairman Obama grew up in Kenya and Indonesia that they didn’t play baseball!

    That being said, he still threw the ball like a girly-man, which suits him because that’s what he is.

    chicopanther

  34. GWB threw a mean first pitch. The video from the 2001 World Series, where he was no doubt wearing Level III body armor with front and back plates, was a no-foolin’ strike at the knees. The catcher didn’t even have to make it look good.

    Glad to see someone mentioned Ford threw right and left-handed. Granted, they were tosses, but I imagine he could have got it to the plate if needed. He may have fallen off the mound later, but…

  35. President Ford not only played football on two national championship teams at Michigan, he was also an Eagle Scout, saw combat in the Pacific during WWII, and was an avid snow skier for many years after his retirement.

    President Obama wrote books about himself and bowled a 37.

    Gerald Ford was a man. Obama is a metrosexual weeny.

  36. As I recall my besbol life (not a player but an avid fan until the MLB strike), when the Presidents threw from the stands they announced it as “throwing out the first ball”. Does anyone else remember it that way? I hate to think my booze addled brain is cross wired again. I don’t know when or why they started throwing the first pitch but I remember being pretty amazed at GWB throwing a real one.

  37. I hear Hillary throws like a girl.

  38. What is NOT suprising: 1)The Kenyan’s wussified toss and, 2)all the boos.

    What IS suprising is that the Kenyan did not employ the Clinton strategy of removing all undesirables in the audience beforehand.

    And… What? no piped-in thunderous applause? There was a perfectly good sound system in the stadium for crying out loud.

    Every legitimate aspiring communist dictator knows better than to waste precious opportunities like this.

  39. “First-Pitchgate Redux: Barack Obama, For All His Faults, Already Clearly a Better President Than Gerald Ford”

    An inanimated Gerald Ford is still a better athlete than Barak Obama.

  40. I hear Hillary throws like a girl.

    And Bill dodges like an ninja.

  41. nice post..
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  42. Yes, Obama throws like a weenie and wears mom jeans.
    Bush knows how to throw a baseball, invades the wrong country and authorizes torture and subverts the Constitution.
    Life is full of tradeoffs.

  43. swillfredo pareto
    Listening to the many Geral Ford retrospectives around the time of his death I realized that he was not a particularly bad president, relatively speaking. With apologies to Dennis Miller, the worst thing Ford did was give us Chevy Chase. By the time Chocolate Jesus is out of office Ford will look like George Washington by comparison.

    Granted a George Washington face down on a tarmac, but George Washington none the less.

  44. This is a stupid discussion, but have the man’s awesome basketball skills fallen into the memory hole this quickly?

    Bush could have beaten him at cheerleading too.

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