NPR logo Obama Has A Ball With His 'First Pitch'


Obama Has A Ball With His 'First Pitch'

He's a southpaw. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP) hide caption

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He's a southpaw. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Very high and outside. But at least he made it to the plate.

That's the call for the ceremonial first pitch just tossed by President Barack Obama at the Washington Nationals' Major League Baseball home opener against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The president came on the field to what sounded like (from the TV feed) a mix of cheers and boos. He was wearing a Nationals jacket and — with a grin — donned a Chicago White Sox cap (his favorite team) when he got to the mound. That produced some very loud boos.

You might recall that Obama got some grief for wearing what looked like "mom's jeans" when he threw out the first pitch at last year's All-Star Game. Today, he looked to be in some safe chinos.

On All Things Considered Sunday, baseball historian Peter Morris talked with NPR's Linda Wertheimer talked about this presidential tradition. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first time a president did the honors. Then-president Taft was the first.

As Morris told Linda, right from the start there's been some partisanship in the way the presidents' performances have been reviewed.