My national pastime
I love baseball. My team is the Cleveland Indians and whether you take issue with their name like many, personally I would like to see them return to the Cleveland Spiders though by all accounts Cleveland sports were a disaster under that particular moniker. As a child, baseball was a bridge to life my father ushered me across. Life lessons abound; You can't win them all, You don't have to swing at every pitch, Be ready because once the ball is in play anything can happen.
It took me by surprise when I realized that what shocked me, rattled me, threw me off kilter as much as watching the big picture ideological decisions made every day by this administration, was something that seemed so common-place. So small. Donald Trump will not throw out the first pitch on Baseball's Opening Day.
With so much news, in such abundance, in such frequency, it can be hard to keep one's eye on what matters. You think about how every little detail effects you and your loved ones, future generations, and our 'American' way of life. About 70 days in; a lurking foreign intervention into the very foundation of our Democracy, slashing EPA regulations meant to slow the tide of climate change, and watching the stock market continue it's slow slog downward.
Would it be so crazy for Mr. President to just take the motor pool to the ballpark and have what should be a unifying moment? A 'home run' if you forgive the obvious turn of phrase.
rip potus first pitch
What I think is most upsetting about many of the decisions made so far by President Trump is what seems to be a deconstruction of tradition, of the way things have always been. The President of the United States has thrown out a first pitch on Opening Day for 107 years. That's practically half as long as we are a nation. Notable exceptions to the tradition, were for instance William Howard Taft attending the second game of the season, having missed Opening Day to attended the funeral of a friend who perished on the Titanic in 1912. Richard Nixon, yes that Richard Nixon then Vice-President, filled in for Dwight Eisenhower in 1959.
You can't say it's a security issue. Ronald Reagan ignored a security warning in 1984 to watch the Baltimore Orioles on Opening Day from the Third Base dugout for crying out loud! That's how important it is.
At the height of his unpopularity, George W. Bush didn't miss an opportunity to throw his heater on Opening Day. He had good mechanics, good follow-through, and could always reach the catcher's mitt. For one instant, people forgot what was happening everywhere else but that ball park.
I guess it's possible Mr. Trump is worried, after the Health Care debacle last week, of bouncing another one off the plate.
Editor's Note: Head here for a complete history of Ceremonial First Pitches.