The Corner

Other First Pitches

I’ve never seen a presidential first pitch in person. But I did see Gov. Engler of Michigan throw out the first pitch at Tiger Stadium in the early 1990s. He was a very good governor, but also quite unpopular immediately after his first election because he was cutting arts spending and the like. When he was announced to the crowd, the booing was loud–but Engler trotted onto the field with a big smile and waving to everybody. When they showed the image on the 11 o’clock news that night, all you saw was Engler–no sound (the sportscaster was talking). If you weren’t there, you would have assumed the fans were cheering him on. Clever move, sort of like waving from the tarmac even though there’s nobody there to see you except the cameras.

My other first pitch was in Baltimore in about 1993, for the filming of the movie Dave. Before the game started, they filmed a scene with Kevin Kline taking the mound. It took him a few tries before he pitched a ball the director thought he could use. Kline got booed, too. That’s not in the movie, either.

John J. Miller — John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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