One of the most ridiculous aspects – potentially the most ridiculous aspect – of American politics is the fact that every politician has to care about sports in order to appeal to the commoner. It’s one of the ways we keep them in check – politicians have the ability and zeal to vote to strip you of your right to clean water, but then we have to make them watch bad football so they can pretend to be one of us. It’s a tough road they walk, particularly if they live in a state with multiple teams, because you’ll face the fury of snarky fans if they pick the wrong one, and also face the fury of snarkier fans if they pick both.
But to get right to the point of the article, one of the purest forms of American sporting pomp and circumstance is baseball’s ceremonial first pitch. It’s a classic, it’s America’s pastime, a perfect, purely for-show photo opportunity which can only go wrong if you fuck it up really badly. Just about every president since the beginning of baseball – sans the current one but give him time – had to go out and show some of their athletic ability on the mound for the appeasement of the people.
In the middle of “researching” this post, I came across this video of both president George H.W. Bush’s first pitch at the 2001 World Series and president Obama’s first pitch on the Nationals’ opening day in 2010. Bush throws a damn good pitch for a 55 year old man, and Obama throws a very bad pitch for any man. Bush’s pitch came in the Bronx only a month or so after 9/11, so I’m sure this is a crucial moment for the New Yorkers who were there, as it shows solidarity from the president during one of New York’s most difficult periods. Bush was a baseball man, and New Yorkers are famously baseball men.
Obama’s a Chicago guy, which is shown as he dons a White Sox cap before he throws out the first pitch at a Nationals game. This is fine, because nobody in DC hates the White Sox probably, but it is the move of a huge nerd. Skying the pitch all the way to the left of the plate is also the move of a huge nerd.
However, this video – specifically the video uploader, zackhpittman, of seven subscribers – asks a question via his video description that I never could’ve thought to ask.
Who seems more presidential?
Why would we judge presidential quality through baseball pitches? I don’t know. But I may as well try.
This is a perfect question. YouTube user zackhpittman gives us, the viewer, the opportunity to judge political merit on athletic achievement, which is one metric that anyone can determine. He also splits it right down the middle by not stating what “presidential” means. Presidential could mean good pitcher, and presidential could mean bad pitcher. Obama has bad pitching on one side, and Bush has good pitching on the other side. Therefore, we have two paths – For the ideal Bush-model president, we want someone who would exemplify the pitch that Bush threw, and for an Obama-model president, we want someone who would exemplify the pitch that Obama threw. It’s simple, but ultimately it will save this country from certain destruction.
Following the Bush Path
The math here is simple. If Bush, by manner of throwing a good pitch, is more presidential, then the best pitcher in the world should theoretically be the best president in the world by zackhpittman’s formula.
Luckily, we have a system of determining who the best pitcher in the world is, and it’s called Major League Baseball. Each year, the best pitcher in the world receives the “Cy Young” award. So you, mister reader, might think “hey, why not just pick the most recent Cy Young award winner and move on from there mister Bush?” and I can absolutely see how that line of logic works but I’m the One with the Website here.
The guys who generally win the Cy Young award aren’t the guys throwing one pitch – rather, they’re the guys throwing like a thousand pitches and the majority of them are good. They can have a couple of bad ones, though. If Max Scherzer, who won the National League Cy Young award in 2016 (which is the tougher of the two to win because NL pitchers have to pitch to other pitchers, which is notably tough because other pitchers would know the Secrets of Pitching and thus make better batters) can throw a couple of bad pitches and it’ll be okay.
Bush didn’t have the shot to throw a couple of bad pitches, though. He had one pitch, and he made it work. The Bush side of the zackhpittman formula to Presidentiality requires that a man throw few pitches, but as many as possible must be good pitches.
Luckily, Major League Baseball has a position to measure that as well – The relief pitcher. A good relief pitcher only has to throw a couple of pitches per game, and ideally they’re all pretty good. That being said, in order to maximize the formula, we wouldn’t want a long-term successful relief pitcher, because those bad pitches would have to naturally rack up as the years go by. Nobody can stay perfect forever.
Ideally, a Bush-quality president as determined by the zackhpittman formula to Presidentially would be a relief pitcher with one really good season, which means…
John Rocker is the Ideal President of the United States of America
In 1999, John Rocker, thrust into a relief pitching position with the Atlanta Braves after the injury of Kerry Ligtenberg, recorded thirty eight saves, helping the Braves win the National League’s Eastern division and the National League pennant en route to losing to the Yankees in the World Series. In his one season of great play, Rocker threw many great pitches and not so many bad pitches, thus making him the ideal candidate for President of the United States of America juding by the rules of the George W Bush formula to Presidentiality through pitching.
It is true that the controversies section on John Rocker’s Wikipedia page is longer than his career section, but hey, what’s making it to the presidency without spitting on a few tollboth workers and advocating for racial separatism every now and then? Evidence of steroid use shouldn’t be too much of a problem, either – as anyone following the Bush formula would know, sometimes you gotta bend the rules to win.
Following the Obama Path
Barack’s first pitch is defined by three things:
- Bad pitch
- Looks like a huge dork
- Somehow representing multiple places at once
We have a man displaced from his home, who – in a sign of defiance – still represents his home despite pitching to a crowd in the city in which he became a transplant, a man who moved to DC for work but never shook the Chicagoan within him. We have a man, in his late forties at the time, who brought a huge brown leather baseball glove out to the mound despite the fact that he’d never have to catch a ball or anything in the position he’s been given.
Anyway, the logical candidate for president under the Obama path is one who throws a bad pitch (probably worse than his), looks like a dork, and hopefully throws the pitch at a stadium as far away from home as possible. Which means…
Carly Rae Jepsen is the ideal president of the United States of America
This form is not good, and judging by the video, her pitch is much worse than Obama’s, as Obama’s pitch at least lands in a glove and Carly’s rolls into a camera on the first-base path before the catcher can get to it.
The brilliance of this pitch is that the poor form in throwing the pitch also makes her kind of look like a dork, also the fact that the hat is too small for her head is does that as well. She doesn’t quite jump with the leg kicked the way that HW did, but she’s not that far from it
She’s having a good time, though, which is important. Because it’s always a good time. Carly, as it is well documented, is native to British Columbia, which technically would stop her from being president even though that didn’t stop George Washington, and traveled to the stadium second furthest away from her homeland, representing all of Canada or at least part of British Columbia while throwing what was a not good pitch. In this sense, Carly Rae Jepsen has surpassed Barack Obama on all fronts, and thus should be the president of the United States of America.