A commentary about sports, media, and interpersonal relationships encountered throughout everyday life.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

President Bush 'Booed' at Nationals Park on Opening Day

What a difference it was back in 2001. The image of George W. Bush standing on the pitcher’s mound before Game 3 of the 2001 World Series between the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks in engraved in my mind. The President walked out to the mound and stared into the roaring Yankee Stadium crowd. It was as though he wanted to look each ticket holder in the eye to provide assurance that it would be ‘okay.’ ‘It,’ of course, being the September 11th attacks witnessed by the Stadium crowd, and others, less than two months beforehand.

Todd Greene, the Yankee’s backup Catcher, crouched behind home plate awaiting President Bush’s delivery. Toeing the rubber, the President fired a 2-Seam Fastball to Greene—a perfect strike. Flashbulbs flashed, the crowd roared, and President Bush sauntered off the field waving to all the New Yorkers in attendance.

Today, less than 7 years later, George W. Bush was set to toe the rubber once again. The Washington Nationals, who originally played their home games at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, hosted the Atlanta Braves in ESPN’s national baseball game. The hype leading up to their match-up was the new Nationals’ ballpark, the optimism each Major League team possesses on Opening Day, and the President throwing out the first pitch.

George W. Bush stood in the tunnel waiting patiently for his introduction across the public address. Donning a bright, red Nationals wind-breaker, Bush heard the intro and made his way up the steps of the Nationals’ dugout. The crowd reaction was something much different than the one he received all those years ago…

Boo’s reined down unmercifully from the upper tiers of Nationals’ Park. Those cheering were completely drowned out, despite attempting to compete with the boo’s throw at the President. Talk about visual and audio aids for the President’s approval rating.

Bush’s body language took the cake, though. After making his way to the field, he quickly shook the hands of three Nationals and quickly made his way to the mound. The boo’s, however did not die down. In fact, it seemed as though the volume of the crowd's booing increased the longer the President remained on the field. There was no staring out into the innumerous fans in attendance tonight. No eye contact providing assurances that it would be ‘okay.’ All those in attendance received was a quick, over-the-shoulder wave.

Just as soon as President Bush toed the rubber, he fired another two-seamer in to Manny Acta; the pitch was high and outside.

After Acta caught the ball, he had to chase after the President, who already began to walk quickly back to the dugout. There was no sauntering to be seen, a brisk walk back is what everyone saw…

It’s just interesting to see how quickly and viciously public opinion has changed over the past six-plus years. If anyone was unaware of the incredible 180-degree about face that a majority of the President's supports took over that time span, they surely were made aware of it tonight.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Finally, the people have spoken.

Matt C said...

Great comparison between the two time periods - it shows in similar contexts exactly how is popularity has changed.

In honor of the new season, I gave you some props in my last blog post . Check it out when you can and keep up the good work.

Mike Plugh said...

Great post again. Great game too. That was a fun way to start the season on US soil. (The booing was part of the fun to me!)

Bush spent some time in the booth with Joe Morgan and Jon Miller and looked visibly upset. He was tight as a clam for the first 2-3 minutes and looked like he wanted to be anywhere but in public. He answered in 3 or 4 word sentences and sat uncomfortably in his chair. He loosened up eventually and seemed like a normal person for a fraction of a second, but the damage was done.

Mike Plugh said...

Here's the YouTube clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHUAsTrl4JI

P.C. said...

The booing was great, but I enjoyed the awkward moments in the booth as well.

The best part was Jon's question regarding the President's status after leaving office and whether or not he would consider rejoining the Rangers organization or any other team in baseball.

Dumb question - we all know he's going into hiding for a while - the last thing he wants to do is remain in the public eye by becoming involved with a MLB team, especially a horrible one like Texas.

Bush responded by saying he's going to focus on being a fan, first and foremost. Good idea.

bfadds said...

Good points Mike/Paolo. The booth was incredibly awkward and I'm glad you both mentioned it because it happened just as I posted this in my blog.

I'm sure you both know that in the past, President Bush has been especially loquacious when talking about baseball. He has experience in the sport and (for once) knows what he's talking about. Tonight, however, that man was no where to be seen. Kudos to Joe Morgan for the first time ever. He seemed to snap Bush out of it with a few of his world famous "Big Red Machine" anecdotes.

Brick said...

Great Post! But...

Who was boo'd more at a baseball game? Bush or Cheney?

Check out the comparison:
http://beta.flowgram.com/p/OYBJIRAUIOIOV8

Bootiful! Who knew that Cheney's unfavorable status was even worse than Eliot Spitzer?!?!

Brick said...

Great Post! But...

Who was boo'd more at a baseball game? Bush or Cheney?

Check out the comparison:
http://beta.flowgram.com/p/OYBJIRAUIOIOV8

Bootiful! Who knew that Cheney's unfavorable status was even worse than Eliot Spitzer?!?!

Rasheeda said...

Really interesting post! Oh man the boos are soooo embarrassing. Poor fella, he looked really uncomfortable. I gotta say, I actually felt kinda sorry for the old turd.