Game 3 of the World Series will be played on Oct. 25—the first time the Fall Classic has touched the nation’s capital since 1933, when the Giants and Senators did battle.
It is a game that—in any other time period—would beg for the president of the United States to throw out the first pitch. As tradition suggests, he would walk from the dugout to the mound, decked out in dress pants, dress shoes, a collared shirt and a blue-and-red Nationals jacket. He would stand on the rubber, wave to the fans, smile, take a few steps in, then loft the baseball somewhere in the vicinity of the glove held aloft by Kurt Suzuki, the Nationals’ catcher.
Some people would cheer and some people would boo, because, well, people would cheer and boo. Republicans. Democrats. Independents. Politically inclined. Politically indifferent. But everyone would embrace the presence of America’s commander in chief in the middle of a ball field. It’s what we do. It’s how we behave. Barack Obama has thrown out first pitches. George W. Bush has thrown out first pitches. Bill Clinton did it, George H. W. Bush did it. Reagan and Carter. Ford and Nixon.
The tradition dates back to William Howard Taft, who on April 14, 1910 became the first president to toss out a first pitch. He did so in Washington—a Trump-like 300-pound man of little-to-no athletic note, slinging non-heat to catcher Gabby Street. The fans loved it.
Donald Trump, however, cannot throw out the first pitch, because he is the owner of skin the thickness of tracing paper, and the very hint of a boo or hiss would cause his world to collapse. He cannot throw out the first pitch because he refuses to project anything but winning and success, and the odds he matches George W. Bush’s legendarily perfect from-the-rubber Yankee Stadium dart is, oh, 0 percent. So bouncing ball into the dirt, or having it slip from his hand, 50 Cent like? No. No. No.
Donald Trump cannot throw out the first pitch because Major League Baseball is a land of immigrants, and—heaven forbid—he might run into a couple of Dominicans, or Mexicans. He might be asked a tough question. Or receive a heated stare.
Donald Trump cannot throw out the first pitch because, truly, he does not deserve it. Just as he has yet to invite former presidents back to the White House, and just as he has yet to present Barack and Michelle Obama with their official White House portraits, Trump is incapable of understanding the importance of party-crossing decency; of standing before a nation and saying, “I am the president, but we are—together—a nation.”
He will never throw out the first pitch.
We are better for it