Reports came out today announcing that President Obama would be throwing out the first pitch at the 2009 All-Star Game in St. Louis, MO. The President will be the fourth president to have the honor, joining John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford in the baseball history books.
I am also scheduled to be at the 2009 All-Star Game. The St. Louis Cardinals who are serving as this year's hosts for the Mid Summer Classic mistakenly forgot to invite me to sing the National Anthem. So I will be sitting in my seats in the bleachers. If I can get in the door...
I have been in this very place once before, my friends. The excitement of a new day had been building for quite some time. A St. Louis Cardinals opening day, in fact... I had placed my ticket under my keys by the door the night before, ironed my shiny white jersey with the birds on the bat across the front and barely slept a wink in anticipation for said day. FINALLY! The sun rose and the hours passed and, along with my bleacher buddies, I hurried to the stadium... TO WAIT IN LINE. For three hours.
You see, it was 2004 and now, former President George W. Bush tossed out the ceremonial first pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals home opener. It was a security nightmare. The snipers on the roof were fascinating but the lines to get inside were ridiculous. I don't remember when I actually got to my seat but I can tell you that I never saw that first pitch and I certainly didn't hear the National Anthem.
St. Louis Cardinal history is filled with Hall of Famers who are worthy of the first pitch honor. Why not give it to one of them? Why not Lou Brock who was an all star himself 6 times or Bob Gibson, the 8-time all star? How about Red Schoendist, the 10-time all star or Ozzie Smith who was selected for 15 all star teams? There are plenty of other viable options for the duty. And they are options that will not require the city to turn upside down completely in the name of safety and security.
The last time St. Louis hosted the All Star Game was 1966. It was reportedly 105 degrees that day and spectators were passing out in the stands. The game went 10 innings and the National League won, 2-1. Brooks Robinson was the MVP. I have no idea who threw out the first pitch.