April 7, 2010


Obama swings and misses at Sox lore: Blame Rahm Emanuel for team’s No. 1 fan dropping the ball during interview (John Kass, April 7, 2010, Chicago Tribune)

Obama's troubles started Monday after he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals home opener.

He threw lefty and missed the plate, which wasn't surprising. What was surprising is what happened after he joined announcer Rob Dibble in the booth for some happy talk.

Dibble commented on Obama's hat — a nicely faded black Sox cap — which the president proudly wore on the mound reminding all of us once again of the heroic team from Chicago that has actually won a World Series in the past 100 years.

Dibble asked the fateful question, one so easy that Hawk Harrelson would have called it a "can of corn."

Dibble: "Who was one of your favorite White Sox players growing up?"

Obama: "You know … uh … I thought that … you know … the truth is, that a lot of the Cubs I liked too."

Ouch. The silence between the stammers was excruciating. America's No. 1 Sox fan couldn't name one Sox player.

Not former players like Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk or future Hall of Famer Frank Thomas or manager Ozzie Guillen. The least he could have done was mention a current player, say grizzled veteran Paul Konerko or our spunky new leadoff man, the fleet-footed Slappy McPopup.

Slappy McPopup's real name is Juan Pierre, an ex-Cub. Slappy earned his nickname with a signature swing so weak that it regularly results in harmless pop flies, negating Slappy's one asset, his speed.

You wouldn't expect Obama to name Slappy. But you would expect a Sox fan to know the name of the ballpark.

"When I moved to Chicago," Obama babbled to Dibble, "I was living close to what was then Cominskey Park and went to a couple of games and just fell in love with it."

What's that? Come-in-ski? Is that how Obama invites the Russian foreign minister into the Oval Office during a diplomatic crisis?

Clearly, there was no teleprompter upon which White House media wizard David Axelrod could type the words "Pudge = Carlton Fisk" or "Big Hurt = Frank Thomas."

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 7, 2010 5:08 PM
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