Via Atrios (who draws from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and who provides an entertaining comments section), comes this little tidbit on President Bush, who threw out the first pitch on Opening Day for the St. Louis Cardinals:
BACK AT BUSCH: A somewhat hostile crowd complained mightily about the problems the presidential motorcade caused with regular fans trying to get into the park. A Cards employee tipped moi that the team was so concerned about Bush being booed that they piped in fake applause when he strode out to the mound. [Cardinals president Mark] Lamping flatly denied it. ...
Okay, so let's just say we believe Lamping that such fake applause was not pumped into Busch Stadium. The fact that anybody could think this is, itself, a desecration of the Great American Pastime.
Baseball fans can be among the most brutally honest in the world. Then again, honesty is not exactly a valued commodity in the world of politics, unless the honest feelings of the fans suit the politician's purposes.
When Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch in Game 3 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium, back on October 30, 2001, he received what has been rightly described as a"thunderous cheer." That's because New Yorkers, who had been shattered by the experiences of September 11th, were still expressing their support for a man who, three days after that tragedy, had stood on the rubble of the Twin Towers to tell the world that"the people who knocked these buildings down are going to hear from all of us soon." That"King Arthur Moment," as Chris Matthews has described it, left an indelible mark in the minds of many. (Little did we know that, as Richard Clarke and others have testified, Bush, at that time, was already obsessing over Iraq, hoping to use 9/11 as a pretext for invading that country.)
The point is that baseball fans will cheer you when you deliver. But if you don't, they won't. And they'll boo you for the most mundane reasons. So, if your motorcade knots up traffic around the stadium, be prepared to be booed by honest"regular fans." It doesn't matter if your President or Pope. Even life-long Yankees fan Rudy Giuliani got used to the boos he received when he visited New York Mets' territory. Those boos turned to cheers in tribute to his humanity and leadership during a time of unimaginable horror. But Rudy actually valued the fans' honesty. Post-9/11, he remarked:"Things will be back to normal when I hear boos at Shea Stadium."
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Charles Johnson - 4/8/2004
"Cards employee tipped moi that the team was so concerned about Bush being booed that they piped in fake applause when he strode out to the mound. [Cardinals president Mark] Lamping flatly denied it."
Bush may think that baseball is his sport, but this is a method straight out of televised professional wrestling, used in order to try to put over aging babyfaces (such as Hulk Hogan, at various points in his career) that the crowd has ceased to care about on their own.
Perhaps this says a lot about the Bush administration...
Jonathan Dresner - 4/7/2004
wins. That was, I think Giamatti's comment about baseball. It's not the best team, but the team that plays the best on any given day. I love that about baseball. And baseball fans, too: well-informed, engaged, long attention spans. I wonder if any pollster has defined them as a political demographic....