WH Pool Report: The Onion Edition
In this White House Pool Report, we see how understatement can actually achieve hyperbole:
Full, sarcasm-laden report, after the jump.
Area man tosses ceremonial first pitch
... George W. Bush, now a Washington-area resident living in government housing while working as a president, threw the first pitch (a ball, high and perhaps inside, assuming a righty hitter) to Washington Nationals catcher Brian Schneider (.250, two RBIs coming into last night’s home opener) at 6:55 p.m.
From: XXXXXXXXXX@list.whitehouse.gov On Behalf Of White House Press Releases
Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2005 7:19 PM
Subject: POOL REPORT #2, 4/14/05
Pool report 2
April 14, 2005
In our daily reminder of just how funny life can be, a Texan who eventually profited from the demise of Washington’s old baseball team tossed the ceremonial first pitch Thursday night for Washington’s new baseball team.
George W. Bush, now a Washington-area resident living in government housing while working as a president, threw the first pitch (a ball, high and perhaps inside, assuming a righty hitter) to Washington Nationals catcher Brian Schneider (.250, two RBIs coming into last night’s home opener) at 6:55 p.m.
Bush arrived at the stadium at 6:08 p.m. after an uneventful motorcade from White House. Upon arrival, Bush went to each locker rooms to chat with the teams.
Pool was in place along third-base line at the time.
Bush, wearing a red Nationals’ warm-up jacket, strode to the mound from the third-base side and got a strong ovation (amid a smattering of drowned-out boos) from a crowd so enthusiastic that it also had given Javier Castro, the Nats’ assistant clubhouse manager, a strong ovation.
We are told that the president warmed up at the stadium, out of sight, with catcher Schneider prior to the ceremony.
Biggest boos of the evening greeted City Council Member Linda Cropp, whose efforts almost derailed the team’s move here from Montreal.
After the first-pitch ceremony, Bush went to a bunting-draped presidential box on the second level, just to the third-base side of the plate. Guests in box included Mrs. Bush, daughter Jenna. Marvin and Margaret Bush, Walker Bush, brother-in-law Robert Koch, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and wife, Nationals President Tony Tavares and friends.
Schedule called for Bush to leave stadium en route home at 8:35 p.m.
Bush, a right-winged hurler, is 2-0 in presidential elections. One of the wins was unsuccessfully appealed. It was his fourth appearance as presidential first-pitch thrower, previously having performed the honor at home openers in Milwaukee in 2001 and St.
Louis in 2004, and at Yankee Stadium on Oct. 30, 2001 at Game Three of the Yanks-Diamondbacks World Series.
The ball used for the first pitch at the Nats’ home opener was handed to Bush by former Washington Senators hurler Joe Grzenda (14-13 with a 4.00 ERA during an eight-year Major League career that ended with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1972). Grzenda, among MLB’s all-time leaders in consonant-to-vowel ratio, played with six teams in his eight MLB seasons, an impressive number in the pre-free agency days.
(Caution: Your spellcheck might attempt to change Grzenda to Grenada, grazing, greasing or grossness.)
The ball was the same one Grzenda used to throw the last pitch at RFK Stadium on Sept. 30, 1971 at the last game of the Washington Senators before the team moved to Arlington, Texas. The Senators, who led 7-5 at the time, had to forfeit that game to the New York Yankees when fans interrupted play.
Several ownership changes after the Senators became the Texas Rangers (see chronology below), Bush became the team’s managing general partner. He enjoyed a nice profit, about $15 million (“more money than I ever dreamed possible,” he wrote in his 1999 book “A Charge to Keep”) when his group sold the team in 1998.
At the time, Bush was living in government housing in Austin while temporarily employed as a governor, a job he quit in 2000 to take another government post.
The new Nationals were a foreign-based entity (known as the Montreal Expos) until taken over by American interests, sent briefly to a Caribbean island (where they played “home” games in Puerto Rico) before being transferred to Washington.
1971 – Washington Senators owner Bob Short, a former Democratic National Committee treasurer, gets approval to move Senators to Arlington, Texas for 1972 season.
1974 – Short, who bought Senators in 1968 for $9.4 million, sells team for $9.5 million to group headed by plastic-pipe magnate Brad Corbett.
1980 – Corbett group sells Rangers to Fort Worth oilman Eddie Chiles for $4 million and assumption of debts.
1989 – Chiles sells Rangers for $89 million to group fronted by George W. Bush and including investors with political and business ties to Bush family.
1994 – Rangers move to The Ballpark at Arlington, a $189-million stadium financed by tax hike pushed by team officials and approved by Arlington voters. The stadium and related development opportunities increase value of the franchise.
1998 – Bush group sells Rangers for $250 million to group led by Dallas businessman Thomas Hicks. Bush, then governor of Texas, makes $15 million profit on his $606,000 investment. Baseball, he acknowledges, has been very, very good to me.