Obama The Lefty To Throw Out First Pitch

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Tonight the world will know Barack Obama is a lefty.

That's because the president will throw the ceremonial first pitch for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in St. Louis. Obama is left-handed, like most recent presidents, but unlike most successful pitchers.

Nothing less than Obama's pride and manhood are at stake for the millions of mostly male baseball fans who will watch him try to throw a strike. (I exaggerate, but only slightly).

Remember for a moment how hard it is to throw a strike. You must stand more than 60 feet from the catcher and throw a ball less than 3 inches in diameter into an imaginary box roughly 17 inches wide (the width of home plate) and as tall as the area between a knee and a chest, which vary from batter to batter, for this pitch to be counted as a strike.

If a major league pitcher does this enough times in a season, he's the best in his league and wins the Cy Young award. If pitching were politics, this would be like winning the White House.

For left-handed pitchers, winning the Cy Young is harder than the White House, though. About 30 percent of Cy Young winners were southpaws. During the same time, five of ten presidents have been left handed, including Obama. (The president's home team, the Chicago White Sox, never had a Cy Young winning southpaw.)

One wonders if Obama has been practicing his technique before the All-Star Game, as George W. Bush did before delivering a strike across the Yankee home plate during the 2001 World Series. Bush did so wearing a bulletproof vest no less. This might be the one time Obama has an easier time than his predecessor lately.

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Justin Miller was an associate editor at The Atlantic from 2009 to 2011. He is now the homepage editor at New York magazine. More

Justin Miller was a associate editor at The Atlantic. Previously he was an assistant editor at RealClearPolitics, a political reporter in Ohio, and a freelance journalist.
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