The First U.S. President To Throw Out an MLB Pitch

Attending a baseball game in 1910, President William Howard Taft threw a ceremonial pitch from the stands, kicking off the Washington Senators’ season. Since then, every sitting commander in chief, save Jimmy Carter and Donald Trump, has shown off his arm at the ballpark. The American presidency has been tied to a public appreciation of sports since at least 1865, when two baseball teams visited President Andrew Johnson in the White House. The hosting of championship teams at the White House became routine under President Ronald Reagan. But after 2016 especially, when then-candidate Donald Trump launched abrasive criticism of NFL players who knelt in protest during pre-game renditions of the national anthem, what once felt like a space for fans of all political stripes to set aside their differences became yet another venue for conflict. If presidential involvement in sports isn’t the unifier that it once was, should we even bother with it anymore? LZ and Will discuss.