Today is Opening Day 2015 for Major League Baseball. According to the Baseball Almanac, Open Day dates back to 1876 and the game’s first officially recognized franchise, the Cincinnati Reds. It’s also become an occasion intertwined with the U.S. Presidency:
A national event, Opening Day has also become a “political pitcher’s” arena for U.S. Presidents to show their “stuff.” On April 14, 1910, President, and baseball enthusiast, William Howard Taft attended the home opener in Washington D.C. Since then, eleven sitting U.S. presidents have tossed out the season’s ceremonial first pitch. One standout, Harry S. Truman, showcased his ambidextrous talent when he threw out balls with both his right and left arm in 1950.
For NAR 2015 President Chris Polychron, throwing out the first pitch offered a lesson in decisiveness last year at the NAR Leadership Summit. Polychron got the chance at the White Sox — Orioles game last August during the Leadership Summit:
“I’d never done anything like that before. I was told, ‘whatever you do, make sure you don’t bounce the pitch. If you bounce it, you’ll get booed.’ Booed? I’ve never been booed in my life. So, I told myself “let’s do this and do it fast.”
I walked quickly out to the mound, waved a bit to the crowd, and as soon as I got into position, I let my pitch fly. I’m not sure the catcher was even ready yet. But, he caught my pitch – CHEST HIGH. It was fastest 50 mile-an-hour fastball you’ve ever seen.
You can plan for a lot of things, you can think and overthink every decision, but at some point, you just have to do it. You have to let it rip.”
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