Obama visits FOX booth, keeps it light

Obama visits FOX booth, keeps it light

ST. LOUIS -- President Barack Obama is used to doing interviews on national TV, but the topics usually range from the economic crisis to the war in Iraq. On Tuesday night, he got a brief respite from the normal line of questioning when he joined Joe Buck and Tim McCarver in the FOX broadcast booth during the bottom of the second inning of the All-Star Game.

Obama's time in the booth was filled with light banter about his ceremonial first pitch, his choice of wardrobe and his thoughts on the state of the game. The president was relieved he got the chance to warm up for this first pitch, something that wasn't the case when he was a senator and had the same honor during the 2005 American League Championship Series.

"When you're a senator, they show you no respect, so they just hand you the ball," Obama told Buck and McCarver. "You don't get a chance to warm up. Now here, I was with Albert Pujols in the batting cage practicing before.

"To go down there, to meet Stan Musial, Bob Gibson and those guys, it's such a reminder of what's great about this country. You can't beat it and it's a real treat."

The president had made no qualms about where his loyalties on the field are and Buck gave him credit for not "playing it down the middle" by wearing non-team-specific garb.

"Everyone knows I'm a White Sox fan and my wife thinks I look cute in this jacket," Obama quipped. "Between those two things, why not?"

In fact, the president wanted to take some credit for his favorite team's good fortunes back in that 2005 season. After his first pitch, he pointed out, Chicago could do no wrong en route to winning the World Series.

"It was just wonderful," Obama said. "I was just talking to Jerry Reinsdorf, the White Sox owner, about this. After I threw out my pitch, they won eight straight after losing the first game. Any of these teams need a lefty?"

The president showed a pretty good grasp of the game beyond the South Side of Chicago, discussing how the overall season was shaping up with the FOX broadcasting duo.

"I tell you what, though, what's been interesting about baseball this year, other than the Dodgers, who have been playing great baseball," Obama said. "There's a lot of parity, which I think is terrific, because it means everybody around the country has a little bit of hope for the team."

Obama has devleoped a bit of a reputation for his prowess as a sports prognosticator. Buck pointed out that he's 2-for-2, referring to Obama correctly picking the Steelers to win the Super Bowl in February and the University of North Carolina to win the NCAA men's basketball title in April. He couldn't entice the president, however, to make a call on the 2009 Major League Baseball season.

"It's a little early for that," Obama said. "You know, I tend to try to get a little more information."

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.