Tales from the Trail

Baseball fan Pelosi urges “Team U.S.A.” unity among new House members

Nancy Pelosi quoted a member of her favorite baseball team, the World Champion San Francisco Giants, in a pep talk on Thursday to newly elected members of the House of Representatives.

The House Democratic leader told incoming lawmakers of both parties about pitcher Ryan Vogelsong and his words of wisdom that bridge hard-ball sports and hard-ball politics.

She quoted Vogelsong as saying: “The reason that we win is that we play as a team, and each member cares more about the name on the front of the uniform (Giants) than the (player’s) name on the back of the uniform.”

Speaking at a news conference afterward, Pelosi said, “What I said to those (House) freshmen, Democrats and Republicans, this morning is that we are all – on the front of our uniforms – Team U.S.A.”

“And we have to work together for our country to continue to be No. 1, to prevail, and hopefully they will find a way to that,” Pelosi said.

Washington Extra – Playing ball

The White House was clearly relieved to announce that at 6 a.m. GMT NATO took over the ball for running the military operation on Libya. BASEBALL/

Not a minute too soon for members of Congress concerned that the United States could get bogged down in another war. “I sincerely hope that this is not the start of a third elongated conflict,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard McKeon said.

Republicans and Democrats say they want to play ball to prevent a government shutdown, but so far have not reached agreement on spending cuts.

Obama weighs in on big controversies – no DH, Duke and UConn

BASEBALL/

Perhaps emboldened by his successful push to overhaul the U.S. healthcare industry, President Barack Obama waded bravely into someĀ of America’s other great debates, declaring himself an opponent of Major League Baseball’s use of the designated hitter, picking Duke University to win the men’s college basketball championship on Monday and the University of Connecticut to take the women’s college basketball crown on Tuesday.

“Even though I am an American league guy, I gotta admit that I am a baseball purist,” Obama said after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before the Washington Nationals’ baseball team’s first game of the season.

“I think no DH makes more sense. Have everybody out there playing, doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” he said, during an appearance with the Nationals’ television broadcasters.

Baseball gets Justice — Sotomayor to throw first pitch

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a longtime avid fan of the New York Yankees baseball team, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday’s game against the Boston Red Sox.

A child of Puerto Rican parents, she grew up in the Bronx not far from where the Yankees play. Sotomayor, who was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate last month, is the first Hispanic justice on the high court.

BASEBALL/The Yankees said ceremonial first pitches by Sotomayor and by Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli on Friday will take place during the team’s final regular season homestand to commemorate Hispanic heritage month.

Pitcher-in-chief gets sage advice from a pro: “Follow through”

Barack Obama made his presidential pitching debut on Tuesday at the All-Star Game in St. Louis, but not before getting a little practice and a bit of advice.

“I’m telling him, ‘Follow through,’” said Willie Mays.

BASEBALL/OBAMAThe 78-year-old Giants Hall-of-Famer traveled on Air Force One with Obama from Michigan to St. Louis, where the president threw out the first pitch.

First draft: If it’s Monday, it must be Turkey

President Barack Obama is on the final leg of his first European trip as president, traveling to Turkey for a two-day visit. On his first stop in a predominantly Muslim country, Obama sought to rebuild ties with Turkey – a country spanning Asia and Europe which the United States needs to help solve confrontations from Iran to Afghanistan.

OBAMA-TURKEY/He vowed to help Turkey resolve its differences with Armenia and said the United States was willing to provide further support against Kurdish separatist rebels based in northern Iraq.

In a nod to Turkey’s regional reach, economic power and diplomatic status Obama will spend the day in Ankara speaking to parlaiment and meeting with Turkish leaders before traveling to Istanbul in the evening.

Biden hopes for Phillies’ good fortune in election

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Pennsylvania native and Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden hopes the Philadelphia Phillies’ baseball World Series win is a good omen for Tuesday’s presidential election.

“How about those Phillies?” Biden said at a rally in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on Thursday.

The Philadelphia Phillies won baseball’s World Series on Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Rays, in a game watched by Biden’s wife, Jill, who like him is a rabid Phillies fan.

On field of dreams, Clinton mangles metaphor

hillary-in-south-bend.jpgSOUTH BEND, INDIANA – Sports are a natural metaphor for political campaigns — both have winners and losers, competing teams, and a final score.

In basketball-mad Indiana, Democrat Hillary Clinton held a rally on Indiana University’s basketball court in Bloomington on Friday, while rival Barack Obama played a three-on-three game with supporters later that night.

On Saturday, Clinton headed to South Bend, best known as home to Notre Dame‘s Fighting Irish football team. Former president Ronald Reagan, a Republican, laid claim to that franchise long ago, thanks to his portrayal of Irish football player George “the Gipper” Gipp in the 1940 film “Knute Rockne: All American.”

Obama: the Stones fan who would be (like) Lincoln

WASHINGTON – Democratic voters in Pennsylvania are hearing all about presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s views on issues like Iraq and the economy — but where does he stand on those small but all-important, getting-to-know-you questions?

For instance, does the Illinois senator prefer the Beatles or the Rolling Stones? “Rolling Stones,” he answered without hesitation in a Tuesday interview with NBC’s “Today Show.”obamachange

And he went on in rapid-fire succession, not shying away even from his recent underwhelming performance in a Pennsylvania bowling alley.