Now this will be … I assure you … THE most confusing blog you will ever read.
And I’m not bragging by saying that. In fact, it’s rather something to be ashamed of, wouldn’t you think? I didn’t set out to make this the most confusing blog item you’d ever encounter, things just worked out that way. If you don’t believe me, take a look at what follows. Just jump on in, and don’t say I didn’t warn you:
This blog is based on the picture that comes with it. It’s a baseball picture, yes. And a political picture. You’ll recognize former President and Vice President and Run-Out-of-Town-on-a-Rail President (ROOTOAR) Richard Nixon as the guy throwing a baseball in the photo. I’m sure on that much we can all agree. From here on it gets kind of dicey.
Standing two, well, heads above Nixon, and looking properly concerned, is his son-in-law David Eisenhower. He is the grandson of former President Dwight Eisenhower, who ain’t in the photo. He’s probably out golfing somehwere. Standing just to our left of David is, I believe, Helen Thomas, the so-called “dean” of White House reporters who recently got tossed out of that position, as in Run Out of Town on a Rail, because — like Mr. Nixon (remember “I’m not a crook”?) –she talked too much. To David’s right, from our perspective, is Julie Nixon, the daughter of ROOTOAR President Nixon, and David’s wife. I don’t know when this photo was taken, or where, but I’d guess it’d be around ’72 to ’74, during Mr. Nixon’s abbreviated second term.
Now, I once attended a baseball All-Star Game in San Diego with David Eisenhower. No kidding. We were both the guests of some hotshot baseball agent. This was around 1977 or ’78, as I recall, and I only agreed to go to the game ’cause I figured it’d be a hoot to later say that I had gone to a game with David Eisenhower. He seemed like an okay guy, very nice, but here’s the weird thing — he wore a baseball glove TO the game! I mean, the guy was a grown man, a famous man, dressed in a suit like he is in this picture … and he goes to the game wearing a baseball glove! Like he’s gonna catch a foul ball, even though we were seated in some fancy box. And he’d pound the glove every now and then, and say “Boy I hope we beat the National League today!” And I, eager to get along, would agree with him.
Even weirder, no kidding — I have the feeling that the glove that ROOTOARP Nixon is wearing in this picture is the SAME glove. No joke. It looks like it. Honest. And here’s a further irony. I once did a TV show with Mr. Nixon in which he was interviewed by Sparky Anderson — again, no joke — as part of a primetime special on Channel 4 here in Detroit in 1989 to raise money for Sparky’s C.A.T.C.H. charity. And here’s another weird — make that weirder — part. I was able to ‘book’ Mr. Nixon for that show after I heard Sparky say one day that the ROOTOAR President was a big baseball fan and expert who often called Sparky on the phone to talk the fine points of the game. (“Oh that Nixon, he loves me,” was the Sparky quote that started it all.) Sparky said Mr. Nixon was an amazing baseball expert. But … look how he’s holding that ball in the picture. He’s got it SITTING in his hand! He’s not even gripping it. It’s just lying there. Like an egg. And he’s a baseball EXPERT?
And his glove, my old pal David’s glove I presume. WHY is he wearing a glove to throw OUT the first ball of the game?? He’s throwing the ball AWAY. Plus…if he DOES throw out the first ball, and he holds it like that, isn’t he going to conk that lovely babe standing next to Julie right in her hairdo with it? She, you’ll note, has the perfect vapid look of a politician’s wife. You’ll note that the woman situated just behind the ball and to the right of Mr. Nixon’s open hand in this photo is already ducking. She’s the only person in the whole shebang who obviously knows what’s going on.
I found this old photo recently in my computer picture file, under the heading “Nixon Tries to Kill a Fan With A Baseball.” Now, I really liked Former President Nixon. I even voted for him once. He was a terrific guy when I met him to tape the Sparky special. He signed business cards with his Presidential seal and asked me to distribute them to every guy on our crew. He even seemed pleased when — during the rather lengthy interview — Sparky assured him that while, yes, there were some ominous trends going on around the world that seemed to threaten our country’s future, there seemed little doubt — again, this is Sparky’s opinion, mind you — that the United States back then WAS … and would forever REMAIN … Number One in Show Business in the whole wide world.
Yes, Mr. Nixon readily agreed, we’re Number One.
But you’ll never convince me, Sparky or no Sparky, that the guy knew how to throw a baseball.