The Austin American-Statesman’s Ken Herman poses the sensitive question (and I’m paraphrasing here), what happens when a respected leader is forced to associated himself, however briefly, with someone well known as a substance abuser? I don’t know the answer, but hopefully Paulie Go Nuts won’t be too troubled by the Commander-In-Chief’s recreational drug history (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory).

Hall of Fame baseball player George W. Bush (Little League Hall of Fame. You can look it up.) will throw the ceremonial first pitch Sunday at Nationals Park, new home of the Washington Nationals. The game will be nationally televised.

Bush has been an outspoken critic of steroid and substance abuse by baseball players. His name came up once in the Mitchell Report that documented the widespread abuse of performance enhancing substances by baseball players.

œIn his January 2004 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush denounced the use of steroids in elite sports and called on athletes, owners, and unions to address the issue, the report noted.

The Nationals™ starting catcher – and hence a natural choice to catch the cermonial first pitch – is expected to be Paul Lo Duca.

Lo Duca™s name comes up 37 times in the Mitchell Report, which said a former Mets clubhouse assistant who has acknowledged providing substance-enhancing drugs to players œestimated that he engaged in six or more transactions with Lo Duca.

So here™s the potential opening-night visual: The president who is concerned about substance abuse in baseball winds up and throws the ceremonial pitch to a catcher linked to substance abuse. It™s all smiles and happiness as president and catcher pose for the post-pitch photo.
Clearly, this is shaping up to be a public relations nightmare for the White House and MLB combined and there’s only one way to save face — a Dick Cheney / Lastings Milledge photo op.