President Obama is traveling to UMBC to throw out the first pitch in the Retrievers baseball team’s upcoming match against George Washington University.
With the 2016 election starting up, the President is looking for ways to get an early start to the campaign season. Even though he is not running, he is looking to sure up votes for the Democratic Party. When the school asked the President to throw out the first pitch, they never expected to get a yes answer.
“It was sort of a joke,” Coach Bob Mumma said. “We sent out requests to several politicians and famous actors, but we never expected to get the President.”
Obama is known more for his basketball ability, but he has thrown out the first pitch at several Washington Nationals games during his presidency. He decided to skip the Major Leagues for college because he wanted a smaller and closer knit group watching him.
“The President is constantly speaking in front of large groups of people and it can be intimidating,” a spokeswoman for the administration said. “He wanted a smaller crowd, and due to his familiarity with President Hrabowski, he decided UMBC was a great choice.
Tickets for UMBC’s game on April 8 are selling out fast. The University is ordering 4,000 new bleacher seats just to try and accommodate as many people as possible.
Security at the Wednesday afternoon game will be the heaviest the campus has ever seen. There will be metal detectors at the gates and secret service pat downs.
This visit is not only for the President to gain popularity, but also for the school to market itself to incoming students. Campus tours on April 8 will be making consistent stops to the baseball field to check out the President sitting in the stands. They are also offering a chance to take a picture with the president for only $39.95.
“Having the President come to UMBC is a great honor, and we are hoping it will help us further grow our student body. After meeting the President, how would you want to go anywhere else,” Hrabowski said.
There have been many opponents to President Obama’s trip to UMBC. Students are worried that the school might be stuck paying for all the security measures and increased seating. With the budget already being lowered earlier in the year there could be a larger tuition increase. Hrabowski is hoping that does not scare away students.
“Sure there may be some expenses on the part of UMBC, but they are important ones. We are trying to grow the student body and the fame of this university. Hopefully we can find some way to pay the expenses without further raising tuition costs,” Hrabowski said.
Obama is also taking heat from his critics, such as Senator Ted Cruz who claimed that Obama is skirting his duties as president to hang out with his liberal elitist friends in higher education. Despite all the controversy, there are still many students excited about the visit.
“I voted for him in 2012 and hope to get a picture with him, it is very exciting,” senior English major Andrew Ide said.