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04/06/09 10:22 PM ET
Indians excited by Bush visit
Former president throws out first pitch on Opening Day
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Indians catcher Kelly Shoppach was going over the scenario in his head and couldn't settle on how he'd say hello to former President George W. Bush. Shoppach wasn't sure whether to refer to Bush as "Mr. President" or "Dubya." "I think he'd appreciate 'Dubya,'" Shoppach said. "He's probably tired of people sucking up to him." Shoppach, though, was ready to suck up to his fellow Texan, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Indians and Rangers opened the 2009 regular season on Monday. And he got his opportunity when Bush came through the Tribe clubhouse beforehand. As it turned out, Shoppach was too star-struck to remember what he called Bush in the heat of the moment. But he does have a nice souvenir. Bush signed a baseball and took a photo with virtually all the Indians players and coaches. "Now everybody will believe me when I say I met him," Shoppach said. "He actually said he remembered me from my Baylor days. [Bush's home in] Crawford isn't far from Waco, [Texas]. He said he thought I was a pretty good player. That got me pretty pumped up." Manager Eric Wedge met Bush about an hour before the game. "I watched 'Clear and Present Danger' last night [to prepare]," Wedge joked.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.