Monday, March 29, 2010

Obama to throw out first pitch

VIERA, Fla. -- President Barack Obama will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Nationals' Opening Day game against the Phillies on Monday, Major League Baseball and the club have announced.

This is Obama's first visit to Nationals Park since taking office last year, though he did throw out the first pitch at last summer's All-Star Game in St. Louis. In the last year, the president has attended three sporting events in Washington: home basketball games for the Wizards game, Georgetown game and George Washington.

Obama's appearance at Nationals Park will come 100 years after William Howard Taft became the first U.S. president to throw out a first pitch, kicking off a tradition that has withstood for a century.

Obama will become the 13th sitting president to attend a home opener by a Washington baseball club. The others: Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and George W. Bush. Between them all, they will have attended 48 home openers in the District.

Bush attended five Nationals games between 2005-2008. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the first home games played at RFK Stadium (April 14, 2005) and Nationals Park (March 30, 2008). He also attended three other games without appearing on the field (June 24, 2005; July 8, 2006; July 5, 2007). The Nats' record with him in attendance was 3-2.

"Opening Day of the baseball season is a special event for our country, and its importance has been reinforced by the 100-year history of Presidential participation," MLB commissioner Bud Selig, who will attend Monday's game, said in a statement. "I am proud that President Obama will continue the long Presidential tradition of throwing out the first pitch of Opening Day in Washington D.C."

The Nationals have always had a standing invitation to every president to throw out the first pitch on Opening Day. Obama last season turned down offers from both the Nationals and his hometown Chicago White Sox, in part because in between the two dates he was in Europe attending a G-20 summit.

"Across the country, Opening Day is a celebration of the return of hometown baseball and the glorious days of spring," Nationals owner Ted Lerner said in a statement. "It's a time of renewed hope and optimism for fans everywhere. The Lerner and Nationals family are honored that President Obama will mark that moment with us at the home of the national pastime in the nation's capital."

Individual tickets for the 1:05 p.m. game against the Phillies are no longer available. The club will, however, make 400 seats in sections 401 and 402 (priced at $5) available beginning at 10 a.m. on gameday at the main ticket office at the ballpark.

25 comments:

peric said...

BTW Mark,The web page appears to be broken.

Mark Zuckerman said...

How so? I don't see any problems when I look at it? Anyone else having issues?

Anonymous said...

Looks fine to me.

Good to hear Obama will be there, keeping a pretty cool tradition alive.

Doc said...

Let it be noted for historical record,with Obama included, that the presidential rotation of the last 5 presidential pitchers has included 4 lefties! This is an indication of arm preference, not political persuasion, speaking as a lefty, and righty.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mark, further to Peric's remark, your banner at the top of the page isn't appearing. It may be because I'm using Firefox, but its the first time this has happened (for me). Keep up the awesome posts!

Mark Zuckerman said...

Hmm, I use Firefox too and the banner looks fine. Things are loading a bit slow, might be a blogspot issue. Keep me posted, everyone, if there are any major issues and I'll try to figure out if there's anything I can do on my end.

Jaxpo Nat said...

Just saw Christ Coste was released by the Mets. If I recall correctly, the Nats expressed some interest in him prior to signing pudge... any chance the Nats bring him on to replace Nieves?

Jaxpo Nat said...

Chris, not Christ... boy, have to have that slip psychoanalyzed.

Edward said...

Why does he need analysis? We already have a Jesus on the team!

peric said...

Still losing images Mark. It may be a server issue. I am using Safari. I did a hard reset on it and I am still having problems getting your photos and banners.

peric said...

Yep, nothing seems to help at my end.

Might as well post this since it is raining. Fun making the "natives" restless in the thunder and lightening.

Here is John Sickel's sleeper alerts for the Nats:

Nathan Karns, RHP, Washington Nationals
Pat Lehman, RHP, Washington Nationals

They're the only 2.

Mrs. Zuckerman said...

Two of the photos didn't load when I first pulled up the page, but they're here now. Good ol' Google likes to mess with us every so often just to make sure we're paying attention.

Jaxpo Nat said...

Called that one [pats self on back]... see, this journalism stuff isn't so hard ;)

raymitten said...

According to the Newark Star Ledger, the Nats did in fact claim Coste.

peric said...

I guess Chris Coste will be down in Syracuse / Harrisburg etc. mentoring the young catchers.

Positively Half St. said...

I don't know that Coste can go to SYR. He was claimed off waivers, otherwise he would have gone to the Mets' AAA team. It seems to me that he has to be on the 25-man roster. He essentially was out of options.

peric said...

Third catcher coming off the bench? Interesting choice. Basically he is Seth Bynum catching.

Jaxpo Nat said...

Personally, I'd cut Nieves and go with Pudge and Coste.

peric said...

MLB trade rumors claims that the Rangers almost made a deal for Guzman. Rizzo drives those hard bargains and the Rangers are the richest team prospect wise. Its a shame. They are looking for a backup corner infielder. Wonder if Willy Harris's name has been bandied about? There's also AG. I suspect Willy has more value ... might be why AG, Bruntlet are still there. Plus Taveras along with Bernadina to go with Morse.

peric said...

MLBTradeRumors claims that Texas has been talking trade with the Rizzo and the Nats. Almost traded for Guzman. Texas is the most prospect rich team right now. I can imagine the hard bargaining Rizzo making that difficult ... LOL But now they are looking for a corner infielder utility guy. And Willy Harris name must have popped up. Wonder if that's why we still have Bruntlet, AG, Bernadina, Tavares to go with Morse still on the roster?

natsfan1a said...

fwiw, I've not noticed any problems with the site with any browser that I used today.

Matthew said...

great post. it's kind of crazy (and oddly encouraging) to think that 100 years ago, when taft was doing his thing, blacks were second class citizens throughout the country, and were decades away from even being able to play major league ball.

this year, a century later, a black president throws out the first pitch for the nats. cool.

Anonymous said...

Matthew, Just to expand on that idea, our President will be throwing to a Latin catcher who were historically part of negro baseball leagues. Another major step for mankind :).

Anonymous said...

"Obama did not participate last season because he was in Europe attending a G-20 summit."

Wasn't Obama doing the Easter Egg roll on opening day 2009?

PB

Mark Zuckerman said...

Actually, I was mistaken. Obama did not throw out the first pitch at the White Sox opener because he was in Europe at the G-20 summit. He was back in D.C. in time for the Nats' opener but declined the invitation.

Post a Comment