The Washington Nationals announced on Monday that Dr. Anthony Fauci will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day. Fauci has been regarded as a hero by many for his honest talk and recommendations during the coronavirus pandemic.
Usually, Presidents of the United States get the honor. Every president since Taft has thrown out a first pitch except Trump.
The Nationals open the season against the New York Yankees at Nationals Park on Thursday at 7 PM.
“The Washington Nationals are thrilled to announce that Nats super-fan, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has accepted our invitation to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day, Thursday, July 23,” the Nationals said in a release. “Dr. Fauci has been a true champion for our country during the Covid-19 pandemic and throughout his distinguished career, so it is only fitting that we honor him as we kick off the 2020 season and defend our World Series Championship title.”
A statement from the Washington Nationals regarding Opening Day. pic.twitter.com/iejxXeAA4V
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 20, 2020
“I’m an avid Washington Nationals fan so I thought I would break up this a little bit by putting on my Washington Nationals face mask,” he said during a congressional hearing in June.
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“I love the Nats. I love everybody on the Nats,” Fauci said during the call. “It was interesting, I grew up in Brooklyn. What most people don’t appreciate is that in Brooklyn, during the days of the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees, it was equally divided. Half of my friends in Brooklyn were Yankees fans and half of them were Brooklyn Dodgers. Nobody was a New York Giant fan except that we all loved Willie Mayes and Monte Irvin. We weren’t enemies with each other, but we were rivals. We used to spend all day long arguing was Micky Mantle still better than Duke Snider. Was Roy Campanella better than Yogi Berra? Was Pee Wee Reese better than Phil Rizzuto? So it was a lot of fun.”
He added, “But right now today, I think the character of the Washington Nationals is such that this year is historic I think. Really historic. You can’t savor it any more than having a team that came back and at the end, I’ve never been in a situation before where when we were behind, I absolutely knew we were going to win.”
The announcement comes a week after Donald Trump’s White House tried to discredit Fauci. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro wrote a scathing op-ed while the White House sent out an opposition research-type document used in political campaigns to reporters. It focused on Fauci’s past comments about the coronavirus out of context.
“I cannot figure out in my wildest dreams why they would want to do that,” Fauci said in response.
Recently, a Quinnipiac University poll found that 65 percent of respondents trusted what Dr. Fauci had to say about the coronavirus pandemic while only 30 percent trusted Trump.
During the World Series, the Nationals honored Jose Andres, who President Trump had been critical of previously, with the first pitch. It was the only World Series game Trump attended. Trump was loudly booed and fans chanted “lock him up.”
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