Dr. Anthony Fauci did a rare TV interview on CNN’s The Lead With Jake Tapper, Tuesday.
Tapper asked Fauci about his planned appearance at Nationals Park on Thursday as he closed the nearly 20-minute interview. The Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will throw out the first pitch before the Washington Nationals season opener against the New York Yankees.
"I hope I don't bounce it," says @Nationals fan Dr. Anthony Fauci of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch vs. the @Yankees in Thursday's opener, which will be void of fans.
"If you do, you'll be forgiven… you've been busy," says @jaketapper.https://t.co/f9H1xOmfdD pic.twitter.com/vzp7grqs2p
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) July 21, 2020
“How are you going to do [the first pitch] in a way that conveys that we’re not going back to normal, that this is baseball during a time of a pandemic?” Tapper asked.
“Well, Jake, I think the atmosphere in which it’s going to be occurring is going to bespeak that very, very clearly,” Fauci responded. “There’s not going to be people in the stands. It’s just going to be televised. So I think that in and of itself tells you something about the stark difference between what we are doing now and what we were about to do last year at this time.”
The MLB coronavirus-shortened season is only 60-games long and will have no fans at stadiums.
Tapper cautioned, “I hope you’ve practiced. That plate is a lot farther than you think it is.”
“I used to play baseball as a young boy and as a kid in school,” Fauci said laughing. “I hope I don’t bounce it too much.”
He added later to WTOP that he planned to throw a curve ball.
Dr. Fauci just told @wtop and @ShawnAndersonDC that he will be throwing a curve ball on Thursday before the #Nats #Yanks opener!
— George Wallace (@GWallaceWTOP) July 21, 2020
If everything goes wrong, Fauci is hard-pressed to have a worse pitch than Alex Ovechkin did during the Capitals’ Stanley Cup celebration in June 2018, where he heaved it over Max Scherzer’s head.
Fauci, who grew up in New York as a kid, became a Nationals fan since the team first arrived in the district in 2005. The first pitch on Opening Day is usually an honor reserved for a president, but Fauci’s support of the team (he’s worn a Nationals mask at congressional hearings and did an interview with Ryan Zimmerman) combined with his leadership during the pandemic made the nod a no brainer.
The Nationals called Fauci “a true champion for our country” when announcing the news.
Headline photo: Shealah Craighead/Official White House Photo
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