President Trump has gone after the sports world in recent months taking aim at NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace, and any league that allows its players to kneel during the national anthem, including the NFL and most recently, MLB. The Washington Nationals, who play just minutes from the White House, have had a tumultuous relationship with the President in the past. On opening day, the Nationals will deliver a pointed message to the President — equivalent to a high-and-tight brushback pitch — by who they have selected to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
President Trump and Washington Nationals relationship in the past
In 2017, the Washington Nationals invited the newly sworn-in President to throw out the opening day pitch. The President declined, citing scheduling conflicts. He hasn’t thrown out the first pitch during his time in office and is the first to skip the tradition that dates back to William Taft in 1910.
While he didn’t throw out the first pitch, he did show up to Nationals Park in 2019 during Game 5 of the World Series as the Nationals hosted the Houston Astros. He didn’t exactly receive a warm welcome as Nationals fans showered him with a chorus of boos. At one point, a large contingent of fans could be heard chanting, “Lock Him Up.”
A couple of days later, Nationals faithful once again shared their feelings for the President in Game 7. The interesting part is he wasn’t even present and there wasn’t a game in the stadium. Instead, the Nationals were on the road in Houston, but the game was shown on the big screen at the stadium. At one point, when a Trump campaign ad was displayed, fans voiced their displeasure with boos.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has become a household name
Five months ago, no one had ever heard of Dr. Anthony Fauci, much less knew how to pronounce his last name. As the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Fauci has become the nation’s leading expert on the COVID-19 pandemic. He has regularly provided answers to the crisis based on science and facts. That, in and of itself, has been a thorn in the President’s side.
In recent weeks the President has publicly criticized his own expert, calling out “mistakes” he’s made in the past. One example provided was how Fauci initially suggested masks weren’t necessary. Fauci, however, has repeated from the beginning, that scientists lacked sufficient information about the virus to be definitive in their statements. He suggested as new information emerged, recommendations might change, which has been the case.
Most recently, the President called Fauci an “alarmist,” as COVID-19 cases continue to rapidly increase in numerous states around the nation due largely to the federal government’s continual inadequate response since the first cases were identified back in March.
Washington Nationals announce Dr. Fauci to throw out first pitch
While President Trump has been highly critical of Dr. Anthony Fauci and the scientific evidence provided in the last month, many in the scientific community have come to the doctor’s defense, including Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who addressed the criticisms on Twitter.
“That’s called science, not a mistake,” he said. “The real, deadly mistake is not listening to science.”
The Washington Nationals calling on Fauci to throw out the first pitch will serve multiple purposes. First, it’s an implicit endorsement from the chief medical expert on the virus for the start of the MLB season. It’s also an opportunity for Fauci, a big Nationals fan, to continue the celebration of Washington’s World Series title from last season. And lastly, it’s an opportunity for the Nationals and MLB to stand behind the one man who has provided true leadership by guiding the nation through one of its darkest moments with his honest, fact-based answers delivered in a caring and compassionate way.