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Hours before Dr. Anthony Fauci was slated to throw out the first pitch of the MLB season, President Donald Trump announced first-pitch plans of his own.
Trump announced during a White House COVID-19 press briefing that he’s been invited by team president Randy Levine to throw out the first pitch at a New York Yankees game.
“Randy Levine, he’s a great friend of mine from the Yankees,” Trump said. “He asked me to throw out the first pitch. And I think I’m doing that on Aug. 15 at Yankees Stadium.”
Trump has eschewed presidential tradition
The Yankees later confirmed that Trump is planning to throw out a first pitch. If it does happen on Aug. 15, that game will be against the Boston Red Sox. Presidents have traditionally thrown out first pitches in MLB, often on baseball’s opening day. Trump has not thrown out a first pitch since taking office.
The Nationals announced Fauci’s first pitch plans on Monday amid emerging tensions in Washington between Fauci and Trump, who has publicly criticized the nation’s leading voice on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fauci has consistently urged caution around the pandemic as the White House encouraged businesses and schools across the country to reopen ahead of the recent surge that has seen the United States claim four million of the world’s 15.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 144,032 of the world’s confirmed 626,357 coronavirus deaths as of Thursday.
Baseball is opening amid growing pandemic concerns with hot spots in MLB cities like Miami, Phoenix and Houston.
Mariano Rivera on site for Trump’s announcement
Trump made the announcement while Yankees Hall of Fame closer and Trump supporter Mariano Rivera watched on from the briefing room. Rivera was at the White House to join Trump on the White House lawn to throw baseballs with Little Leaguers ahead of the opening game of the season between the Yankees and Washington Nationals.
“To have baseball back — even though it’s an abbreviated season — to have baseball back means so much to me and the country’s spirit,” Trump told Rivera.
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