MLB commissioner says President Trump opted out of World Series first pitch to improve fan experience

Jack BaerYahoo Sports Contributor

President Donald Trump is planning to attend Game 5 of the World Series if the Houston Astros can force it, but that will apparently be the limit of his involvement in the game.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told reporters Friday that he had a conversation with the president in which Trump opted out of making the game’s first pitch or any other public appearance, according to USA Today.

Trump’s reason why, according to Manfred? To improve the fans’ experience at the game:

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“We actually had a conversation with him about first pitches,” Manfred said. “His view was that in order to make the fan experience as positive as possible, he would arrive at Game 5 sometime after the game began so it wouldn’t interfere with fans getting into the stadium.

“Quite frankly, we were very grateful for that. We thought it was a great decision on the President’s part.”

Manfred’s comments refer to the fans’ ability to get into Nationals Park before the game, which would hindered significantly by a presidential motorcade and the Secret Service likely having to shut down an area of the stadium for Trump to enter.

Of course, there is also the elephant in the room of Trump’s ongoing impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives and his low approval in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. You’d think being likely to be booed by a significant portion of fans at the game would play a significant factor in the president’s decision-making process.

Donald Trump will be on hand for Game 5 of the World Series, but not in view. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Donald Trump will be on hand for Game 5 of the World Series, but not in view. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

With Trump not an option for the Nationals, the first pitch will instead go to a man who has done much more than jeer against Trump.

Vocal Trump critic José Andrés throwing first pitch instead

Throwing the first pitch on Sunday should a Game 5 be required will be celebrity chef José Andrés, who runs a number of restaurants across the D.C. area. The Nationals announced the plan earlier Friday.

Andres is quite the choice for first pitch at the game Trump is attending given that the chef has been publicly outspoken against the Trump Administration on a number of topics, particularly its treatment of immigrants.

The chef made headlines in 2015 when he withdrew from his contract to open a restaurant at the Trump International Hotel in D.C. due to the president’s rhetoric against Mexican immigrants. The Trump Organization sued Andrés, Andrés sued them back, then the two settled in 2017 after a two-year legal battle.

Also throwing first pitches at the World Series are the team’s 2005 ninth inning batter of ex-closer Chad Cordero and catcher Brian Schneider for Friday’s Game 3 and a player from the team’s youth baseball academy for Saturday’s Game 4. The youth will be accompanied by Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.

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