- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 16, 2008

VIERA, Fla. — President Bush has accepted an invitation from the Washington Nationals to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Night at Nationals Park.

“Unless there’s a national crisis,” principal owner Mark Lerner said.

Continuing a tradition first established by William Howard Taft in 1910, the president will throw the ceremonial pitch at the Nationals’ home opener for the second time. He helped commemorate baseball’s return to the District on April 14, 2005, throwing a high strike to catcher Brian Schneider before a sellout crowd at RFK Stadium.

“He’s been warming up since December,” Lerner said. “He’s very excited about it.”

This will mark the fifth Nationals game Bush has attended. In addition to the 2005 opener, he came to RFK once again that season and then once in each of the last two seasons.

Washington is 2-2 with Bush in attendance.

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