- The Washington Times - Monday, March 29, 2010


President Obama will throw the ceremonial first pitch for the Washington Nationals’ home season opener against defending National League champion Philadelphia Phillies, Major League Baseball and Nationals officials said Monday.

The game takes place next Monday at 1:05 p.m. at Nationals Park, several blocks south of Capitol Hill.

“Opening Day of the baseball season is a special event for our country, and its importance has been reinforced by the 100-year history of presidential participation, said baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig, who is scheduled to attend the game. “I am proud that President Obama will continue the long presidential tradition of throwing out the first pitch of Opening Day in Washington, D.C.”

The White House has not confirm the announcement. Mr. Obama threw out the first pitch for the 2009 MLB All Star game in St. Louis.

Mr. Obama’s appearance will mark the 100th anniversary of the first time a U.S. president threw an Opening Day first pitch and the 48th time a president has done so in Washington, according to baseball officials.

President William Howard Taft began the tradition on April 14, 1910, when the Washington Senators hosted the Philadelphia Athletics.

“Across the country, Opening Day is a celebration of the return of hometown baseball and the glorious days of spring,” Nationals Managing Principal Owner Theodore N. Lerner said. “Its a time of renewed hope and optimism for fans everywhere. The Lerner and Nationals family are honored that President Obama will mark that moment with us at the home of the national pastime in the nations capital.”

A group called the District of Columbia Democratic State Committee chided the president for accepting the invitation before seeing a home game of the Washington Capitals, one of the National Hockey League’s best teams this year.

Team owner Ted Leonsis has invited the president, and a Caps-related blog site has a campaign asking him to see a game.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs has said Mr. Obama, who has attended Georgetown University and Washington Wizards basketball games, would “very much enjoy going” to a Capitals game.

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