President Joe Biden is not going to throw out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals' home opener on Thursday.
"Well, first let me say I know the president is eager to get out to Nationals stadium, many beautiful days, many beautiful baseball games ahead this spring," press secretary Jen Psaki said during Tuesday's briefing. "It's not on his schedule this week, but I certainly expect that baseball fans will be hearing from him in the next couple days."
Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirms that President Biden will not throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day.— Cheddar🧀 (@cheddar) March 30, 2021
“It’s not on his schedule this week, but I certainly expect that baseball fans will be hearing from him in the next couple days.” pic.twitter.com/Dn9UPfmxGw
According to the Daily Mail, the decision to abstain from the presidential tradition came in light of US top infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, then 79, throwing out last year's first pitch, only to be mocked for missing home plate.
Fauci was kicking off Major League Baseball's season in late July, which had been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Later he said his bad performance was due to a sore arm, as he recalled "completely destroying" it during a pitching practice with a local high-schooler.
However, critics of the incumbent chief medical advisor to the president, such as former President Donald Trump, who brought up the incident while lashing out at his former advisor during his statement on Monday, haven't forgotten about his failure to throw the ball.
Though Fauci "said he was an athlete in college," Trump said that he "couldn't even throw a baseball even close to home plate."
Following Fauci's invitation from the Nationals, Trump revealed at a coronavirus taskforce meeting that he would be tossing out the ceremonial first pitch for the New York Yankees a few weeks later. Such news reportedly surprised both the administration and the Yankees, since nothing like that had been on the presidential schedule.
Later on, the former president canceled the trip to Yankee Stadium, claiming that he was too preoccupied with the coronavirus to go.
For his part, Biden last threw a first-pitch in 2009 at Camden Yards in Baltimore, and the ball went straight to home plate.
US President William Howard Taft threw the ceremonial first pitch at Griffith Stadium on Opening Day for the Washington Senators in 1910, beginning the American tradition of presidential first pitches. With the exception of Donald Trump, every president since has thrown out at least one ceremonial first pitch before or after their administration, whether for Opening Day or the All-Star Game, or the World Series.