Obama to throw out first pitch on opening day

Barack Obama will throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park for the Washington Nationals home opener on April 13.Finally!

The Washington Nationals confirmed today that president Barack Obama will be on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch when the Nationals take on the Philadelphia Phillies for opening day 2010.

Team president Stan Kasten and various members of the Natosphere have hoped that Obama will make the presidential first pitch an annual tradition again in Washington. That seems more likely than converting White Sox fan Obama into a Nationals fan — at least for now.

The presidential first pitch was started 100 years ago by William Howard Taft in April, 1910. President George W. Bush threw out the first pitch for the Nationals when they first moved to DC in 2005 and when they opened Nationals Park in 2008.

Fans are advised to show up early because of the extra security sure to be on hand. Gates will open at 10:00am, and pregame ceremonies will include a presentation of the 2009 Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards to Ryan Zimmerman, hosted by CBS’s James Brown. Additional pregame distractions will include balloon artists, face painters, live bands in the centerfield plaza, and $5 beer specials until 12:30pm.

Advance ticket sales for opening day are sold out, but as always, the Nationals have reserved 400 day-of-game seats in sections 401 and 402 for only $5 beginning at 10:00am on Monday at the Nationals Park Main Box Office. You must have all members of your party at the box office to get these tickets (that is, one person can’t walk up and ask for 8 tickets).

To help speed through security, the team is advising fans to leave all bags and backpacks at home.

Obama will not throw out the first pitch at Nats opener Monday

Barack Obama will not throw out the first pitch on opening day at Nationals ParkThe White House has told the Washington Times that president Barack Obama will not be available to throw out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals home opener Monday at Nationals Park.

It had been previously reported that Barack Obama would attend, provided his schedule didn’t change because of world events. The Nationals have avoided promoting his presence because of the uncertainty, which remained until today.

Rubbing salt in the wound, the president will welcome the visiting Philadelphia Phillies to the White House the next day.

Count me as one profoundly disappointed Nationals fan. I don’t relish the added security that a presidential appearance brings to the park, but Obama has an opportunity to revive a 100-year-old tradition of sitting presidents throwing out the first pitch at the DC home opener. Let’s hope the nation’s #1 sports fan doesn’t wait until next year for an opportunity to see the Nationals play at home (and maybe even adopt the Nats as his new home team).

Open question: Who will the Nats line up as Obama’s replacement?

Photo courtesy of flickr user jurvetson

Barack Obama to throw out the first pitch at Nationals home opener

Barack Obama will throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park for the Washington Nationals home opener on April 13.Ben Goessling reports in Saturday’s Washington Times that president Barack Obama will throw out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals home opener against the Phillies on April 13.

The Times cites a club source who spoke “on the condition of anonymity” because no announcement has been made.

Team president Stan Kasten and various members of the Natosphere have hoped that Obama will make the presidential first pitch an annual tradition in Washington. That seems more likely than converting Obama into a Nationals fan — at least in the short-term.

Lots of tickets still available at Nationals.com.

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