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.