Fans of the Washington Nationals will be lining up at Nationals Park for today’s 1:05 game against the Atlanta Braves to mark the start of the 2011 Major League Baseball season. They’ll witness a flyover, observe a moment of silence for the people in Japan, and they’ll hear Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray belt out the ceremonial “Play ball” to begin the Nationals’ 5th place campaign. But what they won’t see is President Barack Obama throw out the ceremonial first pitch, as members of the five branches of the Armed Forces will take the mound instead.
Last season, Obama’s opening pitch – while widely satirized for his delivery – marked the 100th anniversary of American Presidents being involved with MLB’s Opening Day ceremonies, meaning that this is the first time since 1909 that the Commander in Chief is not at a ballpark. The general media consensus is that Obama has taken too much criticism already over taking 2 minutes to fill out his NCAA brackets, or even that the administration doesn’t want fans booing to take away from the Nationals and Braves. I like to think it’s because he has really adopted the DC mentality and is just ignoring the Nationals.
But don’t worry, Nats fans. You’re going to get your celebrity fill soon enough. On Saturday, former CNN host Larry King will throw out the first pitch. And probably his hip.