Sequester hits baseball Opening Day festivities

Baseballs weren’t the only thing taking a hit Monday when America’s pastime restarted with Opening Day. The sequester robbed several teams of the military flyovers they had scheduled for their first home games.

The Air Force halted plans for a Monday flyover at Target Field in Minneapolis, where the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers kicked off the season, according to an NBC affiliate in the Twin Cities.

(Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
(Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

The Marine Corps called off a flyover for the San Diego Padres’ home opener on Saturday, and the Air Force canceled support for Saturday’s opening night for the Los Angeles Angels, according to Defense Department spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea.

The cuts that took effect March 1 require the Defense Department to trim $41 billion from its budget. The Pentagon decided to cease all air shows — including the flyovers that traditionally take place during service-academy graduation ceremonies — as part of its plan to absorb the cuts.

That means the Navy Blue Angels and the Air Force Thunderbirds will sit mostly idle for the remainder of the fiscal year, with the exception of limited training activities, according to Defense officials.

The Pentagon also anticipated placing civilian defense employees on unpaid leave for up to 22 days as part of its sequestration plan, but Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel lowered that number to 14 days on Thursday.

Congress and President Obama recently approved a short-term spending plan that locked in the sequester for the remainder of the fiscal year while shifting around funds to help blunt the impact on certain agencies, including Defense.

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Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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