Another opening day at Nationals Park, another gaggle of VIPs with enough clout to spend Thursday at the ballpark.
First up: J.R. Martinez, the Iraq vet and “Dancing With the Stars” champ tasked with throwing out the first pitch. He was excited — and nervous: “Everyone told me, ‘Just do better than John Wall,’ ” (who infamously lobbed an anemic bounce at a Nats game last summer). Martinez threw a solid pitch straight at the catcher, then punched the air with his fist. “I did it!” he said bounding off the field. “It happened so fast!”
Owner Ted Lerner hunkered down in the owner’s box, but daughters Debra Lerner Cohen and Marla Lerner Tanenbaum braved wind gusts at home plate before the game. “I’m thinking warm, happy thoughts,” Cohen told us.
In the crowd: Jim Kimsey, Frank Raines, and CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, who showed up in a suit, sunglasses and red tie. “I’m not fair and objective,” he joked. “I love my Washington teams.” NBC’s David Gregory stood out with silver hair and bright red Nats jacket. “It’s a National holiday,” he said. (Get it?) The team came through, winning a nailbiter 3-2 in the 10th inning.
And what would a Washington game be without politics? We ran into Scott Ableman, founder of the “Let Teddy Win” blog, lobbying for his favorite foam-headed Racing President with a Teddy campaign sign. “It’s an election year,” he told us. “The Republicans are looking for someone to get behind.” After six years, could this be the day Teddy finally prevails? “I don’t know,” said Ableman. “I just know I have to be there when it happens.”
Another dashed dream: Teddy lost by this much to Thomas Jefferson.