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Schneider Nervous for Bush's Pitch

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 15, 2005; Page D14

Brian Schneider is fine catching Livan Hernandez's 90-mph fastball in front of 45,596 fans. But President Bush?

"I told him, 'Hey, I'm a little nervous,' " the Washington Nationals catcher said. "He said, 'Oh, no reason to be nervous. It's going to be all right.' After that, I didn't doubt him at all. If he tells me it's going to be all right, then it is."

_____ From The Post _____
Thirty-four years of waiting for baseball ended Wednesday night.
President Bush, pictured, tosses out the ceremonial first pitch.
Vinny Castilla powers the Nats to a 5-3 victory in the home opener.
Thomas Boswell: RFK Stadium was rocking like the old days.
Mike Wise: Passion and politics converged Wednesday.
The fans' exuberance overwhelms the minor glitches at the stadium.
Players were overwhelmed by the atmosphere and turnout.
Castilla was one single away from hitting for the cycle.
Notebook: Jose Guillen does not want to talk about his past.
The city's powerbrokers mix business with pleasure.
Mayor Williams found plenty of supporters at RFK Stadium.
It was a night of historic firsts at RFK Stadium.
Fans took warnings to heart and take Metro to RFK Stadium.
Local news stations covered the game with gusto.
There were many sights and sounds long not heard in D.C.
News & Notes: The home opener by the numbers.

_____ On Our Site _____
Gallery: Photos from the home opener on a historic night.
Panorama: Livan Hernandez throws the first pitch.
Panorama: The view from the top of RFK.
Audio: Post columnist Thomas Boswell sets the scene.
Audio: post.com's Anne Rittman from RFK Stadium.
Discuss the game.
Thursday's box score.

_____ Nationals Basics _____
Player capsules

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Schneider is a collector of autographed baseballs, and though he didn't get the actual first pitch signed, he had Bush autograph another one.

"It's very special," Schneider said. "It's going to be great to put that one up on the wall."

Day in the Pen

Right-hander Zach Day, who was replaced by John Patterson in the rotation for tomorrow's game, said he will deal with his new role in the bullpen. "I'm excited to get out there and work out of the pen," Day said. "If I can help this team from there, and we keep winning, then that's fine." . . .

Third baseman Vinny Castilla's 3-for-3, four-RBI performance came after he sat out two days with a shoulder strain suffered in batting practice Monday.

The injury bothered Castilla when he threw, but not when he hit, but he tested his arm before declaring himself ready last night. "I feel good," he said. "I didn't want to miss this."

© 2005 The Washington Post Company