Take Me Out: The Nats' Opening Day Draws Some Heavy Hitters

Mayor Williams with Wife and Mother at Nationals Game
Mayor Tony Williams with wife Diane (right) and his mom, Virginia (seated). (Roxanne Roberts -- The Washington Post)
By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Vice President Cheney , tapped to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at yesterday's Nationals home opener, drew boisterous boos from the moment he stepped on the field until he jogged off. The derisive greeting was surprisingly loud and long, given the bipartisan nature of our national pastime, and drowned out a smattering of applause reported from the upper decks.

It didn't help that Cheney made an in-the-dirt pitch to catcher Brian Schneider . But the veep -- wearing a red and blue Nationals jacket -- ignored the critics, shook Schneider's hand and stayed to watch most of the game from a box above home plate.

Hey, isn't baseball supposed to be an escape from Washington politics? Sunshine, beer, hot dogs, Placido Domingo singing the national anthem! Checking your BlackBerry during the seventh-inning stretch!

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is still dithering about who gets to spend $450 million for the team, but two of three front-runners had primo seats yesterday. The Washington Baseball Club's Fred Malek and Jeffrey Zients sat in the first row over the visitors' dugout, and Russ Ramsey , Jim Kimsey and Joe Robert sat directly behind home plate. Kimsey, for one, is in no hurry to move to the owner's box. "These are the best seats in RFK," he said. "I'm closer to the catcher than the pitcher."

Rival bidder Jeff Smulyan was a section over, enjoying everything but the score (Mets 7, Nats 1). We hunted and hunted but never found any of the reclusive Lerner family. Out of town, we were told later. Let's see if we've got this straight: They like the team enough to buy it, but not enough to see it on Opening Day.

Mayor Tony Williams ; his wife, Diane ; his mom, Virginia ; Eleanor Holmes Norton ; and D.C. Council members Jack Evans , Carol Schwartz , Marion Barry , Kwame Brown , Kathy Patterson and Vincent Orange (celebrating his 49th birthday) watched from DC Sports and Entertainment Commission Chairman Mark Tuohey's box.

And, yes, that was Tim Russert with James Carville and Mary Matalin behind the Nats dugout. "Baseball on a Tuesday afternoon," Russert said. "Is there any better way to play hooky?"

Dick Cheney might disagree.

In Washington, Steve Carell's New 'Office' Is Congressional

Steve Carell in Washington
Carell, filming "Evan Almighty" at Treasury.(Collin Drummond)
So if you happened to see that man in the dark suit the other day running desperately down the steps of the Treasury Building, arms a-flailing . . . for the record, it was not Secretary John Snow but rather comedian Steve Carell , filming a scene for his new movie.

The star of "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and NBC's "The Office" spent a couple of days this week in Washington, mostly around the Mall, shooting "Evan Almighty." The sequel to 2003's "Bruce Almighty" splits away from original star Jim Carrey to follow Carell's smarmy anchorman character as he gets elected to Congress and starts hearing the voice of God ( Morgan Freeman ).

But Carell was the only one of the stars to film here. The rest of the cast includes John Goodman , Wanda Sykes and Langley High's own Lauren Graham . Director Tom Shadyac is a Falls Church native and U-Va. grad. The bulk of the shooting continues outside Charlottesville, where an under-construction subdivision plays Evan's NoVa 'hood. Jonathan Kauffmann , a sales agent for the Old Trail Village development in Crozet, said filmmakers have constructed a set that includes ( spoiler alert ! ) a massive Noah-type ark. Yesterday, an animal scene was shot, involving pigs, birds, bulls, horses and mountain lions. "It's good PR!" he said.

This Just In . . .

· Now that he's sort-of-not-really retired, Jack Valenti is penning his memoirs. The book, recently sold to Crown Publishing/Harmony Books, will recount his times as a WWII combat pilot over Italy, a witness to the JFK assassination, an aide to LBJ and the longtime chief of the Motion Picture Association of America. In a fax, he said he'll also write about Vietnam and "what we learned or should have learned about fighting a war half-way around the world in places where a lot of the local gentry didn't want us to be."

· Child welfare officials and a sheriff's deputy stopped by the Malibu home of Britney Spears over the weekend, the Associated Press reported yesterday, but the officials declined to say what the visit was about. The pop princess got a similar visit in February after she was photographed driving with her infant son on her lap.

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