By Adam Kilgore
Monday, March 29, 2010; 12:22 PM
President Obama will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on opening day, at Nationals Park continuing a tradition that began 100 years ago and making him the second sitting president to throw the pitch since baseball returned to Washington in 2005.
"It's one of the things that makes baseball in Washington so unique and makes it so special," Nationals President (that probably should be president, huh?) Stan Kasten said. "It reminds us of the game's roots, but it's also very contemporary. That's what makes it so great that we're going to have the leader of the free world here at our ballpark."
Kasten and the Nationals have given the president a long-standing, open invitation to throw out the first pitch on opening day. This year, it came together, "just the way these things do," Kasten said. "The president was able to fit it into his schedule. We're had great cooperation from the White House and we're going to have great enthusiasm from people looking forward to it. I know I am."
President Bush threw out the first pitch twice, in 2005 when baseball first returned to Washington and in 2008, when Nationals Park opened. Last opening day, his first in office, Obama threw out the first pitch at U.S. Cellular Field, home of his favorite team, the Chicago White Sox. He also threw out the first pitch at the All-Star Game in St. Louis.
"I am proud that President Obama will continue the long Presidential tradition of throwing out the first pitch of opening day in Washington D.C.," said baseball commissioner Bud Selig, who will also be in attendance at Nationals Park.
"Across the country, opening day is a celebration of the return of hometown baseball and the glorious days of spring," Nationals Principal Owner Ted Lerner said in a statement. "The Lerner and the Nationals family are honored that President Obama will make that moment with us at the home of the national pastime in the nation's capital."