Turns out, the president had a scheduling conflict (which is probably convenient for him; Trump won just 4.1 percent of the vote in the District of Columbia in November) and couldn't make Monday's game against the Miami Marlins. That deprives us of a moment of presidential Americana, a tradition that used to be repeated every April.
For decades, presidents followed a tradition of throwing the first pitch on Opening Day in Washington, beginning with William Howard Taft's first pitch at a game between the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Athletics at National Park (later Griffith Stadium). Presidents all the way to Johnson and Nixon continued the tradition, occasionally throwing out additional first pitches at the World Series. But the tradition left Washington when the expansion Senators moved to Texas in 1971.
George W. Bush brought presidential first pitches back to Washington when the Nationals moved into RFK Stadium in 2005. And Barack Obama took the mound in D.C. on the 100th anniversary of the inaugural presidential Opening Day ceremonial first pitch in 2010.
But so far, nothing from Trump.
That isn't to say he's never thrown out opening pitches. He has. He serenaded Wrigley Field with a rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” once.
But none of that beats the time he landed his helicopter in center field at a Somerset Patriots game in New Jersey on Sept. 10, 2004.
The way Patriots vice president of public relations Marc Russinoff tells it, Trump spotted the stadium as he flew over it in his helicopter on the way to an event being held by former Yankees manager Joe Torre's Safe At Home Foundation.
At the event, Trump met the Patriots' owners, chairman Steve Kalafer and vice chairman Josh Kalafer, who soon extended an invitation to throw the first pitch at an upcoming game.
Trump “said not only would he be honored to throw out a first pitch, but he thought it would be fun to arrive in his helicopter and land in center field,” Russinoff said. “He and then-fiancée Melania Knauss attended the September 10, 2004, Game 1 day after the season premiere of the second season of ‘The Apprentice’ and two days before the opening of Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster.”
The video, above, shows Trump warming up, then throwing out the first pitch. It's a short clip — Russinoff converted the clip from an old VHS tape for The Fix to publish. Trump appears to throw something approximating a strike, if not a little short of the catcher's glove.
So maybe, when presented with the opportunity to throw this year's first pitch at Nationals Park, Trump thought, that first pitch in New Jersey in 2004 was enough.
Jorge Ribas contributed to this story.