The Washington Nationals have invited President-elect Joe Biden to toss out the ceremonial first pitch before the team’s Opening Day game that will kick off Major League Baseball’s (MLB) next season.
“We look forward to hosting President-Elect Biden on Opening Day of the 2021 season,” the team said in a statement over the weekend. “We’re excited to continue the long-standing tradition of sitting Presidents throwing out the first pitch at home of the national pastime in our nation’s capital.”
The Nationals will host the New York Mets at Nationals Park on April 1.
The last time Biden threw out a first ball was in 2009, a few months after he was elected vice president to serve under former president Barack Obama. The Opening Day game at Camden Yards was between the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) November 8, 2020
US presidents have traditionally thrown out a pitch in the District since 1910. William Howard Taft was the first president to do that. Every sitting leader except for Donald Trump has followed the tradition.
President Trump was invited by the Nationals in 2017 to have the honor, but he rejected the offer, saying his schedule was busy, according to The Washington Post.
Trump attended Game 5 of the World Series at Nationals Park in 2019, but he did not throw the first pitch. He threw out one in 2006 at Fenway Park and in 2004 for a minor league game, but never as a president.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force, threw out the first pitch on Opening Day of the 2020 season.
Nationals Park served as a voting center in the November 3 election.