Obama to throw first ceremonial pitch on Opening Day

Posted By: Staff
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Washington, April 4 (ANI): President Barack Obama will be trying his best to throw a strike as he carries forward a century-old tradition on Monday when he tosses out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day in Washington.

The commander-in-chief has been traditionally throwing out the "first pitch of the season" since William Howard Taft began the practice in 1910, when the Washington Senators hosted the Philadelphia Athletics at National Park.

Presidents reprised the custom when baseball returned to Washington in 2005.

But throwing a baseball never comes easy for presidents, as they have often had to endure heavy booing from the audience on matters political and apolitical.

"You always know you're going to get some boos, because at any ballpark the likelihood you're going to get a 50-50 audience politically is a given," Fox News quoted Mike McCurry, a former press secretary for President Bill Clinton, as saying.

According to baseball historian Paul Dickson, fans began jeering at the president in the 1930s, when Herbert Hoover attracted chants of "We Want Beer" from a crowd disgruntled over Prohibition.

Dickson, author of "Baseball: The Presidents Game", said: "It may be traditional...but it may also be when the rubber hits the road. I'm sure there are some who might want to go in and boo President Obama, but he's a big guy."

Obama could not make an appearance at last year's Nationals opener because of the G-20 summit in Europe, though he did toss the baseball at the All-Star Game last July in St. Louis.

Nationals officials hope fans will extend a warm welcome to Obama.

Nationals President Stan Kasten said: "I don't tell fans how to act.

"I love the fans in Washington; I'm sure they will give an appropriately warm welcome to our commander-in-chief." (ANI)

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