As Dr. Anthony Fauci prepared to throw out the first pitch of MLB’s season, President Donald Trump broke some baseball news of his own.
Trump announced in the middle of a COVID-19 press briefing last Thursday that he had been invited to throw out the first pitch at a New York Yankees game. He would do so on Aug. 15, a date that saw the rival Boston Red Sox visiting Yankees Stadium.
It turns out that announcement was news to the Yankees, according to a New York Times report published Monday.
Report: Trump’s announcement ‘surprised’ Yankees
From Monday’s Times report:
“There was one problem: Mr. Trump had not actually been invited on that day by the Yankees, according to one person with knowledge of Mr. Trump’s schedule. His announcement surprised both Yankees officials and the White House staff.”
“Randy Levine, he’s a great friend of mine from the Yankees,” Trump said on Thursday, taking a break from discussing our national and global health crisis. “He asked me to throw out the first pitch. And I think I’m doing that on Aug. 15 at Yankees Stadium.”
Levine’s Yankees did not dispute Trump. A Yankees spokesperson said the first pitch was on, according to NJ.com.
Trump ‘annoyed’ by Fauci pitch plans
About 90 minutes later, Fauci tossed out the ill-fated first pitch that landed short and left of home plate to open the MLB season. Fauci — not Trump — had been invited to throw the pitch that also served as a celebration of the Washington Nationals as they opened their World Series title defense in the nation’s capital.
Some viewed the invitation as a slight to Trump, whose White House had criticized and attempted to discredit Fauci and his divergent approach to managing the COVID-19 pandemic. Fauci urged caution while the White House urged businesses to reopen as the United States became the epicenter of the global crisis.
According to the Times, Trump was indeed agitated. And he wanted a first pitch of his own after eschewing the presidential tradition during his entire time in office.
From the Times report:
“But Mr. Trump had been so annoyed by Dr. Fauci’s turn in the limelight, an official familiar with his reaction said, that he had directed his aides to call Yankees officials and make good on a longtime standing offer from Mr. Levine to throw out an opening pitch. No date was ever finalized.”
Alas, the Yankees were not forced to scramble to accommodate the president. On Sunday, Trump announced that he in fact would not throw out the first pitch on Aug. 15 while vowing to “make it later in the season!”
Here’s guessing the Yankees aren’t holding their collective breath.
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