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The Nationals announced on Monday that Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will throw out the first pitch on Opening Day at Nationals Park. The Nationals kick off the season on Thursday, July 23, hosting the Yankees with a starting pitching matchup that features Max Scherzer and Gerrit Cole.
Fauci, 79, is an avowed Nationals fan, even donning a mask with the Nationals logo as he testified before a House Committee last month regarding the nation’s COVID-19 response. Fauci has been part of the White House coronavirus task force but has had waning influence with the President. He said last month he went more than two weeks in between speaking with the President.
Needless to say, inviting Fauci to throw out the first pitch will be somewhat controversial for the Nationals. In their statement, the Nationals seem willing to embrace that, describing Fauci as a “true champion for our country.”
The Nationals also drew criticism in November as most members of the championship club visited the White House in November. Those who elected not to attend included Sean Doolittle, Anthony Rendon, Victor Robles, Michael A. Taylor, Joe Ross, Javy Guerra, Wander Suero, and Wilmer Difo. Manager Dave Martinez, catcher, Kurt Suzuki and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman were among those who appeared to enjoy their visit with Trump.