Trump ridiculed for backing out of centuries-old tradition of throwing opening baseball pitch

Sanjana Varghese
Monday 27 July 2020 08:45
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(Getty Images)

It’s a hallowed tradition – and one that Trump would probably be all too eager to participate in.

Every year, the Yankees and Boston Red Sox play a baseball match. Historically, they’re big rivals and there’s a huge amount of attention on the game.

Trump, like many presidents before him, was supposed to be throwing out the opening pitch for the Yankees at their match next week – but has since said he won’t be doing so, because of his “strong focus” on Covid-19, which he continues to refer to as "the China Virus".

He made the announcement on (where else?) Twitter.

Just a couple of days ago, Trump had told reporters he would be throwing out the first pitch, noting that it would be a weird experience in his typical fashion.

He said: "I say, 'How’s the crowd going to be?' And, you know, it’s like you don’t have a crowd."

Trump was ridiculed for backing out of throwing the opening pitch, with many people pointing out that it would be his only opportunity to do so without a crowd of people booing at him.

Earlier this week, Anthony Fauci – the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and a fixture at White House Covid-19 briefings – threw the first pitch at a baseball game (it was wide).

Perhaps Trump wanted to save himself from the inevitable mockery.

In the past, Trump has broken with presidential tradition – Obama even said that the presidential pitch was incredibly stressful. Throughout history, some presidents have declined during periods of national tragedy (although this seems not to really be Trump’s line of reasoning).

Apparently, Trump is a good baseball player – according to several accounts from people who knew him as a teenager and a young man.

Sports Illustrated, which chronicled the history of the first pitch, pointed out that it has an important symbolic role to play too: "It lets the entire nation know it is now time to play ball.”

Apparently, that won't be the case this year.

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