Reportedly irritated with press coverage of Dr. Anthony Fauci throwing out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals season opener, President Donald Trump announced he was throwing out a first pitch at a New York Yankees game–and then tweeted he was too busy to do it.
It was a weird set of circumstances that put the Yankees front office on the spot. A little background: Trump has a standing offer from Yankees President Randy Levine to throw out a first pitch at Yankee Stadium. When Fauci, considered the nation’s top infectious-disease official, threw out the first pitch at the Nationals/Yankees MLB season opener last Thursday, Trump apparently decided on the spur of the moment to take up the Yankees on that open invite with a very specific plan: an August 15 first pitch.
Except no one cleared the date with either the Yankees or the White House staff. From The New York Times:
“Randy Levine is a great friend of mine from the Yankees,” Mr. Trump, referring to the president of the baseball team, told reporters on Thursday as Dr. Fauci was preparing to take the mound. “And he asked me to throw out the first pitch, and I think I’m doing that on Aug. 15 at Yankee Stadium.”
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.
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.
In any case, the offer was made moot when Trump then announced he was far too busy dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and other pressing issues of state to travel to Yankee Stadium to throw out that first pitch:
Because of my strong focus on the China Virus, including scheduled meetings on Vaccines, our economy and much else, I won’t be able to be in New York to throw out the opening pitch for the @Yankees on August 15th. We will make it later in the season!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2020
Trump played baseball as a high schooler and has thrown out pitches at baseball games before, including Yankees and Somerset Patriots (independent; Atlantic League) games. He was on hand last year for Game 5 of the World Series at Nationals Park, where he was greeted with boos.