Anthony Fauci to Throw First Pitch for Washington Nationals' Season Opener

Update: Dr. Anthony Fauci wore a mask as he threw the opening pitch for the Washington Nationals-New York Yankees game, but was later photographed without it as he watched the game from the stands.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will throw out the first pitch for the Washington Nationals on opening day on Thursday, the Major League Baseball team announced Monday.

“The Washington Nationals are thrilled to announce that Nats super-fan, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has accepted our invitation to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day, Thursday, July 23,” the team said in a statement. “Dr. Fauci has been a true champion for our country during the Covid-19 pandemic and throughout his distinguished career, so it is only fitting that we honor him as we kick off the 2020 season and defend our World Series Championship title.”

Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, wore a Nats-themed mask to a congressional hearing in June.

In April, Fauci said he was eager to see the baseball team play again.

“I think you’ll probably get enough buy-in from people who are dying to see a baseball game, particularly me. I’m living in Washington, we have the world champion Washington Nationals. I want to see them play again,” he said at the time.

Fauci recently said that sports leagues could begin in the summer if “no one comes to the stadium.”

“There’s a way of doing that,” Fauci replied when asked by Snapchat host Peter Hamby about when baseball could return. “Nobody comes to the stadium. Put [the players] in big hotels, wherever you want to play, keep them very well surveilled. … Have them tested every single week and make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other or their family, and just let them play the season out.”

Fauci has also said that it was “impossible to call” whether the NFL season will begin in the fall.

“Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall. If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year,” he said.

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