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No Obama on Opening Day

Mar 28, 2011, 10:47 PM EST

File photo by Bob Youngentob /
Barack Obama isn’t scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch this season.

VIERA, Fla. — The First Fan won’t be throwing out the first ceremonial first pitch at Nationals Park this season.

The Nationals announced plans for Opening Day festivities, and President Barack Obama isn’t among those scheduled to appear before Thursday’s game against the Braves.

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  1. Rob Dibble's Ghost - Mar 28, 2011 at 10:58 PM

    Maybe he saw the weather forecast.

  2. bdrube - Mar 28, 2011 at 11:42 PM

    Thank goodness. That's not a political slam. We just don't need to have the arrogant SOB pulling out his White Sox cap for the first pitch again. Even Bush never did anything like that and he used to OWN the Rangers.

  3. Mikey Morse Club Member # 1 - Mar 28, 2011 at 11:51 PM

    Ya know, I love Obama. But him pulling out the white sox cap was beyond lame. Only thing worse would have been pulling out a Phillies hat.

  4. MicheleS - Mar 28, 2011 at 11:57 PM

    Glad they are having the military throw out the first pitch… I like Obama too, but can do without the security lines to get in – especially if the weather isn't that good…

  5. joemktg - Mar 28, 2011 at 11:58 PM

    Between 3 wars, a budget impasse, revolutions in the Middle East, etc., I kinda prefer he uses those valuable hours towards that which is important.Now three Stanford boys in the Nats organization? Nats lead the league in cumulative SAT scores.

  6. MicheleS - Mar 28, 2011 at 11:58 PM

    Any word on if it is a sell out? Won't miss having the stinking Phillie fans at the game!

  7. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    bdrube, I shook my head when he showed up wearing a White Sox cap but you really have to refer to our President as a SOB? Why not call him a Kenyan born Muslim while you are at it?

  8. Tom - Mar 29, 2011 at 12:10 AM

    He probably didn't want to embarrass himself with another highlight reel pitch. The White Sox cap was lame, but the actual pitch was pathetic.

  9. bdrube - Mar 29, 2011 at 12:10 AM

    @Anon – I call him an arrogant SOB because that is exactly what he is. He's probably afraid to show his face for fear that all of the USG employees whose salaries he froze (read: cut) would boo him out of the place. And no, I don't buy into all that other BS. I actually voted for him in fact–much to my regret.

  10. citizen16 - Mar 29, 2011 at 12:24 AM

    Good. The White Sox hat was embarrassing for everyone in attendance surpassed only by the pathetic throw.

  11. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    The state of ignorance in this country makes me weep.

  12. phil dunn - Mar 29, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    Great news! He won't be able to spit in the eye of every Nats fan by wearing his White Sox hat with the jacket the Nats gave him.

  13. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 12:33 AM

    @joemktgAdam Dunn, of all people, had pretty stellar SATs. And Bryce Harper's are pretty good, too. So you don't have to go to Stanford to make the academic crowd happy. And I went to Yale, where I met people who were dumber than a bag of hammers.

  14. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 12:42 AM

    Thank goodness now it will be easy in and out of the park!

  15. greg - Mar 29, 2011 at 12:45 AM

    i don't care as much about the sox hat, but i'm wit anon 8:42: it'll be easier to get in/out.granted, nothing would be as bad as getting in/out of RFK in 2005, but still…

  16. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 12:58 AM

    Hey JayB……started the Anon thing last week when I got sucked in to a Peric mud fest. It actually works pretty good.@Natsjack,Has anyone told you you are one pathetic sycophant? As I recall erock33 started the "mudslinging" with a personal attack and then claimed foul for precisely his own reprobate behavior. You had nothing to do with it.Pathetic.

  17. N. Cognito - Mar 29, 2011 at 1:03 AM

    "Any word on if it is a sell out?"Only tickets left are those being held back for possible season ticket sales and those that won't get used by the team, MLB, etc. The Nats will release these tickets for sale, but I don't know when.

  18. N. Cognito - Mar 29, 2011 at 1:05 AM

    Anonymous said… "Hey JayB……started the Anon thing last week when I got sucked in to a Peric mud fest. It actually works pretty good.@Natsjack,Has anyone told you you are one pathetic sycophant?"You must be from BPG.

  19. SpotsyNats - Mar 29, 2011 at 1:11 AM

    Amen! What a disgrace and international buffoon that clown is. Mark, I'm disappointed that you would even think that this is newsworthy for this site.

  20. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 1:14 AM

    SpotsyNats, that's no way to talk about JayB.

  21. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 1:34 AM

    This decision spares us the repeat of two classic moments:1. The lamest throw of any U.S. president. To say he throws like a girl is to insult America's female toddlers. They throw better.2. A replay of Rob Dibble asking O'ConUs who his favorite White Sox players were. Asked this question in 2010, it became clear he did not know the name of single member of the Chicago White Sox–ever. It was all a con. He had to be "down" with the White Sox in the exact same way he had to be "down" with Reverend Wright. All this established his Street Cred as a Chicagoan, when in reality he was a hustler, passing through.He was an imposter the whole time, and fooled millions of Americans, including, evidently, many visitors to Nats Insider.Don't you know when you've been conned?

  22. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 29, 2011 at 1:53 AM

    Looks like it wasn't the Post's fault after all. A shame Mark is going to have to spend time policing a few ungrateful knuckleheads instead of reporting.

  23. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 2:03 AM

    Um, I'm sorry, but should Mark refer to him as the "First Fan," when he wears the hat of another team?American presidents have come from all over the country. Did Kennedy sneak in a Red Sox cap? Did FDR sneak in a Yankees cap?No. Only O'Clownus did this. He is not the First Fan. He's the "baseball fan" who couldn't remember the name of ONE player from his HOMETOWN team.

  24. Ernie - Mar 29, 2011 at 2:06 AM

    I don't want to go all Rodney King "why can't we all just get along" here, but I feel like the comments section has deteriorated precipitously recently. It was one of the highlights of following the team last year for me, but I'm tiring of it quickly. Maybe it's just another example of all good things must come to an end, but if it continues this way I'm probably going to move elsewhere. Some of the regulars are still reliably interesting and polite. My hope is that it's just that some of the regular season readers haven't been around lately. Maybe once the real games start things will settle down again. There are always arguments but it seems really personal lately, with lots of vitriol and little content.Mark, your coverage is still top notch and I'll keep reading it without any doubt. I probably just won't linger on the site as long as I used to. I never really had much of interest to say, but I probably spend 20 minutes most days during the season reading through the comments on here. For whatever that's worth, I thought I'd offer the feedback. I have no beef with any particular poster, I'm just concerned about the value of the interaction.

  25. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 2:11 AM

    Dear Ernie,What a curious post. Mark has written a piece about the President declining the Nats' invitation to throw out the first pitch.The Nats Insider reader exchange, given Obama's "in-your-face" (his phrase not mine) insult to the people of Washington at the 2010 Opener, has been spirited. Did you expect this thread to discuss Bixler's on-base percentage?

  26. Ernie - Mar 29, 2011 at 2:24 AM

    @anon 10:11I don't know whether you have been reading posts over the past few weeks, or whether you know the site well from last year, or if you've just posted your first comment after reading your first story by Mark. In any case, if you go back through the dialogues in the Comments sections for the past few weeks you will see similar trends in personal attacks at other posters. This is not how the site has typically run. I am not one who gets into these kinds of arguments on blogs and intended my post only as a general comment to Mark and the community. I think that others who know the site well (I will not call them out by name, but there are 20-30 regulars here who tend to set the tone) will confirm the trend I am noting. I just didn't want to give up on the site without at least commenting on the trend I'm seeing. Maybe I'm wrong. I'm wrong a lot. But there are others here who have online personas that I respect, and I trust that they will agree that it is not just an issue of political commentary. The feel of the site used to resemble a neighborhood pub to me. It seems more like a biker bar lately. I hope that is just a temporary shift.

  27. A DC Wonk - Mar 29, 2011 at 2:26 AM

    "Looks like it wasn't the Post's fault after all. A shame Mark is going to have to spend time policing a few ungrateful knuckleheads instead of reporting."I sadly agree. This comment thread for this blog has always been terrific — but for this post it is pathetic, and we've had a nasty increase of trolling-type comments from people calling themselves Anonymous over the past few days.

  28. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 29, 2011 at 2:26 AM

    Folks, I posted this article because it's news (whether the President of the United States is going to be attending your club's opener or not) and because fans going to the game want to know whether they need to be prepared for extra security.I did not post this to incite a political mudslinging debate. If you want to talk politics from either side of the aisle, take it elsewhere. Around here, we talk baseball and things that are directly or indirectly tied to baseball (like the President throwing out the first pitch).

  29. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 2:39 AM

    Dear Ernie,I have visited Nats Insider daily since it was created.Thanks for taking the high road. All you want is good, clean discussion of baseball. I agree. 99.9% of my comments are pure baseball.Baseball is the place where American history, and American sport, intersect. No other sport can make this claim.Therefore I have the American obligation to call out, as a fraud, not you, a dear and fellow Nats Insider poster, but the President, whose ineffectual arm and Dibble-shown interview reveal to be a patent fraud, sham, and offense to all his predecessors, from Taft through Bush, who have thrown out the first pitch as the First Fan.I have never been to a biker bar. My comments would be welcome in any neighborhood pub. As you posture on the high road, please don't act like anyone who disagrees with you on a thread entitled, "No Obama on Opening Day" is a lowly biker.

  30. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Mar 29, 2011 at 2:41 AM

    Nicely said, Mark. Order restored. Let's go Nats.

  31. A DC Wonk - Mar 29, 2011 at 3:01 AM

    "I agree. 99.9% of my comments are pure baseball."Well, we wouldn't know that since you hide behind that "anonymous" tag."Therefore I have the American obligation to call out, as a fraud…"No you don't. Not here, anyway.

  32. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 3:15 AM

    Dear DC Wonk,I "hide" behind the "anonymous" tag? Does "DC Wonk" tell us exactly who you are? Of course not. We are BOTH anonymous. Don't you understand this?I think we vote "anonymously" in America, don't we? If you have a problem with this, I refer you to the Federalist papers. An American has an obligation to call out out a fraud. I'm sorry you disagree.

  33. Wally - Mar 29, 2011 at 3:19 AM

    Hi Ernie – I have noticed the same thing. I have a feeling that once the games start, things will settle down. Maybe just a hope.Anyhow, I am a little worried about CF, but ready for the games to start.

  34. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 3:28 AM

    but for this post it is pathetic, and we've had a nasty increase of trolling-type comments from people calling themselves Anonymous over the past few days.Another message from some flounder. More proselytizing from on high by another hypocrite with the most pathetic handle of all DCWonk. More like Wonkette if you ask me. As Mark said its better to stick with baseball. Didn't you mother teach you about not saying anything if you don't have anything nice to say? Sheesh.

  35. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 3:28 AM

    Play Ball! 😉 And hold the rain. And no wheezing wafting greasy Phillies fans this year – nor their husbands! AND THE SMELL OF VICTORY IN 2011!

  36. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Mar 29, 2011 at 3:40 AM

    I'm in with Anonymous 11:28. I've actually got a pretty good feeling about this year's team. I hope Bernie gets back up quickly, we could use his speed and glove, but I think this is the best 25-man we've had since Montreal.

  37. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 3:42 AM

    Maybe once the real games start things will settle down again. There are always arguments but it seems really personal lately, with lots of vitriol and little content.Dear Ernie,It starts like this and I posted this last year but it was much later in the season to those who like to call people out from behind the anonymii handles with scathing personal attacks about their opinions and post. To those who think they are so perfect in their arrogant chauvinism relative to their view of how posts should be created for this site and others associated with the Nats:Judge not, that ye be not judged.For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

  38. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 3:52 AM

    Dear Anon 11:42PM,Thank you for your exalted clarification.You call to mind this, from Proverbs, "With friends like thee, thou needst not enemies."

  39. John C. - Mar 29, 2011 at 4:01 AM

    I was at Opening Day last year, and I didn't have any problem with President Obama wearing a White Sox hat and a Nats jacket. Growing up in DC in the early 70's, when I got into baseball the Senators had already gone. I became a Yankee fan because the team runs through the history of the game like a thread. Even though at the time the O's were the power in the AL East, and dueled with the A's annually for the right to go to the WS. Yes, I rooted for the underdog Yankees while living under the thumb of Oriole fans. Hardly anyone believes it anymore, but it's true. As Casey Stengel says, you can look it up!When the Nationals showed up I happily adopted them as my NL team. I've worn mixed gear (Nats/Yanks) on many an occasion. When the Yankees came to RFK I alternated gear from game to game. So I have no problem with the President wearing a hat from his home town team.As for the pitch, I've seen far worse from politicians of whatever stripe. I cheered for President Obama last year, as I cheered for Vice President Cheney when he threw out the first pitch at RFK. I only voted for one of them, but as they say in the military, you salute the rank, not the man. Judging the President by how he throws a baseball is beyond stupid. Was President Bush (43) a lousy President because he couldn't hit a three point shot? Obama can – does that make him a great President? Or does it make Bush (43) a great President because he throws a baseball better than Obama?C'mon. This is a baseball blog. Let's talk about baseball.

  40. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Mar 29, 2011 at 4:10 AM

    Well said, John C., well said.

  41. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 4:23 AM

    I agree with John C! Who cares if the president wears the jacket of our team and the hat of another? After all, Washington is not an "exceptional" city any more than American is an "exceptional" country!It's kind of poetic, really. He wears the jacket of one team and the cap of another…he flies in on Air Force One and bows, yes bows, to to totalitarian head of the police state in Saudia Arabia. Let's get back to baseball folks, right? I mean–baseball first, human freedom second, right?Right on John C! YOU are the model citizen in a country where NOTHING means ANYTHING! If George Orwell were a regular Nats Insider commenter, he would surely vote for John C., the blogger who believes that some topics are more equal than others.

  42. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 4:34 AM

    Meh.John C.'s credibility was shot to hell the nanosecond he, a D.C. native, adopted the stinking New York Yankees. The Prosecution rests. :)

  43. A DC Wonk - Mar 29, 2011 at 4:47 AM

    "Didn't you mother teach you about not saying anything if you don't have anything nice to say? "You're trying to teach _me_ that lesson?No, the lesson I failed to adhere to in this thread was to stop feeding the trolls. I apologize.

  44. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 5:01 AM

    A troll–and we've all seen them–takes cheap, gratuitous, angry shots at people, for the pure purpose of provocation and insult. Trolls are vulgar and inappropriate.In this thread, I've taken on DC Wonk, Ernie, and John C. I've referenced live MASN broadcasts with the president, the Federalist papers, and George Orwell. I've taken the arguments of these pedestrians and turned them 'round (as John Lennon might say–clue to DC Wonk, Ernie, and John C–there's another important cultural reference).And you have responded–in a thread ABOUT the president mind you–by referring to me as a biker bar patron, one who hides behind the "anonymous" tag (which actually applies to all of us, in truth), and by calling me a troll.I have taken apart your ad hominem attacks one by one, and established that Obama is the biggest fraud to appear at a baseball game in Washington since Bob Short.Which proves the point: if you win an argument with a conservative, you are a gentleman and scholar; if you win an argument with a liberal, you are a troll.

  45. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 7:25 AM

    You call to mind this, from Proverbs, "With friends like thee, thou needst not enemies."And to you then Natsjack :Woe to you, in the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

  46. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 7:27 AM

    No, the lesson I failed to adhere to in this thread was to stop feeding the trolls. I apologize.Then perhaps you should consider desisting from feeding yourself? For verily there isn't a bigger troll on this site than DCWonk.

  47. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 8:51 AM

    Are all the previous first ball tossers (from Taft through Bush) on the record about major league personnel?Yes, apparently Obama couldn't name anyone on the White Sox. Too bad. He also got his NCAA bracket all wrong. (Join the crowd.)The man has a few other things to worry about.(Yes, I'm "Anonymous", since I haven't bothered to register a Profile. My signed handle is the one I use at the WaPo. For the purposes of this chat, those who have registered a Profile DO have an ID, and are less anonymous than those who post as "Anonymous".)bertbkatz

  48. Will - Mar 29, 2011 at 9:22 AM

    Bertbkatz, you do not need a profile. Simply choose the option "Name/URL" then input your name, while leaving the URL field blank, and you'll no longer be Anonymous.

  49. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 9:24 AM

    To "anonymous", from bertbkatz:I confess to be a card-carrying liberal.On a thread about the news that Obama would not be throwing out the first pitch, references like "O'ConUs" and "O'Clownus" are being deliberately provocative, and you should not be insulted that some picked up the bait (yes, including myself). You then criticized those who picked up the bait by saying "Didn't you mother teach you about not saying anything if you don't have anything nice to say?" I suppose you would be among those who criticized Obama for posting an NCAA bracket. Maybe he looked at that and decided, in the light of the fighting that has heated up in Libya, that he would be wise to pass on attending Opening Day. (Yes, political considerations may have intervened. Surprise, surprise.)I hope your trophy for "winning this argument with a liberal" doesn't tarnish too rapidly on your over-crowded mantel.bertbkatz

  50. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 29, 2011 at 9:29 AM

    sjm308…… this is in response to your question from he roster thread earlier. While injuries would trump everything else, my bet would be on Balester getting the first call up. He'll have an opportunity to continue showing off his "stuff" on a more regular basis and Coffey could either impress enough to warrant a trade or blow up. (I'm hoping "impress" but expecting "blow up").

  51. NatsJack inFlorida - Mar 29, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    Well said Bert….. just use the name/URL box and you'll no longer be anonymous. I wouldn't have read your post but I saw your name above my previous post and scrolled back.

  52. JayB - Mar 29, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    Njack…I agree on Coffey….he is not Matt Capps but I am willing to see if Rizzo can do it again on a lesser scale…Balester still has much to prove in AAA….he will be fine if he spends the time making sure he can throw strikes under game on the line pressures….not sure about that for him yet.

  53. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2011 at 9:50 AM

    NaatsJack, which bench do you think exudes more athleticism, 2010 or 2011?Hairston, Cora, Stairs, NixWillie Harris, AGonzalez, Guzman, Kennedy

  54. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 29, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    JayB… keep in mind that Balester has the last 5 weeks of 2010 plus a highly successful spring going for him. 4 or 5 more weeks of consistency in Syracuse will be enough proof for me.

  55. joemktg - Mar 29, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    The over/under on the next time Zuckerman references a politician or politics in this blog is 5 years. I've got the over.

  56. 320R2S15 - Mar 29, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    It's kind of a shame. The President should always throw out the first pitch in Washington DC. IT IS NOT POLITICAL. Just a tradition, and should be held every year. People booed George Bush and people booed Barry. What a disgrace, I was embarrassed for DC fanns both times.

  57. JaneB - Mar 29, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    One of the things about being a baseball fan of integrity is you stick by your team, thick or thin. I wish the President had worn a Nats cap, and OF COURSE he wore a WSox cap. That doesn't make him wrong. It makes him a solid fan. And solid fans is what most of us are, and what Mark is helping to grow.Maybe, with this last day of spring training, we can take a No Personal Attacks pledge as blog reader/commenters? A differing opinion doesn't make anyone an idiot or pretender or a fill-in-the-blank whatever. Can we disagree without being ugly? That, and Mark's great writing and reporting, has made this such a great place to go. Ernie was right on, when he noted that the past few days have been full of back and forth attacks on bull%^& stuff. For Mark to have to join in and tell us to cut it out is nuts. Let's just agree — no more shredding each other. No more anything but baseball.joemktg, you made me snort coffee.Go Nats!

  58. Nats Jack in Florida - Mar 29, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    Hey JaneB….. love your approach to all this. Headed over to watch the last ST game of 2011.Go Nats!!

  59. Curly W - Mar 29, 2011 at 9:25 PM

    Flipping idiot drags out a Sox hat at the Nationals home opener thinks he is funny? A horses ass! Congratulations to the Nationals for losing this TOOL and honoring the backbone of America.Go Nats!

  60. Another_Sam - Mar 29, 2011 at 11:19 PM

    The beauty of the oxymoronic concept of professional sport – get it? – is that it is purely for fun. I'll offer my opinion but I'll not proselytize. A lot of posters here miss that. Stick to the concept. Plenty of sites out there for you to see your views reinforced. Don't bore me.

  61. bdrube - Mar 29, 2011 at 11:55 PM

    @320R2S15 – I booed Bush lustily, and I'd have booed Obama if he had showed up this year. And I'll boo every no account hack the voters place in the White House until we get a president who is worthy of respect–it's supposedly a democracy after all

  62. 320R2S15 - Mar 30, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    Well then Mr. bdrube, you might have been the guy I told to go f#$% himself at the Bush boofest. You didn't mind that did you?

  63. Anonymous - Mar 30, 2011 at 5:31 PM

    Thank you very much for not coming to Nats Park this year. My prayers have been answered.





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