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Dr. Fauci Threw the Ceremonial Pitch for Baseball’s Opening Day & It Was Perfect (For Him)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases reacts after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game between the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals

Yesterday was the opening day of the new Major League Baseball season and Dr. Anthony Fauci was invited to throw the first pitch ahead of the Yankees vs. Nationals game. Fauci is a vocal fan of the Washington Nationals, even wearing a Nats-themed face mask to testify in a congressional hearing last month.

Fauci definitely deserves this—he deserves a quick break from his packed schedule of heading the coronavirus response for an entire country, fighting with Donald Trump, and apparently, as he’s now revealed, fielding death threats through all of it.

Before the game, which was played for stands full of cardboard fans only, every player on both teams knelt during the National Anthem in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Between that and giving Fauci the honor of throwing the ceremonial pitch, I imagine Donald Trump probably spent the evening fuming. (Good.)

The ceremonial pitch before opening day or a World Series game is not traditionally thrown by an athlete. Often, the sitting president gets that honor (Trump never has, though, making him the first President in more than a century not to throw an opening pitch at an MLB game) and the result usually highlights just how (often charmingly or hilariously) unathletic that person is.

Fauci was no exception.

Did that pitch make it over or even in the direction of home plate? No. Does that matter? No!

As that ESPN commentator says in the clip above, Fauci has “been so busy, that is probably not something he’s had to practice.” Honestly, if he had thrown a perfect (or even decent) pitch, it would have been weird! He’s 79 years old and he’s dedicated his life to protecting us from infectious diseases. When would he have had time to practice his pitching?

I love that Fauci took the opportunity to do this really exciting thing, even though he must have known how it would go. The lesson he’s teaching us all: Take chances! Don’t be afraid to fail! Wear a mask!

(image: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.