In a bright red Nationals jacket with a White Sox cap tucked inside his glove, President Barack Obama made his first appearance at a Nationals game to honor the 100 year anniversary of the ceremonial first pitch by an American president.
Before the game, he met with the team to wish them luck. He also threw five to six warm up pitches to Pudge Rodriguez.
“He was afraid to throw the ball on the ground, but I told him just grab the four seams and just throw it as hard as he [could],” Rodriguez said.
“He ended up doing okay. He threw the ball in the air -- that was his [biggest] concern.”
He wasn’t, however, concerned about wearing his White Sox cap with a Nationals jacket. “Bad touch there,” Jim Riggleman said, joking about the President’s wardrobe choice.
The historic pitch was high and outside, but Ryan Zimmerman was able to catch it. Later in the game, Obama joined Rob Dibble and Bob Carpenter in the MASN booth to break down his delivery and to discuss the team’s future. The president said he couldn’t wait to watch phenom prospect Stephen Strasburg pitch.
“It was a great moment for me to be honest with you...the most amazing thing for me was that he called me Pudge right away, you know,” Rodriguez continued.
“It was great. I had a blast to shake Mr. President’s hand and to be part of the cermonies.”
A typically stoic Zimmerman said that he enjoyed catching the presidential pitch. It was a big day for the franchise star, who also received his Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards in the pre-game ceremony.
“He’s pretty busy so for him to take the time to come out here shows what this city thinks of baseball. I’m just proud to be part of it,” Zimmerman said.