WASHINGTON — In an appropriate intersection of the world we’ve lived in the past five months and the way we would like it to be, celebrated immunologist Anthony Fauci climbed to the mound at Nationals Park on Thursday night and lobbed the first pitch of the 2020 Major League Baseball season, a campaign delayed since March, when the novel coronavirus that Fauci is helping to fight shut down most of the globe.
Fauci, a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, has been a comforting presence for a country suffering through its first pandemic in more than 100 years. Deaths caused by COVID-19 have now topped 144,000 in the USA and 626,000 worldwide.
The sport grinded to a halt on March 12, shutting down spring training and pushing back the March 26 Opening Day to a date unknown.
TRUMP'S PITCH: President to throw first pitch at Yankee Stadium
Fauci, who has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, is a Nationals fan by proximity, even if his longtime allegiances run toward Washington’s opponent Thursday night, the New York Yankees.
Oh No Dr. Fauci pic.twitter.com/CiLQMPmCzX
Fauci, 79, grew up in post-war Brooklyn, idolizing Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle but eventually carving his own niche on the basketball court. He captained Regis High School’s 1958 squad, but now runs point on infectious diseases.
He has used sports as a conduit to the general public in the time of COVID-19, co-hosting an Instagram Live program with two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry and joining Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman on a handful of video chats.
Dr. Anthony Fauci throws out the first pitch before Thursday's opener at Nationals Park. (Photo: Geoff Burke, USA TODAY Sports)
Zimmerman was not at Nationals Park on Thursday, one of 14 players to opt out of this season for personal reasons. Ideally, Fauci and his ilk will make it safer for him to return in 2020.
Thursday, Fauci’s form left a bit to be desired. Fauci’s pitch veered far to the right of Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle, his designated catcher, who cheerfully retrieved it and shook his hand.
No matter. The man has far greater concerns than throwing strikes.
Source: Read Full Article