When Major League Baseball opened its season on April 5, President Barack Obama threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Washington Nationals third baseman and former Virginia baseball star Ryan Zimmerman had the distinction of catching the ball.
The Nationals picked Zimmerman (Col ’06), an All Star and a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner last season, to do the honors. “Any time the leader of your country is involved [in the first pitch], it’s an honor and I look forward to it,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman put his fielding skills to good use, lunging to catch an off-target throw from the president. “I was a little disappointed with the pitch. It was high and outside,” Obama said. “Fortunately, Zimmerman has a tall reach.”
Presidents have been throwing the ceremonial first pitch for 100 years, ever since William Howard Taft began the tradition before a 1910 Washington Senators game.