Trump takes rain check on Yankees pitch blaming busy schedule

The president says he has too much to do – despite spending another weekend at one of his golf clubs

Fauci throws out ceremonial first pitch to open baseball season

Donald Trump has announced that he will not after all throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the New York Yankees next month, blaming his busy schedule – despite having just spent another weekend at one of his own golf courses.

On Sunday afternoon, just days after announcing he would step up to the plate, he tweeted: "Because of my strong focus on the China Virus, including scheduled meetings on Vaccines, our economy and much else, I won't be able to be in New York to throw out the opening pitch for the @Yankees on August 15th. We will make it later in the season!"

Mr Trump had said on Thursday that he would throw out the opening pitch for one of the giants of the MLB, an announcement that came hours before Anthony Fauci was due to throw the first pitch for his own team, the Washington Nationals.

Donald Trump catches a baseball thrown by former New York Yankees Hall of Fame pitcher Mariano Rivera on the South Lawn of the White House on July 23, 2020

The president has publicly clashed with his infections diseases expert – and some close to the White House have been actively briefing against the scientist – leading to speculation that Mr Trump's sudden enthusiasm for baseball might be related to a wish not to be upstaged.

His reasoning for now taking a rain check – his busy schedule – raised questions on social media, where people were quick to point out that he had just spent yet another weekend at one of his own golf clubs.

Despite repeatedly mocking his predecessor, Barack Obama, for playing golf and promising he would not have time to do so himself if elected, Mr Trump has been a regular on the links since being sworn in.

According to thegolfnewsnet.com the president has been on the grounds of his own golf courses or played elsewhere no fewer than 280 times since 20 January, 2017. The website TrumpGolfCount estimates the total at 266. Obama is thought to have played 333 times, albeit over the eight years he was in office.

Although Mr Trump has said he will throw out a pitch in the future it may have occurred to him that it may be harder than it appears. Not only was Dr Fauci's own pitch somewhat wayward, but widely shared pictures of the president trying to catch a ball thrown to him by former Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera on the White House lawn on Thursday showed him in an unflattering light.

Another factor might be the fact that, since the restart of the season amid the coronavirus pandemic, teams have routinely been taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign for racial justice – something Mr Trump has spent years criticising.

Last week he tweeted: "Looking forward to live sports, but any time I witness a player kneeling during the National Anthem, a sign of great disrespect for our Country and our Flag, the game is over for me!"

Mr Trump is thought to be the first president since Theodore Roosevelt, who left the White House in 1909, not to have thrown out a ceremonial first ball at a baseball game.

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