Although much of our lives are upside down, and spent more or less inside, there is one thing that will stay with us this summer: the baseball season is back. And, in an announcement that is peak 2020 — and wouldn’t make sense to anyone time traveling from the year 2016 to today — the Washington Nationals have invited a very special figure to throw their first pitch on Opening Day on Thursday, July 23. But who is that person? That person is Dr. Fauci. Yes, Dr. Fauci — the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who was for many Americans a non-entity until the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in late February — will be throwing the first pitch in the Washington Nationals Opening Day game against the Yankees.
A noted Nationals fan, the team wanted to honor his service to our country in a major way, and Fauci accepted the invitation to throw the first pitch. While the MLB is returning, like everything in 2020, it won’t be done in a normal way. The 2020 schedule is limited to 60 games, and games will be played in an empty ballpark to ensure that games don’t become mass-spike events where COVID-19 spreads among a huge crowd of thousands of baseball fans.
MORE: Dr. Anthony Fauci wore a Washington Nationals face mask as he and other members of the White House coronavirus task force arrived to testify before a House committee last month. https://t.co/h3zLNZZoMZ pic.twitter.com/9hvIuUHOYK
— ABC News (@ABC) July 20, 2020
Still, the game should be fun to watch, even if the usual din of a cheering crowd won’t be heard. And it feels especially symbolic that Dr. Fauci will be throwing the first pitch in the empty stadium, as his medical guidance and advice has led America to understand that massive crowds are a terrible environment for public health measures right now.