It appears President Trump may be heading to a ballgame Sunday night.
Friday’s 4-1 win by the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the World Series means the Washington Nationals, who now lead the best-of-seven series two games to one, cannot complete a four-game sweep — so the teams will play at least a fifth contest.
On Thursday, when it was still unclear if a Game 5 would be needed, Trump said he planned to be at Nationals Park in Washington if there’s a game Sunday night.
After the Astros won Friday, there were no Twitter messages from the president — at least as of early Saturday — saying one way or another if he still intended to show up Sunday.
But the president — and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred — have already said Trump will not toss out the ceremonial first pitch, as other presidents have done at the World Series over the years.
Conversation about first pitches
“We actually had a conversation with him about first pitches,” Manfred told USA Today before Friday night’s Game 3. “His view was that in order to make the fan experience as positive as possible, he would arrive at Game 5 sometime after the game began so it wouldn’t interfere with fans getting into the stadium.
“Quite frankly, we were very grateful for that. We thought it was a great decision on the president’s part.”
““His view was that in order to make the fan experience as positive as possible, he would arrive at Game 5 sometime after the game began so it wouldn’t interfere with fans getting into the stadium. … We thought it was a great decision on the president’s part.”
— MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred
On Thursday, the president had talked about his possible Sunday night plans while presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Roger Penske, a businessman and founder of one of the world’s most successful motorsports teams.
Asked if he would throw out the opening pitch, Trump joked he wouldn’t because he’d have to wear “a lot of heavy armor” for security reasons.
“I don’t like that,” he said.
The Nationals confirmed Thursday that celebrity chef José Andrés — an outspoken critic of Trump even before he took office — will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Andrés and Trump previously feuded when the chef, who operates multiple eateries in Washington, withdrew from plans to open a restaurant at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, following the then-candidate’s controversial comments about Mexican immigrants during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner, speaking before Friday’s game, told The Washington Post that Trump, even though he wouldn’t throw the first pitch, still had every right to attend Game 5.
“Well, he has every right to come,” Lerner said. “He’s the president of the United States whether you like him or not. It’s a special event. He should be at it.”
Nationals pitcher Aníbal Sánchez said people should “respect that situation” if the president wants to attend the game.
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez throws during the second inning of Game 1 of the baseball National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, in St. Louis. (Associated Press)
“He’s the president, and if he wants to come, why not?” Sanchez said.
Major League Baseball said the decision on first pitches is made jointly by the host team and MLB, according to the Associated Press.
First for D.C. since 1933
This year’s World Series is a special event in Washington because it’s the first MLB championship involving a Washington team since 1933. After previous Washington clubs relocated to other cities, the nation’s capital was without a big-league team for more than 30 years until the Nationals moved to D.C. from Montreal in 2005.
Beginning with President William Taft in 1910, every U.S. president has thrown out a ceremonial first pitch either for Opening Day, the All-Star Game or the World Series, USA Today reported. Trump has thrown several ceremonial first pitches before he became president, including once at a 2005 minor league game in New Jersey — where he showed off an impressive arm, throwing a strike over home plate.
The president is a New York Yankees fan who would often attend their games and sit in the owners’ suite or near the dugout. He welcomed the Astros to the White House last year after they won the 2017 World Series and said their victory was even more special following the devastation Hurricane Harvey wrought on the Texas city.
Trump would be the first sitting president to attend a World Series game since George W. Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch at New York’s Yankee Stadium before Game 3 in 2001, not long after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Other presidents who attended World Series game were Woodrow Wilson (1915), Calvin Coolidge (1924), Herbert Hoover (1929, 1930, 1931), Franklin Roosevelt (1933, 1936), Dwight Eisenhower (1956), Jimmy Carter (1979) and Ronald Reagan (1983).
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos and The Associated Press contributed to this report.