WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama toed the rubber wearing a red Nationals jacket. Then, he whipped out a black Chicago White Sox hat from his pocket.
The crowd booed.
In a herky-jerky motion, Obama delivered the ceremonial first pitch. It sailed high and wide, above the lefthanded batter’s box. Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman stood from his crouch and reached to catch the ball.
The crowd booed again.
Obama had reportedly been practicing the first toss with two aides in the days leading up to opening day. That didn’t work out too well.
But Obama was received with mostly cheers when he first stepped onto the field. He shook the hands of wounded soldiers, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman and children of deployed soldiers.
Obama’s first pitch marked the 100 anniversary of President William Howard Taft throwing out the first pitch on April 14, 1910. He was the first president to throw the first pitch on an opening day.
Obama also visited the two clubhouses prior to going onto the field. Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins strolled into the visitors’ clubhouse at Nationals Park early Monday morning with a Barack Obama poster under his left arm hoping to secure an autograph from the Commander in Chief.