Dr. Anthony Fauci will take the mound Thursday night to throw out the first pitch on Opening Day at Nationals Park against the New York Yankees.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, has become likely the most-recognized figure in the fight against the spread of coronavirus, and the Washington Nationals said they invited him to throw out the pitch because they consider him a "true champion," reports USA Today.
Thursday's game opens Major League Baseball's long-awaited, but abbreviated 60-game season after it was put on hold because of the pandemic.
"Dr. Fauci has been a true champion for our country during the COVID-19 pandemic and throughout his distinguished career," a statement from last year's World Series champions said, "so it is only fitting that we honor him as we kick off the 2020 season and defend our World Series championship title."
Fauci, 79, who is originally from Brooklyn, New York, says he grew up as a fan of the Yankees, but now he roots for both teams since he lives in the Washington, D.C. area. He even wore a Nationals face mask when testifying recently before the House with other members of the coronavirus task force.
In April, Fauci said he wanted to see the Nationals play again soon.
"I think you'll probably get enough buy-in from people who are dying to see a baseball game, particularly me," said the doctor, according to an NBC Sports Washington report at the time. "We have the world champion Washington Nationals. I want to see them play again."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.