Dr. Anthony Fauci Reveals Why His First Pitch At Yankees/Nationals Game Was Off Target

Jul 24, 2020, 4:07 PM | Updated: 4:20 pm
Dr. Anthony Fauci - Washigton Nationals - New York Yankees...
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases throws out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game between the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, explained to The Wall Street Journal why his first pitch went so poorly prior to the start of the game between the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals.

Fauci, who has been one of the primary public figures during the coronavirus pandemic, was chosen to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of Major League Baseball’s Opening Night game of the 2020 season on Thursday, July 23.

“I completely destroyed my arm!” Fauci told WSJ.

Dr. Fauci’s First Pitch

Dr. Fauci made his way towards the pitcher’s mound, turned to face home plate and the catcher, and wound up to let go of the ceremonial pitch. As he let go of the baseball, the direction of Fauci’s throw did not head straight towards the Nationals’ catcher but towards the first baseline and past home plate.

“I would have thought given just how big a fan he is of baseball that that would have been something,” said ESPN play-by-play announcer Karl Ravech after Fauci’s toss. “But look, the man has been so busy that is not something he has probably had time to practice.”

The distance between the pitcher’s mound and home plate on an MLB field is 60 feet and 6 inches. Fauci’s pitch fell short of that distance as well.

“When I saw he was so far away, I said I better try to throw a bullet,” Fauci said. “And that was a mistake.”

How Fauci Destroyed His Arm

Dr. Fauci told The Wall Street Journal that a couple of days prior to the Yankees vs. Nationals game, he played catch with a “local high schooler” to practice for the big stage.

It was apparently the first time he had thrown a baseball in many years and the following morning he woke up quite sore.

“My arm was hanging down around my shoes,” Fauci said.

On the morning of the MLB opener, he woke up and his arm was still less than 100 percent.

“I’ll just throw it, feel the pain for a little bit and it’ll be over,” he said. Then he looked at his catcher behind home plate. “He looked like he was a mile away,” Fauci said. “Instead of doing my normal motion of just lobbing the ball, which would’ve been the best thing to do, I thought: Oh, baby, I better put a lot of different oomph into it,” Fauci said. “And I did. And you saw what happened.”

Unfortunately for Dr. Fauci, the outcome of his first pitch wasn’t the only disappointment of his night. His favorite baseball team, the Nationals, fell to the Yankees 4-1 after the game was called in the sixth inning due to rain. It was Washington’s first game since winning the World Series in 2019.

Dr. Fauci on Sports in 2020

Since the coronavirus pandemic halted the sporting world in March, Dr. Fauci has spoken multiple times about his love sports and league’s plans to being play again.

In March, Fauci joined NBA star and Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry for a Q&A about the coronavirus disease, COVID-19.

In April, he said, “there’s a way” for sports to return quickly despite the coronavirus pandemic during an interview with Snapchat.

“There’s a way of doing that. Nobody comes to the stadium. Put them in big hotels, wherever you want to play, keep them very well surveilled,” Fauci told Snapchat’s Peter Hamby. “Have them [players] tested every single week and make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other or their family and just let them play the season out.”

However, in May, Dr. Fauci said that he thought it would be difficult for sports to return in 2020.

“Safety, for the players and for the fans, trumps everything,” Dr. Fauci said. “If you can’t guarantee safety then, unfortunately, you’re going to have to bite the bullet and say, ‘We may have to go without this sport for this season.’”


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Dr. Anthony Fauci Reveals Why His First Pitch At Yankees/Nationals Game Was Off Target