WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has recruited Baseball Hall from Famer Mariano Rivera to help with the opening of baseball on Thursday with a group of Little League players at the White House.
Trump said the return of sport was “psychologically a great thing for our country” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Rivera made a surprising appearance during Trump’s late-afternoon virus briefing. The president said they would both go outside to “see some beautiful young Little Leaguers with a bright future ahead. They are already practicing on the White House lawn. “
Rivera, the former New York Yankees relief pitcher and a Trump supporter, watched as the president announced he was canceling the Florida portion of the Republican National Convention next month because of the corona virus.
After the briefing, the two joined a group of about 15 young players who played catch on the South Lawn. One of the players gave the President and Rivera a glove and a ball and soon they joined in. “There was no one like Mariano,” Trump said as the two threw baseball back and forth.
A reporter noted that Washington Nationals fielder Juan Soto tested positive for Covid-19 and asked Trump if he was concerned about the players returning too soon. Trump said not. “They will be able to take care of it,” said Trump.
After the catch round, Trump, Rivera and the Little League players and their coaches took a team photo.
Trump praised Rivera’s work with children and his data as being closer to the president’s favorite team. He previously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Rivera.
Rivera’s old team was in Washington to open the shortened season of Major League Baseball on Thursday-evening against defending champion Nationals. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, threw out the ceremonial opening field.
Trump, for his part, said he was invited to pitch the opening field at Yankee Stadium on August 15.
The President praised Major League Baseball for its progress.
“I think Major League Baseball is an example of playing to empty stadiums. And that also applies to other sports, ‘Trump said about football and golf. “We want to get back to normal. The key is to get back to normal. ‘