Speaking from the White House briefing room podium, Trump said the team’s president Randy Levine “asked me to throw out the first pitch” at Yankee Stadium. Trump said he accepted the offer and asked Levine, “How’s the crowd going to be?”
“You don’t have a crowd,” the President said. “There’s no such thing.”
To this point, Trump has been the only modern president to have not thrown out a first pitch at a Major League Baseball game while in office, breaking with a tradition that stretches back to 1910.
Taft’s Opening Day toss touched off an early season tradition that has stretched for more than a century. While presidents in the 1920s and 1930s often threw out the first pitch before World Series games, a president taking to the rubber during the Fall Classic has been much rarer in recent memory.
There was some talk of Trump throwing the first pitch at last year’s World Series game, but he balked at the idea, saying that he would have to wear “a lot of heavy armor” to make such an appearance.
“I’ll look too heavy. I don’t like that,” he said at the time.
Still, Trump’s hesitancy hasn’t stemmed from an inability to get the ball over the plate.
According to a number of accounts of his childhood and time at the New York Military Academy, Trump was a standout baseball player whose solid arm, power at the plate and long frame made him a model first basemen.
Col. Ted Dobias, who was Trump’s baseball coach, said the young Trump was a “good-hit and good-field” who in his senior year was scouted by the Philadelphia Phillies.
Trump, never one to shy away from boasting about his skills, bragged to author Michael D’Antonio, who wrote a book about Trump, that he was “the best baseball player in New York when I was young.”
CNN’s Kyle Feldscher, Dan Merica, Alicia Lee and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.