WASHINGTON, DC – A day after President Donald Trump said he plans to attend Game 5 of the World Series, the Washington Nationals announced the ceremonial first pitch at that game will be thrown by chef José Andrés, a vocal critic of Trump.
Andrés, a prominent local restaurant owner and humanitarian, has repeatedly opposed Trump's immigration policies and his administration's response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. He has also tangled with Trump in court.
"The name came from the Nationals, and it seemed like a good choice," baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Friday. "So it's sort of a joint decision."
Four years ago, Andrés withdrew from plans to open a restaurant in the Trump International Hotel in Washington following Trump's controversial comments about Mexican immigrants during the presidential campaign.
Trump Old Post Office, which runs the hotel as the landlord under a lease with the General Services Administration, sued Andrés' companies, Think Food Group and Topo Atrio, in July 2015 for breach of contract and claimed damages in excess of $10 million.
"The landlord allowed Mr. Trump to saddle us with the burden of his inflammatory statements, such that operating a high-end Spanish restaurant is no longer viable for us at this location," Andrés' companies said in a statement the following month.
Andrés' companies filed a counterclaim, and the case in D.C. Superior Court was settled in 2017.
Manfred spoke with Trump about whether the president wanted to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
"His view was that in order to make the fan experience as positive as possible, he would arrive at Game 5 sometime after the game began, so that wouldn't interfere with fans getting into the stadium. Quite frankly, we were very grateful for that," Manfred said. "His sole focus was if I do something like a first pitch or arrive in that timeframe, is it going to be disruptive to the everyday fan getting into the ballpark and enjoying the game, and he didn't want that kind of disruption."
Washington leads Houston 2-1 in the best-of-seven series after the Astros' 4-1 win on Saturday morning, so a Game 5 on Sunday is assured.
On Friday, Andrés tweeted that he was "humbled" to be chosen.
Trump would be the first sitting president to attend a World Series game since George W. Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch at New York's Yankee Stadium before Game 3 in 2001.
Other presidents who attended a World Series game were Woodrow Wilson (1915), Calvin Coolidge (1924), Herbert Hoover (1929, 1930, 1931), Franklin Roosevelt (1933, 1936), Dwight Eisenhower (1956), Jimmy Carter (1979) and Ronald Reagan (1983).