March 31, 2008 / 1:20 AM / in 10 years

Bush delivers first pitch at Nationals opener

WASHINGTON, March 30 (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals baseball game on Sunday night, kicking off the season opener at the team’s new $611 million stadium.

Bush, an avid baseball fan and former part owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team, sported a Nationals warm-up jacket as he trotted onto the field amid a chorus of cheers and boos from the sold-out crowd.

Nationals manager Manny Acta served as catcher as Bush delivered a high pitch down the middle.

The team’s starting catcher, Paul Lo Duca, was mentioned in the recent Mitchell Report that exposed widespread use of steroids in Major League Baseball. Bush has said steroid use in baseball “sullied” the game.

Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Braves was the inaugural event for Nationals Park. The stadium features cherry trees along the left field wall and a banner celebrating the 1924 World Series win by the Washington Senators -- the last team to play in the nation’s capital.

In 2005, when baseball returned to Washington after a 33-year absence, the president also took to the mound to toss out the first pitch. (Reporting by Karey Wutkowski)

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