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In somewhat of a role reversal, New York Yankees great Mariano Rivera appeared at President Donald Trump’s coronavirus press briefing while Dr. Anthony Fauci would soon be throwing out the first pitch on Major League Baseball’s opening night.
But it was Rivera’s appearance that threw social media for a loop.
President Trump and the Yankees legend celebrated Opening Day by hosting Little Leaguers in the Rose Garden, and even played a little game of catch, while Dr. Fauci appeared at the evening’s stellar game, a contest featuring World Series champion Washington Nationals and the Yankees.
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 24, 2020
The president said the return of sports is “a tremendous thing psychologically for our country, but MLB did its best to sully that notion, turning opening night into an ode to Black Lives Matter.
He also shared a video on Twitter of his time with Rivera and the children.
Rivera would earlier make a surprise appearance at the press briefing, looking on as the president announced that he was canceling the Florida portion of the Republican National Convention next month due to the coronavirus surge.
Trump, who had previously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Rivera, praised the player for his work with children and his accomplishments as a player.
“I have a very special person who loves children, who’s I think one of the greatest athletes of all time. A lot of people say the greatest pitcher of all time. A lot of people say the greatest pitcher of all time,” Trump said.
Fauci, who heads up the White House coronavirus task force, was not at the briefing, but threw out the opening pitch of the Nationals game and turned out to be no more accurate here than he has been with some of his projections.
Still, the optics of it all proved to be a little too “weird” for MLB Network host Robert Flores.
Dr Fauci is throwing a baseball tonight and Mariano Rivera is at a presidential briefing.
2020 continues to be weird y’all.
— Robert Flores (@RoFlo) July 23, 2020
Interestingly, Trump said during the briefing that he plans to throw out the first pitch himself at Yankee Stadium next month.
“I think I’m doing that on Aug. 15 at Yankee Stadium,” he said. “And I say, ‘How’s the crowd going to be?’ And, you know, it’s like you don’t have a crowd.”
MLB has opened the shortened season by playing in empty ballparks.
As for social media, the nation saw the reaction to Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue saying “we are all truly blessed” to have a leader like Donald Trump, so you can just imagine the response to Rivera.
Here’s a quick sampling from Twitter: (** Language warning)
Mariano Rivera *was* one of my top-5 favorite athletes of all time. Having met him, he’s warm, decent, and kind. Incredibly sad for a self-made immigrant to inexplicably align himself with Trump.
— Jamie 😷’Grady ⚡ (@JamieOGrady) July 23, 2020
Trump’s ego won’t let him put actual health experts during a pandemic at his briefings, but he will promote former baseball players, like Mariano Rivera, who support him & say nice things.
This is the weirdest president & administration in American history.
— Jim Heath (@JimHeathTV) July 23, 2020
— Tara Dublin Doesn’t Want You to Get Sick 😷 (@taradublinrocks) July 23, 2020
Uhh, so let me get this straight. We should send kids back to school cause Mariano Rivera says it’s safe? So is Fauci the new Yankees closer? And oh yeah, F Jacksonville!
Dear God, I think I need the cognitive test. pic.twitter.com/OsqDvWWU5n
— Chip Franklin (@chipfranklin) July 23, 2020
Why is Mariano Rivera at a White House coronavirus briefing
— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) July 23, 2020
Nice to see Trump finally taking on the Covid 19 pandemic. At his briefing, he brought in the great epidemiologist Mariano Rivera.
— Wanda Sykes (@iamwandasykes) July 23, 2020
Not that is was all negative:
— Aubrey Huff (@aubrey_huff) July 24, 2020
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