Trump says he will throw out first pitch at Yankees game next month

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Bob Woodward book will include details of 25 personal letters between Trump and Kim Jong Un On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' MORE on Thursday told reporters that he will throw out a ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium next month. 

Trump said he was speaking with New York Yankees president Randy Levine and agreed to participate at a game next month.

"I think I’m doing that on Aug. 15 at Yankee Stadium," Trump said at a briefing on the coronavirus. "And I say, 'How’s the crowd going to be?' And, you know, it’s like you don’t have a crowd."

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The president made the announcement as Major League Baseball prepared for Opening Day on Thursday night. Former Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera was in attendance for the briefing and was expected to join Trump in the Rose Garden for an event with Little Leaguers to promote the start of the season.

Trump has not thrown out a first pitch during his time in office, making him an outlier among his predecessors. He attended a World Series game at Nationals Park last year, where he was harshly booed.

No fans will be allowed in stadiums for the start of the baseball season, though some state and local leaders have indicated that could change if coronavirus cases drop as the season progresses.

Playing during a pandemic has appeared precarious, as Washington Nationals star Juan Soto tested positive for the virus just hours before Thursday night's game was set to begin.

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciTo preserve our democratic freedoms, let's cultivate service-minded, thoughtful citizens Russia says coronavirus vaccine will be ready for doctors in two weeks Fauci: 'I seriously doubt' Russia's coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective MORE, the government's top infectious diseases expert, is set to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Thursday's opener in the capital.

Trump has repeatedly spoken of the return of professional sports as a positive indicator that the country is returning to normal. But the U.S. is recording tens of thousands of new coronavirus cases each day and surpassed 4 million total cases on Thursday.

"The key is to get back to normal, because nobody wants to see this. But I think it's really good that baseball is opening. It looks like football is opening. It looks like sports are opening. It's a tremendous thing psychologically for our country."