In front of thousands of fans, President Barack Obama strolled to the pitcher's mound and tossed a baseball to Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, officially launching the team's Major League Baseball season.
The setting _ freshly cut grass, a brilliant sun and clear skies _ was a picture-postcard quality introduction to a new season. And the lanky Obama, appearing in khakis and a Washington Nationals warmup jacket, was the star attraction for a moment.
He took a short windup and hurled a high, arcing pitch that Zimmerman speared. The president, an unabashed fan of the Chicago White Sox, wore a Sox baseball cap. He shook a few hands and then walked off the field as fans awaited the real first pitch.