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From left, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft, Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard Y. Newton III, Navy Vice Adm. Michael Vitale, Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Terry G. Robling and Army Maj. Gen. Karl Horst throw out the first pitches before the Washington Nationals’ season-opening game against the Atlanta Braves on March 31. (Alex Brandon / The Associated Press)

President Obama has a lot on his plate now, so you can understand why he might not be so eager to take a couple hours out of his day and deal with the circus known as the Washington Nationals.

(He’s broken with tradition now two of the past three years, not throwing out the opening pitch in the nation’s capital.)

Anyway, instead of the commander in chief, the Nationals went a few rungs down the depth chart, turning to five flag officers to throw out opening pitches on Thursday, when they opened the season against the Atlanta Braves.

The officers chosen to throw out pitches were:

• Army Maj. Gen. Karl Horst.

• Navy Vice Adm. Michael Vitale.

• Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Terry G. Robling.

• Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard Y. Newton III.

• Coast Guard Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft.

It was a nice add-on to the traditional military fly-over, provided this year by the Joint Base Andrews-Naval Air Facility Washington-based 113th Wing.


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