Post-9/11 first pitch ‘one of most dramatic moments of presidency’ for George W. Bush

Former President George W. Bush fist bumps retired U.S. Air Force Sgt. Nicholas Bradley after he threw out the ceremonial first pitch in the Rangers home opener.

Brad Loper/AP

ARLINGTON, Texas — Former President George W. Bush may not have an ownership stake in the Texas Rangers anymore, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what’s going on.

The former president was at Opening Day Friday at Globe Life Park as part of the first-pitch ceremonies.

Bush lives in Dallas and his presidential library has a new exhibit about baseball and the White House. He was also quick to offer his opinions on the Rangers. 

"I think we’re going to have to be patient because it’s a young team," Bush said. "Obviously, losing Yu Darvish was not good news for Ranger fans. I’m hopeful. That’s what Opening Day is all about."

Friday’s opener wasn’t just about W. #43 accompanied retired United States Air Force staff sergeant and Wounded Warrior Nicholas Bradley to the mound as Bradley threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Bush gave Bradley advice, telling him to aim high. The 43rd president of the United States speaks from experience as W. has thrown out several first pitches, most notably at Yankee Stadium following the 9/11 terror attacks.

"I was nervous one time during my presidency, and that was on the mound at Yankee Stadium," Bush said. "The ball felt like a shot put to me. And Todd Greene, who was the catcher, looked really small. All my senses were pulsating when I went out there. It was one of the most dramatic moments of the presidency. So, today … the pressure was on Nick. Not on me."

Bush made it clear that he was enjoying both baseball and retirement. He also made it clear that he wouldn’t have wanted to replace Bud Selig as baseball commissioner — a job that went to Rob Manfred.

"I don’t think I was ever in the running," Bush said. "I’m not sure what would have been harder, 535 members of the House and Senate or 32 baseball owners."

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