Bush Attends Cubs-Nationals Game In Early Birthday Outing

Thursday, July 5th 2007, 9:19 pm
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ First fan George W. Bush turned out Thursday night to catch the last-place Washington Nationals play the Chicago Cubs.

It was an early birthday outing for Bush, who turns 61 on Friday. He arrived at RFK Stadium in the bottom of the first inning and left after the seventh-inning stretch with the Cubs leading 4-2.

Most fans probably did not know Bush was present. There was no advance word of his visit and no announcement over the stadium's public-address system.

At the top of the ninth, when the scoreboard lit up with ``Hail to the Chief,'' it wasn't a reference to Bush but to Nationals relief pitcher Chad Cordero, whose nickname is ``Chief.'' He had just come into the game.

The president sat in a team box above the field on the third base side, where he was joined by Mark Lerner, whose family owns the Nats, along with Stan Kasten, the team president, and Jim Bowden, the vice president and general manager.

Bush's dress shirt was unbuttoned at the collar, and he was seen smiling as he sat between the two executives.

Bush, a former part-owner of the Texas Rangers, has attended three other Nationals games at RFK since major league baseball returned to Washington in 2005.

He threw out the ceremonial first pitch amid much fanfare at the 2005 home opener, the stadium's first game since 1971, and attended a game later that season.

Vice President Dick Cheney threw out the first pitch at the 2006 home opener and was greeted with what seemed to be more boos than cheers as he walked on the field.

Bush's last game at the park was July 8, 2006, when the Nationals played San Diego.

Washington entered the game against the Cubs with a 34-50 record heading into the last weekend before the All-Star game. The Nationals are 12 1/2 games behind the East Division leading New York Mets.