Bush throws out first pitch in Game 3 of World Series at Yankee Stadium; it's a strike

Wednesday, October 31st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ President Bush threw a ceremonial strike to start Game 3 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium as he sought to demonstrate a sense of normalcy in the face of renewed warnings of possible new terror attacks.

Bush received a thunderous cheer Tuesday night as he strode to the pitcher's mound from the Yankees' dugout, wearing a windbreaker emblazoned with ``FDNY,'' a tribute to the New York City Fire Department.

He scanned the sellout crowd of more than 57,000 for a few seconds, gave a thumbs-up sign and then whipped the ball across the plate to Yankees backup catcher Todd Greene.

The president walked off the mound to chants of ``U-S-A, U-S-A'' and posted for photos with Yankees manager Joe Torre and Arizona Diamondbacks skipper Bob Brenly before disappearing back into the dugout.

Bush, his wife, Laura; his mother, Barbara Bush; and several of his top aides watched the game from the box of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, an ardent Yankees fan, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., sat in a box next to the dugout.

Bush's appearance ``shows we're not afraid, we're undeterred and that life is moving on the way it should,'' Giuliani told a reporter.

``I'm sure he's pretty busy right now, and for him to show up here, it's great _ it adds a little more excitement here,'' said Diamondbacks reliever Troy Brohawn, standing on the edge of the third base dugout.

Bush left the stadium during the third inning, with the Yankees leading 1-0, to return to Washington. New York won the game 2-1.

In his third visit to New York City since the attacks on Sept. 11, Bush indulged his passion for baseball and was ``helping to do what all Americans are doing now, which is keeping the country doing what it typically does at this time of year,'' White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said. ``It helps to keep the fabric of our country strong.''

Yankee Stadium opened more than three hours before game time to allow heightened security checks and 1,200 police officers were assigned to the game.

Bush threw out first pitches at the Milwaukee Brewers' home opener in April, the College World Series in June and the Little League World Series in August.

The strike Tuesday night was a point of pride for Bush, whose opening pitch at the Brewers opener hit the dirt in front of the plate.

Bush is a former managing partner of the Texas Rangers, who finished last in the American League West for a second consecutive year.

Laura Bush hedged when asked whether she and her husband would root for the American League champion Yankees.

``You can't imagine how many times the Yankees broke our hearts'' by beating the Rangers, she said on ``Live With Regis And Kelly.''