McConnell, Norton Have ‘Natitude’ for Season Opener, Trump Not So Much

Senate majority leader and D.C. delegate on players to watch this season

Nationals outfielders Bryce Harper, left, and Jayson Werth confer during batting practice before a home game at Nationals Park. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Nationals outfielders Bryce Harper, left, and Jayson Werth confer during batting practice before a home game at Nationals Park. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted April 3, 2017 at 5:00am

Washingtonians, including members of Congress, are caught up in ‘Natitude’ as the Washington Nationals start their new season, 

The Nats take on the Miami Marlins at 1:05 p.m. Monday.

“We’re all excited about baseball returning to Nats Park,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told HOH. “I expect a great year out of Blake Treinen, who was just named the closer, and I’m hopeful that he and the all-star pitching lineup will stay healthy through the playoffs.”

[Reid, McConnell Agree on Bryce Harper #NATITUDE]

The Kentucky Republican has become an avid fan of the D.C. sports team, an interest he shared with his predecessor, Harry Reid of Nevada.

“As always, I am optimistic that Bryce Harper will have another MVP season and the Nats will finally bring home the World Series trophy,” McConnell added.

District of Columbia Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton is also looking forward to the return of baseball and her hometown team’s opener.

[Harry Reid Has Some Advice for Washington Nationals]

“It has been a thrill watching this team get better and better over the years, and this may be our best squad yet, with a deep roster around a core of stars in Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer,” Norton said.

“They’ve done very well in the regular season, but I hope that this year they can take it to the next level and overcome the disappointments we have suffered in the postseason,” she said.

Congress is in session on Monday afternoon, so she won’t be able to attend the game in person, but said she will try to catch some of it in her office and watch the highlights afterward.

In terms of players to watch, she, like McConnell, has her eye on Harper.

“I believe Bryce is going to have a huge season and return to his 2015 MVP form. He’s a tremendously hard worker, and he knows D.C. residents have his back,” Norton said.

[Congressional Baseball Players Were Running on Empty]

She is also rooting for last year’s Rookie of the Year runner-up and one of baseball’s fastest players, Trea Turner.

“Turner had a breakout rookie year last season, and now as a regular starter at shortstop, I think he’s going to continue to electrify the crowd with his speed,” she said.

As D.C.’s congressional representative, she’s equally proud of the area surrounding the Nats’ stadium.

“I’m also looking forward to fans from D.C. and all over the region pouring into Navy Yard and seeing what a vibrant neighborhood we’ve grown around the ballpark and the great amenities now available from my bill, which created the Yards and the Capitol Riverfront from federal land,” she said.

Another politician living in the district, President Donald Trump, doesn’t seem to be caught up in Natitude going into the season opener.

The longtime New York Yankees fan was asked by the team to throw out the first pitch but turned it down due to a scheduling conflict, Politico reported last week. Trump attended the home opener for the Nats’ National League East rival New York Mets in 2012.

In 2010, President Barack Obamathrew out the first pitch at the team’s home opener. He also cited a conflict in 2009.