Fauci, 79, has served as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. He played a leading role in the White House’s coronavirus task force as the pandemic worsened in recent months, making frequent appearances at daily press briefings and guiding U.S. policy on dealing with the virus.
“Dr. Fauci has been a true champion for our country during the Covid-19 pandemic and throughout his distinguished career, so it is only fitting that we honor him as we kick off the 2020 season and defend our World Series Championship title,” the Nationals said in a statement.
The Nationals noted that Fauci is a “super fan” of the team. Fauci has regularly worn a Nationals-themed face mask in public in recent weeks.
MLB will return for a 60-game season on Thursday. Fauci will be on hand when the Nationals begin their season against the New York Yankees.
MLB games are expected to take place without fans for the duration of the shortened season.