WASHINGTON — D.C. police Chief Cathy Lanier stepped onto the field at Nationals Park to a packed house of baseball fans before Monday’s game against the Atlanta Braves. The Washington Nationals gave her the honor of delivering the game ball to the game’s starting pitcher.
“This is amazing; it is an incredible honor for me to be here and spend one of my last days here at Nats stadium,” Lanier said.
She will retire from her post on Sept. 17 after 26 years with the city’s police department, and will join the NFL as senior vice president of security.
As members of the police department and Lanier’s family joined her on the field, the outgoing police chief noted, “I think what the Nats have done today for my family — and for me — helps break the heartbreak a little bit for my mom. She really is enjoying this.”
Victims of crimes who Lanier has gotten to know during her time with the department also joined her on the field.
She passed the honor of throwing the first pitch to one of the victims, Jaydan Stancil, who survived being hit in the head with a stray bullet in Northeast D.C. in October 2014 when he was 9 years old. The man who police say is responsible for firing the shot that hit Stancil was arrested just last year.
A day after Stancil was hit, Lanier remembered when his mother asked the boy to give the chief a thumbs up from his hospital bed, and he did. “I knew on that day that this is one tough guy and that he was gonna be good, and that he’d probably be better throwing out the pitch than me,” Lanier said.
Stancil threw the ball almost into the glove of the National’s Ryan Zimmerman. The young boy’s advice for throwing a great pitch: “Don’t get nervous.”
Lanier also received a bat signed by all the players of the team before handing off the game ball to pitcher Max Scherzer.