Monday, September 15, 2014
What Happened to Ceremonial First Pitches?
Since the dawn of the game, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, or "first ball" as it was originally known, has been a mainstay in baseball. President William Howard Taft was the first American president to perform the ritual on Opening Day in 1910, and President Ronald Reagan was the first to throw from the field in 1988 (normally, the throw came in from the President's seat, hence the term "first ball").
Since 1910 our Commanders-in-Chief have been stretching out for the first toss to kick off the new baseball year, but it took until 1993 before President Bill Clinton hit the catcher's glove on the fly from the mound. Over the years there have seen some gems, like the video at the top of President George W. Bush firing a perfect strike after Sept. 11, 2001. That thumbs up move gives me chills every time.
In more recent memory, the chills are a direct result of painful excuses for first tosses by hack celebrities. If you don't know how to properly throw a baseball, then maybe your first attempt at it shouldn't be 60 feet, six inches away from home plate in front of a packed Major League stadium.
Kind of like this...
Bad first pitch ceremonies are plaguing baseball games. ESPN seems to think that 50 Cent's first pitch at a Mets game is the best thing going since sliced bread, and I'm surprised they haven't slapped their new "Instant Awesome" tag on it by now.
No one goes to the game to see someone throw a "funny" first pitch. Its flat out obnoxious, and I can't figure out why celebrities (is Miss Texas a celebrity?) are lining up to embarrass themselves. Its not even a good gimmick to get people to the games since the majority of fans either aren't in their seats yet or just don't care who is tossing it out.
Carly Rae Jepsen of "Call Me Maybe" fame threw an atrocious first pitch at Tropicana Field before a Rays game, but nobody batted an eye because Rays fans are idiots who have no idea what baseball is and they just thought that was ball one to the first batter. Joakim Noah had to take a do-over at a White Sox game. When will this nonsense end?
As much as I want to hate the video of the girl from "The Ring," throwing out the first pitch at a Japanese baseball game, its gold. The umpire brings her out, she's pitching to a live batter, then after throwing a ball outside, she just dies real quick. But you know what, she had solid form, good arc on her eephus, and threw it 50 feet further than everybody I've mentioned in this post except Bush. EVEN CHRISSY TIEGEN GAVE A STRONGER EFFORT, AND SHE WAS HAMMERED.
Instead of reading "Teigen" her number 40 jersey read "Nuggz" because ordering 40 chicken nuggets was her go-to drunk food move.
Bottom line is baseball somehow needs to get the ceremonial first pitch back on the map. Stop parading in these jokers who couldn't hit the ocean if they fell out of a boat. You don't need to light up the radar gun or catch the batter snoozing with a backdoor slider, either, just get me someone who can go out there and play catch.