Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The lost meaning of the ceremonial first pitch

So yesterday was the official start of another year of Major League Baseball. And while we could spend days discussing the rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs, the ethicality of an uncapped spending model or the controversial institution of instant replay, we have more pressing issues today… The ceremonial first pitch.

Remember when the first pitch meant something? Remember when the first pitch was, in fact, ceremonial? It was the indicator that the ball game had officially begun – and that you could now forget whatever worries you had before you entered the gates. Now, at most ballparks anyways, if you show up 30 minutes before game time you have the opportunity to watch five first pitches, all thrown by the son or daughter of the vice president of whatever company is sponsoring the collector coin giveaway that evening.

Whatever happened to earning your ceremonial first pitch opportunity through hard work and the innate ability to inspire others? For my money, the best ceremonial first pitches are those thrown by the kid in the Make-A-Wish Foundation or the old man who is retiring from the park after 35 years of slinging hot dogs and cold beer. Those two can actually appreciate what’s going on. They’re grateful for the opportunity to throw a pitch from the same mound as some of the greatest ball players in the world. That’s what gives me goosebumps and that’s what it’s all about – NOT the corporate sponsor of the day.

All that said, how about President Obama’s first pitch and controversial apparel yesterday? At least he got past the mom jeans this year (apparently Michelle dressed him with the lights on, heyoooo!). But a White Sox hat at a Nat’s game? Please. Let’s show some couth here Mr. Commander-in-Chief.

Ball 1. Stick to governing… sir.

The only thing that comes close to comparing to the aforementioned inspirational first pitch is when it’s a celebrity trying to get the ball at, near or around the plate. Here’s a couple to leave you with today. Enjoy. Comment.

(There's a 15 second commercial to start it.)

Mariah's has got to be my favorite... Maybe “One Sweet Day,” Mariah will learn to throw. But as of now, she and pitching “(Don’t) Belong Together.” But hey, she doesn’t care – Nick Cannon will “Always Be (Her) Baby.”


Don’t forget to check out your “For the Ride” links around 4 o’clock.

- TS


  1. LOL! very true, and the best one for me is baba booey, since he actually hits the ump! Heres one for ya... is it more embarrassing to throw the first pitch way off target or to bounce it before the plate?

  2. Awesome question. I say bouncing it before the plate is worse, freakishly unusual circumstances notwithstanding. Bouncing it before the plate tells the world "I don't have the strength to get the job done," whereas being off target says, "I can handle the throw, I just don't play by your rules."

  3. Id rather Obama pitch then run the U.S. the way he is.