The Unceremonious First Pitch

By Bob Redell
|  Friday, Apr 9, 2010  |  Updated 1:02 PM PDT
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2010 San Francisco Giants

AP

Snoopy throws out the ceremonial first pitch while Charlie Brown looks on prior to the New York Mets playing the Houston Astros on Oct. 3.

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Why is it so hard for some people to throw out the first pitch on Opening Day?

President Obama threw his high and to the left. Comedian Adam Corolla bounced it to home plate. Singer Mariah Carey's ball immediately succumbed to a straight-down trajectory right into the ground.

Bud Light even banks on first pitch bloopers and ran an ad showcasing the comedy of a fail throw in their Real Men of Genius campaign a couple years ago.

We wondered why everyone suddenly seems so incapable of such a seemingly simple task when asked to perform it in front of millions of people so we asked the man in charge of special events for the orange and black to give us a few pointers.

Danny Dann of the San Francisco Giants always asks his ceremonial pitchers one question: Did you practice your throw? Not on level ground at 40-feet apart. But from a mound 10-inches high to a target 60 ½ feet away?  

Inevitably, he offers up these four tips for a decent pitch across home plate:

  1. Don’t try to throw a fast ball. Otherwise, you’re just asking for a wild pitch.
  2. Aim for the catcher’s chest.
  3. Don’t try to pretend you’re Juan Marichal with a high kick windup. The crowd will usually 'boo' you.
  4. Relax and enjoy the experience.

I followed all of his rules and only partially succeeded, leaving me to feel like one of those big names who fell prey to the Opening Day jitters -- my first throw went high and to the right.

Bob Redell thinks Dann's 5th rule should be: Bring some semblance of hand eye coordination.

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