The first pitch is a deeply ingrained ritual in baseball culture. Many noted musicians, actors, politicians, and other celebrities have gladly accepted the honor of tossing out a ceremonial pitch to announce the start of a Major League Baseball game. Some have been better than others—former President George W. Bush, for instance, has shown good form in his several times at the mound for first pitches. But rapper 50 Cent’s recent bizarrely bad first pitch—which some suspect was a shrewd publicity move—brought back another discussion: which first pitches have been baseball’s worst? Here is a carefully selected, but no means complete, look at some bad first pitches:
-President Barack Obama appears not to have the pitching ability of his White House predecessor! At a recent Washington Nationals game, the ball soared out of Obama’s hand and took on a life of its own, never landing anywhere near the strike zone. His day job may have kept him too busy to practice the pitch!
-Longtime Dallas Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki simply had no excuse for his weak first pitch at a Texas Rangers game—the man gets paid a fortune to be athletic! But baseball may not be Dirk’s thing, as his pitch soared over the catcher’s head. The catcher jumped several feet to haul it in, and despite the poor form, Dirk still got a standing ovation from loyal Dallas-area baseball fans!
-South Korean pop singer Tiffany Hwang is a rising talent, but that talent is not for pitching. Her first pitch at an L.A. Dodgers home game plopped out of her hand after she completed her wind-up and began rolling… towards first base, not the plate! Oops.
-“Call Me Maybe” singer Carly Rae Jepsen was the toast of the town after recording her hit single, but she didn’t look as comfortable on the mound as she did on stage. Her first pitch at a Tampa Rays game managed to bounce off of a television camera—one that had been placed far, far away from any evident danger!
-Howard Stern Show executive producer Gary Dell-Abate, known to most as Baba Booey, threw what many insiders believe to be the worst first pitch in MLB history. The toss has brought him such infamy that accounts of it dominate any Google search for Baba Booey’s name! At a 2009 Mets game, Baba Booey threw a spectacularly bad pitch that didn’t make contact with anything or anyone… except for the umpire! A moment that shall live in infamy.
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