You’re either a fool or a hero.
Throwing out a first pitch is a risky gamble for people who don’t play the game of baseball. It either goes really well, or you're ducking phone calls and avoiding YouTube for weeks.
The feat looks easy on television—just toss the ball to the guy in front of you. But once you're out on the field, those 60 feet and six inches between the front of the pitching rubber and the back of home plate can look like a country mile.
Everyone has advice for first-pitchers battling a case of the nerves before their big moment. “Throw it hard...concentrate on the glove...just don’t skip it.”
These well-intentioned words go out the window once a pitcher gets on the mound, and sometimes the exact nightmare scenario—so dreaded—will play out regardless of prior instruction.
These are the moments when first pitches go wrong. Better strap on a helmet and some protective glasses, because dangerous projectiles are about to fly.
Texas A&M star quarterback Johnny Manziel has an excellent arm—for throwing spirals, not fastballs.
The Aggies’ 2012 Heisman winner tried his best to make his favorite major league team proud while throwing out the ceremonial ball at a Texas Rangers game in April, but his throw sent the catcher leaping to field it.
In all fairness, Manziel had skinny jeans on (which never helped anyone ever) and is used to throwing to receivers who are willing to lay out.
American actor Harrison Ford is best known for his leading roles in Star Wars and Indiana Jones—movies far and away from involving any modern sports.
That being said, Ford recently portrayed the late Los Angeles Dodgers executive Branch Rickey in 42—a movie about Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in major league sports.
To promote the film, Ford was asked to throw out the first pitch at Dodgers Stadium in April in commemoration of Jackie Robinson Day. In homage to Robinson and his amazing baseball career, Ford ended up skimming the first pitch over the dirt.
He’s better with a blaster gun, he promises.
When dad told me it’s time to put childish things behind, he actually said, “Stop being an F-ing dinosaur!”
There’s something to be said about never outgrowing your inner dinosaur, but there’s also something to be said about keeping your inner dinosaur off the pitching mound.
The man in this giant T-Rex contraption is living the dream, but he needs to work on his follow-through. Granted, this slideshow contains people with actual arms doing much worse than this.
As Paul Rudd once said, “You’re doing too much!”
“Too much” is the phrase I would use to describe this exhibition put on by a band of medieval folk-acrobats at a San Diego Padres game in 2012.
The actual pitch wasn’t extremely poor, but everything that took place beforehand was, let’s say, a bit too extravagant for what a first pitch should be.
Trust me, less is more.
Skinny jeans? Check. Pre-planned coy look-off move? Roger.
Justin Bieber loves getting near and around sports and doing things that suggest he vaguely knows what’s going on.
That said, the pop star’s first pitch at a 2010 White Sox game was hardly on point and barely enough to get the job done. On the other hand, I’m sure Bieber is confident Anne Frank would have been a huge fan of his changeup.
What can be said about Terry Kiser, except that he knows how to milk every last second out of an appearance.
The man who played Bernie form Weekend at Bernie’s didn’t exactly fudge up the pitch, but nothing about this showing was pretty.
Honestly, this pitch is on here because it’s amazing, and you needed to see it.
Actor Carl LaFong lost his pride and his hair after tossing out the first pitch at a St. Louis Cardinals game in 2009.
LaFong’s follow-through brought the man to his knees and sent his toupee flying off Vaudeville-style. The only thing missing from this video are Three Stooges sound effects.
American soccer player Alex Morgan was worried about hopping the ball during her first-ever ceremonial pitch at a Kansas City Royals game.
As fate would have it, Morgan went out there and did precisely what she had feared she would do, skipping the ball just short of the plate.
The men on the Royals were still very forgiving. So very forgiving.
U.S. gymnasts Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross teamed up to throw out three ceremonial pitches at the beginning of a 2012 game at Dodger Stadium.
The result was a mixed bag: Ross’ pitch went skipping off the field, while Douglass threw the ball halfway to Saturn.
Ever the competitor, Maroney took several steps back to the top of the mound and launched a wicked curveball that dipped down right over home plate, salvaging the overall poor showing.
And people wonder why Skynet wants to enslave us.
The PhillieBot threw its first pitch at a Philadelphia Phillies game in 2011. Designed by students at the University of Philadelphia, the bot delivered a pitch that left much to be desired and received a lusty booing from Phillies fans.
When the last stronghold of men falls, and robot drone hives fill the sky—remember it all started on this day.
Caution: Too much Mangria can lead to blurred vision, slurred speech and awful first pitches at televised baseball games.
Adam Carolla is generally the consummate man’s man, but the comedian and podcast king limped out a real stinker of a ceremonial pitch at a Chicago Cubs game in 2010, hopping the ball off the ground before it reached home plate.
Former English soccer player Gary Neville had the courage to branch out from his area of expertise and throw out a first pitch at a Chicago White Sox game in 2011.
Unfortunately for Neville, his courage far outreached his pitching ability, and he sent the ball soaring all the way to the backstop.
No one can ever say she didn’t throw the skin off this ball.
WNBA star Diana Taurasi showed off her guns with a little too much zeal during her first pitch at an Arizona Diamondbacks game in 2012. The result was a remarkably fast throw that went, as she put it, “a little left.”
The assistant dean of the Nevada Medical School throws like a man—a man who spends his days in close proximity to the periodic table of elements and his nights in various basement-level guild meetings.
“Don’t quit your day job, doc.”
Maybe he read the wind wrong, but comedian Chris Rock’s first pitch at a New York Yankees game had more in common with a clay target-shooting disc than a baseball directed at a catcher.
Shea Stadium—where magic happens.
Retired professional golfer Annika Sorenstam does everything right in this first pitch, except for the whole ball-throwing part.
She had the look with the pink hat and the proper jersey and attire. Alas, Sorenstam couldn’t pull it together for the pitch, and the ball went hopping to the catcher.
We’ll chalk up Sorenstam as one over on the day.
“I was just trying to throw a four-seam fastball, but it caught on my hand and I have no idea what a four-seam fastball is...”
Journeyman backup quarterback Trent Edwards hasn’t had the most successful go of things in the NFL, and his pitching career isn’t off to a red-hot start either, it would seem.
Gymnastics—a sport where finesse and execution are everything.
Gold medalist gymnast Shawn Johnson became America’s darling during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but her first pitch at an Iowa Cubs game in 2012 earned her straight zeroes across the board.
At least they can always install a sprinkler in that hole she made in the grass.
Warning: Some off-color commentary is made by fans during this video.
So many jokes—so few that are appropriate.
The Kardashian women slithered onto the field at Dodger Stadium in 2009 and delivered a salvo of pitches toward home plate that no paying customer should ever be forced to witness at a public event.
I imagine watching this spectacle feels a lot like watching an artist throw manure at a canvas and calling it a fresco. It's awful and requires a committed detachment to reality to sit through.
You know those moments when you’re afraid something terrible is going to happen to you, and then it does?
That’s exactly what happened to Washington Wizards guard John Wall at a Washington Nationals game in 2011. Wall spoke to a reporter before the game, admitting his fear that he’d “throw [the first ceremonial pitch] in the dirt.”
As fate would have it, that’s exactly what happened—Wall threw the pitch in the ground and tried to play it off in the postgame interview.
Oh no, President Obama. What...happened here?
Regardless of your political beliefs, there are so many things wrong with the first pitch Barack Obama threw at Nationals Park on Opening Day in 2010, the least which included his decision to wear a Chicago White Sox cap on the mound.
The commander in chief’s toss flew high and wide left, eliciting a loud and mixed review from the crowd. Obama declined the Nationals’ invitation to try again in 2011.
Nowitzki tall. Nowitzki strong. Nowitzki way off.
Dallas Mavericks star center Dirk Nowitzki has a mean fadeaway shot and an amazing head of hair, but he needs to keep the basketball in his hands.
That being said, at 7’0”, Nowitzki can’t be blamed too much for sending the ball high—which he thinks is a good thing, judging by his arm flex.
Denard Robinson learned that throwing a baseball and throwing a pigskin are two completely different things in April, when the former Michigan quarterback angled a dropper at the dirt path between the pitcher’s mound and home base.
I blame the skinny jeans.
Syracuse point guard Brandon Triche can tear it up on the hardwood, but his pitching accuracy has rusted significantly since his last time on the mound.
Triche claims he used to play “pretty much everything” for his baseball team in high school, but judging by his first throw at a Syracuse Chiefs baseball game in April, he made the right decision by sticking with hoops.
Good Lord, Chuck. That wasn’t even close.
I’d say you’re better than that, but I’ve seen you try to kick a football. That didn’t pan out so well, either.
You’ve got to give the man in both suits credit—Charlie Brown appropriately hangs his head in disappointment, while the Phillies parrot doesn’t even flinch, as if that throw had to have been a joke.
Tennis star Serena Williams is a strong woman, and sometimes those coiled guns of hers do some crazy things.
That said, Williams put way too much sauce on this first pitch she threw at a New York Yankees game in 2009.
High marks for enthusiasm, madam, but we’ll have to give you a grade of incomplete for this first pitch.
While she’s obviously a big Tim Lincecum fan, this school teacher’s pitch at a San Francisco Giants game did everything but exemplify proper mechanics.
If there were pins standing atop home plate, this would have counted as a strike.
The reality, however, was that track and field legend Carl Lewis practically rolled his first pitch to the catcher before a 2003 Seattle Mariners game.
We don’t know who he is or where he came from.
But we know this real man of genius is the worst at throwing baseballs.
I don’t know what these commentators are saying, but I’ll bet it goes something like:
“Yes, the American pop star embarrassed herself and should probably take off her high heels, strip herself from the family will and vanish into the wilderness of Mount Kumotori.”
That’s what I would do if I were Mariah Carey, and I messed up a first pitch at a baseball game in Tokyo as badly as she did in 2009.
Granted, those twin nightmare weasels that escorted her onto the field probably didn’t lower her pulse much before the throw.
The forecast called for suit pants and sadness when Joan Steinbrenner stepped out to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a New York Yankees spring training game in 2008.
As you can see, Mrs. Steinbrenner “christianed” the newly named playing field in royally terrible form.
Former governor of Florida Charlie Crist dialed up a first pitch throw that nearly went in the dugout at Tampa Bay Rays game during the 2010 ALDS.
Crist was in the middle of a race for a Florida senate seat at the time, and his wide-of-the-mark pitch was described in local newspapers as “giant metaphor of his campaign.”
I prefer to describe the incident as Harry Doyle once described another similar throw: “Juuuust a bit outside.”
“Oh, Jesus Chri...”
The commentator says it all: This pitch was so bad it hit an umpire and offended Jesus.
Howard Stern producer Gary Dell’Abate (known as Baba Booey) was the culprit of this awful first toss that took place at a New York Mets game in 2009.
Mark Mallory is the mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio.
He is politician, not a pitcher. Then again, he is a human being and presumably has had the use of his arms and other limbs for the entirety of his natural life.
That being said, after seeing the awful mistake that was his 2007 first pitch at a Cincinnati Reds game, one has to wonder if there isn’t some sort of disconnect between his extremities and his mind. Mallory’s pitch was so bad that it takes up an entire section on his Wikipedia page.
Any further down,, and this pitch would’ve went behind her.
All the Hello Kitty gloves and cocky windups in the world can’t change the fact that pop singer Jessica Jung threw the ball into the earth at almost a right angle.