20 Worst Ceremonial First Pitches in Baseball History
It's a bit of a mystery to me why so many ceremonial first pitches end in abject failure. Nobody is forced to throw out the first pitch at a game. And, presumably those who agree to do it get a fair amount of warning before their appearance—meaning they should have plenty of time to practice.
Not everyone who throws out a first pitch is necessarily a baseball fan, but I'm not sure why you'd even agree to this in the first place if you weren't a fan of the game. There's absolutely nothing positive to be gained from throwing out a ceremonial first pitch, but there's plenty to be lost.
Countless athletes, celebrities, politicians and common folk have been granted the opportunity to throw out the first pitch, and most of them have walked away with a little (or a lot) less dignity. You never hear of someone throwing out a great first pitch—because nobody cares.
There are few other activities out there that will only get you noticed if you fall flat on your face. Quite literally a no-win situation for most people. Let's take a look at the 20 worst ceremonial first pitches in baseball history.
20) Annika Sorenstam, Retired LPGA Golfer
Retired golfer Annika Sorenstam didn't entirely embarrass herself with this ceremonial first pitch for the Mets—but she didn't exactly impress either.
I think it says something about the quality of first pitches that we've become accustomed to that this pitch in the dirt actually looks decent.
19) Tyrannosaurus Rex
I think we're supposed to just be impressed with the fact that the White Sox were able to get an extinct dinosaur to throw out the first pitch, but the whole production feels a little unnecessary.
The T-Rex contraption isn't even able to pick up the ball with his little baby arms, so he's forced to chuck it a few feet from his jaws.
18) Joan Steinbrenner, New York Yankees Ownership
I'm not going to give Joan Steinbrenner too hard a time for this absolute mockery of a pitch from 2008. She's an old lady, and I wouldn't expect a whole lot better from the elderly wives of club owners.
Wasn't there a slightly younger and more athletically inclined Steinbrenner available?
17) Justin Bieber, Singer (of Sorts)
In 2010, tween singing sensation Justin Bieber threw out a ceremonial first pitch for the Chicago White Sox. It was a solid effort, and even though the pitch was a little wild, the catcher still managed to glove it.
Although, judging by the comments on YouTube, you would have thought that The Biebs soiled his drawers and broke down into tears before deciding that the whole event was just too much for him to handle.
I'm no fan of Justin Bieber, but, sheesh, people are needlessly mean to this kid sometimes. If you don't like him—why are you always on the interwebs calling him gay?
16) Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
After leading the Mavericks to an NBA Championship in 2011, Dirk Nowitzki became the unofficial king of Dallas—at least for awhile. Which is why the Rangers asked Dirk to toss out the first pitch at Game 3 of the World Series a few months later.
Initially it seems like he's going to pitch a basketball instead of a baseball—perhaps he should have just stuck with that. Dirk eventually ditches the basketball in favor of a baseball from his pocket and proceeds to chuck it well over the catcher and the mascot and into the stands.
Then he celebrates with the old 'kissing the biceps' move—as if he just won the World Series. Obviously Dirk can throw it, but at least he knows how to sell it!
15) President Barack Obama
When a politician agrees to throw out a ceremonial first pitch, he should always expect to be booed. So when President Obama threw out the first pitch for the Nationals in 2010, nobody was surprised that he attracted some boos.
People would have booed even if he had thrown a perfect strike across home plate—lobbing a high, wild pitch way out to the left really didn't help his cause.
14) Gary Neville, Manchester United
In 2011, legendary Manchester United defender Gary Neville throw out the first pitch at a White Sox game.
Neville launched the ball well over the catcher and into a group of reporters, proving he doesn't have a post-retirement career in baseball ahead of him.
13) Adam Carolla, TV/Radio Personality
In 2009, "Man Show" co-host Adam Carolla was asked to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Dodgers game. To the delight of old pal Jimmy Kimmel (and probably that smug bastard Dr. Drew), Carolla fell flat on his face with the attempt.
Although, not literally flat on his face—but he drill the ball right into the dirt a few feet from the mound. Don't these guys practice before agreeing to this?
12) Shawn Johnson, Olympic Gymnast
Olympic gold medal winning gymnast Shawn Johnson is probably good at pretty much everything she tries—not including reaching things on the top shelf.
Johnson has won countless medals in international competition and even placed first on her season of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."
Failing probably wasn't even in her vocabulary before her ceremonial first pitch for the Iowa Cubs in 2010. Well, it certain is now—and you can tell by her reaction to the pitch that she was not happy with her performance.
11) Charlie Brown, of Peanuts Fame
The Pittsburgh Pirates invited Charlie Brown to throw out a ceremonial first pitch back in 2009.
The pitch was absolutely terrible—which is why I'm surprised that the Pirates didn't sign him to a multi-year deal on the spot and throw in a few of their best young prospects to seal the deal.
10) Mark Mallory, Cincinnati Mayor
Working in politics is not easy. You really need very thick skin to resist the constant barrage of crap you have to take from the public.
That thick skin probably served Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory in the wake of his Opening Day dud in 2007. Mallory briefly became the butt of every joke in the country after lobbing his ceremonial first pitch very wide left.
Note to all politicians: Stop agreeing to do this—it never works out well.
9) Jessica Jung, Singer
Until recently, Korean pop singer Jessica Jung was best known as a member of the girl-band "Girls Generation."
Unfortunately for her, she's earned a place in history among the worst ceremonial first pitches ever. The infamous pitch will likely earn her more global notoriety than an entire singing career ever would.
8) Baba Booey, Radio Personality
Baba Booey is a radio personality who is best known to most of us as the executive producer of "The Howard Stern Show." Although, he's probably best known to Mets fans as the guy who humiliated himself by throwing one of the worst ceremonial first pitches ever.
I'm going to suspend disbelief and assume that Baba Booey is a Mets fan and that being asked to throw this pitch was some kind of honor for him and that he had a reasonable amount of notice before this appearance.
Which means there is absolutely no excuse for an able-bodied man with his pride on the line to perform this poorly. Seriously, dude.
7) the Kardashians
In 2009, the vile suits calling the shots for the Dodgers decided it would be a great idea to have the Kardashians throw out a ceremonial first pitch.
As if having just Kim wouldn't have been bad enough—add in those horrifying sisters of hers and the desperate mother, and you've really got something worth throwing your beer at.
I'm not a fan of the ceremonial pitch to begin with, but having four simultaneous bad pitches really compounds my disdain.
6) Trent Edwards, Philadelphia Eagles
Nobody is going to argue that Trent Edwards' career in the NFL has been particularly impressive. That being said, he's found work as a backup quarterback for five seasons now.
Which means that he's been (theoretically) earning a paycheck based on his ability to throw a ball to a human being. Again, I'm not saying he's good at it, just that he should be better at throwing things than some schmo off the street.
You certainly wouldn't have guessed that the man who throws out this pathetic first pitch makes his living throwing anything…aside from maybe garbage into a truck.
5) Karen Peterson, School Teacher
I tried to stick to mostly celebrities for this list—their lives are public and they open themselves up to mockery when they willing agree to something like this, only to fail epically.
Unfortunately, California school teacher Karen Peterson's pitch was so tragically awful that I couldn't leave it off the list. I mean…it looks like she was instructed to throw at first base.
I doubt the pitch would have made it anywhere near the pitcher either way, but I guess we'll never know—I can't imagine she'll be asked back.
4) Charlie Crist, Former Governor of Florida
I tend to think that many men go into politics because they weren't good at anything else in life—particularly sports.
There are exceptions to every rule, but former Florida governor Charlie Crist is most definitely not an exception.
Crist was asked to throw out the first pitch for Game 2 of the ALDS in 2010, and it was just a wee bit outside the strike zone.
3) Mariah Carey, Singer/Train Wreck
When singer Mariah Carey shows up anywhere, you know something ridiculous is probably about to happen.
Back in 2008 she was asked to throw up the ceremonial first pitch for a game in Tokyo and naturally she came dressed in her finest "Daisy Dukes" and six-inch heels—ya know, baseball attire.
If you didn't know any better, you'd think a slutty, over-developed teenager was being walked to the mound by those ridiculous mascots—instead of a 40-year-old woman.
2) John Wall, Washington Wizards
As a resident of the district and one of John Wall's biggest fans in the area, it's difficult to put into words how disappointed I was by this incident.
Even today, years later, it makes me wince watching Wall chuck a wild pitch into the dirt about six feet to the left of the pitcher.
1) Carl Lewis, Olympic Track & Field
Carl Lewis is one of the greatest athletes in American history—perhaps even one of the greatest athletes in the history of the world.
Which is why it's almost heart-breaking to watch the one-time "Sportsman of the Century" lob a baseball into the dirt and land about five feet from the mound.
Bonus: Real Men of Genius
This video is set to the Bud Light "Real Men of Genius" commercial about ceremonial first pitch thrower-outers. It's fantastic.