As a journalist, I get pitched by public relations people all the time. Last night, I had my chance to make the pitch.
I was honored to throw a first pitch before a Somerset Patriots game at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater. I got hooked up with this gig because of my job as editor of NJBIZ. As soon as I heard about the opportunity (thank you, Anne!), it leaped onto the bucket list. One problem: I hadn't thrown a baseball or softball since about eighth grade. When I agreed to do it a long time ago, the plan was to practice every day so I'd be the next Nolan Ryan...or at least someone who could get the ball over the plate. In the end, I practiced three times. After one practice, the catcher--my brother, Jay--evaluated my performance and predicted I had a one-third chance of having a good throw, one-third that it would be so-so but not mortifyingly bad, and one-third that it would be on Sports Center as the jackass first pitch of the month. (Older brothers never stop the torment, do they? Although, to be honest, Jay's odds were pretty reasonable.)
Thank God some of the Somerset Patriots staff helped me out last night before the game. Kyle, Rob and Marc let me take a few practice throws in the Speed Pitch game in the ballpark's fun zone area. They were supportive and encouraging, even after I muffed up some throws. They also provided tips on how to throw. Huge help.
When the big moment came, I went out by the mound with Geico's gecko, who was also throwing a first pitch. The gecko was in his full costume, which has the downside of making it harder to throw but the upside that no one can see who you are. Those 5 minutes or so out on the field, waiting, were some of the most nerve-wracking of my life as I thought about how badly I had just thrown in the ballpark's fun zone. In the end, my throw was wide right but made it far enough to reach the plate. I got high fives from Patriots player Joe Holden, who served as catcher, plus the mascots Sparkee and Slider. A very fun experience!
So if you get a chance to throw a first pitch, do it. Just make sure you can get some tips first from Kyle, Rob and Marc, not your older brother.