10 Worst Ceremonial Opening Pitches in the History of Baseball

It has become as American as apple pie: sit down, have a beer, take in a baseball game and watch someone important throw out the opening pitch. Presidents, congressmen, actors and rock stars from all over the world have graced mounds across the world. However, the results have not necessarily been as electric as anticipated. Either for a lack of practice or simply because of baseball ineptitude, a surprising amount of pitches have never made it to the mound. In some cases, the pitches were not even in the same hemisphere as the mound. Nonetheless, missed pitches are media gold.  Sportscentre top 10s are conducted on an all too frequent basis just to bring back up these pitching failures. But in order to save you the wait for the next edition of Sportscentre, here are the worst opening pitches ever.

6 All Mascot-Related First Pitches

It has become somewhat of a thing nowadays: when a team is unable to book a suitable first pitcher, they send out the mascots, or as I like to call them, some guy in a suit. Take the Pittsburgh Pirates for example. Executives in Steel Town thought it would be comical to have Charlie Brown come out and throw the first pitch. Well, you can picture Charlie Brown throwing a pitch… But that paled in comparison to the T-Rex that was called upon to throw the first pitch at a White Sox game.

5 Shawn Johnson – Olympic Gymnast

Shawn Johnson has come through in many a clutch situation. She won gold in Beijing on the balance beam and swept the three events she participated in at the 2007 World Championships. Heck, she even won Dancing With the Stars by the slimmest margin in the show’s history. However, it seems that throwing the first pitch at an Iowa Cubs game was a bit much in 2010. The ball barely rolled to the plate’s vicinity, but other people on this countdown would be ecstatic at the idea of their pitch even being in the same time zone as the plate.

4 Mark Mallory – Mayor of Cincinnati

Opening day, 2007. Mark Mallory must have been excited beyond measure to throw out the first pitch for his beloved Reds. The city, the mayor and the Reds would rejoice on this great day. Despite beating the Cubs five to one, fans probably left the stadium remembering their mayor’s flop of an opening pitch. Not only did Mallory step off the mound and closer to the plate, but he hooked the ball so wide left that it hit an umpire, forcing the official to make an awkward ejection joke with the mayor. It was just weird all around.

7. Karen Peterson - Local School Teacher

In 2010 the San Francisco Giants decided to allow a local schoolteacher, Karen Peterson, to throw out the first pitch at AT&T Park. What came of it was a vigorous first pitch that flew wildly to the left of the catcher. Miss Peterson will undoubtedly rethink any future invitations to throw anything in any kind of public setting. This being said, her form and the velocity she put on the ball were very good, which is something others on this top 10 could very much learn from. But when she went back to work on Monday, I’m sure students had come up with their fair share of jokes.

3 Trent Edwards – Pro Football Player

Trent Edwards’ throw in itself really wasn’t that bad. But what makes it a truly horrendous pitch is the fact that he was the starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills from 2007 to 2010. So, that means that when he threw his pitch at a Blue Jays game in 2009, he had the hopes of a franchise and an entire fan base on his shoulders. Edwards has since left the Bills and has hopped from job to job. It would seem that a football might actually be easier to throw than a baseball.

5. The Kardashians

As I’m sitting here, writing up and researching this piece, I can’t help but ask myself what the Kardashian ladies had done to earn themselves the opening pitch at a Dodgers game in 2009. Aside from having popular spouses, the only claim to fame the Kardashians really have is that the patriarch of the bunch, Robert, was on O.J. Simpson’s legal team. Nonetheless, Kim and the gang were asked to throw out their pitches simultaneously. What resulted was a symphony of total and absolute chaos. We’ll let you judge for yourselves.

4. Mariah Carey

I can understand that when selecting the personalities who will throw out opening pitches, athletic capabilities aren’t amongst the criteria. As long as they put people in seats, team executives will be happy. But nonetheless, you expect them to show up and not be restricted by their clothing. Well, Mariah Carey broke that rule back in 2008 in Tokyo, when she threw out the opening pitch at a baseball game in short shorts and high heels. I nearly forgot that that was standard issue baseball gear. Silly me, right? But if you’re going to put style before functionality, at least get the ball to the plate, no?

2 Assistant Dean of Nevada’s School of Medicine

I feel guilty putting a nameless victim on this countdown, but I guess that when you stand up on that mound in front of a crowd with cameras in their hands, you’re inherently subjecting yourself to potential mockery. The mystery dean will be remembered forever because of his pitch, however. From A to Z it’s a masterpiece of awful. The wind up, the front step, the follow through, the tumble, and then the failed recovery attempt... Not to mention the fact that the ball barely rolled its way to the plate. I’m thinking this poor man should probably stick to his day job…

2. Carl Lewis - Olympic Gold Medalist

At number two, we find one of the most greatest Olympians ever: Carl Lewis. Gold medals seemed to be Lewis’ favorite accessory throughout the years, winning at least one gold medal in four consecutive Olympic games. His most successful Olympiad came in 1984 when the games were held in Los Angeles. Lewis was also golden in the Helsinki, Rome and Tokyo World Championships. But despite all these great athletic achievements, Lewis found himself unable to get the ball over the plate during his ceremonial opening pitch at Safeco Field in 2003. And while I’m sure we’re all feeling sorry for this international track star, we can nonetheless revel in just how bad this pitch really was.

1 Carly Rae Jepsen

Hopefully at this point, celebrities and public figures everywhere will have figured out that the only way throwing a first pitch is ever going to get you any attention, is if it rolls onto someone's “Not So Top 10” list. But for those who think it’s still a nice thing to do, well here’s Carly Rae Jepsen. Jepsen had everybody humming “Call Me Maybe” back in the summer of 2013 when she threw out the first pitch at a Rays game in Tampa Bay. Jepsen subsequently showed up in short shorts, Chuck Taylors and pigtails; you know, good baseball throwing attire. And while there is an easy pun to be made with her pitch and her catchy tune, this writer has chosen to steer nice and clear from it. Instead, we’ll just let you all see why Carly Rae Jepsen is the one topping this list.

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