The ceremonial first pitch is a ritual almost as old, and sacred, as baseball itself. Every president since William Howard Taft has opened the game’s festivities by hurling a ball towards a catcher, with thousands looking on. The ritual started with the celebrated guest of honor tossing a ball from his/her seat in the grand stands, and has since evolved to having that guest grace the very mound meant for the players. However done, the ceremonial pitch is something that is celebrated. But every so often that guest of honor makes a spectacle of the first pitch in a way completely unintentional, but also completely hilarious. Yes, we’re talking about the biggest first pitch debaucheries in baseball history – or at least in recent memory. You have to see these pitches to believe they actually happened. But once you do, trust us, you’ll be L-O-L’ing till your gut hurts. Enjoy.
10. President Barack Obama
With all due respect to President Obama, he might want to save his athletic skills for the hardwood. On April 5th, 2010 the President was invited to throw out the inaugural first pitch for the Washington Nationals. Dawning his hometown Chicago White Sox cap, the president’s pitch looped high and left of the plate, looking more like an arching basketball shot than a baseball pitch. To the president’s credit, the catcher was able to snare the ball out of the air – something that many on this list couldn’t quite achieve. In any case, don’t expect the president to refine his pitching mechanics in the near future – at least not for a couple years. I hear he has a few more pressing matters on his agenda.
9. ‘Hero Cat’
Just weeks ago this ball of fur was just a run of the mill tabby cat residing in Bakersfield, Calif. But that was then, and this is now. The cat, previously named Tara, has taken on the nickname of “Hero cat” after it valiantly saved a little boy being attacked by a dog by bolting at the dog and chasing it away. The furry friend and the rescued boy were instantly cast into the spotlight, and into the hearts of many. In the wake of ‘Hero Cat’s’ fame, the feline was even asked to throw out the first pitch at a local minor league game for the Backersfield Blaze. And while no one can question the kitty’s heroics, her fastball certainly needs a little work. With the ball suspended on a string, Tara nudged it a couple of inches before it bounced to the ground. It’s OK, tara. Leave sports to Air Bud, and keep doing what you do.
8. Carl Lewis
Carl Lewis has earned nine gold medals in his lifetime, he’s been dubbed the world’s fastest man, and he won the long jump in four consecutive Olympics. Needless to say, Carl Lewis is one of the greatest athletes ever to grace this planet. But when it comes to throwing a baseball, Lewis looks nothing like an Olympic victor. In 2010, Lewis threw out a first pitch in Seattle. The ball bounced out of Lewis’ hands and dribbled towards the plate. If anything, the pitch looked like a failed shot put toss. That was as close to Olympic form as Lewis got. But if Lewis was looking to earn a gold medal in worst first pitches ever, he certainly put himself in the running.
7. Nick “Swaggy P” Young
Like the President, Nick “Swaggy P” Young should probably stick to basketball. The Lakers shooting guard, best known for his brash confidence and style on the court, is certainly a better basketball player than you or I can ever hope to be. But when it comes to simply tossing an 5.5 ounce ball 45 feet, I’d be willing to bet the majority of Americans have ‘Swaggy P’ beat. Throwing the first pitch out for the Los Angeles Dodger on April 23 of this year, Young chucked a ball so high, he could’ve killed a bird. His pitch arched far above the catcher and careened high off the net above the backstop. What made Young’s pitch even worse, is the fact that he is a professional athlete – not a pop star, or celebrity. That’s why Young cracks the top-seven on this hilarious list.
6. Charlie Brown
Charlie Brown has earned all of our love and compassion over the years, being the sensitive yet misunderstood bald-headed Peanut. But Charlie can’t ever quite seem to catch a break; not even at a baseball game. We’ve seen this character whiff most commonly in his backyard when trying to kick a football. We haven’t, however, seen his talents on the baseball field. Spoiler alert, they aren’t that good. The loveable character tossed the first pitch at a Pittsburgh Pirates game in 2009. With the Pirate Parrot giving Charlie the sign for a curveball, Charlie Brown instead heaved a slider that just kept on sliding far, far away from the plate. All we can say is, “good grief, Charlie Brown.”
5. Mariah Carey
For all of the women upset at the common insult of “You throw like a girl,” blame Mariah Carey. Well, blame the people saying it too, because I know a lot of girls who can throw the heck out of a baseball. But still, Mariah Carey didn’t do her gender much justice with her first pitch attempt in 2011. The throw was bad, but it wasn’t terrible. What made it worse was the fact that she attempted to pitch in high heels. Sorry, Mariah. High heels and baseball just don’t quite work. I’ll give her this, though. If Carey ever sings the National Anthem before a game near me, I’ll be the first one to buy tickets. Her voice is worth the price of admission. Her throwing arm? Not so much.
4. Gary Dell’Abate, AKA “Baba Booey”
The man they call “Baba Booey” likely drew plenty of “Boo’s” for his failed first pitch attempt at a Mets game in 2009. Gary Dell’Abate, the longtime producer of The Howard Stern Show, earned his nickname for a mispronunciation of cartoon character Baba Looey, and it stuck. What also stuck was his reputation as a terrible pitcher. Dell’Abate’s throw was about as bad as you could reasonably expect from a Mets fan (I kid). In all seriousness though, the throw was bad. So bad, in fact, that the ball managed to plunk the umpire standing several feet to the right of home plate. He probably should’ve yelled “Baba Booey” to alert the unsuspecting ump.
3. John Wall
There’s something about basketball players and throwing that just doesn’t seem to add up. I’m sure if you took Randy Johnson and made him shoot three pointers at a basketball game, he’d probably struggle too. But not this badly. What we do know, is that the few basketball players we’ve seen try to throw out first pitches in recent memory have been pretty darn bad at it. None have been worse than John Wall, star point guard for the Washington Wizards. At a game in 2011, John Wall stretched, strutted, wound up, and… spiked the ball straight into the grass. How that happens? The world may never know. To his credit, Wall did redeem himself with another first pitch attempt in 2013. But let’s be honest, he could throw 100 consecutive strikes down the middle, and we still wouldn’t forget his hilariously bad first pitch.
2. Carly Rae Jepsen
If Carly Rae Jepsen asked me on a date after seeing how terrible she is on the mound, I don’t think I would call her – not even, maybe. Anyone, Anyone? Ok, I’d probably still call. But the pop singer’s first pitch for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013 was just about the worst first pitch you’ll ever see at a baseball game. Her pitch was hardly even a pitch, so much as a calculated flail of the arm. The ball seemed to hang in Jepsen’s hand a bit too long, and instead of going in the direction of the catcher, it immediately took off for the ground, far left of the target. So bad was the pitch, that immediately after the pitch, Jepsen put her hands to her face and leaned back in laughter. The funny thing is, Jepsen was seen warming up before her pitch, and apparently was throwing strikes. Who would’ve thought the pressure of fans would get to someone who regularly performs in front of thousands?
1. 50 Cent
If you’re looking for 50 Cent – AKA Curtis Jackson – after his utterly embarrassing attempt at a first pitch, you can find him in the club, bottle full of bubs, because he’s definitely sworn off his baseball career by now. If you didn’t already see it, take a moment or two to watch Jackson’s delightfully awful mockery of a throw from earlier this week. Laughing? You’d better be. His pitch goes so far astray, so quickly, that it defies everything I’d ever thought possible of a bad pitch. Factor in the fact that it’s being thrown by one of the toughest rappers in the game, and you’ve got a pretty great combo. Jackson then got self-defensive after his pitch on social media, saying “I’m a hustler, not a Damn ball player…” Keep hustlin’, Curtis. Because clearly baseball just isn’t your thing.
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