The Total Humiliation of Throwing a Ceremonial First Pitch
The Tampa Bay Rays invited me to throw a ceremonial first pitch in a game against the Kansas City Royals. Maybe my name entered the mix accidentally? Like, it fell off the "if you see this woman, please report her" board and into the "first pitch candidates" box.
Either way, it was such an honor to be asked! I am a Rays fan and happen to be shameless, so I agreed. However, I had thrown a baseball exactly never. Well, unless you count Wiffle ball games in my grandparents' yard with the statue of the Blessed Virgin as third base. Come to think of it, no, my cousins would never have let me pitch at 3?9?.
This was my first pitch, possibly my last. Here are observations about the fun, rewarding and ultimately humbling experience, in case your phone rings and your boss' boss' boss starts with, "Now, hear me out."
AT LONG LAST, A CAREER
Twenty years of journalism and writing projects turned out to be bleh, whatever. When I posted that I had a date with Major League Baseball, the skies parted and reams of ticker tape fell. It appears everyone had been waiting for me to, once and for all, be impressive. I had finally made it.
PRACTICE MAKES DEFECT
My baseball fan husband offered to teach me to pitch, and as much as it pained me to give one point to the phallocracy, this proposition made sense. "Let me see what you got," he said, and I flopped the ball groundward like a gadget that shoots dog treats. Solid start. We invited a couple friends over and I made margaritas. They peppered me with tips -- arm back, elbow high, flick from the wrist, follow through, something about leg position and "watching the ball," whatever that means. I turned up Rihanna and tried to charm my way out of sports, but they kept making me throw. Incredibly rude!
I practiced one last day before deciding to "let go and let God," a spiritual way of saying, "give up entirely."
THANKS FOR COMING TO MY TED TALK
I booked a makeup appointment because I knew there would be plenty of photos. We'll talk about that in a second. Rebecca Maalouf was my artist at MAC. She told me about a TED Talk that posited that anxiety and excitement are twin emotions, so reframing these feelings can help with nerves. Sound, calming advice, and she made me feel glamorous! That wouldn't last, haha.