Look, most of us aren’t important enough to be invited to throw a ceremonial first pitch at a Major League Baseball game, so we shouldn’t judge. Shouldn’t being the key word, though. We are still totally going to judge.
Some celebrities do a totally respectable job when they take the mound, but others screw up so royally that we can’t help but laugh wildly as we’re overcome with pure schadenfreude. Beginning with the most recent fail, here’s a look back at some of the most memorable (worst) first pitches in baseball history.
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Miss Texas Monique Evans
To be fair, Miss Texas appeared to be attempting ballet and baseball simultaneously when she threw the first pitch at last week’s Angels-Rangers game. So that provided an additional challenge, since most people simply attempt the pitch and nothing else. The result? The ball hit the ground within seconds and rolled very, very far away from the plate. She did manage to keep her crown on her head, though, so bonus points for that.
Carly Rae Jepsen
Oh man — the Canadian pop singer should have called a baseball coach maybe. In July 2013, a year after her hit “Call Me Maybe” charmed the world, Jepsen headed to Florida to throw the first pitch for the Tampa Bay Rays. We would call the result “absolutely dreadful” but that would be the understatement of the century.
The rapper grinned so wide after throwing the ceremonial first pitch on behalf of the Mets in May 2014 that you’d think he threw a perfect strike. Not so, friends. Not so. He launched the ball literally MILES (well, okay, feet) from the plate, and though he laughed it off at first, he later blamed it on a shoulder injury. Okay, okay, so that’s not too embarrassing, right? Well, he then blamed that injury on “excessive masturbation.”
Either way, this confirms any suspicions anybody might have had that 50 Cent was a secret baseball superstar. Maybe just stick to rapping, Fiddy.
As soon as Mariah Carey walked onto the field at the Tokyo Dome in 2008, you knew things weren’t going to end well. The first giveaway: her staggering, four-inch heels. (Her itty-bitty short- shorts don’t exactly scream athleticism either). Perhaps just as disturbing, though, are the mascots who escorted her and the cameraman’s lingering gaze at Ms. Carey’s stems.
On Opening Day in 2007, Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory uncorked a ceremonial first pitch that briefly made him a nation-wide punch line. “That’s one of the worst opening pitches I’ve ever seen!” mutters an announcer. Former Reds star Eric Davis — Mallory’s catcher — appears flabbergasted; the umpire is so disgusted he mock-ejects the mayor.
Richard Nixon once said that a man unable to hold his own in a poker game was not fit to be President. The same could be said of politicians unable to hurl a Little League-caliber fastball. To Mallory’s credit, he maintained a sense of humor about the incident, telling the Cincinnati Enquirer, “Eric Davis missed the sign. I called for a pitchout.”
It’s hard to pick on Carl Lewis. Once known as the world’s fastest man, he notched nine Olympic gold medals in four track-and-field events. But for a superhuman athlete, the guy cannot throw a baseball to save his life — as this 2003 effort at Seattle’s Safeco Field reveals. Here’s what’s truly frightening: Lewis’ performance on the mound was betterthan his 1993 rendition of the National Anthem. It’s probably best that Lewis steer clear of baseball diamonds entirely.
To be fair, Joan Steinbrenner is old. And her feeble toss didn’t ruin the 2008 renaming of the Yankees’ spring training facility after her husband. But why couldn’t a club that ponied up more than $400 million this off-season on free-agent acquisitions alone shell out a few more bucks to get the owner’s wife a pitching coach?
In 2008, the Swedish golf star took the mound before a Mets game and deposited a 55-footer that shocked the Shea Stadium faithful. “No matter what stage you’ve ever performed on, when you have to throw out a first pitch … outside your realm of normality, that’s a tough, tough thing to pull off,” an announcer explains. Still, we’d have expected better from a woman whose booming drives helped her to 72 LPGA victories during a storied career.
Patrick Sharp is a damn cheater. After the Chicago Blackhawks winger stepped onto the mound at U.S. Cellular Field in September ’08, he surprised players and fans alike by abruptly walking right back off the mound only to return with a hockey stick. He then slapped the ball right into the glove of White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle. Sure, it might have been a perfect strike, but we’re not counting it!
The throw wasn’t half bad. But the reaction Dick Cheney got from fans at the Washington Nationals’ home opener versus the New York Mets in 2006 — “with loud boos and some cheers,” as the Associated Press put it — makes this one of the worst ceremonial first pitches ever. When asked later about the audience’s vitriol, Mets third baseman David Wright shrugged it off: “When you’ve got 50 percent of America that’s Republican, 50 percent that’s Democrat, you’re probably going to get mixed reviews.”
The original version of this list was published on April 6, 2009.