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John Lamb, Published July 23 2013

Lamb: Making a pitch, going for the W

I have the rare opportunity to join the league of gold medalist Carl Lewis, pop star Carly Rae Jepsen and radio personality Baba Booey.

No, I won’t impress anyone with my outstanding Olympic track performances (or flub the “Star Spangled Banner” before an NBA game). And I (maybe) won’t release an insidiously infectious song of the summer. And I won’t do, well, whatever it was that made Baba Booey famous.

I take that back. The Howard Stern sidekick is widely considered to have bested Lewis and Jepsen in throwing out the worst ceremonial first pitch to start a baseball game.

Until today.

My athletic ineptitude will be on full display as I throw out the first pitch at tonight’s RedHawks game.

Tonight is Bros on Broadway Cancer Awareness Night at Newman Outdoor Field. Bros is held every February – or FeBROary – at the Hotel Donaldson and features teams of men and women sporting stylish facial hair, either grown or drawn. Teams seek pledges for their hairy efforts, and all money raised goes to help men in the area fight prostate cancer. This year the furry fundraiser brought in more than $60,000.

In all honesty, I wasn’t the top fundraiser. Not even in the top three. But apparently everyone who raised more was reluctant to make a fool of themselves in front of a couple of thousand people at a baseball game. Me? Not so much. So I get the ball in a mop-up role.

Bros on Broadway is all about the show, so this first pitch should be just as memorable. (Our Bros team, Fargo Fuzz, made a good show this year dressed as a motorcycle gang. While I thought about wearing my costume tonight, I think pitching in leather may lead to some chafing.)

RedHawks General Manager Josh Buchholz offered a bit of advice.

“Go from the top of the mound and throw it as hard as you can. Then wave to the crowd and grab a beer,” he said. “Anyone can throw a pitch from in front of the mound. Most do. Very rarely do you see guys get up on the rubber, a la George W. Bush.”

In his eight-year presidency, Bush threw out six season-opening pitches. Still, he is most remembered for throwing out the first pitch of the third game of the 2001 World Series in New York, just weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter warned the president that if he threw from in front of the mound, Yankee fans would boo. And if he bounced the ball, Yankee fans would boo. Bush threw a strike, and Yankee Stadium erupted in cheers.

I don’t say this often, but in this one instance, I want to do something just like George W. Bush did.

Then I’ll do something George W. Bush no longer does and grab a beer. Maybe a few more if I throw like Baba Booey.


Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533