Olympic gymnast Suni Lee treated the crowd at a recent Minnesota Twins game to one of the most acrobatic ceremonial first pitches you’ll ever see.
The all-around champion at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics (which were held in 2021 due to COVID-19) threw out the ceremonial first pitch ahead of the Twins’ August 5 game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The gold medalist’s wind-up consisted of a flip, before hurling one to home plate.
According to USA Gymnastics, Lee lives in St. Paul, Minnesota so getting the chance to throw out the first pitch for her hometown team must have been a thrill.
Of course, Lee took to the mound having prepared beforehand. She was working out her flip in a stadium hallway before the game.
Throwing out the first pitch is a nerve-wracking experience. Everyone wants to fire a strike so perfect that you’re offered a contract on the spot. But trying to do this can lead to disaster.
Sure, ceremonial pitches don’t matter, but most of the stadium is watching, and if you pull a 50 Cent, you’ll be showing up on blooper reels for the rest of your life.
Lee illustrates an important lesson in first pitches: the key is to take the focus off of the pitch itself.
In most of the videos, you can’t even see where Lee’s pitch wound up. You can break the video down like it’s the Zapruder film, and by tracking the pitch’s trajectory it would appear to have landed somewhere between home plate and the corporate skyboxes.
It doesn’t matter though, because Lee distracted everyone’s attention with her amazing gymnastic abilities. If 50 Cent was spinning a plate when he threw his abysmal first pitch, we wouldn’t be talking about the pitch, we’d all be like, “Did you see 50 Cent spinning that plate?”
So, on the off chance you’re given the high honor of throwing the first pitch at a Major League Baseball game (which is America’s version of being knighted), and you know you’re going to have trouble getting the ball to the plate, you’d better have a cool trick at your disposable.
Otherwise, have fun being a blooper reel fixture.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle