The ceremonial first ball
is a longstanding ritual
of American baseball
in which a guest of honor throws a ball to mark the end of pregame festivities and the start of the game. Originally, the guest threw a ball from his/her place in the grandstand to the pitcher or catcher of the home team. At some point, this morphed into the guest standing in front of the pitcher's mound
and throwing towards (but rarely reaching) home plate
, though sometimes he or she may stand on the mound (as a pitcher would). The recipient of the pitch is usually a player from the home team.
The ceremonial thrower may be a notable person (dignitary, celebrity, former player, etc.) who is in attendance, an executive from a company that sponsors the team (especially when that company has sponsored that night's promotional giveaway), or a person who won the first pitch opportunity as a contest prize. Often, especially in the minor leagues
, multiple first pitches are made.
Generally, ceremonial opening pitches are either not counted in the count, or counted as a ball. There is typically no batter.
Presidential first pitches
Former Japanese Prime Minister Ōkuma Shigenobu
was the first person to throw a ceremonial first pitch, doing so at a 1908 game in Koshien
Japan.President William Howard Taft
started the American tradition in 1910
at Griffith Stadium
, Washington, D.C.
, on the Washington Senators
' Opening Day
. Every President since Taft,... Read More