Baseball sells out the ceremonial first pitch
Once the domain of mayors and military veterans, this honor now goes to anyone with deep pockets -- or a good costume.
Since then, the first pitch has been mostly reserved for presidents, mayors and other dignitaries. Military veterans get the chance as a gesture of gratitude for their service. The first pitch meant nothing and meant everything all at the same time.
But these days, the first pitch is veering more into nothing. Just about anyone gets the ceremonial first pitch at some parks, especially those whose deep pockets who have paid to sponsor a team, according to an article this week in The New York Times. Or sometimes, a really good costume might suffice.
Baseball has sold off the first pitch, taking away any weight or substance the throw ever carried. Here are some of the people now entertaining audiences with the pre-game toss:
- A Cirque du Soleil dancer in a skin-tight green body suit.
- People dressed in Hello Kitty and Snoopy costumes.
- Jamaican hip hop musician Sean Paul.
- Reality show judge Sharon Osborne.
- The star of reality show "Man vs. Wild" (who, by the way, set the baseball on fire before throwing it).
- Capt. Wild Bill Wichrowski of the television show "Deadliest Catch."
Other teams will have as many as five different first pitches in one game.
Is it too cranky to bemoan the first pitch's lost dignity? Some purists may hate it, but other fans see it as another piece of pre-game entertainment. And teams get to make their sponsors happy, which keeps the revenue flowing.
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No one other than the family of those throwing the pitch find it entertaining.
And EVERYTHING in sports is now for sale. Advertisements placed behind the catcher so it shows on TV. The naming rights to ball parks. The announcers in every sport having an advertisement tie-in for every event. For example, the Lakers have an In-N-Out (burger) "whose in/whose out" announcement when the first lineup change occurs in a game, and an East/West Bank "who is going east, who is going west" to identify which direction the teams are shooting at.
It is ridiculous. We are all saturated with advertisements. I hope someday a study shows the pay back on advertising dollars is terrible, then we can rid ourselves of this scourge
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