Throwing out the First Pitch

My love of baseball is well known throughout the college. If you’ve been in my office or attended some of my events, you know what I’m talking about. I have used baseball to illustrate the narrow edge that distinguishes greatness from failure, to challenge our community to “take the ball” and get to know us, to recognize the achievements of our faculty and staff at our Dean’s Awards event and to get alumni to come out to learn more about what we are doing. I literally threw out the first pitch at a Fort Meyers Miracle game a couple of weeks ago and will do it again on May 29th at a Jacksonville Suns game. These are from the mound people…the full sixty feet-six inches; none of this throwing from the infield grass stuff. If you are going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk.

Throwing out a first pitch is tough. You are out of your comfort zone. The attention is focused on you and people expect you to mess up…most people do. They bounce the ball well in front of the plate or throw it over the catchers head. So, if you surprise them with a strike right down the middle of the plate, you are rewarded with the audience’s respect and admiration. The secret to success of course is to make that pitch the first one the crowd sees, not the first one you throw. Reading about how to throw that first pitch strike isn’t really that helpful..it requires some bullpen work.

If you are one of my young Knights who graduated last week and are still trying to throw that first pitch for a strike, I would suggest some bullpen work before that next interview. If you didn’t get in those bullpen tosses before you left school, what makes you think you are going to throw strikes now?

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