Hello there, national leader, foreign dignitary, celebrity or hometown man who managed to survive while trapped in a drainage pipe! You’ve been chosen to throw out the first pitch at a Major, Minor or Little League baseball game! Good for you!
But there’s more that you need to know than just how to gnaw on a sunflower seed and where the best places are to grab your crotch. Baseball fans place a lot of confidence in their first-pitch throwers, and you’ve got to live up to it, unless you want to get pelted with the small novelty bats that they handed to all 40,000 people at the door.
So listen up, Mr./Mrs. President/Ambassador/Oscar winner/shlub. Your reputation depends on it.
Step 1: KNOW WHERE YOU ARE
A few things that you can rest assured of without much worry: You will be at a baseball game inside a baseball stadium. Dress appropriately. (Water polo gear is not considered appropriate.) The stadium will likely be in a somewhat large metropolitan area, so you’ll want to have your pepper spray and a small-caliber pistol with you. There will be grass, dirt and readily available pretzels. You can eat any of those things, but are not advised to do so.
Try to find out from someone you trust exactly what city you’ll be in. You don’t want to force a repeat of the time when the residents of Milwaukee rioted for several weeks after Gerald Ford walked to the mound in a Kansas City Royals jacket.
It also helps to know whether you’ll be in an outdoor or indoor stadium, as it is ill-advised to wear a jetpack or a fireworks shooter on your back if you will be throwing your pitch in a domed structure.
Step 2: DO NOT SING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM
By the time you are out on the field, this will have already happened. There is no need for it to happen again. Rest assured that no one will doubt your patriotism if you do not sing it, though Canadians may appreciate hearing their anthem if you feel like you can generate enough volume. You may also sing “God Bless America” or any songs from Neil Diamond’s catalog if you can afford to bring your own microphone and sequined, blouse-like shirt.
Step 3: WAVE LIKE CRAZY
When you are brought out onto the field, you will be ushered out in a golf-cart-like vehicle that makes you look like a paraplegic invalid. To prove to the crowd that you are not paralyzed, you will want to wave vigorously throughout the entire ride to the pitcher’s mound. Only then will the audience be convinced that you are not some cripple they brought out there for some unanimous pity and platitudes involving being a “team player.”
You may, however, want to avoid waving so hard that you give off the impression that you are going through a spastic epileptic seizure. Find a balance. You may only want to take mild stimulant or depressant drugs beforehand, depending on your normal physical disposition.