50 Cent And The Art Of The First PitchPosted: May 28, 2014
Rapper 50 Cent added his name to a long list of celebrities whose performance throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game proves why celebrities should not throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game. Let’s examine Mr. Cent’s “throw”:
In the words of the immortal Bob Uecker, that was “just a bit outside”.
You could call this a good throw if, perhaps, you have a problem with photographers. And who doesn’t? Photographers think they’re so cool with their weird little tan vests and their one-legged tripods. Well, they aren’t. And if they ever looked at the world through something other than a camera they might see that they’re the only ones wearing those vests.
But Mr. Cent does not likely have a problem with photographers. The photographers were there to take his picture and add to his fame. And his fame would have been somewhat increased* if he showed even the most basic level of competence with a baseball. As we can see, he didn’t.
Fame And The First Pitch
Competence and increased fame are part of the exchange expected when someone throws out the first pitch. Celebrities show up and throw a pitch. Thousands of fans witness the pitch, the celebrity’s name recognition goes up. Weird guys in tan vests distribute their photos of the celebrity throwing a ball, more publicity.
But fans and baseball teams have every right to expect that the pitch thrown will land in the same time zone as the player designated to catch it. 50 Cent, and so many others like him have failed to get anywhere near being on target with their throws. A wise person who is about to do anything in front of tens of thousands of people should practice what they’re going to do before they step before their audience. Mr. Cent (and so many others like him) obviously didn’t practice.
When the result of the ceremonial first pitch proves that the person invited to throw it did not practice, I believe that the consequences should be more negative. Let’s use 50 Cent as an example.
Giving Some Fame An Uncomfortable Cost
As soon as his throw went awry, his seating location at the game should have been posted on the scoreboard. That information should have been followed by an invitation to stop by to see 50 Cent and converse with him about his pitch.
By the third inning, it would be abundantly clear that not time would not allow everyone in the stadium to ridicule Mr. Cent in person. At that point, his cell phone number would be posted on the scoreboard, with fans being invited to call or text him their comments.
Late in the game, Mr. Cent would probably leave. That would allow the team to post his home address on the scoreboard for any baseball fans who still felt the need to explain how important it is for the person throwing the ceremonial first pitch to respect the game enough to practice the pitch.
If I were a baseball team owner, celebrities who want to throw out the first pitch would have to sign a contract that says they understand that the information I just described to you will be released if they throw a bad first pitch. Don’t want to provide your cell phone number? You don’t get to pitch. Don’t want some yahoo showing up at your house? Practice before you show up.
It’s been said that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. That’ll probably never change. But it is time that we give publicity uncomfortable consequences when they are deserved. Baseball is a good place to start.
* Somewhat increased because, let’s face it, this was a New York Mets game. No one is watching that crap.