Danny Parkins is the host of the “The Drive with Danny Parkins” heard weekday from 2-6p on 610 Sports Radio.
Danny Parkins: First Pitch...Behind the Scenes
by Danny Parkins,posted Jun 15 2011 2:53AM
I’m not going to lie, I was nervous. Not heart-pumping-out-of-my-chest feel-like-I’m-going-go-pass-out nervous. Just nervous. Within my first 3 weeks on the job as the “new guy” in Kansas City, I was going to be throwing out the 1st pitch at Kauffman Stadium. I talk on the radio to more people in a week than were at Wednesday night’s Royals/Indians battle for 1st place, but that didn’t matter. It wasn’t an issue of the crowd; it was an issue of comfort.
I’m a talker. Hence the radio show. I talk about the athletes. I understand that a curve ball puts more strain on a pitcher’s elbow than a fastball. But that doesn’t mean I could throw one. I know when the situation calls for a hit-and-run, but that doesn’t mean I could execute one. So my nervousness simply came from being outside my comfort zone.
That, and knowing that I have the world’s worst arm.
I hadn’t thrown a baseball in 3 years, and as my supportive cousin reminded me minutes before I took the mound via text message, I “haven’t thrown one well in 24 years.” Thanks Sean.
But I didn’t care because ultimately my failure would lead to a good story for the radio and the rest of my life. Not too many people can say they’ve thrown out the 1st pitch at a Major League baseball game.
So even though you all think you would mow one right over the heart of the plate, you probably won’t get the chance to prove it, so I’ll let ya in on what it’s like.
You have to get there an hour early, for no reason. Literally nothing informative or cool happened in the 50 minutes leading up to throwing out the pitch. ‘You walk out when they introduce you… you pitch when they say ‘fire away’… you shake hands… you pose for a picture… you’re done… got it?’ They needed an hour of my time to explain this?
But once you get out on the field, it’s an awesome experience. Alcides Escobar and Chris Getz were playing catch in front of the dugout and I found myself watching their throwing motions as if I was going to pick up an 11th hour tip. Fans recognized Nick Wright, who was my catcher, and by proxy recognized me and offered encouraging tips like “throw a strike” and “don’t suck.” I love our listeners.
And then it was time. The camera was rolling, my name was announced, and my huge head was on the huge scoreboard. 60 feet 6 inches never looked so far. Nick stood on home plate, they said “fire away,” and I fired:
Juuuusssst a bit outside.
But I could have told you that was going to happen. I’m a radio host, not a pitcher.