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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Shane Larkin’s wild ceremonial first pitch surely made his dad cringe

Barry Larkin is thrilled his son emerged as one of college basketball's top point guards this past season, but the former Cincinnati Reds shortstop can't help but wonder what would have happened if Shane had pursued baseball instead.

"He still tells me I could go out there and hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases," Shane Larkin said with a chuckle in late-January.

That may be true, but Shane's a little out of practice these days judging by his attempt at throwing the first pitch before Saturday's baseball game in Coral Gables between Miami and Clemson. Video shot by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel shows Shane's pitch sail wildly over the head of the catcher and to the backstop, a result that will no doubt earn him some ribbing on campus and at the family dinner table.

Why did Shane choose basketball over baseball as a kid? Part of the reason was he found baseball too slow for his taste, but the catalyst for him giving up the sport altogether was a bad experience as a member of a youth baseball team at age seven.

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Shane grew frustrated when his coach encouraged him to change his stance and his swing even though both had been taught to him when he visited his dad at spring training by former all-stars Pete Rose and Tony Perez.

"I was doing some things he didn't think a seven-year-old kid should be doing, so when I went up to hit, he was like, 'Whoever taught you to hit didn't know what was he was talking about,'" Shane recalled in January. "That pretty much killed my love for baseball. I never played in an organized baseball game after that."

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