April 27, 2010
While his San Jose Sharks wait for their second-round playoff opponent to be finalized, star winger Dany Heatley appeared before the San Francisco Giants' home game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday night to toss the ceremonial first pitch.
Problem No. 1: As a baseball pitcher, Heatley's a heck of a hockey player. Problem No. 2: The Giants had him throw side-by-side with a 17-year-old girl who managed to get the ball over the plate and into the catcher's glove. Or as Heatley calls it, "doing the impossible."
Unhappy with his pregame role, Heatley immediately demanded a trade to the Oakland A's ...
That's Ryane Clowe of the Sharks in the booth, chuckling about how pitcher Barry Zito snagged Heatley's sinker-that-sunk-10-feet-too-early. Good thing Zito did, too: As Bay Area Sports Blog wrote, a video production assistant flinched and stepped out of the way as the Sharks winger's pitch came ricocheting into the dirt.
If nothing else, at least Dany bettered his 17-year-old female rival in velocity; then again, her nickname probably isn't "Heater."
So on the scale of ceremonial first pitches for current NHL players, Heatley's effort falls right beside that of goalie Jonas Gustavsson of the Toronto Maple Leafs whose pitch bounced in like a Gummy Bear as well. It's on the opposite end of the scale from the pitch from Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers threw that nearly took out the front row before a mascot jumped to catch it. (In fairness, Myers is roughly 11-feet tall.) In the middle of that scale? Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin, who pitched a strike at a Washington Nationals game, which is a rarity for the home team, we've heard.
Keep in mind none of these other players faced the unparalleled pressure of having to lob a baseball from the pitcher's mound as competently as a 17-year-old girl did.