At long last, 50 Cent can breathe a sigh of relief. He might not have the worst first pitch ever. Akbar Gbaja-Biamila is challenging him for that spot after a horrendous spike into the ground Thursday afternoon at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia ahead of the Phillies’ matchup with the Giants.
Who is Akbar Gbaja-Biamila?
This first pitch proves Gbaja-Biamila should stick to the two things he does best: football and television announcing. After going undrafted in 2003, he was signed by the Raiders, and he went on to stick in Oakland for two seasons, playing defensive end, linebacker and on special teams. He played in 27 games for the Raiders and had a couple of sacks. He was out of football in 2005, but he returned in 2006, appearing in three games for the Chargers. He also played one game for the Dolphins in 2007 before retiring ahead of the 2008 season.
Gbaja-Biamila then turned to broadcasting. In 2005, he had attended the NFL’s Broadcast Boot Camp, and he carried that passion into retirement. He appeared on ABC’s “Expedition Impossible” and also began broadcasting college athletics for CBS College Sports in the late 2000s. He is currently a host for NFL Network’s “NFL Fantasy Live” and a co-host for “American Ninja Warrior.”
Gbaja-Biamila’s older brother, Kabeer, held the Green Bay Packers record for career sacks (74.5) until Clay Matthews broke the record last year.
It even got the “Pitching Ninja” treatment…
The pitch even got posted on the popular Twitter account @PitchingNinja. The account, run by Rob Friedman, usually posts some of the best and unique pitches across MLB, but he couldn’t hold off on sharing this one, calling it a “filthy 36 mph splitter.”
Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, Filthy 36 mph Splitter (grip/release/spin). pic.twitter.com/LsnXFO1ntP
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 10, 2018
Was his pitch worse than 50 Cent’s?
In 2014, 50 Cent threw out perhaps the most memorable first pitch in recent memory, sailing one way, way left before a Mets game. But was it worse than Gbaja-Biamila’s? Here are the two together:
There are arguments to be made both ways: 50 Cent’s ballooned a good 15 feet up the first-base line. Gbaja-Biamila’s spike went so far awry that it hit one of the photographers, and it never even got up in the air. Then again 50 Cent’s toss gave his catcher no chance at stopping the wild pitch, but Gbaja-Biamila’s might have been stopped if the Phillie Phanatic had laid out for it. This debate may have no end in sight.
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