McKayla Maroney cartwheels and flips her way to impressive first pitch

It should come as no surprise that a U.S. Olympic gymnast would know how to spice up a ceremonial first pitch. Not that they've needed much spicing up recently. Over the past few months we've seen everything from RoboCop winding up to Jack White throwing a pitch to Santa Claus. And that was only in Detroit. There was also whatever 50 Cent attempted to do at Citi Field, not to mention Agnes Mckee, the 105-.year-old Padres fan.

Nevertheless, McKayla Maroney, who became famous as much during the 2012 Olympics for her "not impressed" facial expression than her actual gymnastic abilities, arrived to U.S. Cellular Field with a plan — or maybe we should say a routine — that guaranteed her first pitch would stand out from the others.

It started out looking like a routine first pitch. From the stretch, Maroney broke into a cartwheel, followed by a standing front flip. Naturally, she stuck the landing about 15 feet from home plate and then finally releasing the ball, which sailed just a bit outside. Not a huge technical error, but worth at least a tenth of a point deduction.

Given that the level of difficulty on the first pitch scale was extremely high, it probably won't cost her a medal. Then again, the only thing we have to compare it against is this fantastic first-pitch routine from a Korean rhythmic gymnast last season.

It's a tough call, but maybe Maroney should be given the benefit of the doubt since she was working on a new pitch. 

She already has the deception part of her windup down pat. If she can develop a breaking ball before her next time out, she might become the most complete celebrity first pitch thrower ever. 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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