Dr. Anthony Fauci says wild first pitch a result of improper distancing measures in practice

Dr. Anthony Fauci threw a wild first pitch for the ages a week ago to open the MLB season during a pandemic.

His pitch for the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals game missed the plate by a safe social-distancing measure and he delivered a joke about it the next morning.

Now, Fauci is giving a more detailed explanation of why his first pitch was so far off in an interview with Pablo Torre on the ESPN Daily podcast.

It comes down to “a mishap on my part,” the nation’s leading infectious disease expert said.

Fauci’s pitch ‘a mishap on my part’

Fauci, 79, joked last week that he was a shortstop growing up and thought he was supposed to throw to first base. The avid Nationals fan was more serious in speaking with Torre, explaining it’s been decades since he’s thrown a ball and didn’t practice at a correct distance.

“It certainly was a mishap on my part. I had been practicing for two days before at a walk-down that I thought was 60 feet, and it was really, probably, about 45 feet. And I was throwing and throwing and throwing, and I got it right. But only it was at 45 feet and I kind of hurt my arm because I haven’t thrown a baseball, literally, in decades.”

By the time he took the mound in a Nationals jersey, hat and mask, his arm “was killing me,” he said, but he told himself he could suck it up and throw it like he did in practice.

“When I got to the mound, I said, ‘Oh, my god, [Nationals pitcher] Sean Doolittle looked like he was 200 feet away.

“So what I did was I completely changed the form of my throw. And instead of just throwing it, lobbing it overhand, which would have landed right in front of him, I wound up and threw it like a bullet, only it went way off to the left. So it was my bad all the way.”

Fauci updates sports during COVID-19 pandemic

Dr. Anthony Fauci walks to the mound in Nationals gear while Sean Doolittle awaits at the plate.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said he felt like Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle was '200 feet away' to catch his season-opening first pitch. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Fauci still stands behind MLB and its handling of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Miami Marlins ranks. The Marlins are off until at least Monday after at least 16 players tested positive for the novel coronavirus. MLB reportedly updated its coronavirus protocols on Wednesday after the outbreak.

As for the NFL and college football, his views are the same as last week. Simply put, it’s still a “more complicated issue” to bring such a contact sport back without a bubble.

[H/T USA Today Sports]

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