Fauci was tapped to throw out the ceremonial first pitch last Thursday to mark the start of the pandemic-shortened MLB season before a matchup of his two favorite teams, the Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees.
In the process, he socially distanced the ball from the glove.
Anthony Fauci, First Pitch Mechanics. pic.twitter.com/QxszDQJDuu— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 23, 2020
The disastrous throw didn’t come anywhere near Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle and had Twitter joking that Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, didn’t “want anyone to catch anything.”
Fauci tried to explain what went wrong to the ESPN Daily podcast Thursday.
“Well, it certainly was a mishap on my part,” he told ESPN’s Pablo Torre, adding that he had been practicing at a distance he thought was 60 feet, the distance between the MLB mound and the plate. The actual distance was “probably” 45 feet, he said.
“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,” Fauci said. “So as I was getting ready to go out on the mound, my arm was killing me, but I said, ‘Hell, I could suck it up and just throw it the way I had been practicing.’”
(Narrator: He didn’t.)
“When I got to the mound, I said, ‘Oh, my God. 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’ve landed right in front of him, I wound up and threw it like a bullet, only it just went way off to the left,” the doctor said.
Fauci added, “It was my bad all the way.”
With that throw, Fauci joined the prestigious company of celebs such as 50 Cent and Carly Rae Jepsen in the Hall of Fame of first pitch fails. At least Fauci can enjoy the honor of actually being invited to throw out the pitch, even if things didn’t go very right (especially the ball, which — again — went way, way, waaaay left).
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.