Phillip Thompson

Crime Fiction writer

I posted this last night on Facebook, but I’m still blown away enough to do the same here. I’m not prone to sentimentality or “Awwwww” moments, so that was not my reaction to this must-see clip of a young boy throwing out the first pitch at Game 4 of the National League Division Series between Arizona and Milwaukee. As a baseball fan, I’ve seen a lot of first pitches, some good, most not — some just downright embarrassing (Mariah Carey’s comes to mind). And, as a baseball fan, the first thing I look for is simple: did the ball at least make it to the plate? I don’t care about form — few people in the world are blessed with the ability to throw a baseball 60 feet — at 90+ mph. But at least get the ball to the catcher.

Until I saw this latest clip, I thought the best first pitch ever came during the 2001 World Series — Game 3. The first World Series after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. In New York. Then-President George W. Bush walked from the dugout to the mound wearing a jacket adorned with FDNY and NYPD insignia. Then he climbed the mound — he didn’t stand on the grass in front of it, like most first-pitchers do. Nope, he walked to the top, toed the rubber like the Yale pitcher he once was, went through his windup and threw a damn-near perfect strike. And, as they say, the crowd went nuts. (No, I’m not a Republican; I’m not a Democrat, either, just a smartass redneck.) I thought, at the time, nobody will ever do it better than that. And if you’ve forgotten what it was like, or were hiding in a cave in Tora Bora, here it is again.

But this kid was awesome. Notice that once the catcher goes into his squat, he does not move. Not his feet. Not his glove. Not his head. Only his lips — orienting the boy with sound. That ball dropped in there like a perfect curve ball. I don’t know who the boy is, but I’d be pretty damn proud of him if he was mine.

P.S. If you haven’t checked out the Kindle edition of Enemy Within, now is a good time. Wade Stuart is rumored to return soon.

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