joel-ward-first-pitch-nats

Photo: Brad Mills

Classy. The Washington Nationals are not as near and dear to my heart as the Baltimore Orioles, but they did something super awesome on Thursday, when they had Washington Capitals forward Joel Ward throw out the first pitch before their game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Ward getting the opportunity to throw out the first pitch after a career year is cool enough on its own, but doubly so because it came on Jackie Robinson Day at Nats Park. Ward wears #42 in honor of the Dodger legend.

After getting some advice from Nats pitcher Ross Detwiler, Ward stepped to the mound confidently and delivered a perfect strike. Though the heave was a bit of a moonshot.

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Saturday at Harry Grove Stadium was Hockey Day. The Frederick Keys staff wore hockey gear (I’m wagging my finger at you, girl in Malkin shirsey), and two former Washington Capitals, Craig Laughlin and Alan May, threw out the ceremonial first pitches and signed autographs for fans on the concourse.

Before the first pitches were thrown, however, there was some intrigue.

The night before, during the Caps telecast, Laughlin promised to CSN Washington’s Joe Beninati that he would zing the ball into home plate going “105.”

Let’s goooooo to the videotape.

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Alex Ovechkin Orioles Ceremonial First Pitch

Photo credit: Ian Oland

On the eve of his 26th birthday (send us your birthday cards!), Alex Ovechkin — adorned with *gasp* Cal Ripken’s retired #8 Orioles jersey — traveled up I-95 Friday to take batting practice and throw out the ceremonial first pitch ahead of Baltimore’s match-up against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The Great Hockey Eight, making his first ever appearance at Camden Yards, had only one goal: not to embarrass himself in front of a few thousand Charm-Citiers.

“I’m kinda excited,” Ovechkin told CSN’s Chris Miller before the first pitch. “I saw on YouTube John Wall’s [first pitch] a couple of minutes ago, and I hope it’s not gonna happen with me. I practice a little bit so it’s good. I feel comfortable.”

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