How Many Firsts Can There Be?

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If you arrive early to a baseball game, you will probably see a ceremonial first pitch.  This is a longstanding ritual of baseball where a guest of honor throws a ball to mark the end of pregame festivities and the start of the game.  The guest might be a local or national politician, a distinguished military veteran, a widely or not-so-wildly known celebrity, or someone representing the business that paid for that night’s promotional item. 

The ceremonial first pitch is, I imagine, a big thrill for the person who get to throw it and gives those in attendance something to watch for a moment while waiting for the game to begin.  I have no problem with the ceremonial first pitch, it is a nice tradition that belongs to baseball.  However, many games I have gone to do not only have a ceremonial first pitch, they have multiple ceremonial first pitches.

By definition, how can there be more than one ceremonial first pitch?  Wouldn’t that make it a ceremonial first pitch, a ceremonial second pitch, a ceremonial third pitch, etc? I imagine they do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings by having them throw out a ceremonial pitch that is not “first.”

Fortunately I have a solution.  There is usually about thirty minutes or more between the time the visiting team finishes batting practice and the time the game begins.  There are usually a number of fans that have nothing to do during this time, so why not entertain the fans with some sort of competition between those who will be throwing out ceremonial pitches to determine the order that the pitches are given.  This would provide a degree of pride and meaning to the ceremonial first pitch.   There are many possibilities:  the prospective pitches could have a race around the bases to find out who is fastest.  There could be a sunflower seed spitting contest judging distance and accuracy.  Maybe a sliding contest with the fans judging style points.  Perhaps contests of who could eat the most hot dog, who could throw a bag of peanuts, who could stuff the most snow cones in their shirt, just let one’s imagination run wild.  It would fill in that time between batting practice and the start of the game and the person who threw out the first ceremonial pitch would be proud of his or her accomplishment. 

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