The ceremonial first pitch is a longtime baseball tradition in baseball when a celebrity throws a ball to mark the end of the pregame festivities and the start of the game. This guest of honor can be a politician, a sponsor of a giveaway or a celebrity. Hence, Presidents, Wookies, and Rappers have taken to the mound for the ceremonial first pitch.
It used to be that the guest of honor would throw a ball from the grandstand. However the ceremonial first pitch changed after Ronald Reagan took to the field for a Baltimore Oriole game. Now it is sine qua non for the honoree to take to the mound to perform the ceremony. Taking to the center of the diamond draws more attention and more pressure for the guest of honor to perform. It was important for the national morale after the terror attacks on America that the Commander in Chief threw well for at the World Series at Yankee Stadium --fortunately, President George W. Bush delivered.
This season, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was lambasted for a blasé first pitch for the Met's Opening Day. Alas, for Mr. Met, that is not the only throw at Citi Field in 2014 which will live in infamy. Curtis Jackson a.k.a. the rapper 50 Cents was asked to make the ceremonial first pitch at the Mets-Pirates game.
It was a struggle for the Mets announcer to put a positive spin on this ceremony. Jackson may find confidence attractive but giving my two cents, 50 Cents should not give up his day job.
The Washington Post developed a tongue-in-cheek infographic charting the best and worst ceremonial first pitches.
The chart was informative and entertaining, but there was no need to include T-Rex, Santa Claus or the Cookie Monster, when Chewbacca has actually made ceremonial first pitches.