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Baseball’s best and worst first pitches by runners featuring Andre De Grasse

Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse showed off his arm by throwing out the first pitch at the Toronto Blue Jays game on June 11.

Andre De Grasse

Throwing out today’s first pitch is Canadian sprinter @de6rasse! A two time gold medalist!

A photo posted by Toronto Blue Jays (@bluejays) on

Canadian sprint sensation Andre De Grasse traded in his track spikes and running kit for a baseball and glove as he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Toronto Blue Jays game on June 11. De Grasse, the Canadian record holder in the men’s 200m, is a two-time Pan Am Games gold medallist and is one of the nation’s best-ever sprinters despite only being 21.

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Andre De Grasse
Photo via Toronto Blue Jays on Twitter.

The ceremonial first pitch is a ritual at Major League Baseball games that marks the end of the pre-game activities and signals professional players to take the field. The Blue Jays, Canada’s only MLB team, play at the Rogers Centre in downtown Toronto and compete in the American East, one of six divisions in the league.

Well-known figures in the community often get the honour of throwing out the first pitch, which takes place before every game. People are usually judged on their throwing ability as they only have one pitch to prove their skill. A strike is when the baseball passes through the strike zone, considered a hit-able throw in baseball.

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Though De Grasse’s pitch didn’t quite qualify as a strike, he at least got the ball to the plate where a Blue Jays player was kneeling. The Blue Jays played the Baltimore Orioles and won 11-6.

The Puma-sponsored athlete is having a great season thus far in the lead up to the Olympics including wins at the Birmingham Diamond League and Oslo Diamond League, two high-profile events on the international running circuit.

Andre De Grasse
Photo via Toronto Blue Jays on Twitter.

Other runners have been invited to throw out the first pitch at baseball games in the past with differing results. Ten-time Olympic medallist Carl Lewis, for one, had a rough time throwing at a Seattle Mariners game in 2003.

Four U.S. distance runners, Shalane Flanagan, Amy Cragg, Meb Keflezighi and Desi Linden, threw out the first pitch at a Boston Red Sox game before this year’s Boston Marathon.

Keflezighi also threw out the first pitch in 2014 in addition to his 2016 invitation.