SPORTS TALK: The greatest first pitch ever thrown – and she’s a nun

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It takes a special sort of dingus to pull this trick.

Someone thought it would be a good idea to phone in a bomb threat to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on Aug. 22. A place where hundreds of thousands of veterans have been laid to rest – the target of a cruel joke.

Thankfully, nothing came of it after emergency personnel cleared the entire area but they need to find who did this. There’s a punishment I can think of but I’m not able to print it here for obvious reasons.

Anyway, on to less important things:

 

Just your average 12-6

The ceremonial first pitch at baseball games has been a tradition for many years. It’s also been a tradition which has seen so many manage to make a clown of themselves in the act.

Sister Mary Jo Sobieck of Marian Catholic School in Chicago put everyone who’s ever thrown a first pitch to shame after taking the mound on Aug. 18.

She was given the honour before the start of the game between the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals and you knew it was going to be good when she took the ball and bounced it off her bicep, replete in her habit and everything.

From there, Sister Mary Jo fired in one of the best curveballs ever seen by someone who doesn’t pitch in the majors and yes, it would have been a strike. Lucas Giolito of the White Sox was the catcher and said it was a perfect pitch and judging from the video, it was. White Sox manager Rick Renteria asked if she could play for them later that night. I’d have given her a uniform.

Sister Mary Jo will now have a bobblehead of her likeness created by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame, of course. In good (and proper) Catholic fashion, $5 from each sale will be given to Marian Catholic School. Considering the way the Toronto Blue Jays have played this season, if I were general manager Ross Atkins, I would be on the phone to the school to see if Sister Mary Jo can be put on secondment.

 

He hits dingers

Of course, there’s a story about a kid from the Little League World Series that has captivated everyone’s attention but not for why you think.

Alfred Delia, or Big Al as he’s known by his teammates, became the newest 15-minute celebrity thanks to his introduction during the Mid-Atlantic regional playoffs for the late summer classic with his team from Middletown, New Jersey. They ended up losing but he’s the stuff of lore thanks to these words:

“My name is Alfred Delia, back home they call me Big Al, and I hit dingers.”

That was enough to launch interviews, selfies and everything else. There’s even shirts with his face on it, produced unbeknownst to the family and that’s an issue to his mother, Angela Delia, who wants to make sure her son doesn’t become the latest in a long line of child celebrities who ends up doing everything wrong.

All I can think of when I see this kid is Ham Porter from The Sandlot, the fat kid who doesn’t know when to shut up, kind of like me but he’s more popular than me. I hope Big Al makes his money and I hope he spends it wisely.

 

You’d do it, too

Barry Trotz got his day with the Stanley Cup on Aug. 22 and took it home to Dauphin, Man. It was a shotgun kind of day for him. photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Barry Trotz won’t be back behind the bench of the Washington Capitals this season as he’s now with the New York Islanders. But he still got a day with the Stanley Cup after winning it with the Caps.

He took it back to his hometown of Dauphin, Man., where it seemed like the entire town came out to see it on Aug. 22. Trotz even visited a seniors facility, where he gave out some fun facts on the specifications of the Cup. Did you know it can hold 14 bottles of beer? Alexander Ovechkin must have told him that. It can also hold a dozen hot dogs if Phil Kessel is to be believed.

The afternoon included a photo shoot, which raised $75,000 for charity but thanks to Trotz himself, that amount was doubled. He even got a street named after him – Barry Trotz Way – and offered up drinks out of the Stanley Cup to the townsfolk. But the one thing you don’t often see during a Stanley Cup celebration is rifles being fired off into the air. Yes, Trotz let one fire during the parade.

Don’t worry – it wasn’t an AR-15 or anything so we shouldn’t run for the hills just yet.

 

And finally …

Good Idea: Having a chance to win your PGA Tour card.

Bad Idea: Knowing you missed out on an automatic card by less than an inch.

The Web.Com Tour is the next level below the PGA Tour in North America and has provided countless golfers with the chance to earn their way onto the big tour by giving out tour cards.

But it’s also a tour filled with heartbreak when players come close to success, but then miss the mark and Kevin Dougherty found out the hard way at the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz on Aug. 19.

Dougherty was in 26th place on the tour’s money list and if he was able to make birdie on the 18th hole in his final round, he would win enough money to climb into the top 25 and receive a PGA Tour card. He had to chip it in, and it looked really good rolling toward the hole, only to have it miss and sit less than an inch from the cup. That’s what stood between him and the PGA Tour.

Now, people have been saying that he should never have been that close because he had missed eight of the last nine cuts in tournaments leading up to the Portland event but his chip shot is all people will remember. He has one more shot to win a tour card through the Web.Com Tour Finals, which will see the top 25 money winners in the last four events of the season earn cards.

This was one that got away, though, and it could haunt him for a long time if he fails in the last four.

Until next time, folks …