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Ichiro throws fastest ever ceremonial pitch

The bar has been raised for MLB ceremonial first pitches by Ichiro Suzuki, a man who has set new standards for baseball excellence for over 20 years.

Jeffrey May
Apr 15, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners center fielder Julio Rodriguez (left) embraces former outfielder Ichiro Suzuki following a ceremonial first pitch by Suzuki before a game against the Houston Astros at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Joe NicholsonUSA TODAY Sports

There’s a joke that goes something like this:

If baseball want’s to really get exciting, they would let a celebrity throw out the LAST pitch. Bases loaded, bottom of the ninth, here’s Danny DeVito!

Funny because we all know that the first pitch means nothing. Not the first pitch of the game, but the traditional ceremonial first pitch. Normally thrown out by a celebrity, or a politician, or a child who is suffering some horrible illness, or a visiting opera singer, or any number of people who have no role in the game other than to please the crowd.

Then there are moments when it all comes together. Like when then-president, and former Texas Rangers owner, George W. Bush threw out the first pitch of Game 3 of the 2001 World Series. Celebrity, politician, and meaningful to baseball fans. He lobbed a ball over the plate and everyone thought it was fantastic. I mean, he wound up (kind of) and made it all the way to the plate.

But now the bar has been set even higher. Friday night, the Mariners played the Astros in their home opener at T-Mobile Park. They invited a celebrity, and a Seattle legend, Ichiro Suzuki. Much loved around baseball, and especially in Seattle, the 48-year-old retired Mariner took to the mound in his full 2001 uniform.

Ichiro took the mound and through a full wind-up, delivered a 93 mph fastball. It missed the strike zone but no matter, it is the fastest ceremonial pitch ever delivered, and considerably better than many minor league prospects can manage.

Maybe the next time Danny DeVito is called upon by the Dodgers or Phillies, he’ll get some practice in and give us a wicked curve.


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