Akron Rock Star to Throw out First Pitch at Indians Opener
The Cleveland Indians home opener against the Boston Red Sox at Progressive Field has been postponed due to inclement weather. The game has been rescheduled to 1:10pm Tuesday.
The Indians are expected to be playoff contenders this year but even during their less hopeful years the Tribe home opener is usually sold out.
The person throwing out the ceremonial first pitch is commonly a politician, ex-player, or celebrity. President Bill Clinton had the honor for Jacobs Field's very first game in 1994.
This year it’s a long-time Indians fan who, uh, happens to be a rock star. Ideastream’s Mark Urycki reports.
For some, like former President Bill Clinton, throwing out the first pitch at the home opener was the first time they’ve been to the Indians’ ballpark. But this year’s honorary pitcher, Patrick Carney, of the Black Keys has been there before. Just two years ago the drummer took his dad, Akron journalist Jim Carney, to the home opener as he had taken Patrick and his brothers to games when they were kids.
“Actually I went to –I think it was Game 5 maybe- of the 1997 World Series and they lost. I didn’t go to another game for years because my dad was so upset I couldn’t.
Carney now lives in Nashville but with the help of an MLB phone app is back following the Tribe again and predicts they’ll have a good year.
The Black Keys, formed in Akron, are so big worldwide that Carney is accustomed to playing in stadiums. But it’s the invitation to kick off the Tribe’s season that sparked lots of messages from old friends.
All of which only increases the tension of throwing an acceptable 60 foot pitch from the mound to the catcher. After all, even the great Indians pitcher Bob Feller has bounced a ceremonial first pitch to the plate.
“I've been now watching all the videos on You Tube of people screwing up the first pitch and I broke my shoulder last year and my arm is not the same as it was. So I’ve been practicing and let’s hope I don’t totally screw it up, that’s all.”
Carney and his bandmate Dan Auerbach played little league together and still occasionally toss the ball around.
“We played catch this past summer on tour. That was the last time I threw a baseball before like two weeks ago before a show in British Columbia. You know we travel with our baseball mitts in our road cases so every once in a while we throw the ball around. I remember throwing with him for like 45 minutes and my arm was like completely Jello. Dan has a really good arm.”
Carney and Auerbach have even sponsored a team from their former West Akron Baseball League. That means some lucky players got a pretty cool uniform.
“Yeah I remember my little league shirt,” said the drummer, “one was a gasket company and one was a canned foods company. Hopefully the kids who were playing for the Black Keys- maybe they think it was cooler than the gasket company. “
The band also sold adults sizes of the shirt on their website in 2014, raising some $28,000 for the league. Dan Auerbach can't make the game as he is touring with another band, The Arcs.