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Grading Rory McIlroy's first pitch at Tuesday's Giants game

By Shane Bacon | Blogger


SAN FRANCISCO -- On Tuesday night, Rory McIlroy was asked to throw out the first pitch at AT&T Park before the San Francisco Giants hosted the Houston Astros.

McIlroy was asked earlier in the day if he'd been practicing his toss, and admitted he hadn't done a ton of work to prepare for the possibility of a humiliating throw that has happened to people in the past.

"I've been throwing a few golf balls on the course, threw a few medicine balls around last night at the gym. It will be the first experience for me and hopefully I can -- I don't know whether to play it conservatively and just lob it into his hand or go for the fast one. I'm not sure," he said.

And it turned out to be a pretty good first throw. How good? CBS golf writers Shane Bacon and Steve Elling and CBS baseball writer C. Trent Rosecrans grade Rory's arm wedge.

Bacon: I've always found it funny to see professional athletes that are in good shape and have incredible hand-eye coordination do that no step, flick motion when they throw. I know that McIlroy wasn't some baseball player growing up, but has he never seen a person throw a ball and look athletic?

No matter, he did all the things necessary in my checklist to avoid humiliation. He threw it from the mound and didn't skip the ball into the catcher.

For that, I will give the defending champion a solid B- for the throw, and note never to invite Rory if we're looking for an extra guy to quarterback a random flag football game.

Elling: For a guy who said he hadn't thrown a baseball before the past few days, McIlroy certainly got some decent coaching. He stepped up to the rubber like he was all business, even if he did throw an eephus pitch to the Giants catcher that was lobbed so high, it probably scared a few pilots landing at the nearby San Francisco airport.
The good news is, McIlroy was cheered by the crowd -- but why not? San Francisco fans have seen a lot worse on the mound lately. Namely, every time former Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum has taken the hill. The team is 2-11 in his starts.


McIlroy has better hair than Lincecum, too.

Notice that team officials put the U.S. Open trophy on a table next to the pitcher's mound, which no doubt confused the Giants fans. They haven't seen many trophies of any sort over the past 50 years.
As a baseball purists might say, it doesn't much matter if McIlroy's got much of an arm. He's being paid to swing the bat. For a pro athlete, he gets a C. Needs to spend some time in the Instructional League.

Rosecrans: I was really hoping it'd be better so I could make the easy joke that he was going to replace Tim Lincecum in the team's rotation. Of course, he still might. He'll have to take out that little crow hop he did, because it's just not legal. That said, when you're throwing out a first pitch, you get graded on a curve if you actually step on the mound and throw it from the rubber, as opposed to in front of the mound. The pitch was high, but over the plate. Way too much arc for any sort of bragging rights, so he gets a B-.

It's good, gets the job done, but nothing you should brag about.
 
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