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The Greatest Opportunity of a Lifetime

Recalling the one bucket list item that became a reality

By Mark Wesley PritchardPublished 2 months ago 3 min read

I've reached an important milestone on Vocal: 200 stories. Since becoming a creator on this site back in 2018, I've written stories that people could relate to and enjoy reading. To mark this accomplishment, I have a story that I wanted to share with everyone. Last summer, I had an opportunity to do something I'd never done before.

If you've been reading my stories regarding baseball for the last several months, this story in particular is for you. On a warm August evening in 2023, I got to throw out the first pitch at a Northwest Arkansas Naturals game. The Naturals are a Minor League Baseball Double-A team affiliate of Major League Baseball's Kansas City Royals. They are based in Springdale, Arkansas and play at Arvest Ballpark, which opened in 2008. Just for the record, I've never stepped foot onto a baseball field or mound of a Major or Minor League ballpark. I was asked to throw out the first pitch before a game through my employer several days prior. Also, I've watched numerous videos on YouTube of celebrities throwing out first pitches at MLB games. Hopefully, I didn't end up making a weak throw like any of them did. So I accepted the invite and was so excited to do this. One of my coworkers and I were escorted onto the field and I was given a ceremonial ball to throw out the first pitch. I was wearing a baseball mitt and told my coworker that I wanted this moment to be on video. So he recorded me throwing a great pitch. I jumped up and down with glee and got a standing ovation from the crowd. I got to keep the ceremonial ball as a souvenir. Below are some pics from the game, as well as a pic of me after I arrived home. The last photo of me shows that the evening of August 22, 2023 is one memorable night I'll remember for years to come.

This was an important item I've knocked off my bucket list. Overall, the first pitch I threw at the Naturals game went well, because you only get one shot at it. I posted videos of my first pitch from two different angles on social media. I'll provide links below so you can watch them for your own viewing pleasure. So how do you get a chance to throw out a ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game? If you're a guest of honor (which I was for the aforementioned game), are a celebrity, part of a non-profit organization, or notable person (like the President of the United States), then you fit the criteria. My pieces of advice to those who are asked to throw out a ceremonial first pitch at a game are the following:

  • Do some practice throws before arriving at the game
  • Wear whatever feels and looks comfortable to you
  • When you throw that first pitch, it's usually caught by one of the players of the home team
  • Be thankful for the experience and live in the moment

Like I've mentioned before, you one get one chance to make an amazing throw. It's perfectly fine to be nervous, so take deep breaths and make the best possible throw. Also, have fun because it's a special opportunity for you and people in the crowd are cheering you on. Throwing out a ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game is a once in a lifetime experience for many people. So enjoy every minute of this opportunity and be grateful for it.

Be sure to follow me on TikTok, Instagram, and on Threads, which you can find info on those in my profile. Also, leave me a one-off tip at the end of this story, big or small. It'll encourage me to write more stories on Vocal and support creators like me.

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About the Creator

Mark Wesley Pritchard

Award-winning cosplayer, cosplay model, influencer, retro gaming fanatic, die-hard Texas Rangers fan, and nostalgic freak. Need I say more?

Threads: @thecosplayerfromtexas

Instagram: @thecosplayerfromtexas

TikTok: @thecosplayerfromtexas

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