Pat Shingleton for Friday, May 17, 2013

Japanese Prime Minister Okuma Shigenobu hurled the first ceremonial “first pitch” in 1908 in Koshien, Japan, a baseball tradition that has since honored 22 presidents. Unless the game is rained out, the ceremony always occurs. The “first pitch” also designates the completion of pregame festivities and the beginning of the game. Years ago, the guest threw a ball from his grandstand seat to the pitcher or catcher of the home team. In recent years, the tradition has moved to the pitcher’s mound, affording the thrower an acceptable range to home plate.

My last pitching experience was when the Ellwood City Elks played Chewton, which unfortunately ended in a two-hitter. I’ll toss out the first pitch tonight at the LSU-Ole Miss game at Skip Bertman Field at Alex Box Stadium in “weather” attire. Fastcast: Warmer.