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MLB changes mind, invites Dirk Nowitzki to throw first pitch

Oct 19, 2011, 4:10 PM EDT

dirk nowitzki rangers

UPDATE: MLB apparently changed its mind–or had its mind changed–and has now invited Nowitzki to throw out the first pitch at an as-yet-undecided game in Texas.


Dirk Nowitzki threw out of the ceremonial first pitch at a Rangers game back in June and they wanted the Mavericks star to do so again when the World Series moves to Texas, but MLB said no.

Apparently all postseason first-pitch assignments much be cleared by the commissioner’s office beforehand. According to Marc Stein of ESPN Dallas the Rangers “nominated” Nowitzki for the honor and MLB “nixed” him.

As for why they would turn down a beloved Texas athlete, Stein writes:

At least some hesitation stems from the idea that MLB executives want to stand behind their basketball counterparts and have notified the Rangers that they can’t bestow first-pitch honors on an NBA player.

Of course, MLB spokesperson Pat Courtney denied those claims, saying:

MLB absolutely denies that any part in selecting the first ball pitcher had anything to do with the current labor situation in the NBA. You want the club’s input in what makes sense for them and then we talk about what makes sense for the team and a good broad-base national appeal.

Nowitzki is one of the best, most popular NBA players and the reigning Finals MVP, regular watches and attends Rangers games, and is obviously a tremendously popular athlete in Texas, so the explanation/excuse that he doesn’t have “a good broad-base national appeal” seems absurd. On a national level he’s almost surely more well-known than every player involved in the World Series except for Albert Pujols.

Oh, and there’s also this: First pitch honors for Game 2 in St. Louis tomorrow night will go to an Ohio man named Tim Wisecup who won the Pepsi Max “Field of Dreams” contest by entering in a code from a bottle cap and being selected in a random drawing. Seriously.

If only Nowitzki had been entering himself into contests sponsored by MLB advertisers rather than wasting time winning an NBA championship he might have had a chance.

  1. theadam - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:14 PM


    • El Bravo - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:50 PM

      seriously. i hate Texas in almost every fathomable way, but love Dirk. how can you not love Dirk? wtf? this is a douchenozzle worthy move if they don’t let him pitch.

    • Panda Claus - Oct 19, 2011 at 6:21 PM

      I think they initially wanted to put Dirk on their post-season roster to come out of the bullpen instead of Koji.

  2. mvp43 - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    What an effing stupid comment by MLB……..

  3. halladaysbiceps - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    I have a suggestion and credit The Common Man for my idea.

    Chuck Norris should throw out the first pitch in Texas. But I hear that MLB also nixed this idea out of fear that Norris would break Torrealba’s hand.

    • leet793 - Oct 19, 2011 at 7:50 PM

      Not with his pitch…just break his hand!

    • hittfamily - Oct 20, 2011 at 12:35 AM

      Okay. Ceps closed his account. It was reopened. We all assume, it is still the same Ceps.

      It isn’t!!!

      It can’t be. 10-0 up/down on the necklace thread. 33-8 up/down on this thread. Old Ceps….. awesome. New Ceps….fake. It has to be. When in history did Ceps ever have a 11:1 ratio of up to down.

      You have been caught new Ceps. Hit the road.

      • hittfamily - Oct 20, 2011 at 12:39 AM

        edit button…seconds later


  4. mattintoledo - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    Hey, it’ll work on me. I never miss when Tim Wisecup is on TV.

  5. Kyle - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    This is so effing stupid.

    • Kyle - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:32 PM

      Or, rather, what mvp43 said.

  6. The Common Man - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    Really, if the Rangers just gave Dirk the ball right now, he could hold it up really high above his head until MLB caved in and let him throw it. Seriously, what would they be able to do about it?

    • halladaysbiceps - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:33 PM

      Invite Randy Johnson to the game to intervene?

      • Bill - Oct 19, 2011 at 5:42 PM

        OK, who wrote the script that automatically thumbs-downs all of HB’s comments? This one was solid.

    • okobojicat - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:40 PM

      This is in fact exactly what they are doing by leaking a statement about it to the press. Selig looks like a jackass and that’s exactly what the Rangers wanted.

  7. hittfamily - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    Hysterical. Great job in learning who the other people throwing out the pitches will be. First, I’m going to have to see Dr. House, conveniently sitting with Peter Griffin, Chef Gordon Ramsay, and Simon Cowell at the game tonight. Now, Pepsi gets to choose who throws out the first pitch.

    Commercialism at it’s very best.

    • halladaysbiceps - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:37 PM

      The Rangers should send in Gordon Ramsay in to negotiate this first pitch dispute. I’m sure Ramsay could f-bomb Selig to death and change his opinion.

  8. amaninwhite - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    So would that mean that Mark Cuban is allowed to throw it? Could he do it while wearing an FDNY hat?

    • El Bravo - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:52 PM

      and holding the NBA trophy of course…

  9. Spiro Agnew - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    I’m not a fan of the rangers or the mavs, and I’d love to see nowitzki pitch. cmon mlb

    • halladaysbiceps - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:54 PM

      Spiro Agnew? Are you commenting from the netherworld?

      We even have deceased people that comment on HBT. Amazing.

  10. antlerclaws - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:55 PM

    Dirk’s first pitch from June:

    Worth watching just to check out how big he is next to Michael Young.

    • cur68 - Oct 19, 2011 at 6:16 PM

      Mike Young is 6’1″. He looks like an 8 year old next to Dirk. Unreal.

  11. icanspeel - Oct 19, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    Just for fun they should keep requesting different NBA stars to see MLB’s excuse for rejecting each one.

    • jpeetey - Oct 19, 2011 at 7:00 PM

      This. Is MLB really going to try and tell me that Ian Mahinmi does not have broad-based national appeal?

  12. JBerardi - Oct 19, 2011 at 5:12 PM

    If only there was some way that Nowitzki’s first pitch could somehow determine who gets home field advantage in next year’s World Series, Selig would have gone for this.

  13. spudchukar - Oct 19, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    MLB, has no business telling Tejas who should or can be deemed with the honor. Hey, Bud, this finger is for you.

    • halladaysbiceps - Oct 19, 2011 at 5:55 PM

      Just like my favorite beer, spuds. I’m drinking a Budweiser right now, buddy.

      Budweiser=Because You Deserve What Every Individual Should Ever Require.

  14. Joe - Oct 19, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    MLB wants the first-pitch thrower to have “a good broad-base national appeal.” Why? Does anybody even care? Do people tune in for this?

    “You watching the Series tonight?”
    “I dunno, I’m not a fan of either of those teams. Who’s throwing out the first pitch?”
    “Dirk Nowitzki.”
    “(thinks) Nah, f–k it. Never heard of him.”

  15. ratflop - Oct 19, 2011 at 5:43 PM

    Can’t get more petty then that.

    • natstowngreg - Oct 19, 2011 at 7:08 PM

      Maybe they could come up with something more petty, but nothing comes to mind.

      Solidarity with their NBA owner bretheren? What, they’re going to form an Owners’ Union? I have this image of John Henry, Jerry Jones, and Jerry Buss picketing Albert Pujols’ house, demanding that he take a pay cut.

  16. Brian Donohue - Oct 19, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    Anti-union solidarity in a corporate-owned state. If you rage at this act of MLB’s then you should have zero problem with #OWS and all the other cities’ versions of same. MLB’s act is fairly petty (though still appalling) decadence compared with most of what’s gone on in the corporate owned state.

  17. ditto65 - Oct 19, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    He’s not even American. He’s German. Just another foreigner trying to take an American job.


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