First Pitch

Andy Cohen tells us all about his nerve-racking pitch at this weekend's Cardinals game.

What a weekend in St. Louis!!! I am still flying high from the excitement of throwing the pitch, and even just wearing a damn Cardinals jersey that said my name on the back. Here I am with my "posse" who joined me on the field. It's Prexy of Bravo and Oxygen and Everything Lauren Zalaznick and her son Dale, my nephew Jeremy, and Bravo exec Dave Serwatka.

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When we got to the field I met the man to whom I would be pitching, Cardinal Outfielder Joe Mather. Mr. Mather is a 6' 5" Gingey who is incredibly nice and perhaps I would say even dreamy.

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Mr. Mather told me that there would be several people also throwing a first pitch, to which my nephew responded that that sort of makes MY throwing a pitch a little less special. "Yes," I told him. "I was having the same thought."

"Not so," my friend from the Cardinals told me! He said the plan was for the others to make their throws and then they were waiting 10 minutes and I would make mine, followed by the legendary Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson. Mr. Gibson is regarded as one of the greatest pitchers who ever played the game of baseball, so I felt great about this whole thing. Sadly, there were some wee kids who threw before me and they were throwing strikes from the top of the mound.

Everyone from Jerry Seinfeld to Bob Costas had told me not to go to the top of the mound, that I would surely bounce the ball if I thew from up there.  But I felt like I would certainly look like a dope throwing from the tip of the mound after all these little leaguers had just aced it from the mound. My nephew wondered why I was spazzing out so much. Lauren told him that I was certainly having flashbacks to being a 9-year-old gay kid in little league dropping balls while other kids made fun of me. I probably WAS having that thought somewhere in the back of my mind, and I thanked LZ for bringing it alive again!  I decided to take the mound and just go for it.

I loved the "intro" part because I got to ham it up with Fredbird on the JumboTron. A few of my cousins and aunt and uncle nicknamed me "Fredbird" or actually "bird" growing up, after the lovable mascot, so it was totes full circle.

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Running out to the mound was absolutely the best part of the whole thing. I pretended like I was a Cardinal and, well, flew. I loved that moment.  The pitch was so fast I barely remember it. A nice way of putting it would be to call it "high and outside". The truth was that it was VERY high and VERY outside. As my mother put it later: I did not bounce it and it went over the plate. Isaac Mizrahi was in our box and he pronounced it "the gayest pitch I've ever seen." Here are Isaac, his partner Arnold, and my mum.

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I have to mention that as bad as my pitch was, Mr. Bob Gibson's was actually worse. He hit the dirt and didn't throw from the mound. This is totally unfair of me to say, given that he's old and his shoulder is completely thrown from pitching a lifetime of strikes, but it is a petty way of redeeming myself. (It made me feel better at the time.) It was a THRILL meeting Mr. Gibson, I'll tell you that!

The game itself was just one long party. I had my entire family there and many friends.  Fredbird stopped up to the box later to join the fun. I can't say enough about how wonderful the Cardinal Organization was to me and how grateful I am for the experience.

On Saturday night, it was another bucket lister as I was inducted with nine other alumni into the inaugural Hall of Fame celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Clayton School District. It was a very special night and several of my past teachers came to give me a Mazel. I won't forget this weekend!

Now it's back to the grind. This week is going to be intense.


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