Another proposed new baseball rule, this one inspired by the four ceremonial “first pitches” (wouldn’t they be the ceremonial first, second, third, and fourth pitches?) at the Nationals’ opener:
Any “ceremonial first pitch” delivered by someone greater than 18 years and less than 75 years of age must be delivered as the first pitch of the actual game, to a live batter, and the results of the pitch will count in the game. The ceremonial first pitch may be delivered by someone not on the team’s 25-man roster, and the pitch will not count toward the statistics of the game’s starting pitcher; additionally, the game’s starting pitcher may accompany the deliverer of the ceremonial first pitch to the mound in order to field any balls in play that may result from the pitch. If any ceremonial pitch fails to reach home plate on the fly, it shall count as a ball. Only one “ceremonial first pitch” can be delivered in any game; subsequent ceremonial pitches shall be designated the “ceremonial second pitch,” “ceremonial third pitch,” and so on.
Of course, this rule would be repealed the first time a batter delivered a line-drive straight into Robert Redford’s grill. The age restriction is just plain decent; it prevents possible injuries to children or the elderly. (Presumably, all first-pitch-deliverers would also sign some sort of waiver so that they couldn’t sue when they took a line-drive to the noggin. I recommend a batting helmet for ceremonial-first-pitch-deliverers.)