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News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

June 21, 2013
Give 'em the heater, Kap: 49ers QB to throw out first pitch at Giants game


******UPDATE******* Kaepernick's ceremonial first pitch was clocked at 87 mph -- not too shabby for a guy wearing high tops and jeans. Is 87 mph a record for a first pitch? Sadly, it's the one stat that Major League Baseball does not track.

Anything shy of 90 mph will be a bit of a let down.

Colin Kaepernick has been given the first-pitch honors at tonight's Giants-Marlins game. And while the first pitch usually ends in some lame attempt that dribbles to the catcher in front of decidedly disinterested fans, this one will be worth watching because Kaepernick is capable of bringing big-league heat. After all, he was a high school pitcher who threw two no-hitters his senior year, who was drafted by the Cubs and whose fastball once was clocked at 94 mph.

There's also some interesting contrast in order. Last year, Alex Smith got the honor of throwing the first pitch in Game 1 of the Giants' series with the Reds. (The ball hit the dirt before reaching the catcher). Meanwhile, Russell Wilson, the quarterback of the arch-rival Seahawks, threw out a first pitch at a Mariners game earlier this month. Wilson was an infielder at N.C. State and also was drafted to play baseball, by the Orioles.

His first pitch - seen here - was impressive, but perhaps not quite as impressive at the 98 mph that was shown on the video board in the stadium. The Mariners broadcasters said the ball crossed the plate at 75 mph, which is what you'd expect from a middle infielder. In case you missed it, the 49ers and Seahawks just plain don't like each other, so Kaepernick has to - absolutely must - top 75 mph or else all hope is lost.

Ok, maybe we're getting too carried away. Kaepernick cautioned on Twitter that he hadn't picked up a baseball in seven years - since high school - and perhaps we shouldn't get our expectations too high. Still, you can envision him positioning Ricardo Lockette or Bruce Miller or Kyle Williams 60 feet and six inches away with a catcher's mitt today to get the old pitching arm warmed up. A little bird told me he plans to wear cleats so he can get a good push off the rubber.

And you know for sure his pitch will be better than this guy's ...


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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