The Hurricanes centerman and fan favorite was invited to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park to throw out a ceremonial first pitch on Thursday for the Bulls' game against the Norfolk Tides. This is the 20th anniversary of the great movie "Bull Durham", and the Bulls have been celebrating this all season long. LaRose's appearance on Thursday had nothing to do with the Bull Durham celebration, but in an unintentional way, it did.
From the movie, you may remember the professional debut of Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh, the fireball pitcher with control problems, played by Tim Robbins. After his debut, the manager "Skip" (played by Trey Wilson) and the assistant Larry Hockett (played by Robert Wuhl) had the following conversation:
Skip: He walked 18
Larry: A new league record
Skip: He struck out 18
Larry: Another new league record. In addition, he hit the sportswriter, the public address announcer, the Bull mascot. Twice! Also new league records.
Incidentally, I've always had a serious problem with this opening baseball scene. The visiting team is referred to as the Peninsula White Sox on a few occasions, but they are very clearly the Hagerstown Suns. I'm just sayin'.
Anyway, Chad LaRose went out to make the ceremonial first pitch, which sailed high and wide, hitting a little girl in the back. She was on the field, about to go play the National Anthem on her flute, or recorder, or tambourine, or whatever. That detail isn't important. Only that he hit her. Apparently, Nuke's pitch was not exactly a fastball, because the little girl was completely uninjured. LaRose told N&O writer Luke Decock that there were no hard feelings on her side and that he was pretty shaken up by the whole ordeal:
"She came up to the seats and got pictures with me and everything," LaRose said. "I was the one more hurt by it than her, I think. … Everyone's fine except for me. I'm traumatized by the whole situation."
This is where Nuke misses his buddy Mike Commodore. If Commy were still around, he would have been the one making that pitch, and it would have been much more successful. Commodore, who is a baseball nut, was a regular fixture at Bulls games while he was with the Hurricanes. No footage of Sharpie's fiasco, but here's some archival footage of Commy at DBAP:
Jeez. I just wrote something about baseball. Is is October yet?