Does the Ceremonial First Pitch Count?

When the President throws out the first pitch at a baseball game, does it count? That is, is the count on the first batter now 1-0.
And if it does count, what if the first pitch is in the strike zone? Believe it or not, I can’t find this by a simple search.

No, the first batter does not start 1-0. There is no batter standing in for the ceremonial first pitch and the umpire does not make a call on it and the home team does not field a defense (save the catcher). It is merely ceremonial.

And I can see how this would be tough to search on. I only know from attending major league baseball games.

Awesome. Thanks a lot. I’ve been to a few games, but never really paid attention if there was a first pitch like that.
Thanks again.

Having a non-professional throw even one pitch that counted would be a disadvantage for the home team. It would be almost sure to be either hittable (if in the strike zone) or a ball.

I’ve seen footage from decades ago in which the president is even tossing the ball to a catcher via the stands, which again underlines how ceremonial this is.

I’d say consider the same kind of ceremony as the pace car might have in an auto race. Doesn’t count towards the game.

Dr. Lao is correct. From the rules of baseball:

Since the cermeonial pitch takes place prior to these events, the game has not yet begun and thus the pitch does not count.

Just the opposite, in my observation, at least for the Japan leagues. Whenever there’s a celebrity or guest pitcher, the standard practice is for the batter to swing and miss, even if the pitch is rolling toward third base (which they often are).

But even in Japan, the swing doesn’t count. It’s just part of the act.

True, it’s all before the game actually starts.

I’ll just note that the “ceremonial first pitch” used to mean more as a symbol back in an era when hitters rarely saw a fresh, white baseball during a game: that same “first pitch” could well be the same baseball used throughout most of the game. In the early days of baseball, the only time a fresh baseball would be put into play was when a particularly recalcitrant fan got his hands on one in the stands and wouldn’t give it back. Today, of course, they are souvenirs. (The baseballs, that is, not the recalcitrant fans.)

I tried unsuccessfully to google for the origin of the CFP and could date it back only as far as President William Howard Taft.

Yep, ever since the end of the dead ball era balls are recycled pretty much everytime they come into contact with a bat.

Foul balls are either hit out of the playing area and are unrecoverable or are caught out of bounds (if playable) and thrown into the stands by the player, or if no one can get to it a bat boy or someone will retrieve it and throw it into the stands.

In fact most of the time even balls caught well inside the playing area are typically thrown up into the stands if they are caught anywhere near fans.

I know MLB used to have about 72 balls prepared for every game. I think a little over 100 is the standard now.

A ball is pretty much only recycled from pitch to pitch if it is a foul tip, a caught ball or a caught strike.

Anytime that ball comes into contact with the bat except maybe in the instance of a foul tip, that ball is never going to be used on a batter ever again.

Each ball survives about 6 pitches (makes sense, think of how many balls and caught strikes typically happen in a given baseball game.)

So to get a rough guesstimate of how many balls are used per game just divide the number of pitches by 6 and you’ll have the average.

Roughly 250-350 pitches are thrown every game, so usually around 50+ balls are used every game.

That was FDR. He was unable to walk without the aid of crutches and not very far in any case.

Bad analogy. The pace car really has nothing to do with ceremony. It’s purpose before the race is to maintain constant "pit road speed"during the parade laps, allowing the field to work out what gear/RPM they must be at to avoid speeding on pit road, a no-no. Keep in mind that these cars do not have speedometers, just tachometers.

Once the race has begun, the pace car brings the field under control during a caution period, slowing the cars to a safe speed and allowing the safety crews to do their jobs without fear of being hit.

In the case of baseball, it’s mostly a PR thing. Suppose Jim Belushi has a good, Oscar-caliber type movie premiering this weekend. As a native son, the Cubs and/or White Sox may bring him in to throw out the first pitch, possibly putting a few more full price paying butts in the seats in the process.

I’m pretty sure it’s only recently that the pitch has been anything other than from the stands. I’d think it would have to post date the “casual presidency” - wearing tails and a top hat is hardly conducive to throwing the pitch out.

Here is a picture of Taft in 1909 tossing out the ball from the stands. And here is Woodrow Wilson also tossing from the stands, opening day 1916.

The Taft picture, which I found on the White House website after some digging, shows many presidents throwing out the pitch from the stands, including Richard Nixon, Herbert Hoover, Gerald Ford, Warren G Harding, and FDR. The only photographs available (on that website) of a president who actually went down to field level to toss were of Reagan, who appears to be along one of the baselines; Clinton, who is wearing a glove and Orioles warmup jacket and may, in fact, be on the field; and George W Bush, who is throwing out a first pitch from field level during a World Series game. I’m sure it would be far easier to protect the President if he were kept in the stands, so how Presidents have tossed the CFP mayn’t be casually mixed with how Mayor Schmoe or Shopkeeper Grumby would do it.

I’ve continued to try to find out of Taft was the first person to toss out a ceremonial first pitch, but information is sketchy. Many sites claim he is the first President to do so, but that doesn’t mean he’s the first person to do so. Also, the Presidents seem to have been throwing a ceremonial first pitch of the season but I can’t be sure if there was an existing tradition of a CFP of the game or if that’s a more recent addition to inflate the egos of local business owners, small-potatoes politicians, and the like.