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If you’re hungry, don’t talk pitching mechanics with Maya Moore. Somehow that conversation will take a turn down a path perhaps only Harold and Kumar could fully appreciate. Such was the case Saturday at Target Field as Moore prepared to throw out the first pitch before the Twins hosted the Royals.
Her pitch of choice?
“They all sounded like burgers to me, sliders and different things,” Moore joked. “When someone said slider, I said, ‘what, we have burgers?’”
Kidding aside, Moore spent Saturday afternoon taking in the sights and sounds at Target Field while getting the opportunity to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the second time in her career. Donning a personalized Twins jersey and her 2011 Lynx championship ring, Moore was introduced as an NCAA, Olympic and WNBA champion on a day the Twins pulled out a 6-2 victory.
Moore arrived at the stadium and got a behind the scenes look at what makes Target Field run on game day. She made her way through the inner tunnels of the stadium and wound her way into the Royals dugout as she made her way onto the field.
As she waited her turn, Moore got a chance to interact with fans, sign some autographs and get an idea of what it’s like to play at an outdoor baseball venue. Saturday’s game was a packed house, and Moore said despite years of playing in front of sellouts on the basketball court this particular experience generated a few more nerves than she’s used to.
“You definitely feel the nerves when you’re doing something you’re not used to,” Moore said. “The reason you’re confident on the basketball court is you’ve been working your whole life at it. But this is unfamiliar territory, and it makes me appreciate the talent these guys have out there.”
In the meantime, she got a chance to chat with other participants throwing out ceremonial first pitches and interact with their families. One family on the field had a young daughter who, while sitting on the warning track, took a baseball she was holding and gently rolled it toward the grass while looking the other direction. Moore quipped: “Now that’s what I call a no-look pass.”
Moments later, Moore struck up a conversation with the Royals coaching staff. They asked her about the Lynx’s 24-point victory over the Sparks the night before and gave her a few minor tips on how to approach the first pitch.
After that, Royals’ Jeff Francoeur stopped by. Moore and Francoeur each grew up as standout athletes five years apart in Gwinnett County in Georgia. She said he stopped by to say he was proud of what she was doing at the WNBA level and to keep it up.
“That was kind of cool for him to come over and say hi,” she said.
Moments before the Twins took the field, it was Moore’s turn to take the mound. Her attempt ended up just a bit outside and a little short, but Moore wasn’t deterred. After all, baseball is a game of repetitive opportunity.
“You know, you get four balls in baseball,” Moore said. “That was one of them. I didn’t get another chance [today], but hopefully I get another opportunity.”
As for getting a chance to come across the street from Target Center and participate in a memorable day at the ballpark, Moore said she’s grateful to the Twins organization for allowing her to take part in something she’ll never forget.
“We feel excited for each other and want each other to do well,” she said. “When we play and the Twins win on the same day, it’s a great day for sports in the Twin Cities.”
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