Lower Haighter Dan Jackson Throws Out Giants First Pitch

Photo: Twitter / deee646
By Andrew Dudley - Published on March 28, 2014.
As Dan Jackson would say, OMFG YOU GUYS.

Lower Haight resident, Wing Wings aficionado, and Gregor Blanco disbeliever Dan Jackson had a dream come true last night: getting to throw out the first pitch at the Giants/A's pre-season game at AT&T Park.

We checked in with Dan after the game to find out how it came about.

"This afternoon I started to see more and more people using the hashtag #SFGBucketList on Twitter.  I found out it was tied to a contest that the Giants were running, and the winner would get to throw out the first pitch at tonight’s game."
So at 6pm, Dan tweeted out his #SFGBucketList entry, not thinking he would have any chance to win:
As he was leaving work to go to the game, he decided to make a "really quick vine" and post it as well:
Within a few minutes, he got a direct message from the Giants saying that he had been chosen to throw out the first pitch.  The only catch was, he had to get to the stadium within 15 minutes, or they would give the honor to someone else.

Dan had been planning to walk to the stadium from his Market Street office, but with only 15 minutes to claim his prize, he knew that wouldn't work.

"I hopped in a cab and we got half a block before getting completely stuck in gridlock traffic. After sitting in the same spot for 5 minutes, I told the driver I’m bailing and handed him a $5 (the fare was around $4.50 at that point). I jumped out and literally just ran the whole way from 2nd and Mission to 3rd and King."
On his way, he called his fiancée Shoshanna and told her the big news.  She hurried to the ballpark to meet him.

When he got to the stadium ("absolutely dripping sweat... it was just gross"), a Giants staffer was waiting at the side entrance by the dugout store to let him in.  They brought him through the side entrance, through a tunnel under the stands, and out onto the field.

"A photographer quickly gave me a few basic directions on what I needed to do, and that was it. They handed me the game ball and told me I would be up in about 6 minutes, right after the little girl singing the national anthem. So I was just standing there on the field next to a dozen Giants crew and the little girl who was currently practicing the national anthem to herself. None of it had sunk in yet, it had all happened so fast, and I was still sweaty and hadn’t even really caught my breath yet."
After the national anthem concluded, they walked Dan over towards the Giants dugout to meet Sergio Romo, who would be catching the first pitch.

"He comes up to me and says 'Hey Dan, I heard you’re the man today… you ready for this?' I nervously said I was and he said 'Great, let’s do this!'"
Dan started walking to the mound, and caught a glimpse of himself on the jumbotron.

"A camera man was following behind me the whole time. It was so unbelievably surreal. I mean how many times do you ever see yourself from behind while you’re walking somewhere?"
He got to the perfectly-raked mound, and hesitated.

"I stopped at the edge of the grass for a split second and questioned if I wanted to mess up the perfect dirt by walking on it. I thought back to them telling me right beforehand that I didn’t have to throw it from the mound if I didn’t want to. I could just throw it from the grass if I wanted to make it easier. But I quickly decided that I’m never going to have this opportunity again, and walked onto the mound."
Then he turned around and faced home plate -- and the thousands of fans in the stands behind it.

"There were so many people all around watching me – it was absolutely crazy. At this point, Renel (the Giants’ stadium announcer) was introducing me over the stadium PA, and announcing that it was time for me to throw the pitch. I didn’t hear her at all though, as I was just completely overwhelmed with the fact that I was about to throw out a pitch to Romo in front of thousands of people… Luckily, one of the photographers told me she would give me a thumbs up when it was time for me to throw. She was standing right behind Romo’s left shoulder and as I looked towards home plate, I saw her giving me the signal."
It was time to throw the pitch.

"I hadn’t thrown a baseball in years, so I really had no idea how it would go down. Would I throw it way too short and have it land in the grass before even reaching Romo? Would I over compensate and throw it too hard, sending it soaring over his head? I’ve seen a lot of pretty bad first pitches, and YouTube is full of 'worst first pitch ever' videos, so I knew how bad this sort of thing could go.

"Somehow though, I threw it surprisingly well and Romo didn’t have to move at all to catch it. I couldn’t believe it. Romo jumped up and ran towards me. I walked off the mound to meet him and he said 'Yeah! THAT’S what’s up!' and shook my hand. Best ever. He signed the ball I threw and took a quick photo with me before he jogged over to the Giants dugout."
Shoshanna posted a video of the pitch to YouTube -- it's clearly not a 'worst first pitch ever.' She also tweeted the following photo:
A few hours later, Dan was still in shock from the event.

"I really still can’t believe that actually happened. It seems just too ridiculous. People don’t actually get to do something like this, right? Ha so many people thought I was joking or didn’t believe when I said I would be throwing out the first pitch tonight. I’m kinda with them and am not sure it really happened. So crazy."
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