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Moniz and McCarthy to throw first (and second?) pitch at Red Sox game


Then-MIT professor Ernest Moniz (left) , nominated as Energy Secretary, and Sylvia Mathews Burwell (right), then-President of the Walmart Foundation nominated as budget director, applaud as President Obama announces Gina McCarthy (center), as his nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, March 4, 2013, in Washington, D.C. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Unless they hold hands and literally throw the first pitch together, or throw two balls simultaneously, either Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz or Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy will be throwing the second pitch at Fenway Park Tuesday night.

But first or second, there is perhaps no more daunting task for a public official than throwing a baseball in front of a crowded stadium and praying it, at least, reaches home plate. “House of Cards” fans will recall how Frank Underwood nervously practiced his pitch for an Orioles game, as wife Claire helpfully reminded him that when he threw one back in South Carolina it somehow managed to go straight up and smash him on the head. (Spoiler: Underwood never got his redemption because a Northeast energy blackout interrupted his throw.)

In honor of Earth Day, the two Boston natives, Moniz and McCarthy, were invited to throw the ceremonial first pitch at Tuesday evening’s Red Sox-Yankees game. And like Underwood, they’ve been practicing.

Check out this awesome video of Moniz — his arm’s looking good — throwing practice pitches with his trademark long gray hair flowing from under a baseball cap. Apparently, Moniz played center field in his younger days and had even been invited to try out for the majors.

McCarthy, on the other hand, is not a would-be professional athlete, but she, too, has been practicing. The secretary has been slipping out to the EPA courtyard to play catch with staff, a spokeswoman confirmed. McCarthy went on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Tuesday morning sounding nervous. “I’m just going to remember that baseball is not my calling, so I’m just going to have fun with it,” she said. Later adding, “I’ll survive one way or another.”

To calm their nerves, we do not recommend they reach out to fellow Cabinet member Secretary of State John Kerry or to their boss President Obama for relief. Kerry, in 2004, threw an imperfect pitch that landed at the feet of the catcher. Not terrible, but for a presidential candidate, a powerful pitch would have provided a much better image.

And Obama in 2010 threw the first pitch at the Nationals home opener, but his throw was too high and too wide, though it did reach the plate. The catcher leaped to catch the ball, saving the president from a wild pitch.

No matter what they do, Moniz and McCarthy should keep reasonable expectations. They can’t do any worse than teen pop star Carly Rae Jepsen. Maybe?

Colby Itkowitz is the lead anchor of the Inspired Life blog. She previously covered the quirks of national politics and the federal government.

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