Two years ago, John Wall fired a ceremonial first pitch so bad is still remembered and ridiculed. He tried so hard to fire a hard pitch that he spiked it into the ground near the left-handed batter’s box and Drew Storen had to scoop it up backhanded. Before Thursday’s game, Storen on how Wall could improve: “He can do the sky hook. I don’t care.”

Wall lofted a soft, and more accurate, toss to Gio Gonzalez crouched behind home plate on Thursday. It was a ball but over the plate. After Gonzalez caught it, Wall threw his arms up in the air and laughed with team officials nearby, happy to have finally done it correctly.

“It was more relief to finally get it past the mound. It was exciting just to redeem yourself and get it over with,” Wall told colleague Michael Lee. Gio “Gonzalez gave me a lot of tips but the mascot [Screech] was talking a lot of junk. He was making jokes about how I threw it in the dirt, like, ‘You can’t do that again.’

“Last time I tried to throw it like a Strasburg fastball but the mound is 10 inches off the ground and it goes downhill and I didn’t know that. So when I threw it, my foot went down, my whole body went downhill. This time I tried to let it go it at it’s highest peak,” Wall said. “As long as he got the ball, long as he didn’t have to run like he did last time, I’m cool with it. You see I was really excited, I gave everybody a hug.”