Taichung teenager Jiang Wan-ting (江宛庭) on Thursday gained international fame of sorts after tossing a ceremonial first pitch toward the outfield.
Jiang from Dongshan Junior High School was selected to perform the pre-game entertainment and dazzled the audience with a dance routine before the Asia Winter Baseball League game between the Japan Amateur Baseball Association and Nippon Professional Baseball East.
For the ceremonial first pitch, she threw the ball toward second base instead of home plate, where a baffled catcher was stumped by her unexpected move.
In a video circulating online, the spectators can be seen pausing for a moment in surprise before breaking out in laughter.
In another video taken by her classmates, they can be heard shouting: “You threw the ball in the wrong direction” and “Idiot” before Jiang realized her mistake and covered her mouth while laughing.
Jiang’s blunder attracted attention by Taiwanese netizens and media, with some saying it was “an embarrassment,” but most saying it was funny and that her innocence and personality shone through.
Others said her action was “comedy gold,” as it elicited laughter from fans, players, umpires and broadcasters alike.
As the game was between two Japanese teams, Jiang’s opening pitch was picked up by Japanese news sites, where commenters called her cute and charming, and suggested that the Nippon baseball league invite her for a pre-game ceremony next year.
The news also made the rounds in the US, with Yahoo Sports News calling it “the worst first pitch we’ve ever seen.”
Afterward, Jiang apologized on social media, saying: “Very sorry I threw the ball the wrong direction.”
In an interview over the weekend, Jiang said she faced the outfield, because that was where the cameras were.
“I saw players with gloves on second and third base along with cameras in the outfield, so I thought that was the direction to throw the ball,” she said. “I was confused, wondering why no one was there to catch it, then I realized my mistake.”
“I was embarrassed and wanted to hide in a hole,” she added.
Jiang told reporters that since many of her classmates were to attend the game at Taichung Intercontinental Stadium, the organizers invited her school’s social club to present the pre-game entertainment.
Her classmates voted for her to perform and throw the opening pitch, because she is passionate about dance, she said.
Jiang said she practiced the routine for half a month and her classmates were in the stands by home base to support her.
They were also surprised by her gaffe, but thanked her for making everyone laugh.
The Japan Amateur Baseball Association handily won Thursday’s game 11-1.
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