Cameras flashed, the crowd rose for a thunderous ovation and Mo’ne Davis did exactly what she was expected to do – fire a strike right down the middle.
From Little League phenom to the star of her own commercial to World Series celebrity, 13-year-old Davis has been on quite a ride these past few months.
She continued her remarkable journey on the biggest baseball stage of all when she threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 4 of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals on Saturday.
“Just to be at the World Series is pretty cool,” Davis said. “If I didn’t throw a strike, I don’t know what I would do. Throwing a strike was probably the best part.”
On a night when the attention of the sports world was focused on AT&T Park, Davis managed to stand out.
She paused to take photographs with fans, munched on a vanilla-and-chocolate sundae in the press box and managed to squeeze in some face time with Hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson.
The eighth grader even got a phone call from her favorite player, Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley.
“I think that tops it all,” Davis said with a grin.
Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Spike Lee, who directed the television commercial for Chevrolet that stars Davis, was also in attendance to watch the young pitcher.
Davis has been on the cover of Sports Illustrated and appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Throwing out the first pitch at a World Series game seemed like the natural next step.
“When I found out that the commissioner was going to have her throw out the first pitch tonight, I said, ‘I’ve got to be here,’ ” Lee said. “She’s amazing … and she’s on the honor roll, too. And she’s only 13 years old.”
The sold-out crowd at AT&T Park stood in unison and cheered when Davis was introduced. Surrounded on the mound by players from the Jackie Robinson West team in Chicago that also reached the Little League World Series this summer, Davis went into the windup that made her a national sensation and threw a perfect pitch to Giants backup catcher Andrew Susac.
Davis initially stood in front of the mound before Susac motioned for her to back up a few feet.
“I wasn’t really worrying about it,” she said. “A lot of people were telling me to go to the mound, but then I’m like, I don’t know. So then I just went to the mound and lobbed it over the plate.”
While she’s a hard-core Phillies fan, Davis played like a politician when it came to picking a winner in the World Series.
“I want the Giants to win because they won in 2012 and then they didn’t make it [in 2013], so if they win again it’d be on and off,” Davis said. “But I also want Kansas City to win because when’s the last time they won?”
That would be 1985, long before baseball’s newest star was born.
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