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Cliff Avril throws ceremonial first pitch for Seattle Mariners
Believe it or not, when it came to throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Seattle Mariners Wednesday night game against the New York Yankees, defensive end Cliff Avril said he was "more nervous about this than the Super Bowl."
Avril had just taken in batting practice with teammate Brandon Mebane, who was on-hand for moral support and who was also dressed for the occasion - sporting a pair of Ken Griffey Jr.'s Nike Swingman shoes.
To help calm his nerves before his big moment on the mound in front of 28,434 fans, Avril wanted to get in some warm-up tosses behind the scenes at Safeco Field.
"It's that far?" Avril hollered at Mebane, who had positioned himself 60 feet and six inches - the distance between the pitcher's mound and home plate - down the concourse in the bowels of the stadium. "It didn't look that far when I was out there."
Fellow defensive end Michael Bennett, who threw out the first pitch for the Mariners in late April, joined his D-line teammates on the field just before Avril took center stage and delivered his first pitch a bit high and outside to Mariners outfielder Stefan Romero.
"I'd rate it a 6 (out of 10), it wasn't 50 Cent, though," Avril said, referring to the New York City rapper's not-so-impressive toss at the Mets game in late May. "He's not a good teammate," Avril joked of Bennett. "He didn't give me any tips. A good teammate would have told me throw it a little faster.
"I don't play baseball, though," Avril reminded. "I sack quarterbacks."
And Seahawks fans are perfectly OK with that.