Tonight before the Yankees-Blue Jays game at Yankee Stadium, Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs and football head coach Chris Ash will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
This is the kickoff for the R B1G Tour, which will take various coaches and personnel of the Rutgers athletic department all over the tri-state area in the next month. For the full schedule of the R B1G Tour, click here. This is just another great way to promote the new era of Rutgers athletics, with the two most prominent figures taking part. There is also a ticket special for Rutgers alumni and fans who want to attend tonight's game. The link for the special offer is here.
From the press release, Hobbs and Ash had this to say about throwing out tonight's first pitch:
"The Yankees are the iconic brand in sports," said Hobbs. "As a lifelong Yankees fan, I am thrilled to represent Rutgers Athletics and have the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium."
"It is an honor to represent Rutgers in throwing out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium, one of the most storied venues in all of sports," said Ash. "This will be a great opportunity to meet our fans in the tri-state area who love and support Rutgers football."
The Rutgers football team is 2-1 all-time at the new Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009. They beat Army in 2011 and Iowa State in the Pinstripe Bowl later that same season. The bowl win was the last game Greg Schiano ever coached at Rutgers. It was at the Pinstripe Bowl game two seasons later that Rutgers lost to Notre Dame 29-16, finishing the season with a 6-7 record.
One sad historical note is that Rutgers basketball great Jim Valvano always dreamed of throwing out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium. He was scheduled to throw out the first pitch on opening day in 1993, but sadly was too ill to do so. His longtime friend and famed North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith did in his honor. Valvano lost his battle with cancer soon after, passing away less than three weeks later.
On a personal side note, my all-time favorite ceremonial first pitch was when President George W. Bush appeared before Game 3 of the 2001 World Series. Whether you are a Yankee fan or not (I'm not), and no matter how you felt about Bush as President, I argue it was the most important ceremonial first pitch ever thrown. It was less than two months after 9/11 and having the Yankees host the World Series during that time was surreal. This was the first game of the series in New York and President Bush set the tone that night with his appearance and the way he handled himself on the field. Below is raw video of his first pitch, as well as a clip from a documentary detailing the action behind the scenes that night at Yankee Stadium with the President. The chants of "U-S-A, U-S-A" after his first pitch was something truly special. Perhaps Yankee fans will help start an "R-U, R-U" chant tonight!