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Doan Tosses First Pitch at Diamondbacks Game

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE – Coyotes fans know Shane Doan lives and breathes hockey. In the summer, however, he squeezes in a little baseball.

Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Arizona Diamondbacks.

"I love the sport," Doan said Monday night at Chase Field in Phoenix. "Coming out and watching the games is pretty special."

Doan was the guest of honor as the Arizona Diamondbacks hosted the Atlanta Braves in the opening game of a seven-game homestand. Before it started, he tossed the ceremonial first pitch from the rubber on top of the mound. His throw to Diamondbacks pitcher Patrick Corbin was a bit high but the fans loved it and many howled their approval as Doan walked off the bump.

"(Arizona manager) Chip Hale said I had to throw a four-seam fastball," Doan said. "He also said ‘Don’t bounce it,’ so I didn’t bounce it."

Doan is a baseball fan and a hardcore fantasy baseball participant. Before the game, in the home team’s dugout, he jokingly gave Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt a hard time about having such a productive past week because Doan was competing against a fantasy team that had Goldschmidt on its roster.

"He killed me last week," Doan quipped.

Doan, who grew up in Halkirk, Alberta, played organized baseball until a serious knee injury he suffered playing hockey forced him to leave the diamond. He was a catcher, you see, and he couldn’t meet the physical demands required to play defense behind the plate with a bum leg.

Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Arizona Diamondbacks.

"Guys who play hockey usually enjoy baseball," Doan said. "During the summer in Canada you’ve got to find a sport, and I was OK. I was good for Canada - central Alberta good - which is not really considered that good, I don’t think."

Doan grew up rooting for the Toronto Blue Jays and he knows exactly where he was - watching the game in a basement with friend and former NHLer Jason Strudwick - when Joe Cater hit the dramatic home run that clinched the World Series title for Toronto in 1993.

Doan said his favorite member of the Blue Jays was Jesse Barfield, who, like Doan, is a Christian athlete. He also enjoyed watching gritty infielder Kelly Gruber play the game.

In addition to throwing the first pitch on Monday, Doan also mingled with current and former Diamondbacks players – including Goldschmidt, Luis Gonzalez and Mark Grace – in the dugout before the game, and he chatted briefly with Hale in the manager’s office.

Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Arizona Diamondbacks.

During some down time, the Diamondbacks asked Doan to recite the team’s lineup for the game into a camera for use on the scoreboard beyond center field. It was an easy task until Doan reached the player filling the sixth spot in the batting order: Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

"That took a few takes and then I ended up just giving up," Doan said with a smile.

During the game, Doan chatted with Diamondbacks announcers Steve Berthiaume and Bob Brenly for a half inning during their broadcast on FOX Sports Arizona.

Click here to view a photo gallery of Doan's visit to Chase Field.

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