– With the Red Wings season reaching a disappointing early end last week, captain Nicklas Lidstrom
accepted an invitation to throw out the first pitch in a baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and the world champion New York Yankees on Thursday afternoon at Comerica Park.
Also throwing out a ceremonial first-pitch along side Lidstrom was NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski of Rochester Hills, Mich.
Decked out in a Tigers’ home jersey with his name and the No. 5 on the back and a ‘C’ on the upper right chest, Lidstrom did something that San Jose star Dany Heatley didn’t do in late April: the Wings defenseman threw a perfect strike.
While Lidstrom went with more of a high-arching Ephus pitch – which easily crossed the plate to Tigers rightfielder Magglio Ordonez – Heatley skipped a toss that bounced in the grass halfway between the mound and the plate at AT&T Park.
“I didn’t see his, but I heard about it,” said Lidstrom, laughing.
Accompanied onto the field by Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom
and defenseman Andreas Lilja, Lidstrom said that he would have warmed-up prior to his throw if a certain teammate had followed through with a promise.
“Homer said that he was going to help me out today,” said Lidstrom of Holmstrom. “But he didn’t. … I wish I had my hockey stick so I could take a slap shot. I’m sure that I would be a lot more accurate then.”
Having grown-up in suburban Detroit as a Red Wings’ fan, Keselowski – sporting a Tigers jersey with his name and the No. 12 on the back (the number of his Penske Racing Dodge Charger) – he was thrilled to meet Lidstrom before heading out to the mound for their first pitch.
“It was an honor to meet him,” said Keselowski, who is scheduled to race at Dover International Speedway this Sunday. “He’s done a lot for the sport and for the Red Wings.”