I like it when sports come together, and baseball and racing briefly came together Wednesday when Joey Logano and Michael Waltrip threw out the ceremonial first pitches at BB&T Ballpark.
Logano, who drives the 22 car and wore a No. 22 Charlotte Knights' jersey, went first. His pitch was perfect. It wasn't in the low 90s, but it was over the plate, a clear strike.
Waltrip, wearing No. 15, was next. Clint Bowyer drives the 15 for Waltrip. Waltrip guesses he has thrown the first pitch 12 previous times. His favorite was in Miami, before a game between the Florida Marlins and the Braves. Behind the plate was a fish, the Marlins' mascot.
As Waltrip stood on the mound, he looked in the Atlanta dugout at Chipper Jones. Waltrip grew up a Braves' fan in Kentucky and, like all Braves' fans, he likes Chipper. Waltrip faced the fish and -- threw the first pitch to Chipper, who of course caught it cleanly. It's hard to throw a strike to a fish.
Waltrip says the key is to look at the catcher, on this night Charlotte first baseman Dan Black, who is 6-5, and try to throw the ball over his head.
There's an inducement to go high Wednesday: Denny Hamlin bet Waltrip $100 the ball would go in the dirt. Hamlin wanted to bet another $100 that Waltrip couldn't throw a strike, but Waltrip, 51, wouldn't take the bet.
With no warmup, and with thousands of fans watching, Waltrip delivered. It might have been a strike; depends on how big a NASCAR fan the ump is.
But he did win $100.