Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders – and now Carl Edwards as a two-sport star?
After what he showed Tuesday at Kansas City’s Kaufmann Stadium, Edwards might have a new career ahead if this whole NASCAR thing doesn’t work out.
Even though he claimed his baseball ability was virtually non-existent, Edwards showed he can hurl a pretty mean fastball when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch Tuesday at the Kansas City Royals game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
A native of Columbia, Mo., about two hours east of Kansas City, Edwards professed being a lifelong fans of the cross-state rival St. Louis Cardinals.
But according to the Kansas City Star’s Randy Covitz, Edwards’ “fastball blistered (Royals catcher) Billy Butler’s mitt.”
“You’ve got a pretty good arm,” Butler, an avowed NASCAR fan, told Edwards, according to Covitz’ column in Wednesday’s Star.
While Edwards’ throw had good speed on it, the pitch just a wee bit outside for a ball and not a strike.
Still, it was an experience he’ll likely never forget. And knowing the athlete Edwards is, don’t be surprised if he starts working more on his fastball, curve and control – just in case he may want to further pursue this whole baseball thing somewhere down the road.
“That’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever done,” Edwards told Covitz after running off the field amid a flurry of fist bumps from Royals players and even Yost himself.
“I was a little nervous about the first pitch. I warmed up a little bit (Monday) night,” Edwards said. “I haven’t thrown a baseball for a long time. My strategy was to throw it as hard as I could.”
Making his first-ever visit to Kaufmann Stadium, Edwards was supposed to have a much wider overall experience, including taking batting and outfield practice. But his plane was late from Charlotte, leaving him only to take part in the first pitch activity.
But the Royals know talent when they see it, especially since several members of the team, including manager Ned Yost, are avowed NASCAR fans.
“Our guys watch NASCAR,” Yost told Covitz. “They know who Carl Edwards is. I’ve always admired him, always respected him, and from time to time take him on my fantasy team.”
Edwards is currently third in the Sprint Cup standings and has one win in the first seven races (at Bristol three weeks ago).
Covitz’ column had the perfect end to Edwards’ brief stint as a pseudo-big leaguer.
Wrote Covitz: “Even Tampa Bay’s three-time All-Star third baseman Evan Longoria wanted a piece of Edwards.”
“He had a question … how we went to the restroom in the car,” Edwards laughed. “That was his only question. Real technical stuff was being discussed out there.”
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Check out Edwards’ pre-first pitch interview: