Twenty years since taking mound, PGA Professional National Champion Michael Block delivers first pitch in Louisville
By Bob Denney, The PGA of America
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Fresh from his first practice round at Valhalla Golf Club, site of the 96th PGA Championship, PGA Professional National Champion Michael Block picked up a baseball at Louisville Slugger Field. The ball looked natural in his right hand, as he gave it his best split-finger grip.
“It’s my favorite pitch,” said Block, the PGA head professional at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California. “I was a pitcher once … in Little League. It’s been 20 years since I’ve been on the mound.”
Block, 38, who is making his first appearance in the PGA Championship this week, delivered a pitch to a member of the Louisville Bats staff that was just a little right and outside the plate. “Well, at least it wasn’t 50 Cent out there,” joked Block as he walked off the field. It was 50 Cent’s ceremonial pitch last May that became a YouTube sensation for the rap star’s toss that nearly took out a photographer prior to a game between the New York Mets and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Prior to Block’s moment on the mount, he was coaxed into giving a mock golf lesson to Louisville Bats mascot, Buddy Bat. The mascot then set up a glove on the grass to mimic a golf hole and attempted to putt a baseball with a bat. Some things just won’t translate between the diamond and the golf course.
PHOTO GALLERY: Michael Block throws out first pitch at Louisville Bats game
“It was a lot of fun today, and I was honored to get this chance,” said Block, who represented the Championship field before a crowd of more than 7,000. “Yes, there are the perks that come [with being the National Champion].” While Block was on the mound, the PGA of America hosted a Family Fun Zone at the ballpark for fans arriving to watch the Louisville Bats vs. Rochester Red Wings Triple-A game.
Block was uplifted about his practice round at Valhalla Golf Club.
“The golf course is tremendous,” said Block. “It’s a 10 out of 10.”
Juniors 12 and under left the ballpark Sunday with a miniature signature Louisville Slugger bat. Block had another souvenir, which he took care to never leave his possession – that ball that brought back pleasant memories of youth.