Brooks Laich throws out Orioles first pitch
BALTIMORE – It’s not enough that people from Wawota, Saskatchewan, a town of some 591 people get to throw out the first pitch before an Orioles’ game.
On Monday night, Capitals forward Brooks Laich, who’s a big baseball fan, threw out the first pitch.
Alex Ovechkin threw out a first pitch before a game in Sept. 2011 and bounced it. Laich, who played several positions on his tiny school’s team, did better.
Wearing a jersey with his No. 21 and his name on the back, Laich fired a strike to Chris Dickerson.
Laich has a connection with the Orioles. He was named after Brooks Robinson, which is certainly not unusual around here, but Laich was in the Canadian prairie. His father was a huge Robinson fan.
“My dad really appreciated the defensive aspect of the game,” Laich said. He got a chance to meet Robinson, and their picture was on the scoreboard before the game. He was mistakenly identified in a graphic as a member of the “Washington Nationals” but it was quickly corrected to just “Washington.”
Laich said his father, who was an excellent defensive catcher, taught him some lessons from Robinson.
“He always stressed the defensive side of the game,” Laich said.
“It was really neat to meet him. He was incredible and humble and genuine and all the things that people always said about him. I had to call my dad right after.”
He stopped playing baseball after he started playing hockey fulltime at 16, and rarely participates in a Capitals’ pregame ritual: Jay Beagle, Matt Hendricks and Steve Oleksy like to warm up by throwing a baseball.
“I don’t know how many of those guys were actually ballplayers,” Laich said.
Laich said that he’s an equally big fan of both the Orioles and Nationals, and that he’s stood on the sidelines for games of the Redskins and D.C. United.
Believe or not, Laich says there have been a few children named after him. Last week, a fan showed him a picture of a friend’s child who was named after Laich.
“It’s really sort of shellshocking to hear that,” Laich said, "Maybe I have to start a list. It’s a really cool thing.”