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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Clearwater mayor gives pitching lessons



Hibbard Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard, at Bay Buzz's request, had a few pointers Friday for Vice Mayor George Cretekos, who will throw out the first pitch at Saturday's Philadelphia Phillies baseball game: “The key is to focus on what matters which is to simply get it over the plate. To the plate and over the plate. Velocity is of no concern.”

Hibbard is a good sport. And he speaks from embarassing experience: In March 2005, during the Phillies opening spring training game at Bright House Networks Field in Clearwater, the mayor – during his first ever ceremonial pitch – threw the ball hard. But he forgot to let go, so it bounced a few feet in front of him.

Since then, he’s successfully made 10 ceremonial pitches, but it’s that first one that everyone recalls -- such as the parent at the recent Clearwater High School graduation, who asked if he was going to throw a ball.

“Don’t you have something more important to think about?,” the mayor shot back.

Hibbard, however, won't be in Philly to witness Cretekos' performance. He's the only council member not going on the trip.

- Mike Donila, Times Staff Writer

[PHOTO: Times files]

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:28am]


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