Mayor Nick Gradisar will take a brief break from city hall to bring some Pueblo Pride to Arizona. Gradisar will travel to Scottsdale to throw out the first pitch at a pre-season matchup between the Colorado Rockies and the Cincinnati Reds.
The game takes place on Monday, March 18 at Salt River Field at 2:10 p.m.
The special pitch was organized by Puebloan Joe Latino who works a couple of months a year at the stadium, doing ‘everything from groundskeeping to selling programs’, he says. Latino was a long-time educator in Colorado, last serving as athletic director at Golden and Lakewood High Schools.
Latino has been more than an enthusiastic baseball fan for years, and through his work at the stadium to was able to work with executives to arrange the Gradisar visit. He wanted his hometown to play a part in the Colorado Rockies sports.
“I talked with David Dunn and Wally Goodline about having the Pueblo Mayor throw out this pitch, and they agreed. Wonderful things happen around the ball field, and this will be one of them.”
Latino has already warned players to watch out for that mayoral pitch. He’s told them that ball might come over the plate approaching 100 miles an hour.
Gradisar just laughs.
“I don’t know about that,” he chuckled, but is confident he will get the ball over the base.
Gradisar has had some experience on the ball field, playing the pastime as a kid on vacant lots and Pueblo parks and as a member of a softball team made up of lawyers.
The mayor is keeping pitching strategies close to the vest and is excited about this chance to appear among players in the Big Show.
“I’m more excited about this,” he says, “than when I played old-timers.”