The U.S. men’s curling team may dominate on the ice. But when it comes to the baseball field? Not so much.
On Thursday, the team — comprised of skip John Shuster, Tyler George, John Landsteiner, Joe Polo and Matt Hamilton — stepped up to the mound to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Minnesota Twins’ home opener just before the team took on the Seattle Mariners.
Fresh off their history-making, gold medal win at the 2018 Winter Olympics, the men appeared confident as they waved on the field while wearing matching parkas, Twins jerseys and, (of course) their gold medals.
“Before you throw, maybe you wanna take off your parkas. What do you think?” the announcer is heard saying to the men before the big moment. The curlers took off the jackets and carefully adjusted their medals before grabbing the baseballs.
They then threw their pitches — but things didn’t quite go as planned.
Two of the pitchers sent a pair of players running for cover. Hamilton, however, decided to stick to what he knows — he curled the baseball!
Naturally, the internet quickly noticed the not-so-impressive pitches and let the jokes fly.
“Not sure where @tgeorge1323 was aiming,” one person tweeted. “Loved the “curl pitch” from @MattJamilton.”
In case you missed it (with all the bird frenzy) the @usacurl Gold Medal team threw out the first pitch at today’s @Twins home opener. They should probably stick to winter sports… pic.twitter.com/FhzB7q4yNH
— FOX Sports North (@fsnorth) April 5, 2018
Another tweet read: “They should probably stick to winter sports…”
Despite the less-than-stellar pitches, Twins manager Paul Moliter told Cut4 that he was glad to have the beloved Olympic team at the park.
“They were happy to be here,” he said. “I’d never had a chance to even hold a gold medal, let alone put one around my neck, so that was kind of fun.”
The amusing pitches were not the only surprising thing that happened before the game. A bald eagle that was supposed to fly over the field during the national anthem and then land on the shoulder of his handler, instead perched himself on Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton, who was in the outfield warming up.
BALD EAGLE ATTACK
Outstanding reaction from the @Mariners’ James Paxton, though. Just stay calm. (via @fsnorth) pic.twitter.com/pWer9G1L5L
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) April 5, 2018
“It was not the first time I’ve seen a bald eagle,” Paxton said afterwards, per the Seattle Times. “But it’s the first time I had one try to land on me. That was interesting. It was coming right for me. I’m like, ‘the guy is over there and I’m not eagle guy.’ But I guess this eagle just got confused.”
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The men’s curling team were the talk of the town at the 2018 Winter Olympics. They beat out three-time defending Olympic champions Canada twice in less than a week to reach the gold-medal game.
Then, they played against the Swedish team in America’s first-ever curling gold medal final: they defeated the team 10-7.
“We’ve played our best when our backs were up against the wall. We took it to another level this week,” George told reporters afterward. “Usually we’re fighting and scraping to get into the playoffs, but for five days we were the best team in the world and we did it at the right time.”