J.J. Watt didn't throw a strike, but no one at Minute Maid Park cared.
The Houston Texans defensive end did what he promised, bringing a serious fastball to a ceremonial first pitch that had the Houston Astros' Opening Day crowd buzzing. There is some buzz that Watt's pitch may have approached 85 MPH, but with Watt the legend might count even more than an official radar gun reading.
The NFL game changer threw a real pitch rather than the traditional little sweat effort expended in these type of situations. It was quite a bit outside, but no matter. The catcher still snared it.
Besides if Watt had hit the screen, his legend would have probably only grown even more.
This may be the only first pitch in history in which the ceremonial tosser did a full warmup. It's like Watt thought he was starting the game.
The crowd cheered from the moment Watt hit the field a little after 6 p.m. It went crazy when he changed shirts on the field, pulling on his Astros warmup jersey. It's almost impossible to overplay the love this town has for Watt. And he seems to be determined to pay it back.
Watt — a Wisconsin man — has been wearing Astros gear around town well before his dominant Defensive Player of the Year season even began. This is hardly a new thing for him. As he says, "I love to rep."
But his every move is in the spotlight now and Watt is eating it up. He warmed up on the field for several minutes, throwing down the first base line. This may be the only first pitch in history in which the ceremonial tosser did a full warmup. It's like Watt thought he was starting the game for the Astros.
Maybe next year.