Field of Dreams Gets Real, Almost
Denied a baseball career, COM senior pitches at Fenway
Dylan Moir had hoped to dazzle Fenway with his fastball. After a Senior Breakfast lottery awarded him the ceremonial first pitch at Tuesday’s Red Sox–Mariners game, Moir (COM’12) asked his parents in Los Angeles to send his old high school pitcher’s mitt for the Big Toss. His father—“my biggest fan,” says Moir, and like his son, a star ballplayer in high school—shipped the Rawlings glove clutching a good-luck note with an underlined P.S.: “Fastball.”
Unfortunately for Moir, the ball girl assigned to catch his pitch asked him to please tamp down the heat. So before his parents, his girlfriend, and 37,300 fans in fabled Fenway’s centennial year and under a barely perceptible drizzle, Moir threw a cooler, but spot-on strike.
Which was fine by Moir, who says that hitting the strike zone was what really mattered. “I actually wasn’t nervous at all,” he says. “Just the adrenaline that was pumping through my veins, the nerves were totally not here. And just the fact that I was out here on the field—I’m still in pure ecstasy.” After the pitch he got to enjoy the game from a guest box. (The Sox had a good day too, blowing out the Mariners 5-0.)
The lottery that gave Moir the first pitch was a prize to graduating seniors for exceeding the target of 2,012 donors to the Class Gift. As fate would have it, the name drawn by President Robert A. Brown belongs to an experienced southpaw. Moir played five seasons for his Santa Monica prep school, where he was Pitcher of the Year in his junior season. The 6-foot-2 hurler’s height was an advantage when throwing the ball—“It messes with the batter more because it’s coming down at an angle”—and Lafayette College in Pennsylvania discussed a possible baseball scholarship with him. Then, in his junior year, he says, “I decided for some stupid reason to play flag football, and the first day of practice, I wasn’t wearing cleats, and I slipped on the wet grass and fell on my pitching arm.” After surgery to repair a torn cartilage, Moir felt that he couldn’t commit to pitching for Lafayette, or anyone, for that matter. He chose to come to BU because he was impressed by the College of Communication’s film studies program and the fact that a friend attending a summer session here raved about the University. His postgraduation plans call for job hunting in L.A.’s film and television industry.
Prior to his major league debut Tuesday, Moir’s best pitching memory was from junior year in high school, courtesy of an exhibition game against a team in a league way above his school’s. Expecting a cakewalk, the opposing players trash-talked Moir’s team. “That pissed all of us off a lot,” he says. He didn’t start on the mound, but was called in to close out the game in the final inning, his team leading by a single run. He got two outs, but allowed runners to make it to second and third. He dueled the next batter to a full 3-2 count. The catcher came to the mound to ask Moir what he wanted to throw in that nail-biting moment.
“I don’t want to throw a fastball,” Moir answered, “because that’s what they’re expecting, ’cause they know I want to throw a strike. I want to throw my curveball.” He proceeded to execute “one of the most beautiful 12-to-6 curveballs I’ve ever thrown,” nailing the strike zone without the batter even swinging for it.
The gods smiled on Moir Tuesday; in addition to keeping game-threatening showers at bay, they arranged his pitch on “Thanks, Wake” day, honoring former Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. He was the one player Moir wanted to meet above all.
“He actually walked right by me,” Moir says. “And my jaw dropped.”1 Comments