AF­TER BEING DRAFTED

His cer­e­mo­nial throw be­fore Dodgers’ game is a lit­tle wilder than his bas­ket­ball passes.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Tyler Blint-Welsh tyler.blint-welsh@la­times.com Twit­ter: @ty­ler­gabriel_

Thursday night and in­tro­duced Friday morn­ing, Lonzo Ball threw out the first pitch be­fore the Dodgers’ game Friday night.

As Lonzo Ball walked out to the mound to toss the first pitch Friday night at Dodger Sta­dium, there was a lit­tle bit of pres­sure.

In his first pub­lic ap­pear­ance since get­ting drafted by the Lak­ers, Ball prob­a­bly wanted to avoid the em­bar­rass­ment of throw­ing a wild pitch, a feel­ing celebri­ties like 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg know all too well.

Thank­fully for Ball’s sake, the cer­e­mo­nial pitch reached the plate with lit­tle drama, although it was a lit­tle high and out­side. Reliever Ken­ley Jansen, who was wear­ing a No. 32 Lak­ers jersey, made the catch. Re­gard­less, the throw was met with cheers from the fans.

Ball’s ap­pear­ance be­fore the Dodgers’ matchup against the Colorado Rock­ies cul­mi­nated a whirl­wind day and a half that be­gan with his se­lec­tion in Thursday’s NBA draft in New York.

Ball then flew back to Los Angeles on Friday morn­ing, where he ar­rived in time for his much-an­tic­i­pated in­tro­duc­tory news con­fer­ence at the Toy­ota Cen­ter in El Segundo.

Im­me­di­ately af­ter the news con­fer­ence, dur­ing which Magic John­son jok­ingly begged Ball to let him keep at least one of his fran­chise records, Ball was shut­tled to Dodger Sta­dium along with his agent, Har­ri­son Gaines, his youngest brother, LaMelo, and a few other friends.

Prior to the pitch, Ball played catch with a ball girl and snapped pho­tos with a few wide-eyed fans. Wear­ing a cus­tom No. 2 Dodgers jersey, Ball ap­peared com­fort­able with the at­ten­tion, telling the crowd over the sta­dium PA sys­tem that it’s some­thing he’s learned to deal with over the course of his high school and col­lege ca­reer at Chino Hills High and UCLA.

Be­fore get­ting whisked away for a closed media ses­sion, Ball had one fi­nal mes­sage for the fans: “It’s time for Dodgers base­ball!”

Chris­tian K. Lee Los Angeles Times

Chris­tian K. Lee Los Angeles Times

LONZO BALL SMILES in the Dodgers’ dugout with younger brother LaMelo be­fore the first pitch.

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