Richard Bergstrom from Rockies Zingers, not that long ago in a blog post not that far away, wrote about how the Colorado Rockies needed celebrity fans. Little did he know that there was already a movement (#ACHFirstPitch), as chronicled by the Denver Post’s Benjamin Hochman, to get lifelong Colorado Rockies fan and Denver-based comic Adam Cayton-Holland to throw out the first pitch at Coors Field. Adam is a national touring headliner who plays clubs and colleges all over the country. He was recently named one of 25 “Comics to Watch” by Esquire Magazine and made his late-night television debut on Conan. He has appeared on ABC’s “Happy Endings”, performed at SXSW, Bridgetown Comedy and recently launched his own comedy festival in Denver, The High Plains Comedy Festival. His monthly show and web series “The Grawlix” is a critically-lauded darling child that you should know and love (www.grawlixcomedy.com). Adam also has a podcast called, “My Dining Room Table,” available on iTunes.
The movement was successful and before the Colorado Rockies vs Chicago White Sox game on April 7th, 2014, Adam’s name was emblazoned on the scoreboard as he tossed the first pitch. Soon after, Richard Bergstrom caught up with Adam Cayton-Holland to chronicle the event.
Richard Bergstrom: Congratulations, Adam! You’ve been a Rockies fan all your life and season ticket holder. What is one of your favorite Rockies moments?
Adam Cayton-Holland: Definitely that one-game divisional playoff against San Diego. That was the best baseball game I’ve ever seen. Period. The fact that it was my team, and that we won, I still consider myself lucky to have ever been there.
RB: What’d you think of Rocktober?
ACH: I think it was a collective fever dream and I wish I could remember what combination of pills I took to make it happen again.
RB: When did the idea of throwing out the first pitch start?
ACH: About two years ago, I suppose. I can’t really remember. It first started as a random tweet, not even a campaign or an organized thought. People seemed to respond to it well so I just kept doing it. Then it became a real quest for me.
RB: At some point, you started up the #ACHFirstPitch hashtag and got a great response from your fans and friends. When did you know it was getting serious and what was it like?
ACH: The Rockies responded to me at the end of last year that they would do the best they could. The first day of Spring Training when I threw another tweet out with that hashtag, it immediately exploded. Call it a slow news days. Then the Rox responded publicly on Twitter – not a direct message, but a public shout-out. That felt like a tidal shift.
RB: The Rockies contact you and things get super serious. What was that initial exchange like?
ACH: Very cordial and nice. The dude who runs their social media is really cool. There was never any hostility or anything. I think he knew I was playfully messing with the Rockies – “harmless heckling” I believe he called it – so yeah, it was pretty chill the whole time.
RB: Day of the game. I’ll admit to knowing little of the pre-game first pitch pitcher’s ritual. Do they enter through the player’s gate? Do they pay for parking? Go over scouting reports with a PR representative? Can you walk us through that?
ACH: Rox are very cool that way. Gave me a bunch of choice free tickets, gave me a parking pass. The social media guy Julian met me and my dad at 20th and Blake and gave us a tour of everything, then he let me stand right behind home plate for awhile, just taking in the great access. Then when it came to actually get on the field he let me and my dad go out there for as long as possible. We actually stood on the foul line with the players for the national anthem, me and my old man. I’ll never forget that.
RB: The concourse behind home plate was pretty packed with fans and friends and family watching you.
ACH: Someone said it best, never has Coors Field seen so many beards and denims. My hipster fan base came out in droves. That was awesome.
RB: Was anything said on the field right before the first pitch?
ACH: Not really. It’s soooooo not that big a deal to the people that see people do it every day. Everyone was nice and cordial but no one was making an enormous deal out of it, because really, it wasn’t.
RB: Charlie Culberson was your primary catcher. Did he pass along any words of advice or, lacking that, of humor?
ACH: I told him I was going to shake off a few pitches before throwing it in. He thought that was funny. He threw down a few signs for me to shake off. Class act.
RB: Name on the scoreboard, toe ten feet before the rubber, the moment is here. Where were your thoughts?
ACH: Don’t bounce this pitch.
RB: What pitch did you shake off before you threw that slider with the wicked downward movement?
ACH: Charlie flashed two. I said nay. He flashed three. I said nay. Then number one. Yes. Go time.
ACH: Unbridled joy. Never in your life do you actually take in the moment IN THE MOMENT but I can honestly say I did right then. I’ll never forget that.
RB: Handshakes around and you retire, presumably to the showers before claiming your seat for the game. As a comic, what’s the first funny thing that comes to mind that you want to work into a routine?
ACH: Honestly haven’t even thought about yet. Still just on a high. I don’t even know if I’ll talk about it on the stage. Some things are just for real life.
RB: Jayson Stark wrote a series of Useless Info articles for ESPN. What was one thing, besides the grounds crew’s admiration, that you thought was a funny tidbit about the experience?
ACH: That they want to make you wear a purple Rockies jersey when you pitch and that the “Medium” they gave me was enormous and I asked if it was cool if I just wore my Rockies T-shirt that I wore to the game out there and they said that was fine but that no one had ever done that and I really couldn’t believe that. Purple is so damn ugly. Give me a black jersey, I’ll rock that s***. Purple? No thanks. I’ll go with my T-shirt.
RB: The Rockies are now 1-0 in games that you’ve thrown out the first pitch, a fact cited often on Twitter. Your response?
ACH: The numbers speak for themselves. Annual tradition?
RB: What do you think is the funniest thing about baseball?
ACH: The way the pitcher and catcher, or the pitcher and manager will conference on the mound until the ump starts walking towards them. Such a funny little detail. Alright, guys, breaking it up, enough gabbing. That always makes me laugh.
RB: Who would play you in a movie commemorating this event, and would it be a Disney movie?
ACH: It would be a Pixar movie and I would be a little boy with Asian features to draw in more at the box office internationally.
RB: Any word on a first pitch pitcher’s Old Timer’s Game?
ACH: If I ever get that honor I break out the knuckler. I can throw a knuckle ball. No jokes.
RB: Finally, we know how much of a challenge pitchers have at altitude. How did you transition from going to the mound at Coors Field to the bleachers in Des Moines?
ACH: For us Colorado folk, altitude has never been a big deal. I can pitch here or there or anywhere. Like Jorge De La Rosa. Oh wait. Scratch that. Like Nicasio. Yeah, that’s the ticket!
I enjoy baseball on every level. Fun to watch those Des Moines AAA guys play. Always happiest at Coors Field.
Relive the classic moment by watching the video below!
Or relive the tweet (and the #ACHFirstPitch hashtag!)
— Adam Cayton-Holland (@CaytonHolland) April 9, 2014