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Zona Casts One for Sox

Show host honored to throw out first pitch at MLB game

By: Jay Kumar, OutdoorChannel.com

Bassmaster TV and Zona's Awesome Fishing Show host Mark Zona had the honor of a lifetime Saturday night when he threw out the first pitch at a White Sox game. 

For Zona - who grew up in Chicago as a White Sox fan - the experience was, of course, "awesome."

But it wasn't easy. Because the one thing he had to do was throw the ball over the plate. Not a big deal when you're just messing around with buds. But at a big league park with family, friends and pro ballplayers watching, that's a different story.


Zona's first pitch photo gallery


He knew zipping it over - no dirt, not a lob - was everything, and he got that reminder moments before walking out to the mound of U.S. Cellular Field. 

"I'll tell you what kind of freaked me out the most," he said. "One of the White Sox employees walks out and says, 'They will boo a 10-year-old girl if she bounces it - just don't put it in the dirt.' I looked at him and was like, 'Dude, you're going to tell me this two minutes before I go out?'"

Luckily, although the Z-Train played catcher back in the day, he wound up and sent it over the plate. No dirt. 

"It probably wasn't the prettiest pitch and I'm sure it wasn't a strike, but it wasn't a blooper," he said. "I got some claps - unless I was just clapping for myself in my own mind!

"But I'll tell you: For two minutes before the pitch and two minutes after, I don't remember much. I'm not joking. It was like the first day of high school, when you walk into a room where everyone's already sat down, and you get that warm, sweaty feeling - you just get tunnel vision.

"When the [catcher] caught it, no lie it was like an 800-pound gorilla off my back."

Looking back, he said: "To see my kids down on the field with me throwing a pitch for a team I grew up rooting for every single day, it was one of the coolest things in my life, ever."

But now it's back to business as usual he said from the lake.

"I have a flipping stick on the bottom of my boat, and when we hang up I'm getting back to what I love doing," Zona said.

Zona wanted to make sure to thank the White Sox, the Outdoor Channel, Shimano and G. Loomis for their efforts in making this a great night for him and fishing fans.

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