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Photos courtesy of The Green Bay Press-Gazette

May 2010

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President stars in Brewers loss

President Tom Kunkel got his chance at the big leagues when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Brewers vs. Cubs game last month.

The Brewers lost the game 12-2, but that didn’t spoil the experience for Kunkel, who was at Miller Park representing the 20 private-college members of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. 

The game was also the focus for a gathering of alumni, parents and friends of the college, who gathered from Milwaukee and surrounding areas to take in the festivities from the “Dew Deck” at Miller Park. 

Back to Kunkel's big break: Here’s how he described his pitching experience.

Obviously on a rainy, dreary day the roof was closed. I went down by the home dugout about 25 minutes before the game. Turned out there were three people throwing out first pitches (not uncommon, I was told). I would be the third of the three. They gave me my ball beforehand, which was good because I could rub it with my sweaty palms!

A young lady was first. She threw from in front of the mound, a nice high lob. Second was a young man who went straight to the mound and threw a nice pitch letter high.

So it’s my turn. It’s not very far to walk, but it seems like a long way when you’re in front of a near-full stadium, half of them Cubs fans. In fact, the whole thing was a bit like an out-of-body experience.

Only when I got to the mound did I turn to look at Brewers catcher George Kottaras. Intellectually, I understood he was only 60 feet 6 inches away – so why did it seem more like 500 yards?

I felt a little blood rush from my brain, but before I could get even more nervous I told myself, “Just throw it” – which I did.

If there had been a lefty at bat I’d have hit him. Still, under the circumstances it got the job done – the pitch was about knee high and George caught it just fine. He gave me the ball and then signed it for me.

Thus I accomplished my two goals: I didn’t bounce the ball to the catcher. And I didn't end up on that night’s SportsCenter. Because if I had, that would have meant something went very, very wrong … .

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