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Minor league baseball teams will do just about anything to drum up attention and publicity.

There are the wacky promotions to attract fans and the bizarre jerseys worn for a game and then auctioned off to the highest bidder. 

Sometimes, however, even the best-planned promotion can't compare to a spontaneously bizarre moment.

That's exactly what took place at the York Revolution game on Saturday night, Aug. 12, at PeoplesBank Park.

Ahead of York's game against the New Britain Bees, groom Ted Peck took to the field to throw out the first pitch of the game. His groomsmen were in one of the stadium suites directly behind home plate, with one recording the event using the popular social media site Snapchat. 

What happened next wasn't a first pitch that Peck will look back on and be proud of but rather the complete opposite. Peck completely airmailed Revs' reliever Joe Van Meter and plunked a photographer standing behind the action in the head.

"When he threw it, I felt something because I'm focused on the guy I need to focus on," photographer Randy Flaum said. "I don't even remember getting hit because I was so focused and it obviously didn't hurt."

Flaum, who is a former York Dispatch photographer and visuals editor, was shooting video of one of the other ceremonial first pitches for the York County Community Foundation's Embracing Aging initiative, the home stand sponsor. 

Later in the game, when Flaum returned to the press box, he was told someone had gotten video of the pitch and was willing to send it to him. When Flaum received the video, he tweeted it out from his personal Twitter account @randy_flaum. In the tweet, he asked "Any chance this makes #SCTopTen Pitch from groom before @yorkrevolution game."

The ESPN assignment desk responded to Flaum asking for permission to use the video, and it was later featured on ESPN's website under the headline "Awful first pitch sails away and hits cameraman."

"ESPN came back and called the Revs and asked if they could get it," Flaum said. "So, these guys asked me and I told them that Reed (Gunderson) got it, but then I noticed it on the Twitter feed, so I sent it to them too."

While the pitch was awful, Flaum said he believes that he's the half of it that made it go viral. He said that, had he not been there to get hit in the head, then nobody outside of the stadium would've known how bad the pitch was. Once it hit Flaum on the head, however, that's what made it become a viral sensation.

"If it didn't hit me, nobody would've seen how bad he threw," he said. "Plus, if it's not on ESPN, it didn't happen."

Flaum likes to joke that he doesn't have much athletic talent when it comes to stepping on a baseball field. Through this incident and a video he produced many years ago that complemented a column written about the Conrads baseball team that wound up in the Baseball Hall of Fame, he can now brag that he's on ESPN and in Cooperstown.

"What I get a kick out of is that I have something in the Baseball Hall of Fame ... and now I'm on ESPN and I'm so athletic, I can't believe I have these two monumental things," Flaum joked.

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at pstrohecker@yorkdispatch.com

 

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