The first competition for the America’s Cup Summer of Racing was seen by baseball fans today as the four skippers fought good-naturedly over who threw the fastest pitch and who pounded a perfect strike into the mitts of Sergio Romo and Nick Noonan of the San Francisco Giants.
America’s Cup skippers Iain Percy (Artemis Racing), Dean Barker (Emirates Team New Zealand), Max Sirena (Luna Rossa Challenge) and Jimmy Spithill (Oracle Team USA) shared the honor of throwing the first pitch at Wednesday’s San Francisco Giants game against the San Diego Padres.
Earlier, the sailors led their teams out on to the field of the World Series champions just before game time on Wednesday. They were joined by the America’s Cup trophy itself, set up alongside the pitcher’s mound as the competition for the oldest trophy in international sport was celebrated at San Francisco’s AT&T Park.
The visitors from San Diego could boast a strong America’s Cup connection too. The southern California city was the last US city to host the America’s Cup, back in 1995, and prior to that in 1992 and 1988 too.
San Francisco fans gave Artemis Racing an especially warm reception as the sailonbart hashtag was shown on the Jumbotron, in memory of the late Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy met the skippers and shook Jimmy Spithill’s hand. The hometown Giants won the World Series in 2010, the same year that Oracle Team USA won the America’s Cup and brought it to San Francisco.
The Giants have won a second title since and are the current World Series champions, so both San Francisco teams are fighting to defend their respective titles at the end of the summer. Spithill’s Oracle Team USA will race in the America’s Cup Finals in September, while the Giants approach the midway point of their season in a battle for a playoff spot.