Step aside, pitchers, gymnasts dominate the mound

Forget throwing strikes. Perfect 10s are much more entertaining. It was a little — correction, way too — high to be a strike, but when you have a windup like the one Simone Biles showed Monday, where the pitch is placed doesn’t matter.  MORE: Portraits of Team USA athletesThe three-time all-around world champion threw a ceremonial first pitch before the Mariners-Astros game in Houston, near her Texas home, and it’s safe to say neither team’s pitchers could have replicated the act.  MORE: Simone Biles dominates U.S. championshipsConsider this preparation for the gymnast’s U.S. Olympic Trials in San Jose this [email protected]_Biles does a flip and throws a pitch at the @astros game today. (@DTGoteraKHOU)— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) July 4, 2016Now, technically that’s not a flip. It’s a side aerial, which is basically a flip and a cartwheel combined. If her hands had touched the ground, it would have been a cartwheel, but it’s also not a flip because of her body orientation.  Former Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney did throw a cartwheel in 2014 during her ceremonial first pitch at U.S. Cellular Field for a Twins-White Sox game. She also ended her extended windup with a front walkover. These two tricks landed her only feet away from the catch, so good thing she didn’t put too much heat behind her actual pitch. MORE: American McKayla Maoney retiring from gymnasticsSometimes, it’s not about the windup. It’s about the follow-through.Gymnasts Alicia Sacramone and Shawn Johnson switched it up at Wrigley Field last year before a Phillies-Cubs game. They threw their pitches, and then, they were fancy. It was almost as if they weren’t going to do anything gymnastic-y (because that’s a word now). 10s across the board.— GIFS (@GIFs) July 24, 2015The surprises didn’t end there, but instead of doing the surprising, Johnson was the one surprised moments later when then-boyfriend and Raiders long snapper Andrew East proposed.  Congratulations to @ShawnJohnson and @AndrewDEast on their engagement before today’s #Cubs game!A video posted by cubs (@cubs) on Jul 24, 2015 at 1:26pm PDTA NFL player proposing to an Olympic gymnastic at an game after she just threw out a first pitch and walked on her hands? NBD.Lots of fast, forward motions so far. Whatever happened to staying on the mound and simply throwing the pitch from there? Former South Korean gymnast Shin Soo-ji kind of did that in 2

013, with “kind of” being the key words. Watch her first pitch:It looks like an illusion because it is an illusion. Soo-ji was a rhythmic gymnast.(Fun fact: The U.S. will send a rhythmic gymnastics group to Rio this year, marking the first time it has done so since the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.) It’s OK, though. Not every gymnast decided to spice things up with tricks, engagements or illusions. Defending Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas decided to showcase her actual pitching skills in 2012 at Citi Field for a Rockies-Mets game. Maybe that was before showing off their gymnastics skills was cool?It worked, but let’s refer back to the former Olympian who had the most drawn-out pitch. Any thoughts, Maroney? Keep the cool tricks coming, ladies.