A feeling of hometown pride was evident at Boston’s Fenway Park as Meghan Duggan took to the mound to participate in the ceremonial first pitch on April 25. The hallowed grounds of Fenway are nothing new for the world-class hockey player. Duggan graced its grounds in 2010 proudly donning her USA hockey jersey as the sun shined gloriously over the Fenway faithful. She was not alone on that memorable day as all her US teammates that had grown up in New England joined her for the first pitch ceremony.
Fast forward to 2013 and Duggan finds herself back at the historic park. This time, she is adorned in the white jersey of the Boston Blades, the first-ever American based in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League to capture the coveted Clarkson Cup. Despite the rain-soaked conditions, Duggan and her Blades teammates proudly gather behind home plate for a pride-filled team photo.
One year later, Duggan returns for a third glorious time at Fenway, gracing the mound. Once again, the Red Sox show great sportsmanship and support by inviting all the athletes from New England that competed in the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.
Duggan, who served as the captain for the US women’s hockey team at Sochi is a highly deserving candidate to earn first pitch honors. After suffering from a concussion in 2012, that kept her sidelined for close to one year, Duggan’s comeback is more than just another great chapter in New England hockey history. Contemplating retirement and being bed-ridden for a significant period of time, Duggan’s tenacity to overcome her concussion woes is a great source of inspiration, making her a true champion.
The key quality of Duggan at the first pitch ceremonies is that she likes to incorporate a sense of playfulness and humor to the surroundings. In 2010, she mimicked famed pro wrestler Hulk Hogan who would always place his humongous hand by his hear to get the crowd pop. With hand by ear, Duggan had the Fenway crowd roaring.
Just like her first pitch in 2010, Duggan could not help but make another memorable impression on the mound. Unlike 2010, Duggan is adorned in a Red Sox jersey, rather than her hockey jersey, for the 2014 edition of her first pitch at Fenway.
Considering that the opponents occupying the visiting team dugout were the New York Yankees, Duggan paid tribute to the newest chapter in this storied rivalry. Michael Pineda, the Yankees pitcher had been caught a few days earlier using pine tar. Hoping to get a better grip on his pitches, Pineda had the pine tar smeared on his neck for easy use.
When the umpire discovered the pine tar, Pineda pointed to his neck. Serving a 10-game suspension at the time of Duggan’s first pitch, even Pineda would have had a chuckle at what followed. Pointing to her own neck, Duggan mimicked Pineda being caught with the pine tar. Getting a rise out of the patrons watching in the stands, her first pitch would end up making national news as video footage was shown on ESPN. For the Fenway faithful, they were treated to a first pitch ceremony that not only tapped into the visceral rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees, but showed what makes Duggan such a fun and endearing sports personality.