President Ronald Reagan did it. So did President George H. W. Bush. President Bill Clinton did it twice. Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer did it last year.
Now it's state Sen. Bobby Zirkin's turn to throw out the first pitch on Opening Day for the Baltimore Orioles.
Zirkin, a Baltimore County Democrat, has received the nod to join legendary Orioles catcher-turned-broadcaster Rick Dempsey in flinging ceremonial first pitches Monday when the Orioles take on the Minnesota Twins at Camden Yards.
While that might seem like a heady assignment for a mere state senator, Zirkin is no back-bencher. He heads the Senate's Judicial Proceedings Committee, which deals with all manner of bills affecting criminal and civil law in Maryland.
Zirkin said Friday that he is taking on the job at the invitation of Orioles owner Peter Angelos, a prominent lawyer with whom he meets periodically. During a recent chat over coffee, Zirkin said, Angelos offered him the job.
"I'm just hoping not to 'Bull Durham' it and hit the mascot," Zirkin said in a reference to the 1988 baseball movie with Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon.
However, Zirkin pledged not to hold back.
"I don't care where it goes. I'm throwing it hard," he said.