Rush frontman Geddy Lee had the honor recently of throwing out the first pitch at the Toronto Blue Jays' much anticipated season opener at the Rogers Centre. And the guy who has played in front of thousands of people in arenas and stadiums around the world over the last four decades with the Toronto prog-rock outfit says it was "really cool."
"I love baseball, I'm a baseball nut," Lee told QMI Agency. "I'm so excited about the Jays' chances this year. They got off to a bit of a stumbling start and I still believe in the squad and I love the job the general manager has done rebuilding the team so there's so much anticipation for this season if you're a baseball fan. So when they asked to throw out the first pitch, I was like, 'Yeah, I'm all in for that, that's cool.'"
Lee, whose band are being inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame at a ceremony at L.A.'s Nokia Centre on Thursday night (HBO, May 18 telecast) and are up for two Junos Sunday night in Regina (CTV), said there were no nerves but he did want to throw a winner.
"I really wanted to make sure I threw a strike because in my own demented mind I felt if I throw a bad pitch I'm going to jinx the Jays. So I practised for a couple of days and once I got up there I was pretty relaxed. I pitched right down the middle. I was very happy about that. I couldn't let the side down."
The blue Jays were 6-7 (wins vs losses) going into the Tuesday (April 16) game against the Chicago White Sox and started the season poorly but seem to be improving.
"It's kind of a shocking lack of starting pitching to start the year," said Lee. "Their batting order one through nine is very solid. Once they get (third baseman) Brett Lawrie back it'll be even better so I'm not really worried about their hitting. And on paper, one shouldn't be worried about their pitching either but it's kind of strange that all three of their new pitchers have had terrible starts. Let's just say that they're trying to hard to impress and once they settle down, I'm sure that wins will start to come."
Lee, who resumes Rush's Clockwork Angels tour on April 23 in the U.S. before Canadian dates in July, says how often he gets to Jays games both at home and away depends on his schedule.
"I watch a lot of their games on my computer travelling but I try to go once in a while when I'm home but it's not always possible. I follow their exploits electronically."
Lee, who is a big tennis player, said he doesn't play baseball regularly but he has always liked to play catch.
"I pretended I played baseball for many years but I didn't actually play much. I used to throw the ball around before gigs backstage. One of the guys in my crew used to catch me and I used to do a regular thing where I'd throw 50-60 pitches before a show. But it was really all for naught because all I ended up with was a slow elbow so I had to stop doing that."
Rush's 2013 Canadian tour dates
July 6 - Hamilton, ON - Copps Coliseum
July 8 - Ottawa, ON - Ottawa Bluesfest
July 10 - Quebec City, QC - Festival D'Ete
July 12 and 14 - Halifax, NS - Metro Centre
July 24 - Calgary, AB - Scotiabank Saddledome
July 26 - Vancouver, BC - Rogers Arena