NY Sports Dog: Throwing Out the First Pitch at Shea

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Throwing Out the First Pitch at Shea

I bet you've all considered what stepping onto the field at Shea Stadium would be like at some point in your lives.

Who didn't dream about pitching for the Mets, hitting a homerun to the Apple, or being a part of those wonderful and always interesting Met teams?

When my friend Corey told me his fiancee, Stephanie Demonte, was asked to throw out the first pitch at Shea for a great cause, I jumped at the chance to share her experience with you.

Stephanie is a young stroke survivor, a dedicated and selfless volunteer, and an amazing role model in our community.

Stephanie, thanks for sharing your experience with us and congratulations on your selection to throw out the 1st pitch at Shea during the final season. How were you selected for the honor?

It came about through some volunteer work I've been doing in support of a great organization--the American Heart Association. I have been volunteering with The American Heart Association "Go Red for Women" Program for many years. Initially, I began at NYU Rusk Cardio-rehab and continued after my stroke in 2005.

I was nominated to throw out the first pitch by one of the Directors of Go Red, and I obviously accepted!

Can you give our readers a rundown of what the day was like for you? Did you get to meet any players or coaches? Anyone give you any pointers before the throw? Did you stay for the whole game?

After my fiancee Corey and I arrived at Shea, we were given a tour of the stadium. The tour included a stop at the Mets bullpen (where we saw Heath Bell and Guy Conti), indoor batting cage, equipment room, locker room door, and other locations. We then went to the field to wait to throw the first pitch where we had a short conversation with SNY's Kevin Burkhardt.

When my name was called on the public address system, I was laughing because it was ridiculous that I was taking the field with the rest of the Mets! After my pitch, we made our way to our seats where we watched the entire game.

Were you a Mets fan growing up, and do you still follow the team? Who is your favorite player?

I never was a big baseball fan, but I grew up in a Mets home, and I even went to John Franco's house in Staten Island when I was a kid. Corey is a HUGE Mets fan, so I sometimes watch the games when he has it on, which is basically all the time! He is truly a Mets fanatic. I don't really have a favorite player, but Corey loves David Wright and Jose Reyes.

Tell us a bit more about the charity and how folks can get involved.

The goal of the American Heart Association Go Red For Women is to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke in women. The organization is trying to change the perception so women understand that these are not "man's diseases." By teaching more and more women to talk to their doctors about heart disease and stroke, we can save thousands of lives every year.

It is very easy to join the movement on the website at http://www.goredforwomen.org, which gives all of the information on how to get involved and make a real difference in the lives of everyone around you.

Hope 4 Stroke is a non-profit organization run completely by stroke survivors and caregivers, to support other stroke survivors and caregivers. You can get information on how to get involved and how to donate at http://www.hope4stroke.com.

Last question, was it a strike down the middle or "just a bit outside"?

A STRIKE!!! Brian Schneider caught it and told me, "Great Job!"

After the throw, we were in the tunnel when Pedro Martinez let up the first pitch homerun, when the grounds crew told me to turn around and get ready to pitch in the game! I guess I am not as a big of a spaz as Corey says I am!

Thanks Stephanie! We don't think you're a spaz either, in fact, your story is inspirational, and it's our hope that readers get involved with both Go Red For Women and Hope 4 Stroke. Congratulations on the first pitch, the upcoming nuptials, and your continued good health. Corey is one lucky guy!

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