Josef Martinez has a claim to being the best striker in MLS. His rapid climb up the all-time hat-tricks chart has been amazing, and he has become one of the hottest athletes on the Atlanta sports’ scene. That being said, he’s from Venezuela, one of the few South American countries where soccer is not the biggest sport. Baseball rules all in Venezuela, so it’s not a surprise that Josef has become a big fan of the Braves during his time in Atlanta. He’s also not the only Venezuelan playing a professional sport in Atlanta, as Braves centerfielder Ender Inciarte also calls the South American nation home. With that in mind, the Braves hosted Josef at their game against the Nationals on Monday night to throw out the first pitch, and his compatriot Inciarte would be the catcher.
This was part of the Fox Sports South/Fox Sports Southeast “April in the ATL” initiative that will see the Hawks, Braves, and Atlanta United all involved in various promotions with each other throughout the course of the month. Josef took this responsibility very seriously, as he and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez got some practice throws in after a few Atlanta United training sessions:
Throwing out a first pitch is serious business and @ATLUTD star @JosefMartinez17 is not messing around.— FOX Sports South (@FOXSportsSouth) March 28, 2018
The goal-scoring phenom is planning to throw . Just ask his catcher.#UniteAndConquer #AprilInTheATL pic.twitter.com/VWPMj8zARn
As far as ceremonial first pitches go, Josef’s was actually pretty good. It was way better than this effort courtesy of 50 Cent at a Mets game a few years back. My only criticism is that he didn’t throw from the rubber. Coming from a baseball-mad country like Venezuela, you’d figure he might have taken that chance.
Here’s a look at Josef’s toss from a different angle:
Josef had good form and again, it was a solid throw. However, I’ve got to give props to Inciarte for that framing job. He took that pitch from being just a bit outside to being a strike. That being said, does Josef have a chance to follow in the footsteps of Brian Jordan and Deion Sanders before him and be a two-sport athlete in Atlanta? Since starting pitchers only work one out of every 5 days during the season, why couldn’t Josef start for the Braves on a Tuesday and score a hat-trick on Saturday? While this would be cool in theory, in practice, Josef should probably just stick to terrorizing MLS back lines. The “April in the ATL” initiative will continue at the April 10th Hawks game against the 76ers as the Hawks will host Atlanta United players and supporters as well as the Braves tomahawk team and Braves alums. The 3rd crossover event will be at the Atlanta United game on April 28th when they host Montreal. Former Braves players will be on hand and will participate in the Golden Spike ceremony pregame.