New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas had the opportunity to take part in one of the more enjoyable events of his offseason last week, mixing his passion for sports with a rooting interest. On Thursday, April 8, New Orleans' 2009 rushing leader threw out the first pitch at the Chicago White Sox's contest against the Cleveland Indians at U.S. Cellular Field.
Although football is what has brought Thomas this far in the sporting world, the native of Lynwood, Il., one of Chicagoland's southern suburbs, played baseball as a youth and was always a big fan of the White Sox, who reside on the city's Southside.
"This was a blessing, being a Sox fan since I was younger, actually getting a chance to set foot on the field," Thomas told reporters the evening of the event. "I was always on the stands watching. To have the honor of throwing the first pitch in my hometown is unbelievable."
When Thomas arrived at the stadium with a group of family and friends prior to the game. The University of Illinois product was treated to a tour of the team's locker room where he met several players. One of the White Sox players, starting outfielder Juan Pierre is an Alexandria native and rabid fan of the black and gold, who has actually been a guest of the club on the sidelines for a game before. Thomas excited him by signing his Saints mini-helmet.
After the teams finished up batting practice, Thomas took the pitcher's mound and threw the game's ceremonial first pitch to White Sox P Mark Buehrle with a congratulatory announcement on the stadium's video board behind him. Thomas and his family then settled into their seats and watched a ballgame that stretched into extra innings with Cleveland winning 5-3.