Telerobotics to help sick teen toss a baseball 1,800 miles

Photo Description: Using this telerobotic pitching machine, 13-year-old Nick LeGrande will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Oakland A’s game at the Oakland Coliseum Wednesday — from 1,800 miles away (Credit: Oakland Athletics)

Source: CNET

There are some baseball players known for their strong arms, but a lot of people will probably stand up and take notice when 13-year-old Nick LeGrande throws a baseball 1,800 miles on Wednesday.

Before you scoff at the physical impossibility of such a notion, take solace in the fact that technology is very much behind LeGrande’s feat, telerobotics to be precise. The Kansas City, Mo., teen, who suffers from severe aplastic anemia, a rare blood disease, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Oakland A’s-New York Yankees game in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday.

13-year-old Nick LeGrande

(Credit: Nick LeGrande)

But because LeGrande is too sick to attend live baseball games, he has to toss the ball from Kansas City. Google, which has offices there, has set up a special “mini baseball stadium,” according to a release, where he will throw his pitch. At the same time, the telerobotic pitching machine, which is set up on the mound in Oakland, will track LeGrande’s motion and complete the pitch. A’s pitcher Ryan Cook is expected to catch LeGrande’s throw.

To be certain, this is a gimmick, but it’s sure to make LeGrande’s day. A big A’s fan and a former Little League player, LeGrande will get to have an experience that he will never forget.

Stay tuned for photographs of the historic pitch, thought to be the first telerobotic first pitch in the history of Major League Baseball.

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