Antonio Brown was running a bit behind Friday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field, so he had to throw his first pitch with the Curve players already on the field.
The way Brown talked after the pitch seemed to imply he'd like to take the field with the players more often.
Following the left-handed Brown's pitch, which was a bit high, Altoona general manager Rob Egan joked with the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver that the Pirates often had open tryouts.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Steelers receiver Antonio Brown signs a football for Altoona’s John Inks on Thursday evening. Brown was at Peoples National Gas Field to throw out the first pitch for the Curve’s game with Erie.
Rather than laugh, Brown seemed legitimately interested and began asking Egan if he seriously thought the Pirates would give him a shot.
"It was amazing going out there in front of the crowd," Brown said. "Everyone was getting excited, and I knocked it out on the first throw."
Brown, who caught 69 passes for 1,108 yards and returned a punt for a touchdown last year in his second season in the NFL, will have plenty of change to deal with in 2012 without changing sports.
The Steelers switched offensive coordinators from Bruce Arians to Todd Haley in the offseason.
"It's going to be exciting," Brown said. "Todd Haley is a reputable guy. He comes highly recommended from wideouts around the league.
"Guys like Marty Booker, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin have had a lot of success under him. We're going to be looking for some explosive passing plays, and we're excited for 2012."
Who will be taking the field for Haley's new offense is still in question as star wide receiver Mike Wallace remains a restricted free agent.
"We don't know [if Wallace will be back]," Brown said. "The deadline is April 20 for another team to make a push for him. Right now, we're just focused on the men who are going to be here.
"If Mike's there, we're going to embrace him and get ready for a great 2012, but if he's not, other guys are going to need to step up and be better."
One player who definitely won't be on the field for Pittsburgh this season is recently retired wideout Hines Ward.
"[Ward] is definitely going to the Hall of Fame," Brown said. "The most important thing I took from him is that he brought it every day. Every year, he came to training camp to prove himself and make a name for himself.
"That's what it's about in the NFL. You can't get caught up in what you did last year. Every year you have to make a name for yourself, and he's a great guy who proved himself every day he played this game."
After catching just 16 passes for 167 yards during his rookie campaign in 2010, Brown became a vital part of both the offense and the Steelers' special teams last year and was selected to the Pro Bowl.
During that game, Brown, who played college football for Central Michigan, convinced the coaching staff to play him on defense at cornerback. Arizona star wideout and former Pitt player Larry Fitzgerald took advantage of Brown and hauled in an easy touchdown catch.
"It was fun [covering Fitzgerald]," Brown said. "You get to play against some of the best players in the world. I got to do something I normally don't do, and it was fun. But I'm for sure positive that Dick LeBeau is not putting me on defense."
Brown is just the latest in a string of Steelers who have thrown out the first pitch for the Altoona Curve. LaMarr Woodley, Ziggy Hood and Lawrence Timmons preceded Brown.
"We couldn't be more pleased with how great the Steelers have been and taken time with our fans," Egan said. "They take time with our players and coaches and the guys in the clubhouse. It's a great experience to get to rub elbows with these guys."
Dale Moore, a Bellefonte native, was first in line to see Brown. He usually attends six to eight games a year and was at the ballpark for Woodley's appearance. Moore planned to get Brown to autograph his jersey.
"I have a nice little bar in my house with Steelers stuff, so this will make a nice addition," Moore said. "I have stuff from the 1970s and the Super Bowls. Hopefully Antonio will have a few Super Bowl rings by the time he's done."