Little Leaguer Brown throws out first pitch
Twelve-year-old girl tossed perfect game in Bayonne, N.J.
NEW YORK -- Oddly enough, the 12-year-old girl sitting in the Mets dugout prior to Saturday's game at Citi Field didn't seem the least bit out of place. Even the television cameras stuck in her face didn't faze her.
"I've had a lot of them the past couple days," Mackenzie Brown said, grinning through a set of braces.
Then again, she had reason to feel at home. This past week, Brown accomplished something that Johan Santana never has -- she threw a perfect game, setting down all 18 hitters she faced on Tuesday in a Bayonne, N.J., Little League game.
"Everybody's been asking me how I did it," Brown said. "I don't know. I can't believe I did that."
Her reward? A trip to Citi Field to meet the Mets -- particularly David Wright, her favorite -- and to throw out the first pitch of Saturday's game against the Nationals. It was a daunting task even for Brown, considering that Little League pitching rubbers are only 46 feet away from home plate, compared to more than 60 feet on a Major League mound.
Yet Brown, used to practicing on regulation-sized diamonds with her 14-year-old brother, strode up to the top of the mound and fired a fastball to Mets catcher Omir Santos behind home plate.
For Brown, that pitch capped what has been a whirlwind week. Between signing autographs for teachers and classmates and making appearances on national television programs -- along with watching highlights of her perfect game on ESPN -- Brown hasn't quite been able to let what's happened sink in.
"Everybody's just been treating me different," she said.
Her ultimate thrill came just prior to Saturday's first pitch, when Brown, a sixth-grader at the Henry Harris Middle School in Bayonne, met her idol, Wright.
Little League Baseball estimates that 50 to 60 perfect games are thrown each year, though there's no telling how many are thrown by the roughly 100,000 girls that play across the country, at an age when most children -- including Brown -- are throwing just fastballs and changeups.
Most girls have switched over to softball by the time they hit middle school, though Brown and one other girl in Bayonne stuck with baseball. Now that she's had her moment of celebrity, Brown plans on making the switch herself next season, in preparation for a potential softball career in college.
Yet even a wildly successful transition might be hard-pressed to match this.
At a Mets game at Shea Stadium last season, Brown recalled daydreaming about how much she would like to throw out the first pitch at a game. Now, she has.
"It's a little different than anything I'm used to," she said.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.