Joe Polo

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U.S. curler throws first pitch to wrong catcher (video)

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The U.S. men’s curling team had an inspiring run to gold in PyeongChang. Collectively, their ceremonial first pitches at the Minnesota Twins’ home opener on Thursday were not as impressive.

The five team members lined up in a row from right of the pitcher’s mound to its left. In order: alternate Joe Polo, skip John Shuster, vice skip Tyler George, second Matt Hamilton and lead John Landsteiner.

Polo was fine. He threw a strike. Now, for everyone else:

Shuster airmailed his, but it looked worse because his catcher had to duck out of the way of George’s errant throw that went to the wrong Twins player. Hamilton didn’t risk bodily harm, rolling his ball along the grass like a curling stone. Landsteiner threw a floater.

All team members are from Minnesota except Hamilton, who is from Wisconsin. Shuster attended Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.

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MORE: Top moments from Team USA’s run to curling gold

Curling siblings secure mixed doubles Olympic quota spot for U.S.

Rich Harmer/USA Curling
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The United States will be represented when mixed doubles curling makes its Olympic debut in PyeongChang, thanks, in part, to the performance of siblings Becca and Matt Hamilton at the 2017 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship.

Although the Hamiltons finished well off the podium in 10th, their work, coupled with a third place finish at the 2016 World Championships by Joe Polo and Tabitha Peterson, is all the U.S. needed to lock in an Olympic spot for 2018. The bronze won by Polo and Peterson in 2016 was the first time the United States had won a world championship medal in mixed doubles curling, according to TeamUSA.org.

The Hamiltons opened the 2017 World Championships with a perfect 7-0 record through pool play, but a 6-5 loss to Finland in a match that needed extra ends took them out of contention for a medal. Wins against Hungary and Italy moved them into position to get the necessary points to land the Olympic quota spot. In their final match at the 2017 Worlds the Hamiltons fell to Russia, 5-7.

At the top of the 2017 World Championship final standings, Switzerland won the gold, Canada took silver and China left with bronze.

The eight mixed doubles team field set to compete in PyeongChang includes China, Canada, Russia, Switzerland, United States, Norway, Finland and hosts Korea. Curling begins in PyeongChang on February 8, 2018, one day ahead of the Opening Ceremony, with competition lasting throughout the entire span of the Olympic Games.

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