Royal week

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:58 AM ET

It's been quite a week for curling sensation Randy Ferbey.

First, he and his world champion foursome met the Queen. Then the skip mastered the fine art of TV weathercasting, and finally, Ferbey, Scott Pfeifer and Don Holowaychuk were tabbed for ceremonial pitch duties on the debut night of the Edmonton Cracker-Cats.

"I threw about five or six pitches two weeks ago. I'm ready to go," said Ferbey, the six-time Brier winner. "I'll throw about 85-88 (mph) right across the middle of the plate."

And it was, smack dab into the heart of Mike Kusiewicz's glove. Pfeifer and Holowaychuk were a little high firing towards Stubby Clapp and Jeremy Ware.

So which of his chores was the more sweat-inducing?

"This was big for me because I'm a huge baseball fan whether it's here or the majors," said Ferbey.

"Throwing out the first pitch is something you dream of no matter what the level is. But meeting the Queen was very special and something that I'm sure will never happen again.

"Now if I got to throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium that would absolutely be the best."

Cracker-Cats Idol winner Crystal Wanechko delivered the anthems and in tribute to former Trappers assistant GM Dennis Henke, who passed away in March after battling cancer, the first song played over the P.A. was John Fogerty's baseball anthem Centerfield.

The Cats then hit the home diamond for the first time on the new infield turf and to mark the special occasion, Clapp demonstrated his best Ozzie Smith-like flip.

While the turnout in the stands was far less than the hoped-for 8,000, Cats GM Mel Kowalchuk was keeping a stiff upper lip.

"We're excited that we'll have the largest attendance of anybody in the league for a home opener so from that perspective we're not disappointed but we did want to have more people," said Kowalchuk.

"The fans did seem to like the between-innings contests. We have some polishing to do and we'll still add more.

"We want to have a different atmosphere and we're still finding our niche. With triple-A, you had to have a certain dignity and now we're free to do more of what we want to do and we like that."


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