The 62-year-old bassist and lead singer of the Canadian rock band Rush is a die-hard baseball fan and a Blue Jays season-ticket holder, but even he gets a little jittery when asked to take the mound.
DAN PATRICK:What was it like to be front row during Game 5 of the ALDS [between the Blue Jays and the Rangers]?
GEDDY LEE: The seventh inning [was] probably the weirdest and most intense inning I've ever experienced in my many years of loving baseball. It kind of bordered on a riot at one point. It was a little scary.
DP:Toronto has to be hungry for a winner since the '93 World Series title.
GL: That's really true. I like to think that the idiots who were throwing things on the field [in Game 5] were frustrated Maple Leafs fans and not actual baseball fans.
DP:How many times have you sung the national anthem before a baseball game?
GL: Only once. I did it in 1993 at Camden Yards for the All-Star Game. I swore, one and done. It's kind of a nerve-racking experience.
DP:You've also thrown out the first pitch a couple of times.
GL: Yeah, I did it at the home opener here a couple of years ago (right), and I did it once in Arlington with my guitar player, Alex Lifeson, as my batterymate.
DP:Anthem or first pitch? Compare the two.
GL: They're both more nerve-racking than doing a show. A show is what I've been doing my whole life. In '93 as I walked out onto the field [to sing], a nice lady from the network said, "You'll be happy to know there's 80 million people watching tonight."
DP:Which position in sports does a lead singer compare to?
GL: Hard to compare in a three-piece band. The singer is the most vulnerable, because his instrument is his body. He's like a pitcher in that sense.
DP:Do you feel like a starting pitcher when you go out?
GL: That's the closest analogy. Singers live in a state of fear of catching a cold [and losing their voices]. You have to baby that part of you. I've known many pitchers through the years. They feel the same way about their arms. They don't allow air-conditioning to blow on them etc.
DP:What sports memorabilia do you have in your man cave?
GL: I've been collecting for over 25 years. I have quite an interesting array of signed balls from Hall of Famers. I have a collection of presidential baseballs. I try to focus on first-pitch balls. I always wanted to be a pitcher. I try to find a lot of balls from no-hitters. I recently acquired both baseballs from Johnny Vander Meer's consecutive no-hitters [in 1938]. That was a prize for me.
Ravens QB Joe Flacco admitted that comedy isn't his strong suit. "I don't look at myself as being very funny," Flacco told me. "You see me, not a ton of expression. I think some people laugh at me more than laugh with me." ... Former Mets pitcher and current baseball analyst Ron Darling told me not to buy into pitch-velocity stats. "Today's guns are not right," Darling said. "They're a different kind of gun. Nolan Ryan would not hit 100 mph on the guns we used. And no one threw harder than Nolan Ryan." ... Former NFL tight end and current studio analyst Tony Gonzalez said Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham needs to reset his expectations in Seattle: "Those days of Jimmy catching 85--95 balls for 1,200--1,300 yards and 14 TDs are probably in the rearview mirror as long as he's out there."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
PETER POWER/THE GLOBE AND MAIL/THE CANADIAN PRESS (LEE)
BILL MCCAY/WIREIMAGE (FLACCO)
MARK VON HOLDEN/GETTY IMAGES FOR NYC & COMPANY (DARLING)
CHRISTOPHER POLK/CBS/GETTY IMAGES (GONZALEZ)