Digging in for the first pitch

The Dig Inn’s Ben Robertson throws Bucks’ ceremonial first pitch

Ben Robertson, owner of The Dig Inn in Reinbeck, throws the ceremonial first pitch of the Waterloo Bucks’ August 8 game with the St. Cloud Rox at Cost Cutters Field at Riverfront Stadium in Waterloo. –Photos by Soren M. Peterson
Ben Robertson (left) and Bucks’ pitcher Michael Mugan (10) – a Redshirt freshman at Santa Clara University from Seaside, California – speak on the mound at Cost Cutters Field at Riverfront Stadium in Waterloo on August 8 ahead of the Bucks’ matchup with the St. Cloud Rox. –Photo by Soren M. Peterson
The Dig Inn owners Ben and Holly Robertson pictured in the Riverfront Stadium stands in Waterloo on Monday, August 8, following Ben’s ceremonial first pitch for the Waterloo Bucks. –Photo by Soren M. Peterson

Although it wasn’t exactly ‘Dig Inn at the Ballpark’ night this past Monday, August 8, at Riverfront Stadium in Waterloo, it sure seemed that way when The Dig Inn’s Ben Robertson took to the mound to throw one of three ceremonial first pitches. As Robertson released the ball the seats behind home plate erupted in boisterous cheering for the bar/record store owner from Reinbeck.

It’s a longstanding tradition in baseball to invite a special guest to the mound to throw the “first pitch.” From presidents to company executives to everyday folks like Robertson, being asked to throw that first pitch is certainly an honor not to be taken lightly no matter how bad one is at the sport.

In the days leading up to the August 8 Northwoods League game featuring the Waterloo Bucks and the St. Cloud Rox, Robertson and his wife Holly worked to find a ball and a glove with which for him to practice. Because even though the colorful owner of one of Iowa’s rare bar and record stores is an avid baseball fan, Robertson had not picked up a bat let alone a baseball since he was a kid spending summers on his grandparents’ Reinbeck farm.

Prior to taking the field Monday night, Robertson admitted he was nervous but once on the mound, he hammed it up with the catcher with his laid-back but electrifying personality before doing his best to reach the catcher’s glove. Despite the pitch bouncing once, the moment was clearly a success as the catcher had called for a “pitch in the dirt.”

Robertson was the final of three individuals to throw the first pitch that night with the first being a young child and the second representing a suicide awareness/prevention organization.

Although the Bucks lost 9-3 to the Rox, a good time seemed to be had by everyone representing the town of Reinbeck – it’s hard to go wrong when one has a small town bar/record store owner who loves baseball and beer on their team.