There’s a reason
Earning that nickname in high school when he dominated on the gridiron as well as on the hardwood as the basketball team’s starting point guard, “Supa Melvin” has always been an athletic specimen. At 6-2, 265 pounds, he’s even noted for doing perfect backflips on cue.
Despite not playing baseball since little league, the third-year linebacker took to the mound Thursday night at Petco Park to throw out the first pitch before the San Diego Padres game. Saying he hadn’t thrown a baseball in years, Ingram was still confident he’d throw a perfect strike.
“No doubt about it,” he said. “It’s going to be right down the middle.”
Ingram’s confidence on Sundays is a major reason why he is so successful, always expecting to get after the quarterback and create game changing plays. That confidence Thursday led him to throw from the top of the mound when most choose to throw from in front of it. As he took the hill wearing a Padres jersey with a familiar “54” on it, he received a loud ovation from the stands as he went into his windup.
Not surprisingly, he threw a perfect strike with enough velocity and natural sink that it surprised catcher Yasmani Grandal.
“Where’s that contract,” Ingram asked jokingly as he left the field. “Sign me up!”
A man of the people, Ingram opted to watch the game from the stands afterward. He also walked around Petco Park to take in all the stadium has to offer. No matter where he went, Ingram heard encouragement from fans eager to see him on the field again when the 2014 season kicks off.
“He’s awesome,” said 15-year old Chargers and Padres fan Noah. “I had no idea he was throwing out the pitch today so it was a fun surprise. He’s one of my favorite players. He had that interception in the playoffs and the team played better when he came back at the end of the season. I think he’s going to have his best season this year.”