Skip to content

Watt fires 73 mph pitch to open season for Astros


Baseball hitters should be glad they don’t have to stare down J.J. Watt on a regular basis.

Watt, the 2012 NFL defensive player of the year, took to the mound in Houston on Sunday night and threw the first pitch for the Astros’ season opener against the Rangers.  (Apparently, the Astros have switched leagues.)

The consensus is that Watt brought the heat.  According to Molly Knight of ESPN (via, Watt threw the ball 73 miles per hour.

The performance from the mound follows Watt recently hitting multiple batting-practice home runs with the Astros.

So, yes, he can do much more than deliver pizzas.

UPDATE 10:59 p.m.:  Though I gave up on baseball more than 20 years ago when the Pirates blew the NLCS to the Braves in Game Seven, I still realize that a 73-mph pitch won’t break the catcher’s fingers.  But it was the ceremonial first pitch from a guy who doesn’t play baseball.  If we assume that he worked at pitching and was throwing the hardest he could in a game setting, it’s safe to say the ball would come out slightly faster.

Permalink 78 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Houston Texans, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
78 Responses to “Watt fires 73 mph pitch to open season for Astros”
  1. Max says: Mar 31, 2013 10:17 PM

    73mph… what was that a change up?

  2. radioactivechimp says: Mar 31, 2013 10:19 PM

    Unfortunately, this will be the high point of the Astros’ Season…

  3. dondada10 says: Mar 31, 2013 10:19 PM

    Man is a freak human being, no doubt.

  4. kane337 says: Mar 31, 2013 10:21 PM

    JJ Watt is such a great dude. Wish he was on my team.

  5. vuudu says: Mar 31, 2013 10:22 PM

    His break up with Houston will feel worse than the king and Cleveland.

  6. ososrule says: Mar 31, 2013 10:24 PM

    Who Cares!

  7. jjrs89 says: Mar 31, 2013 10:25 PM

    “Baseball hitters should be glad they don’t have to stare down J.J. Watt on a regular basis.”

    Because he threw the ball 73mph? You’re kidding right?

  8. fat4jc says: Mar 31, 2013 10:26 PM

    Granted I grew up playing baseball, but 73 isn’t all that impressive.

  9. toocooljoecool says: Mar 31, 2013 10:26 PM

    ‘Fires’ haha, the highschool pitchers do that freshman yr

  10. vargavarga says: Mar 31, 2013 10:26 PM

    Whatever. Professional baseball hitters would be licking their chops facing this guy.

  11. goninjagoninjagogo says: Mar 31, 2013 10:27 PM

    Could you imagine seeing that image as a batter if he committed himself to pitching?

  12. bechillin says: Mar 31, 2013 10:27 PM

    boss status

  13. nastyn8770 says: Mar 31, 2013 10:28 PM

    73 is change up velocity.

  14. themagicman1223 says: Mar 31, 2013 10:34 PM

    Next article will be : Astros sign J.J Watt.

  15. sickoe47 says: Mar 31, 2013 10:39 PM

    Jj watt knows bo!!

  16. phadedwun says: Mar 31, 2013 10:40 PM

    Baseball hitters should be glad they don’t have to stare down J.J. Watt on a regular basis.


    …73mph isn’t that fast for a MLB pitcher. Just saying.

    Still. Watt is a freakish athlete.

  17. Sideline Mob says: Mar 31, 2013 10:41 PM

    You’re right – most professional baseball players would just HATE to face a guy who tops out at 73 mph.

    It’s impressive for an NFL defensive lineman to throw that hard, but can we cut the hero worship and give major league baseball players a little credit here?

  18. stevenwilliams2013 says: Mar 31, 2013 10:42 PM

    The White Bo Jackson.

  19. nyyjetsknicks says: Mar 31, 2013 10:42 PM

    After he threw out the first pitch the Astros asked for the ball back and if he had the $100 on him for the tickets for his seats.

  20. northshorejag says: Mar 31, 2013 10:44 PM

    It’s a good thing we drafted gabbert one pick before him.

  21. dadawg77 says: Mar 31, 2013 10:45 PM

    MLB hitters would feast on 73 MPH fastballs. They may not charge the mound but would still gets lots of hits.

  22. xxakshunxx says: Mar 31, 2013 10:45 PM

    Florio.. you must not watch much baseball at all.. every hitter in the league would take 73 mph fastballs all day long..

  23. db3300 says: Mar 31, 2013 10:45 PM

    Meh, JJ should stick to football. 73 mph in the majors won’t come close to cutting it. A decent HS pitcher can beat that and I’ve had several little leaguers (13/14) who could also.

  24. canetic says: Mar 31, 2013 10:49 PM

    I think major leaguers could handle his 73 mph “heat.” Unless he’s a knuckleballer.

  25. fishfiletkray says: Mar 31, 2013 10:50 PM

    I expect him to join the 100 million dollar club in a year or two.

  26. germanstingray says: Mar 31, 2013 10:50 PM

    I don’t think a 73 mph pitch would even qualify as a good change up in the bigs.

  27. ningenito78 says: Mar 31, 2013 10:50 PM

    Baseball hitters should be glad they don’t have to stare down J.J. Watt on a regular basis.

    Why is that exactly? His fastball is the speed of a knuckleball. Pretty sure major league hitters would very much enjoy that experience.

  28. ttommytom says: Mar 31, 2013 10:51 PM

    73 is about a 9th grade fastball.

  29. patswillreign says: Mar 31, 2013 10:54 PM

    73 mph…that’s it?

  30. easternshoresfinest says: Mar 31, 2013 10:55 PM

    What a freak this dude is.

  31. cadillacjosh says: Mar 31, 2013 10:58 PM

    Why would batters not want to hit 73? That’s a notch over BP

  32. reasonablemindsays says: Mar 31, 2013 10:58 PM

    It was also several feet off the plate.

    No one would even know who this guy is if it weren’t for Wade Phillips constantly boasting his “talent.”

  33. henryjones20 says: Mar 31, 2013 11:04 PM

    when jordan was playing aa ball everyone crucified him for giving baseball a try.jj watt throws a knuckleball speed fast ball and hits some bp hr’s and he is god? haha lol this kills me.

  34. sportsrube90 says: Mar 31, 2013 11:05 PM

    Not saying Watt is not a freak of nature, but 73 mph is nothing to get giddy over. I grew up playing baseball and am only 5″10 and weigh 150 pounds and can throw pretty close to that. And because I can only pitcher close to that, thats why I am not in the MLB… Because it isn’t that great.

  35. theauger says: Mar 31, 2013 11:25 PM

    The speed really doesn’t matter. Hitters love straight fastballs. Even if he added 15-20 mph on his fastball & could throw it across the plate, without any movement, hitters would feast on it.

    I haven’t thrown a baseball in a few years and can probably still touch close to 70 mph if all I had to do was rare back & heave it in the general direction of home plate.

    Nothing really impressive here.


  36. lovetron says: Mar 31, 2013 11:26 PM

    Wow, 73 whole miles per hour?!? Why, he could practically pitch high school JV ball with that heat!

  37. shaunypoo says: Mar 31, 2013 11:27 PM

    99% of the posters here, me included, couldn’t throw that hard.

    You people bashing are mongoloids. Of course he couldn’t pitch in the pros, the point is he is a freak of an athlete. Unless he is doing HGH.

  38. kissmytaintpatriotsrule says: Mar 31, 2013 11:27 PM

    Now we know he can hit a homerun and throw a 73 mph fastball. Now all you need to do is figure out how to get him to show up when the Patriots are in town. I think JJ is scared of Tom Brady.

  39. michaeljacksonisback says: Mar 31, 2013 11:29 PM

    What a joke, my 13 year old throws a 72 mph fastball. No wonder he chose football

  40. southpaw79 says: Mar 31, 2013 11:30 PM

    That is only 20 mph slower than Colin Kaepernick threw….. in high school.

  41. hendeeze says: Mar 31, 2013 11:41 PM

    Thats slower than Barry Zito’s changeup

  42. spideysdog says: Mar 31, 2013 11:45 PM

    ummmm….. obviously he’s not taking King Felix or J Verlanders rotation spot. I think the point that Florio was trying to make, that obviously fell flat on some knuckleheads here, is that for a guy from a different sport to come in and throw some 73 mile per hour heat on a ceremonial pitch, is pretty impressive. Especially a guy that is the size of JJ Watt. Tell me the last time you saw a guy with arms like that throw a baseball from a MLB mound. Answer, NEVER. You know why, all you “i grew up playing baseball and that ain’t impressive… blah blah blah…..” bleacher bunnies? Because the rotation and motion needed to throw a baseball at a high velocity does not allow for giant pythons. Dude has em, and STILL through faster than anyone that just critiqued him on here can.

  43. joaonmatz says: Mar 31, 2013 11:50 PM

    It’s official:

    We’re running out of news.

  44. thetooloftools says: Mar 31, 2013 11:58 PM

    That’s cool.
    Haters can all be escorted to the pit of fire.

  45. 2difshoe says: Mar 31, 2013 11:59 PM

    Throw a 73 mph fastball to a major league fastball hitter and watch it leave the park at 115 mph !

  46. sellout1983 says: Apr 1, 2013 12:00 AM

    Aroldis Chapman laughed reading this headline…

  47. judsonjr says: Apr 1, 2013 12:09 AM

    I can see the next headline already:

    JJ Watt makes 2 three pointers in warm ups with the Rockets!!!

  48. sixjak says: Apr 1, 2013 12:21 AM

    Kaep throws a 94mph fastball. He also throws a football harder than JJWatt throws a baseball too. That said JJ is a fantastic football player.

  49. raiderinva says: Apr 1, 2013 12:33 AM

    J.J. Watt the DE football player took a baseball and sent it 73 MPH for 60 feet in a non competitive opening pitch without any training and warm up.

    People are stating that its not a big deal, weak, and would be launched out of the park.

    I would be willing to place quite a heavy bet on the fact that none of the people claiming this is no big deal could not even come close to hitting that ball. Even less would sit in place and put their body in position to stop that 73MPH baseball if they should not be able to catch it from 60 feet out. Even less are willing to drive their vehicle at 73MPH.

    FYI … My tickets have come at a much greater speed, I would NOT get into a position to get hit by that ball, and I already know that I can not hit a baseball….

  50. der6495 says: Apr 1, 2013 12:39 AM

    Not much slower than Jamie Moyer, and he played in the bigs last season.

  51. justintuckrule says: Apr 1, 2013 12:41 AM

    The Sid bream game? Strangely, the pirates are closer to having a pennant winning team than the yanks or braves. Times are a changing

  52. alokian says: Apr 1, 2013 1:06 AM

    He threw it almost as hard as John Wall!

  53. badintent says: Apr 1, 2013 3:44 AM

    He could fire the ball 73 MPH at their head, then tear it off. Which high school pitcher can do that ? Or for that matter , any of you ? yeah , thought so. Next order of business.

  54. mwpugs says: Apr 1, 2013 4:26 AM

    I dare you to charge the mound!!!!

  55. Max says: Apr 1, 2013 4:37 AM

    Next couple headlines to look out for:

    1) JJ Watt is enters the Kentucky Derby…. as the Horse!

    2) JJ Watt runs the 100meters in a blistering 16 seconds, Usain watch out!

    3) JJ Watt rides a bicycle!

    4) JJ Watt can hit a golf drive 200 yards!

    5) JJ Watt owns a car, therefore the next logical step is for JJ Watt to race in NASCAR.

  56. leftysmoke says: Apr 1, 2013 4:59 AM

    I was clocked in the 80’s in 7th grade. I was an above average south paw that ultimately hit the low 90s, but 73 mph? For a guy that big? Goes to show bringing the heat has nothing to do with a huge upper body. Legs, legs, legs.

  57. avoidtheboyd says: Apr 1, 2013 5:41 AM

    The real news here is the Astros won a game.

  58. mburkett1980 says: Apr 1, 2013 6:35 AM

    In other news, the NFLPA continues to stall HGH negotiations. Boom, someone has to say it.

  59. TeamBalco says: Apr 1, 2013 6:51 AM

    Lol! I threw 82 mph at the fair last year.

  60. mapharis26 says: Apr 1, 2013 7:22 AM

    1. He’s an NFL superstar, not a MLB stud pitcher, so 73 is quite good, considering he’s probably not had any training on pitching. So instead of calling for people to give MLB players credit, why don’t you give an NFL star credit for doing something nobody thought he could do.

    2. If you don’t like the news that comes out, make your own. Don’t see any of you complainers writing anything.

  61. bananaballs says: Apr 1, 2013 8:04 AM

    There are kids each and every year in the Little League World Series who hit this speed. 73 mph for a man of his size and athletic ability is not impressive it’s actually a disappointment. I was throwing that speed as a 7th grader and I was 1/3rd of his weight/size at that time.

  62. alonestartexan says: Apr 1, 2013 8:13 AM

    I like Watt, I’m a Texan fan, I feel that if he can play 12 more years like he’s played the last two, he’ll be in the Hall of Fame. Likely one of the greatest football players to ever play in Houston.

    That said, It’s a little tiring hearing the women croon on him, and the media gushing over every little detail…

    FWIW, I’m 30, haven’t played since 2001, and can still hit the low 80’s.

  63. hodag54501 says: Apr 1, 2013 8:18 AM

    Watt’s alma mater ….the University of Wisconsin…doesn’t have baseball anymore.

  64. fground says: Apr 1, 2013 8:21 AM

    His form sucks – if he was taught to pitch I’m sure he could get it up into the 80s – which is about as hard as your average major league non pitcher throws.

    He’s clearly a damn fine athlete.

  65. billh1947 says: Apr 1, 2013 8:39 AM

    The Astros went from the frying pan into the fire joining the ever tough AL West where the mighty surprising toughy Oakland A’s welcome them into the division.

  66. tv426 says: Apr 1, 2013 8:49 AM

    Any major leaguer would put a 73 mph pitch into the upper deck of center field.

    Get real!

  67. defscottyb says: Apr 1, 2013 8:53 AM

    The pitch was so far inside it would of beened a left handed hitter. Better than embarrasing himself with a 36mph pitch that didn’t even reach the plate like most. Cue the Obama, Pres Bush and other bad pitch tapes…

  68. htown1035 says: Apr 1, 2013 9:38 AM

    Really? Everyone’s going to start analyzing Watt’s pitching now? He’s a DE throwing a first ball – get over it already.

  69. chlstn says: Apr 1, 2013 10:22 AM

    Good for him! He’s simply out enjoying himself.

  70. salventuri says: Apr 1, 2013 10:40 AM

    That’s actually pretty fast for a non-baseball player who’s bulked-up for football to throw. If he warmed up a while, could probably throw 80.

  71. keevel says: Apr 1, 2013 10:47 AM

    A football player that plays a non ball handling position throws out a ceremonial first pitch as fast or faster than non pitching baseball players and people are falling all over themselves to not be impressed.

  72. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Apr 1, 2013 11:22 AM

    In other news, Watt “blazes” up 15 degree incline on Mo-Ped at a blistering 11 miles per hour.

  73. godzilla111111 says: Apr 1, 2013 11:29 AM

    Maybe he will teach Schaub how to throw.

  74. nflrule says: Apr 1, 2013 11:29 AM

    I throw harder than that at the carnival.

  75. salventuri says: Apr 1, 2013 11:45 AM

    In my 20’s I could throw over 90. That’s when I was tall, in shape and lanky. Today I’m 50, tall and overweight and can throw in the high 70’s. So I guess that’s not too bad.

  76. tg2121 says: Apr 1, 2013 12:16 PM

    decent arm for a regular person. what some might not realize is that if you throw 90+mph, you’ll be recruited to play college baseball and probably get drafted. the mlb journeyman throwing up 86mph “garbage” would blow you away if you got in the box. throwing mlb speeds is a rare skill.

  77. kiefs85 says: Apr 1, 2013 12:23 PM

    Um…73 is not fast. Anyone on here who thinks it is fast probably never even played little league. Even if he worked at it he probably wouldn’t break 80 which is also very slow to anyone who has played baseball at a decent level. An average fastball at a decent program in HIGH SCHOOL is around 80. Stick to football Florio.

  78. nonetruerthanblue says: Apr 1, 2013 12:47 PM

    People were throwing 80’s when I was in high school…who throws that hard on a first pitch anyway?? Was it anywhere near the strike zone?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!