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Catapult To Deliver First Pitch At Pirates Game

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

RickDayton Rick Dayton
Rick Dayton joined KDKA in September 2009 as a morning news anchor. ...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Just in time for the biggest series in the history of PNC Park comes this old-fashioned idea.

“It is a fancy name, and when you think we are building it to throw a baseball at a catcher, and trebuchets were originally built to throw boulders at castles, it’s a remarkable thing we are doing,” said Director of Marketing for Children’s Museum Bill Schlageter.

This trebuchet, commonly called a catapult, has been designed by kids at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. It will throw out the first pitch Sunday afternoon at PNC Park — on Kids Day, naturally.

“Kids could draw on a little card their sort of ideal pitching machine,” said trebuchet designer Christian Tsu-Raun. “We took bits and pieces of some of those, like some of them were on wheels and some of them looked like medieval catapults and we took those and sort of jammed them together into a design.”

KDKA’s Rick Dayton Reports:

This version is built on wheels that can be pedal-powered and steered, too. But its most important job is to hurl a baseball from the pitcher’s mound to home plate — and that took some experimentation.

“Engineers have been making them for hundreds of years and went with some designs that worked really well, took a little creative liberty with them and tried it out and made it break a bunch of times,” said Tsu-Raun.

With the help of kids, the trebuchet was built by the Makeshop at the Children’s Museum.

“We’ve tried to have a lot of fun with this but we’ve tried to emphasize the notion of make, do it yourself, roll up your sleeves and try something,” said Schlageter. “This offered a great theme for us and the pitching machine is a wonderful apex to the project.”

And to think on Sunday afternoon, 35,000 to 40,000 Pirate fans will see it work.

“That’s all the cool,” Tsu-Raun said. “There is no more cool to be had.”

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