Tom Hanks — always committed to the bit — had a little help from his friend while throwing the ceremonial first pitch at the Cleveland Guardians’ home opening game against the San Francisco Giants.
That is, he shared the stadium with Wilson, the ball he anthropomorphized in his hit drama “Cast Away.” In the film, Hanks stars as Chuck Noland, a workaholic FedEx executive who gets stranded on an uninhabited island. His only companion there is a washed-up volleyball, whom he names Wilson after the sporting goods store, adorned with his bloodied handprint and a hand-drawn face.
In a Bally Sports video capturing the heartwarming callback to the Oscar-nominated movie — which Hanks also produced — and its lore, the “Forrest Gump” star is depicted showing off the volleyball, now emblazoned with the Guardians’ “C” symbol. As he readies himself to make the pitch, the volleyball rolls down the pitcher’s mound.
“There goes Wilson!” the commentator exclaimed. “Well, it’s windy today,” the other commentator added. “Always a consummate actor.” The two proceeded to joke about what call the umpire would make on the ball.
After putting the ball back, Hanks set his sights on pitching once more, only for the ball to roll away again — this time circling around and defying all high wind expectations. Clearly a gag made possible by a potentially remote-controlled volleyball, it elicited hearty chuckles from the announcers and cheers from the game’s attendees.
The two-time Oscar-winning actor’s association with the Cleveland team goes way back: Hanks got his start in acting as a member of the Great Lakes Theater Festival and has been a fan of the team since the ‘70s. In July, he narrated the team’s name change announcement to the Guardians.
Watch the hilarious moment in full below: