TOKYO (AP) -- Hollywood star Tom Hanks was in a league of his own Friday when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Japanese professional baseball game.
Hanks, who is in Tokyo with director Ron Howard to promote their film "Angels & Demons," took a few warm-up pitches in the bullpen before heading out to the mound to throw out the first pitch at a game between the Yomiuri Giants and the Chunichi Dragons at Tokyo Dome.
With Howard behind the plate and Yomiuri infielder Hayato Sakamoto in the batter's box, Hanks threw a pitch that bounced several feet in front of home plate before skidding past a diving Howard.
"Tons of practice and I bounced it in the dirt, I'm humiliated" Hanks said. "I went from the rush of being in the sacred spot to the humiliation of being mortal."
"Angels & Demons," a prequel of "The Da Vinci Code," will be shown around the world on May 15. Hanks again plays the role of Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon in the movie based on Dan Brown's best-selling novel of the same name.
But on Friday it was all baseball. Hanks said it was an honor to take the mound at the home stadium of Japan's most popular team.
"I've been reading about the Tokyo Dome ever since I was a little kid," Hanks said. "Home of the Yomiuri Giants and the team of Sadaharu Oh for crying out loud. There is a lot of baseball history out there."
Hanks said he has been impressed with Japanese baseball over the years.
"I think it's a great game," said Hanks. "I think a lot of the teams could compete (with major league teams) but I've only seen one game."
Hanks took in a Japanese baseball game when he was in Japan several years ago to promote "The Da Vinci Code."
Before the game, Hanks exchanged baseball caps with Yomiuri manager Tatsunori Hara, who guided Japan to a successful defense of its title at the World Baseball Classic in March.
As for the major leagues, Hanks said he likes the Cleveland Indians and the Oakland A's but that he prefers the National League game.
"I mostly like the National League," added Hanks. "Dodgers, Cubs, Mets."
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