By Alex Raskin Sports News Editor for DailyMail.com and The Associated Press
20:56 28 September 2023, updated 21:56 28 September 2023
- Rapinoe’s offering to Mariners pitcher George Kirby missed the plate by a foot
- She has played for two Seattle clubs and is dating former Seattle Storm star Sue Bird
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
No longer relying on her legs to earn a living, U.S. soccer ace Megan Rapinoe showed off her arm by throwing the first pitch before the Mariners’ game against the visiting Houston Astros in Seattle on Wednesday.
After playing his final game for the U.S. national team on Sunday, the recently retired player donned a Mariners jacket, bright red pleather pants and some eye-catching sunglasses for Wednesday’s pre-game celebration. And despite having a background in a different sport, Rapinoe followed a baseball superstition by leaping over the third-base foul line on her way to the mound.
Unfortunately, his offering to Mariners pitcher George Kirby missed the plate by a foot or more, but it was still an improvement on his previous attempt in 2015, which was also further than the strike zone. Rapinoe also took the opportunity to take a selfie on the mound at T-Mobile Park and play with one of the team’s tridents, which has become a symbol for the Mariners in recent years.
The 38-year-old California native has played for two different Seattle-based teams and is in a long-term relationship with local basketball legend Sue Bird, who spent her 20-year WNBA career with the Seattle Storm.
The Mariners ultimately lost the game 8–3, while narrowly avoiding a mid-game brawl when Astros pitcher Hector Neris reportedly called Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez a homophobic slur.
Rapinoe got a triumphant sendoff on Sunday when she and the U.S. women defeated South Africa 2-0 in a friendly.
Trinity Rodman and Emily Sonnett scored, and the US sent their captain into retirement with one final win as a member of the national team.
Rapinoe was presented with a framed jersey representing her 203 games with the United States, and raised her arms during the roar of the crowd before the victory. The cheering didn’t stop until she finished addressing the crowd after the win and walked into the tunnel.
“I know I’m a favorite,” he said. ‘And I know I mean a lot to the game. But to have this night and really feel it and see it – on behalf of my teammates, on behalf of our staff and certainly on behalf of the fans, who have been such a huge part of our success on and off the field, really – It was very special.
Rapinoe came close to scoring, but missed the free kick. She exited the international stage for the last time in the 54th minute to a standing ovation, kissed and hugged her teammates and greeted the crowd with a kiss.
There was a video tribute after the game. An emotional Rapinoe then addressed the crowd, at one point mocking Lindsay Horan’s crying and telling her, ‘Pull it together, Lindsay. She is not handling it properly.
Rapinoe announced in July that she was retiring after an illustrious career that included World Cup championships as well as gold and bronze medals at the Olympics. Fighting for equal pay and social justice, she used her platform to make an impact beyond the field.
She has been expressing her feelings in recent weeks.
Rapinoe gave her a go after the U.S.’s loss to Sweden at this summer’s Women’s World Cup, knowing it would be her last tournament with the national team. She did it again last weekend, when she played her final rivalry match between her NWSL team, OL Reign, and the Portland Thorns. And Sunday was another day when tears were shed.
“She radiates acceptance and love,” forward Midge Purse said.
Horan choked up talking about Rapinoe.
“It’s really hard for me because I’m losing a role model,” she said. ‘It is difficult. This is what you have noticed. This is another reason why you fall in love with the game, the kind of players you see on TV doing the same things. And you come in and now you’re training with them every day? It’s very wild.’
Rapinoe still has a few more regular season games left for the Reign, including a send-off match for local fans in Seattle on October 6 before her career ends. And what a remarkable career it has been.
He entered his final match for the United States with 63 goals, including two goals from direct corner kicks at the Olympics. At the 2019 World Cup in France, she scored six goals and took home the Golden Ball as the top player.
Establishing himself as one of the game’s best players, he led a long battle for equal pay with the men’s national team.