Culture / Sporting Life

J.J. Watt Hobbles Out with his Girlfriend to Throw Out First Pitch in World Series

Playing Through Pain for the Astros

BY // 10.27.17

With the Minute Maid Park crowd roaring, J.J. Watt hobbled out to the mound on crutches, his girlfriend Kealia Ohai at his side, ready to assist as needed. With Ohai holding one of his crutches, Watt leaned on the other and got the baseball within the vicinity of home plate. Playing catcher for the ceremonial first pitch, Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel would have to bound after the ball that went juuuust a bit outside.

Not that anyone in the stadium cared. They were just happy to see the Houston hero who raised more than $37 million for Hurricane Harvey relief.

This marked Watt’s first public appearance since he broke his leg in the Houston Texans’ Sunday Night Football game on Oct. 9. He wore an orange Astros jersey and white shorts, his gimpy gait evident for everyone to see. No step came easy. Seeing Watt in crutches with a bulky, black cast sleeve almost completely covering one leg was more than a little jarring. It almost made the seriousness of the injury all the more real. But this appearance also reinforced Watt’s often superhuman fight.

No. 99 wasn’t going to let a broken leg stop him from throwing out the first pitch in the first World Series game in Houston in 12 years.

He gutted it up, got out there on the mound and let it fly.

Keuchel seemed thrilled to be on the receiving end of the pitch. Watt and the Astros’ co-ace know each other well. They’re part of the uncommonly close inter-sports fraternity in Houston. Watt went to Astros games long before the World Series ever arrived. Of course, Kealia Ohai — a Houston Dash soccer star — is part of that fraternity as well.

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Not that Ohai seemed to want much of the spotlight. She hung back while Watt did his thing, only coming over to give him his second crutch after.

It turns out there might be something to having this Watt guy around too. Houston quickly jumped out on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second inning with Yuli Gurriel hitting his first home run of the postseason and the Astros touching up Yu Darvish for four runs in the frame, driving him from the game after only five outs.

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