CNN personality impresses during BP
Headline News anchor Robin Meade shines against Willis
ATLANTA -- At 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, Indians pitching coach Carl Willis is an imposing figure. It's difficult to imagine anything throwing him off his game.
Then again, beauty has been known to tame the savage beast. On Saturday afternoon at Turner Field, that's exactly what happened.
Robin Meade, a CNN Headline News anchor and star of "Morning Express with Robin Meade," was the beauty who threw the veteran pitching coach for a loop during a batting-practice session that will be featured in a future segment of her show.
"[Willis] apologized. because he was so tired at the end," said Meade, an Ohio native and a former Miss Ohio. "He said I was intimidating."
"It was kind of like trying to hit the bat and throwing to your kids, so to speak," said Willis with a laugh. "But after throwing to all the guys to try to let off a little bit, I lost it. She's an intimidating figure at the plate."
Prior to the session, Meade got some hitting advice from Indians outfielder David Dellucci.
She showed some skill with the bat while waiting for the Indians to finish hitting, flipping it around like a baton, leading her mentor to say, "I'll teach you how to hit if you teach me how to do that."
Meade, donning an Indians batting-practice jersey, then dug in against Willis. After fouling off a couple of pitches, Willis lost the plate.
"Does he always throw like that?" Meade asked with a laugh, as Willis, being ribbed by players and coaches around the dugout, missed with several pitches in a row.
Finally, Willis found it again, and Meade put one in fair territory.
"David was a really great coach," Meade said. "I don't do any sports, so I thought I was going to make a complete fool of myself doing this. But I connected on a lot of them."
Meade impressed the group that watched, including her husband, Tim Yeager.
"I leaned over and said to somebody, '$20 she won't touch one,'" Yeager said with a laugh.
Meade, a longtime Indians fan, was proud of her performance.
"What tickled me the most was [Willis] said I did better than LeBron James and an NFL player they conveniently could not remember, who did not connect as well," Meade said, laughing. "But I better keep my day job."
Jon Cooper is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.