LAKELAND, Fla. -- J.K. Simmons never did take the ball from Kevin Costner during his bid for pitching perfection in For Love of the Game. Years later, the Oscar-winning actor and Michigan native will get to throw the first pitch of the Tigers season.
The team announced Thursday on its twitter account that Simmons, a longtime Tigers fan who played the team's manager in the aforementioned movie, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day April 6.
Born Jonathan Kimble Simmons in Detroit, the 60-year-old actor has made a lengthy career out of supporting roles, often portraying authority figures. One of those was Frank Perry, manager of the Tigers and pitcher Billy Chapel -- portrayed by Costner -- on the night he threw a perfect game in the final outing of his career.
That movie was filmed at Yankee Stadium, but Simmons has had plenty of chances to see the Tigers in Detroit. He also has been a regular guest when the Tigers go to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers in recent years, often arriving early and taking in batting practice from the field.
Simmons won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor last year for his portrayal of a tough music teacher in the movie Whiplash. He'll be on the big screen again this summer as a police detective in "Terminator Genisys."
Just as Opening Day in Detroit has a decidedly provincial tone, unofficially signifying the end of Michigan's miserable winter, the ceremonial first pitch usually goes to someone with local ties.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.