Did Dr. Anthony Fauci throw his 2020 opening day pitch six feet from home plate? No, that's not true: He was standing near the edge of the pitcher's mound, which is over 48 feet from the front of home plate.
The claim appeared in an Instagram post (archived here) by the account "hodgetwins" on June 10, 2021. The post includes a video showing Fauci's off-target throw with the words:
A PITCH THROWN 6 FT AWAY FROM HOME PLATE
Ths is how the post looked on June 11, 2021:
It didn't feel logical that the distance Fauci is shown throwing was only six feet, but we're fact-checkers, so we actually did the math. This debunk does not address how far the ball was thrown, as that question is not on the video's text (though video from that day shows the pitch landing on the first base line, which is more than six feet from the mound).
How far, exactly, is the edge of the pitcher's mound from the front of home plate?
Major League Baseball has extremely regimented rules around the dimensions of the infield of a regulation baseball field, which are outlined in on the mlb.com website. The site says that the distance from the "pitcher's plate" (or "the rubber" on the pitcher's mound) is 60 feet, six inches from the back of home plate.
Of course that's further than six feet, but let's be a bit more precise, since Fauci isn't throwing the ball from the rubber. In the image below, taken from the post, he's standing on the edge of the pitcher's mound.
Major League Baseball explains the dimensions of the pitcher's mound:
The pitcher's plate must be a 24-inch by 6-inch slab of whitened rubber that is 10 inches above the level of home plate and 60 feet, 6 inches away from the back point of home plate. It is placed 18 inches behind the center of the mound -- which is erected within an 18-foot diameter circle -- and surrounded by a level area that is 5 feet by 34 inches.
The mound is 18 feet in diameter, or nine feet from the center to the edge. And the "pitcher's plate" is 18 inches farther back from the center of the mound. So the distance from the pitcher's plate and the edge of the mound is 10 feet, six inches. Since home plate is 60 feet, six inches from the pitcher's rubber, we can subtract 10 feet six inches from that and determine the edge of the mound is 50 feet from home plate.
But that measures to the back corner of home plate, so how far is it to the front of home plate where the catcher is standing? Of course, Major League Baseball has codified this as well:
Home plate is a 17-inch square of whitened rubber with two of the corners removed so that one edge is 17 inches long, two adjacent sides are 8 1/2 inches each and the remaining two sides are 12 inches each and set at an angle to make a point.
We can subtract 17 inches from 50 feet and end up with the true distance from the edge of the mound to the front of home plate: 48 feet seven inches. The Lead Stories graphics team generated the high-quality rendering at right to show our work.