Stephen A. Smith may want to take some of his comments back about baseball after his first pitch.
Celebrities botching their ceremonial first pitch at baseball games is a gift that keeps on giving. We've witnessed some iconic screw ups in the past: 50 Cent yanking his 2014 first pitch at Citi Field about 50 feet wide of his target, Conor McGregor chucking his first pitch at Wrigley Field to the backstop last year, and Carly Rae Jepsen's five-foot throw at a 2013 Tampa Bay Rays game are among the worst first pitches we've seen.
Thanks to Stephen A. Smith, we now have another terrible first pitch to add to the list.
Last night, Stephen A. Smith threw the ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium for the team's game against the Toronto Blue Jays. In the pitch's video, which was initially posted on X by YES Network, Smith is seen walking up the mound tossing the ball in the air, wearing a pinstripe Derek Jeter jersey, and looking confident as can be — and then he walked up the mound, scans the stadium stands, takes a few deep breaths, and makes his pitch. While Smith's throw did go straight, it also only reached two-thirds of the way to home plate.
Just a bit short, @stephenasmith! ?
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) September 21, 2023
Granted, Smith's first pitch doesn't compare to the three aforementioned ones, in terms of sheer dreadfulness. Yet, it was still an abysmal effort. Gauging from Smith's embarrassed reaction, he'd like to have that one back.
Which Smith confirmed when he joined the YES Network broadcast while the game was underway. When the broadcasters asked Smith his thoughts on the throw, he answered with, "I was disgusted with myself, man."
Then Smith discussed what led to the throw. "I was warming up on flat ground, throwing strikes from sixty feet away. And I got on that mound, and [home plate] looked like it was a mile away... It was a choke job. Stephan A. choked a little bit up there."
At least he's willing to admit that the moment got to him. Yet, future first pitch throwers can learn a valuable lesson from Smith's biggest mistake: going all the way up the mound.
Every time someone royally screws up their ceremonial first pitch, they do so while standing atop the mound. It's a completely different experience throwing from an elevated surface compared to flat ground. For that reason, celebs are best suited to swallow their pride and make their first pitch from in front of the mound. There's also the option to find a mound around the stadium somewhere and practice warm up throws from there — but mounds aren't just laying around stadiums, accessible to everyone.
On the other hand, horrible first pitches are an adored part of America's pastime. For that reason, perhaps celebrities should keep stepping on that mound with all the confidence in the world. How bad could it be?
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