Stephen A. Smith recently said that he thinks baseball fans should “shut the hell up.”
After watching him bounce the first pitch before the New York Yankees game on Thursday night, they’re going to do anything but.
Donning a Yankees jersey, the First Take host strode to the mound for the ceremonial pitch and then delivered a stinker that bounced before reaching the catcher. While not the worst first pitch we’ve ever seen, it was clear that Smith knew he’d underperformed with the pressure on.
Here it is… Stephen A. Smith throws out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium: pic.twitter.com/EuWlyND5RL
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) September 21, 2023
Afterward, Smith heard about it from plenty of baseball fans and ESPN viewers. He even heard it from his ESPN co-workers, Molly Qerim and Dan Orlovsky.
This is trash
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) September 22, 2023
Smith showed up in the Yankees’ TV booth later on where he knew he would have to face the music. And when Michael Kay brought up the calamitous first pitch, Smith admitted that he was pretty mad at himself for how it went down.
“I was disgusted with myself… I said, ‘What the hell am I doing here?’… There’s no excuse… It was a chokejob… Stephen A. choked a little bit. I just did. It was straight. But dammit, I can do better than that.”- Stephen A. Smith on his first pitch at Yankee Stadium pic.twitter.com/y3Rp4u3NsU
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) September 22, 2023
“I was disgusted with myself, man,” said Smith. “Let me tell you something, I was warming up down there. I was throwing strikes from 60 feet away. And I got on that mound and it looked like it was a mile away. I said, what the hell am I doing here? I said, what the hell am I doing here? And you know, it just, I mean, it was…there’s no excuse, there’s no excuse. It was a choke job. I can do better than that. It was a choke job and Stephen A. choked a little bit. I just did. It was straight. But damn it, I can do better than that.”
When one of the announcers tried to give him an out, saying that it’s tough pitching from the mound, Smith wasn’t having it.
“Listen, I want to go up on the hill, man,” said Smith. “I stood up there and I’m like, I can’t believe how far this is. I can’t believe how far this is. And then, not only that, they would coach me to let it go sooner and I followed through and then let it go. I let it go too late. And you don’t get warm-ups on the mound, man.
Smith was also well aware that he’d already been called out by his fellow ESPN hosts and had a lot of takes waiting for him tomorrow.
“Ryan Clark. Dan Orlovsky already tweeted about me,” said Smith. “God, I don’t even wanna think about what “Mad Dog” Russo is gonna say about me. It was not my shining moment but, hey, I’ve seen worse.
“I’m not gonna lie to you…I was a little scared.”
Smith added that he’s expecting to hear about it from Shaq, Damien Lillard, Chris Paul, Draymond Green, and Derek Jeter.
“Derek Jeter is gonna get on me,” he added.
We can’t wait.