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Despite Getting Advice From Aaron Judge and Derek Jeter, Stephen A. Smith’s ‘Embarrassing’ First Pitch Backfires Amidst His Shohei Ohtani Rant

Published 09/22/2023, 6:41 AM EDT

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The first pitch at Yankee Stadium is a special call-up. With the ‘winningest’ franchise in MLB setting the bar high for their fanbase, the celebrity first pitches are a special event in the Bronx. Even when celebrities are called up, the pressure is often on them to deliver a first pitch without bouncing before getting to the catcher. While some deliver absolute dingers, some crumble.

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The New York Yankees are on a resurgent streak. After starting September with a losing record, the Yankees have since rallied on the back of performances from roster players and the emergence of their ‘Baby Bombers’ to give themselves a chance at the postseason. While still heavily reliant on the outcomes of games yet to come, at least they have a chance. But if the first pitches are anything to go by, Thursday was not a good sign for the Pinstripes.

Throwing Out the First Pitch


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ESPN Sports pundit Stephen A. Smith was picked out to throw the first pitch at Yankee Stadium on Thursday before their series closer against the Blue Jays. While Yankees captain Aaron Judge had spoken to the pundit before he made his way out there on the mound, it seemed that Stephen A did not heed the AL MVP contender’s advice.

Speaking after the pitch, Stephen A spoke up about the advice he’s received from the star. Said Stephen A, “He said, ‘Don’t mess this up!’” The star had previously also had similar advice from MLB Icon Derek Jeter. “I got it…Derek Jeter told me ‘Don’t F this up,” said A Smith.


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As he made his way out to the mound, the sports journalist sported the classic #2 Derek Jeter jersey and, once on the mound, had his routine set up exactly how he had needed. Choosing the hard yards by making his way right to the top of the mound instead of before it, the star took aim, coiled his arm back, and let loose.

However, despite his best efforts, the throw fell short of the catcher at the plate. Stephen A walked back with his head hung low; he made sure the stadium knew he was disappointed in his attempt.

The New York Yankees Fanbase and Their Reaction

The Pinstripes are an unforgiving fanbase. With the highest echelons of quality expected at each outing, even the first pitch is almost always expected to make it to home plate from their celebrity guests. While Stephen A has not been able to live up to them pre-game, it appears that even during the season, this issue persists for the Yankees.

Stephen A recently made the news speaking about two way phenom Shohei Ohtani on his show however, it all seems to be for naught with his effort at Yankee stadium failing.

Clutching to a winning record with both hands and for dear life at the minute, the Yankees are on the brink of closing their post-season hopes. At the minute they hand by a thread, but the weeks to come will decide whether the Yankees can really make it out of the regular season.

Other fans chose to draw comparisons between the star’s ability to sportscast and his pitching ability.


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Watch the Story:Aaron Boone Faces Ejection After Getting Into Ugly Fight With Umpire Over Aaron Judge


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Irrespective, a season where qualification is not a surety for the Yankees will be chalked up as a failure and the Yankees will be eager to get their preparations for a 2024 season underway.

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Written by:

Aditya Deshingkar


One take at a time

Aditya Deshingkar is a MLB writer at EssentiallySports. In another life, Aditya was a lawyer with a premier legal firm in the country and has recently made the switch. As an avid sports lover, he shares a keen interest in NBA, MLB, and Formula 1.
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Edited by:

Deepanshi Bajaj