Stephen A. Smith Grilled After Botching First Pitch

Chris K
2 min readSep 23, 2023
Stephen A. Smith botches the ceremonial first pitch before the Yankees game on September 21, 2023. Photo by Sarah Stier via Getty Images

TV personality Stephen A. Smith has been grilled after his botched first pitch at Yankee Stadium.

The host of ESPN’s “First Take” show was invited by the Yankees to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of last night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. After warming up off the mound, Smith walked onto the mound to a cacophony of boos, and subsequently threw his pitch. Which ended up about ten feet short of home plate, bouncing into Kyle Higashioka’s glove.

Smith, who grew up a Yankees fan, admitted that this was an honor to him. However, he also admitted on ‘The Michael Kay Show’ earlier that day that he was nervous. Regardless, his nerves kicked in and as the boos reigned down, a clearly disgusted Stephen A. walked off the mound donning his Derek Jeter jersey.

“I was disgusted with myself, man,” Stephen A. said. “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?’ There’s no excuse. It was a choke job. I should do better than that. Stephen A. choked a little bit. I just did. It was straight, but damn it, I can do better than that.”

The ceremonial first pitch came after Stephen A. made comments on his show earlier that morning regarding baseball. Baseball YouTuber Fuzzy called into his show to rip Stephen A. about his lack of baseball knowledge, to which Smith remarked that nobody cares about or watches baseball. This certainly did not help his case with the fans after botching the first pitch.

In good fun, Smith was also mocked by his co-workers on “First Take” and a plethora of other celebrities. The following morning, personalities such as Derek Jeter, Shaquille O’Neal and even Steve Harvey called into the show to mock Stephen A. and his pitch.

Perhaps Stephen A. brought the Yankees some good luck that night, though, as they would end up winning the game 5–3. Gerrit Cole notched his 14th win of the season, tossing eight strong innings of one-run ball. Last night’s stellar performance all but solidified the AL Cy Young Award for him in 2023.

Cole has been one bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season for the Yanks, as they are only a few games away from being eliminated from playoff contention as of this publication.

Chris K is a writer and publisher who travels America, and loves doing it. He also loves pizza, video games, and sports, and can tell you a thing or two about each. Follow him on Twitter and on Medium to be informed of new articles.



Chris K

Native New Yorker. Pizza, Sports, Games, Life. Writing about whatever my heart desires. Follow me here and on Twitter for more articles!