The Daily Nole

Column: Derwin James is a Hitter, Not a Pitcher

wlpearce.com/FSU athletics

Former Florida State and safety and recent first-round NFL Draft pick Derwin James threw out the ceremonial first pitch on Wednesday in Los Angeles before the Angels took on the defending World Series champion Houston Astros.

The Los Angeles Chargers drafted James with the No. 17 pick in last month’s draft, and it is safe to say they will not be asking him to make any passes anytime soon.

Baseball is full of unwritten rules. There are even unwritten rules for throwing out the ceremonial first pitch and James followed one of those rules at least by throwing off of the mound. But everyone knows the most important thing when you are asked to throw out the first pitch is to make sure you do not bounce it, and that is where things went south for James.

Throwing out the first pitch is something that seems so easy; you take these super athletic and talented guys and tell them they only have to throw it 60 feet and six inches. But, throwing off of a mound if you have never done it before, can be awkward, especially when you are literally standing on the rubber like Derwin is (I’ll blame the Angels for not helping him there). Things do not get easier when you have all your new teammates behind you hoping you bounce it, and a stadium of fans waiting to either cheer for you or give you a hard time.

Now to over-analyze this: it was a rookie move by not taking advantage of the bullpen. When you are the hardest hitter in the stadium, grabbing Mike Trout or Mr. 3,000 Albert Pujols and telling them you need to practice this throw once or twice is not out of the question. James admitted on Twitter that the throw was further than he initially thought.

The second thing James did wrong was saying, “I’m going to put that steam on it too.” The only thing you can’t talk about is how hard you’re going to throw it, and then bounce it.

Nevertheless, it is good to see the former Florida State star is taking advantage of being in Los Angeles before NFL OTA’s begin later this month. The Chargers did not draft James to throw strikes, but he is expected to hit — just not in the baseball sense of the word.

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