ST. PETERSBURG — The Bucs don’t have to worry about Devin White suddenly taking up baseball.
His goal in throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Thursday’s Rays game at Tropicana Field seemed to be a simple one, but proved to be more difficult than anticipated.
"Get it over the plate," White said before his throw. "I don't want to be one of those players who make social media for not being athletic enough to throw a small ball over the plate. I want to put some heat on it."
White's throw won't be confused for 50 Cent's, but his first pitch throw was probably one he'd like to have back, skipping into the left-handed hitter's batters box.
The Bucs’ first-round pick, who attended Thursday’s game with the rest of his rookie class, played baseball as a kid as an outfielder and third baseman, but stopped when he was around 12 or 13.
“Baseball is a great sport, because when you’re in the outfield, you always need to do a lot of running,” White said. “You’ve got to look in the sky and catch a little white ball and catch it in the mitt. So it helps a little bit. But I don’t think i played long enough for it to translate over to football that much.”
One thing we already know about White. No matter what, you really can’t wipe the smile off his face. His first-round status has made him the face of the Bucs’ draft class, and it’s one that he embraces.
“Now we’re here, this is my first game ever, first major-league game, and I’m throwing out a first pitch,” White said. “I’m still in awe with the whole being in Tampa. Every morning, me and my mom talk, and I tell her, I live in Florida now. It still hasn’t hit me yet. I guess when I put the pads on (for the season opener) against San Fran, it will hit me then.”
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at email@example.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.