Lamar Jackson delivered an impressive strike Wednesday night. Not on the football field, but at Camden Yards.
After a one-hour, 32-minute rain delay before the Baltimore Orioles took on the Washington Nationals, Jackson threw his first ceremonial first pitch like he had done it before. Posing like a pitcher in front of the mound, the Ravens’ starting quarterback urged the crowd to get pumped up, shook off some signs from the catcher, then threw a strike that had some heat on it, showing off his arm.
The fans cheered their approval, as Jackson gave a playful flex and walked off the field smiling.
“I loved it,” Jackson said. “I had to show up and show out.”
Jackson showed his commitment by staying through the rain delay, knowing that fans wanted to see him. It was Jackson’s first visit to a major league stadium, and he kept himself busy waiting for his moment on the mound. He watched batting practice and met several players. He visited the Orioles’ clubhouse. He signed autographs and posed for pictures.
Jackson wore the No. 8 jersey, just like Baltimore legend and lifetime Oriole Cal Ripken Jr. Now Jackson is looking to make his own mark on the city in the same number.
Jackson practiced for the first pitch before the game, going underneath the stands and to throw off a pitcher’s mound. After a few errant tosses, Jackson got the hang of it. He never played organized baseball growing up, and wasn’t even sure how he should grip the baseball. But after receiving some pointers from several players, Jackson felt confident and loose.
Then the rain started, and Jackson had to wait more than an hour. He wanted to take several more practice tosses after the rain stopped, but there was no time. Without warming up again, Jackson went down to the field and delivered a pitch he could be proud of that earned him some props on social media.
Jackson says he will keep the baseball as a souvenir.
“A great experience,” Jackson said. “First game, first pitch, first strike. It was fun.”
Jackson’s was joined in throwing out the first by Darnell Savage, a former University of Maryland safety who was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the first round this year. Let's just say Savage's pitch was a biiiiiit outside.