Smart wowed by Fenway before first pitch

Smart wowed by Fenway before first pitch
August 16, 2014, 8:45 pm
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BOSTON - Celtics rookie Marcus Smart has only spent a handful of days in his new home of Boston, but he's already done something most Bostonians could only dream of doing: throw out the first pitch at Fenway Park.

Smart and Patriots rookie Dominique Easley threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday night's game between the Red Sox and Houston Astros.

Smart fired the pitch in without a problem, but chances are he's going to stick to his current day job.

"I used to play [baseball] just to play," Smart told CSNNE.com while sitting in the Red Sox dugout. "I was a baseball fan when I was little growing up, but obviously as you grow older, things change. I still like baseball, I still watch it, I'm just not a diehard fan."

Smart, who hails from Texas, did not grow up an Astros fan, but a Rangers fan. He's been to a handful of Rangers game in his past, mostly to hold basketball fundraisers.

This was his first trip to Fenway Park, and one of the only real landmarks he's seen in Boston so far.

"First time. This is incredible,' Smart said. "First time, there's nothing like it."

Smart remembers what was going through his head as he walked up through the tunnel from the Sox clubhouse and onto the field.

"I was looking like, 'Wow, this thing is huge. They play in front of this? Crazy.'"

Also "crazy" for Smart? Meeting David Ortiz.

"Everybody knows Ortiz, one of baseball's biggest names," Smart said. "He's just sitting there [in the clubhouse] on the phone, and it was like 'Wait a minute, that's Ortiz.' It wasn't nothing, so I just got talking with him, take a picture."

Ortiz is a big Celtics fan, often showing up to games and sitting in the front row on the baseline. Smart was happy to hear that.

But Saturday's pitch will probably be the last baseball Smart throws for a while. In fact, he'll pick up a basketball on Monday in Waltham at the team's practice facility where things will kick into gear.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens will be there waiting with open arms.

"I talked to him a little bit," Smart said of Stevens. "He came out to Vegas when I was out there with the USA team. He came out there. We talked a little bit, just kind of talked about getting ready on Monday to start working out."

Smart was in Vegas playing for the USA Select Team and against Team USA. He's one of two rookies on the team (Doug McDermott), and loving every second of it.

"That was incredible," Smart said of playing with the team. "Obviously it was sad what happened with Paul [George] definitely. But I had a great time out there. It was my third year with those guys, second time doing the Select Team. It's fun. You got to go up against the premiere players in this league and get some experience. It just builds our confidence level."

Smart drew rave reviews from people who watched the practices and scrimmages, and by all accounts more than held his own out there. He will go into his rookie season with a little more experience under his belt than what most rookies have.

"It gives you an advantage of you know what to expect coming into the season," Smart said. "How to play, how those guys want to play, and you kind of get used to playing against those guys and getting ready for what they're gonna do on the court."