Swoopes Shows Presence on Mound

One-on-One With Sheryl Swoopes
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Ron Matthews, storm.wnba.com | April 14, 2008
Newly signed Seattle Storm wing Sheryl Swoopes was excited the moment the idea was first, er, pitched to her.

So Sunday afternoon, the WNBA legend donned a Mariners jersey with her name stitched across the back, walked out to the mound at Safeco Field and, with a crowd of 30,664 looking on, delivered the ceremonial first pitch before the Mariners game against the Anaheim Angels.

"The athlete in me definitely didn't want to disappoint a lot of people."
Terrence Vaccaro/NBAE/Getty Images
"When I first heard about it, I was excited. I was like, 'Oh, this will be fun; no big deal," Swoopes said.

But it became a big deal as the date drew closer. Swoopes said she heard whispers of speculation that her throw would not cross the plate on the fly, that she would bounce the ball to the plate. As if. The throw crossed the plate on the fly, though Swoopes herself admits the ball was a "little on the outside."

"The competitiveness in me, the athlete in me, definitely didn't want to disappoint a lot of people," she said.

The moment was one of many for Swoopes on her second trip to Seattle since signing with the Storm. She said she is enjoying her time in the Emerald City, connecting with fans through appearances and events while trying to learn the ways about the city. One thing is certain, she said: The buzz about the Storm and its busy off-season is real and constant.

"Just to be here and feel the excitement about this up and coming season is great," she said. "Since my last visit we signed Yolanda (Griffith), so of course people have been excited about that, talking about the potential of what this team has. My response to that was obviously our goal is to win a championship and that's what we want to do. But my thing is, to me right now, it sounds like we're going to have a lot of fun. When you're on the court and you're having fun, wins and losses take care of themselves."

Swoopes will return to her home in Houston on Tuesday, and be back in Seattle on Sunday for the start of Storm training camp, a camp she admits will be different than any other she has been in with a new coach, new ownership group, new teammates and a new scheme.

"And," she said, "I didn't play last year. This will actually be my first time back out on the floor doing what I love. I'm definitely excited about it and I've got a lot of work to do in a short amount of time.

"I'm looking forward to April 20."

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Posted on April 15, 2008

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