- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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Tom Coughlin may not have thrown a strike to Russell Martin, but the two-time Super Bowl champion coach of the New York Giants was relieved he didn't bounce the first pitch prior to Saturday's Yankees-White Sox game at the Stadium.
"It wasn't in the dirt," said Coughlin, who was asked to throw out the first pitch by his alma mater as part of Syracuse University day. "It was probably high and inside, but it was close enough. I might have gotten the call."
AP Photo/Bill Kostroun
Tom Coughlin, a right-hander out of Syracuse, showed good form on Saturday afternoon.
"Nah," Coughlin said. "You figure, here come the New York Yankees and they're waiting for this old guy to get out of the way with the first pitch, I think you always say, 'God, I hope I don’t bounce it up there.'"
This is the second time Coughlin has thrown out the first pitch. He threw a strike to Jorge Posada -- "a split-finger down the middle," he said -- after the Giants won the title in 2007.
"When I did this before, (Derek) Jeter said to me, 'You're getting up on the mound right?'" Coughlin said. "I said, 'Yeah, I'm getting up on the mound.' And then one of the guys said, 'Don't bounce it.'
"I said that to John Wooden one time. I told him about what I was gonna do, and people saying you can't bounce it. He said, 'I did that one time. I did it with the Angels one time.' I said, 'How'd you do?' He said, 'I bounced it.'
"And then I said, 'They wouldn't have booed you.' And he said, 'Yeah, they booed me.'"
Coughlin played a lot of baseball growing up. He played in high school and then a summer of American Legion ball following his freshman year at Syracuse.
"We played a lot of catch, and I got hit with a lot of line drives when he was growing up. Believe me," said Coughlin, whose son Tim was captain of the baseball team at Virginia.
The Giants withstood several injuries to key players en route to capturing the Super Bowl this past season.
So how does Coughlin think the Yankees will fair without CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera?
"I think they'll come through this very strong," Coughlin said.
An attempt was made to ask Coughlin about his quarterback, Eli Manning, being ranked 31st on the NFL Network's list of the top 100 NFL players.
"I don't know anything about it," Coughlin said.
And with that, he left reporters to go take in the game.
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