ESPN’s Kendrick Perkins turns in brutal batting practice session with the Red Sox at Fenway Park

Former Celtics big man Kendrick Perkins is back in Boston for coverage of the NBA Finals, and he showed Tuesday night why basketball was probably the right career path.

Perkins took batting practice at Fenway Park ahead of the Red Sox game against the Braves — or at least he tried.

The NBA center-turned-TV analyst didn’t do much hitting, instead swinging-and-missing at about half of the pitches that came his way. When Perkins did make contact, the ball didn’t go far. He wasn’t able to lift anything, so his hardest hits were just soft ground balls.

Kendrick Perkins batting practice video

Perkins is at a few disadvantages, to be fair. For one, he’s almost 40. He also had what looked like an uncomfortable, hunched-over batting stance because he stands at 6-10. No position player taller than 6-8 has ever played at the MLB level, so while height is an advantage in basketball, there’s a point that it becomes too much in baseball.

Had Perkins been able to lower his swing just an inch or two, he might have been able to make some solid contact. All of Perkins’ swings appeared to be on top of the ball, which sent the ball’s trajectory toward the ground. Hitting coaches in this era are all about lifting the ball. Perhaps one could get in Perkins’ ear and teach him how to get some lift.

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Former NBA point guard Austin Rivers recently ignited a debate when he said 30 NBA players could easily play in the NFL while claiming NFL players couldn’t play in the NBA. Whether he’s right or wrong, Perkins’ nightmarish batting practice session might serve as proof that NBA players would be entirely out of their element trying to play baseball. 

Or, it could just be that Perkins isn’t up to the task given he hasn’t played regular NBA minutes in eight years. Either way, Perkins might want to just watch from behind the cage next time he’s at Fenway Park.


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