Manziel tours Progressive Field, hangs with Tribe

Manziel tours Progressive Field, hangs with Tribe

CLEVELAND -- Not even the rain was able to quell Johnny Manziel mania.

"We can't not have the game today, Johnny's throwing out the first pitch," one Indians player shouted across the clubhouse.

Manziel -- the well-known NFL first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns and former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback at Texas A&M -- was scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch during the Tribe's Wednesday night contest with the Red Sox. After a rain delay of nearly two hours at Progressive Field, the first pitch was canceled, and Johnny Football never picked up a baseball.

But that didn't keep Tribe fans from expressing their zeal for Manziel. Both he and fellow Browns first-round pick Justin Gilbert were introduced to the crowd about 30 minutes before the game, and those in the stands responded with cheers and chants of "Johnny."

Manziel and Gilbert also toured the clubhouse and batting cages, meeting several members of the Tribe along the way. Right-hander Josh Tomlin gave both football players tips on their pitching.

The young Browns quarterback, however, is no stranger to the baseball diamond. He was a middle infielder for his high school team and would have played in college had he not chosen to focus on football. He even followed the Tribe in his younger days.

"The Indians were always our team growing up," Manziel told the team, "and when I moved to Kerrville [Texas] in middle school, that was our team again."

As for the Indians' players, several of them were excited to welcome a fellow athlete who has excelled in his respective sport. Outfielder David Murphy, who saw Manziel throw out the first pitch at the Rangers' home opener last season, said he was looking forward to meeting him before the game.

"Everybody knows who he is, everybody knows what he's done. It's always cool when somebody shows up to throw out the first pitch," Murphy said. "More than anything, just welcome him to the city of Cleveland, get to know him."

Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.