CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – There will be no Johnny Baseball.
At least not Wednesday.
Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel, along with fellow first round pick Justin Gilbert, had their first pitches washed out by mother nature.
The Indians series finale with the Boston Red Sox was delayed for nearly 2 1/2 hours by rain and didn’t start until 9:33 p.m. at Progressive Field.
Manziel, Gilbert and the rest of the Browns rookies made a brief appearance on the field at about 8:50 and were recognized on the scoreboard before they departed. The Browns resume OTAs Thursday morning in Berea so the players were unable to stay longer despite having a great time.
Earlier in the afternoon, starter Josh Tomlin gave the pair pitching pointers in the batting cages under the ballpark.
Indians manager Terry Francona was asked what he hoped to see from the former Heisman Trophy winner prior to the game.
“I hope he scrambles,” Francona said.
So much for that. No scrambling. And no pitch.
A picture of a young Manziel sporting an Indians jersey and Cheif Wahoo cap went viral months ago and Manziel posted it on his Twitter account earlier in the day before heading off to Progressive Field.
“The Indians were always our team growing up, and when I moved to Kerrville in middle school that was our team again,” Manziel said.
Manziel played baseball for 10 years until he was a junior in high school and Gilbert also spent time on the diamond playing 3 positions in his younger years.
“The first sport I played was baseball,” Gilbert said. “I played in a lot of tournaments and traveled all over.”
Manziel and Gilbert posed for pictures with players while in the clubhouse and probably signed a few autographs too as the rest of the rookie class jointed the team’s top 2 picks for a rare night out.
“I’m still trying to get familiar with the city,” Manziel said. “Fans are out there (in Berea) every day. It was like that at A&M too; it’s great though.”
While all the attention continues to center around Manziel, Gilbert, who was drafted 14 slots ahead of him, isn’t complaining. He’s actually enjoying avoiding the spotlight and his time so far in Cleveland.
“I’ve seen loyalty in Cleveland so far, no matter where you go,” Gilbert said. “I’m enjoying my time here in the city. It’s been nothing but love I’ve been getting from everyone.”
Aside from hanging out with the players in the clubhouse, the Indians also gave them a tour of the batting cages, weight room and dugout suites prior to the game.
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