CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Saturday afternoon Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer got to do something he’s never had the opportunity to: take the mound at Progressive Field.
Hoyer, who got to play a game in the ballpark while in high school at St. Ignatius, threw out the first pitch prior to Saturday afternoon’s game with the Chicago White Sox.
Prior to taking the hill, 92.3 The Fan caught up with Hoyer where he talked about his dreams of playing for the Indians as a kid, the return of LeBron James to Cleveland and even Johnny Manziel’s off the field antics.
Here’s a transcript of the conversation with Hoyer.
Looks like you finally get to knock a first pitch at an Indians game off your bucket list.
“For sure. So cool. Last year they asked me to but it was right when I started playing. It was a short week against Buffalo so we all decided that it probably wasn’t the right time so It’s good to get back out here and do this. I got to play here in high school but I had to play center field that game so to get to throw off the mound is pretty cool.”
I’m guessing growing up that you didn’t think you’d get to throw out the first pitch of an Indians game as the Browns quarterback, right?
“No, I actually thought I was going to be playing for the Cleveland Indians, [but] I’ll take [playing for] the Browns any day over that. I’m excited to be doing what I’m doing and it’s really cool for me.”
What position would you play for the Indians?
“Pitcher or center field. Like I said, I already played center field here so now I get to throw a pitch out so it’s definitely living a dream.”
Are you going to throw a 4-seam or 2-seam fastball today?
“4-seam. I don’t want to mess up whoever is catching with the movement so I’ll stick with the 4-seam.”
Cleveland is abuzz with the return of LeBron. How excited about it are you?
“What he wrote, I think he said all the right things. For me, I’m a Clevelander first, before I play for the Browns, before anything else. I know what he means to this region and this city. You see what was happening downtown [Friday] night. I came down to eat with my family – my wife and sister-in-law – and you see all the people out. A lot of people were excited and I think he realized that he’s more than basketball to this area. Me being another local guy, I’m pumped up. He just brings so much to this city and it’s a great time to be living in Cleveland right now.”
Did your phone blow up when the news broke that he was coming home?
“It did. It did. I’m not going to lie, I was checking nonstop and finally to get to see the news and then get to read what he wrote. His last couple of lines really hit me had because Cleveland is sch a blue-collar town. What he talked about, nothing is given everything is earned, that’s kinda been my m.o. too. I grew up in this city. You gotta work hard for what you get and that’s gotten me to where I am now and I’m sure he would agree with me. It’s great to have him home.”
Training camp is 2 weeks away, are you ready?
“Yes. I’m actually anxious to get back. I got a few guys in town. I’m throwing with [Andrew] Hawkins, throwing with Charles Johnson and some of the other guys are coming back so slowly but surely we’re getting ready to go and I’m just excited. You know I put in a lot of hard work in and now I’m just ready to play.”
Did you take a break away from rehab and football this offseason?
“I took a 5 day break. I went to Florida for a week and relaxed and it was good. I actually saw some benefits to that I think with my knee so now I’m just trying…it’s a fine line of doing enough and not doing too much.”
You’re 100% and will fully participate in camp from day 1 right?
“Yeah, no doubt. No doubt. I’m ready to go so can’t wait for day 1.”
Head coach Mike Pettine said you were No. 1 on the depth chart entering camp, what was your reaction to hearing that?
“It’s great but like [LeBron] said, it’s earned not given. I’m not looking for anything to be handed to me and I know Johnny [Manziel], he’s going to push me to his full extent. I’m looking forward to just going out there and playing football and competing so it’s an exciting time.”
Have you paid any attention to the circus that is Johnny Manziel off the field?
“Not really. I’m not really focused on my teammates, what they do in their off life so that’s none of my business. They can make those decisions on their own. All that matters is that we come back ready to go for the season.”
As a leader, do you think you need to pull him aside and give him advice how to handle himself off the field or are you just going to leave him be?
“I think that’s the way it goes. Like I’ve always said, the best way for me to be a mentor and a leader is to go about my business and lead by example. We’ll go from there and it’s going to be a fun time and it’s going to be fun so [fans] come out to training camp because it’s going to be a fun time.”
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