Johnny Manziel brings the fans. Unfortunately, on Wednesday, he brought the rain, too.
The Cleveland Indians invited Manziel to throw out the first pitch for Wednesday night’s game. The city’s fans gobbled up tickets as though it were 1999. The weather crashed the party, delaying the game and postponing Manziel’s moment on the mound for another day.
Folks in Cleveland came out in droves to see Manziel–even to throw a baseball.
By way of comparison, the Indians’ June 3 game against the Red Sox didn’t even half fill Progressive Field. And this low attendance rate has been typical all year.The Tribe played to 9,029 against the Padres on April 8, 8,848 two weeks later against the Royals, and 9,037 on Cinco de Mayo against the Twins.
Yet, for Wednesday’s game, tickets disappeared quickly. The Indians and the media expected a packed house. They attribute those numbers to Manziel’s appearance.
There was once a day, 455 of them in fact, when the Indians had little trouble filling every seat. The team set the sellout streak for the majors from 1995 into the 2001 season. That was the past.
But if Wednesday’s game is any indication, Manziel really is bringing excitement back for Cleveland’s fans. So, maybe the hype is justified. At least for now.
Not everyone is so excited over Johnny Football, though.
Cleveland Browns running back Ben Tate, for instance, recently scoffed at the hype surrounding the rookie quarterback. While Tate later backtracked a bit, he still seemed to maintain that the attention is unjustified.
In several interviews, Tate wondered aloud if Johnny Manziel is himself getting a bit tired of the hype surrounding his entrance onto the Browns.
“It’s just as a player I know that I would get tired if people were constantly monitoring if I picked my nose, if I spit to the left or right,” Tate said on June 3. “I mean, it’s annoying. He’s a human being.”
But Tate went further than just saying that Manziel might also be tiring of the hype. Tate went on to hint that the new quarterback has yet to play his first minute in the NFL and until he does, maybe all the hoopla is premature.
“He hasn’t played a down in the NFL yet. So…I don’t know…. That’s for y’all to figure out,” Tate said.
One may chalk up Tate’s dismissive attitude to jealousy. If the ticket sales for Wednesday’s Indians game is any measure, maybe Tate should start believing the hype, too.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com