Johnny Football makes his pitch for Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas — Johnny Baseball?

It could have been that way if Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel had stuck with his first love as a child, playing baseball.

Instead Manziel chose football and everyone knows the rest of the story for the Texas A&M quarterback.

But Manziel had the opportunity to get back to his baseball roots Sunday, throwing out the first pitch before Sunday’s Rangers game against Los Angeles.

Manziel’s pitch wasn’t as sharp as some of his football throws, but he did manager to keep the ball from skipping to Texas first baseman Mitch Moreland, who like Manziel is from a Southeastern Conference school (Mississippi State).

“That was too cool,” said Manziel, who went to two Rangers games last year. “I’ve been a Rangers fan for a long time. It was cool to get to talk to Nolan (Ryan). Everybody’s been so great and to step out there, I don’t think I’ve been that nervous since the Heisman.”

Manziel, who threw 10-15 warm-up pitches, got first-pitch advice from Ryan. Ryan told him not to skip it to the plate. He didn’t, instead throwing wide to Moreland who was able to spear the Manziel pitch.

Manziel got the meet with Ryan, Texas manager Ron Washington, former Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez and current Texas players. He also talked with Los Angeles slugger Albert Pujols on the field. Manziel grew up watching Rodriguez and wearing No. 2 on the baseball field because he was a Derek Jeter fan.

Manziel grew up playing baseball and even talked about playing at A&M. He talked with the A&M baseball coaches last summer about playing baseball but decided to see how football goes.

That was before Johnny Football was born.

“I miss it (baseball), I miss it a lot,” said Manziel. “I’ve been to three or four (A&M) games this year so far. I do miss it. I would love to play. I chose a little different path. Football came into center stage in my life when I always thought I would play baseball.”

While Sunday night’s experience was cool for Manziel, don’t expect him to Tweet about it. Manziel no longer is on the social media site because of the reaction he received to some of his posts and pictures.

Throwing out the first pitch won’t change his approach.

“It’s been good,” he said of the Twitter break. “It’s been well needed.”