Ohio State’s new coach, who grew up in Ashtabula, Ohio, and spent two years as a minor league shortstop, played catch in the outfield with his 13-year-old son, Nate, took some swings inside the indoor batting cages at Progressive Field and threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Indians opened a three-game interleague series against the Cincinnati Reds.
“Listen to that sound,” Meyer said, marveling at Cabrera’s effortless swing.
Shortly after arriving at the ballpark, Meyer ran into Browns running Trent Richardson, who was throwing the ball with Indians outfielder Shelley Duncan. Before long, Richardson was tossing the ball with Nate Meyer and then threw around a football with Indians reliever Joe Smith.
“I got to know Trent real well,” Meyer said. “Obviously, a great football player. He’s from Emmitt Smith’s high school. A great player and I’m glad he’s with Cleveland because I’m a big Browns fan, too.”
Meyer said when he was in high school, team president Gabe Paul invited him to old Cleveland Stadium before the baseball draft.
But the Indians passed on him in the 1982 draft before he was taken by the Atlanta Braves in the 13th round.
Richardson, too, spent time hanging out with Cleveland’s players, including outfielder Johnny Damon, a big Florida fan.
“Why did you have to beat up my Gators all those years,” Damon joked. “Congratulations, though. It’s nice to have you here.”
Richardson said he’s felt welcomed everywhere he’s gone in Cleveland.