CLEVELAND -- Travis Kelce showed why he’s best known for catching passes from Patrick Mahomes.
Kansas City’s star tight end threw a comically wild ceremonial first pitch Friday before the Guardians’ season opener against the Seattle Mariners.
After unbuttoning his jersey to unveil an “I’m From Cleveland” T-shirt, Kelce wound up and then bounced his pitch halfway to the plate. Guardians pitcher Shane Bieber jumped out of the way to avoid injury as the ball rolled to the backstop.
Kelce ran down from the mound as if he was about to cover home plate and hugged Bieber to make sure he was OK.
Guardians manager Terry Francona was asked if he had any trepidation about putting his ace in such a precarious position.
“There would be the next time,” Francona said. “I’m glad he didn’t tackle him.”
Kelce joked his baseball skills were a little rusty.
“Been spiking a football for the past 10 years,” Kelce wrote on Twitter. “Can you tell?”
Kelce immediately joined the pantheon of erratic first pitches, a group that includes rapper 50 Cent, NBA player John Wall, singer Mariah Carey and MMA star Conor McGregor.
Kelce’s erratic toss was amusing to several players.
“The throw was a little bit firm, but it didn’t hit Shane,” Guardians left fielder Steven Kwan said. “He geared it up and really threw it, so that was cool to see.”
Kelce was joined on the field by his mother, Donna, who became a celebrity during Super Bowl week when her sons, Travis and Jason, squared off for the NFL title. Jason is the starting center for the Philadelphia Eagles, who were beaten 38-35 by Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Kelce spent part of the pregame meeting with some Cleveland players in the dugout. He posed for several photos and was especially excited to see former Gold Glove center fielder Kenny Lofton, one of the players he grew up cheering for as a kid.
“I just remember taking the Rapid (transit train) down here from Shaker Heights,” Kelce said. “That was the closest stop to where I lived. Just coming down, grabbing $5 tickets and just roaming the park like it was literally an amusement park.
“Watching the Tribe in the ’90s was the best, and I just had so many countless memories of screaming out my back door during those playoff runs and all the big-time home run moments.”