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The story behind Johnny Manziel to the Padres

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It was a surprise because it's clear he already has a new home. Johnny Manziel, to most of us, is Johnny Football.

But, on Saturday, the San Diego Padres took a chance like so many teams had before. They selected a player who looks set to play a different sport. That player just happened to be Manziel, which caused a stir.

Some accused the team of making the pick as a publicity stunt. Or maybe they just did it for a retweet. After all, their tweet about picking Manziel got 9,500 of those.

Manziel's response, thanking the Padres for the selection, received more than 11,000 retweets.

That just shows that it's kind of a big deal, even though the Padres likely won't ever see anything from the selection. Manziel already has a team, the Cleveland Browns, who picked Manziel with the 22nd pick in the NFL Draft not too long ago.

"I would say in the near future, it's probably unlikely," Padres team president Mike Dee said in a story on MLB.com. "But if he ever put on a Padres' uniform, it would be great. Who knows what the future holds? You never know."

Manziel was a baseball player through his junior year of high school at Kerrville Tivy (Texas) and also considered playing for the Texas A&M team before he earned the starting QB job.

If you've seen a photo of Manziel in a Padres uniform, that isn't a photoshop. He was with the Padres before their game against the Nationals on May 17, 2013, taking batting practice and even homering.

Manziel had been training in San Diego with George Whitfield when he ran into Padres GM Josh Byrnes in January.

"Do you want us to draft you," Byrnes recalled asking him. "He said, 'Yeah sure.' So we did.

"[Johnny's] football career is certainly the priority, but you never know. It doesn't hurt to sort of formalize the relationship and see what happens."

The pick is reminiscent of Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson getting drafted by the Texas Rangers last season. Like Manziel, Wilson had a history of being a pretty good baseball player before focusing on football.

Wilson then joined the Rangers for a day at spring training in March, causing a stir amongst fans as the recent Super Bowl winning put on a Rangers uniform, took ground balls and went through drills with the team.

"Obviously, my focus is football," Wilson said in a USA Today story. "I just won a Super Bowl. But I'd never say never. I've always had a goal of playing two sports."

USA Today reported that Wilson's day at Rangers camp brought 75 reporters and eight TV crews to the spring training game against Cleveland.

"Now, if we can just get Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Timberlake out here, we can take it to another level," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told USA TODAY Sports.

So, maybe it was a publicity stunt, just like Manziel. But, if it brought that much attention to the team, it certainly was worth it.

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Topics:
MLB
San Diego Padres
MLB National League

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