A comprehensive, chronological look back at Travis Kelce’s online baseball fandom

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As the Kansas City Chiefs have ascended to full-blown dynasty status over the past decade, it has become commonplace to hear references to quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ roots as an amateur baseball star and, of course, as the son of a guy who pitched in the big leagues for more than a decade.

But in the wake of another Chiefs Super Bowl victory, I would like to explore a different Chiefs superstar’s history with my preferred sport – the one dating Taylor Swift, in case you missed that news.

In the months following Kansas City’s championship last year, Travis Kelce threw out ceremonial first pitches both for his hometown Guardians on Opening Day (he spiked it) and at Kauffman Stadium in June, with Andy Reid and some of his teammates looking on (a clean strike to Bobby Witt Jr.).

That’s a pretty standard sports crossover, but the other thing we learned recently about Kelce, besides the fact that he has the most famous girlfriend in the world, is that his younger self used to post some outrageously funny stuff on Twitter as a goofball college athlete with too much time on his hands.

So buckle up and join me in the Twitter time machine for a comprehensive, chronological review of Kelce’s online baseball fandom.

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March 7, 2010: Travis misses baseball

Here we have our first instance of Kelce acknowledging our beloved sport in the earliest days of his now-famed timeline. As a redshirt freshman at the University of Cincinnati, it seems Kelce spent this Sunday afternoon watching the Bearcats’ baseball team take on Youngstown State. Phil Klein, Youngstown State’s starting pitcher that day, went on to become just the 11th player in school history to reach MLB. I don’t know if Travis knew he was watching a future big leaguer that day, but he did do some scouting:

Based on the box score, it seems Kelce was talking about 5-foot-4 leadoff hitter Jamel Scott. More importantly, we have Kelce publicly yearning for the days when he was balling out on a different field.

April 5, 2010: Let the games begin

On Opening Day 2010, Kelce’s beloved big-league team from his childhood growing up in Cleveland Heights was coming off a miserable, 97-loss campaign, their worst finish since 1991. Expectations were low entering the season under new manager Manny Acta, but every fan base has hope on Opening Day, right?

Wrong:

On this day, Mark Buehrle categorically carved Cleveland’s lineup across seven scoreless frames en route to an easy 6-0 White Sox victory. Just hours into the season, the 20-year-old Kelce had already given up on his squad and shared his disappointment with the world.

Meanwhile, Taylor Swift was in the midst of her debut concert tour promoting her second studio album, “Fearless.” A week earlier, she performed in Cincinnati.

April 6, 2010: New York, New York

When he wasn’t tweeting about his hometown team or the local Reds, Kelce regularly referenced Yankees games. No huge surprise here considering that New York was fresh off ring No. 27, but it became clear over the course of the season that Kelce did, in fact, care about the Bronx Bombers a decent amount. In this case, the game was indeed “goin down to the wire!” Tied 4-4 headed to the eighth, the Yankees scored late to put it away at Fenway, including a ninth-inning home run from Robinson Cano.

Shortly after the final out, Kelce shared some unfortunate news:

Ouch!

May 10, 2010: Off-day motivation

A month into the season, things weren’t looking much better for Cleveland than they did on Opening Day, and Kelce wanted to make that clear. Spoiler alert: Cleveland did not pick it up, and the Twins did not slow down, going on to win the AL Central rather handily.

Indeed, it “hurts to be a Cleveland fan” — and to think, this was posted two months before LeBron James announced he was signing with the Heat. Tough times in The Land.

May 21, 2010: The Ohio Cup

It’s unclear if Kelce was in attendance at Great American Ball Park for this clash of Ohio clubs, but he wanted to make sure we all knew which side of the state he hails from. Unfortunately, it was another L for Cleveland despite two homers from Shin-Soo Choo.

May 23, 2010: The Subway Series

It was Mets-Yankees at Citi Field on Sunday Night Baseball, and the Mets were up 6-0 through five innings, thanks to two Jason Bay homers off CC Sabathia. Travis chimed in:

Kelce’s discontent over a poor Yankees performance seemed to hint at an affinity for the team. More troubling, however, was his characterization of the Mets as “good as hell.” This was a nice win on national TV, sure, but it brought the Mets to 22-23 on the year. And after a strong April, they were pretty blah the rest of the way, finishing 79-83 and fourth in the NL East.

This was a straight-up miss from Kelce from an analytical perspective, but we’ll forgive him.

(And yes: I recommend bookmarking that tweet in case the Yankees are getting smacked and/or the Mets are good as hell at some point in the future.)

May 28, 2010: His best sport?!

You might’ve seen this tweet by now, as it has received far more engagement than any of the others covered in this deep dive. On its face, we have here a future NFL Hall of Famer suggesting in college that his best sport might actually be something else. That’s notable in and of itself.

But the context of Kelce’s declaration is crucial for understanding his particular affinity for baseball that summer. Kelce had just lost his football scholarship and been suspended for a year due to a failed drug test for marijuana. Amidst a cloudy future outlook on the football field, he sought another outlet for the athletic gifts that made him a three-sport star at Cleveland Heights High School. He linked up with a summer collegiate team run through the nearby Champions Baseball Academy (which also boasts Cincinnati natives Brent Suter and Luke Maile as MLB alumni) and spent the next few months reliving his glory days on the diamond.

I won’t include all of them here, but I found 24 instances of Kelce tweeting about his games, from flaunting multi-hit performances to lamenting long bus rides to expressions of gratitude for his family coming to watch him play. Here’s a sampling:

As we now know, this was the last time Kelce would play baseball competitively, as he eventually got his football career back on track. But we’ll always have this tremendously wholesome and downright hilarious running diary of what seemed to be an awfully successful summer of hardball.

Now let’s get back to Kelce the baseball fan.

June 7, 2010: Well, actually …

Stephen Strasburg’s MLB debut was one of the more memorable introductions in recent memory. More than 40,000 packed into Nationals Park for a Tuesday night game against Pittsburgh to witness the phenom take the mound for the first time as a big leaguer.

And he did not disappoint:

Kelce was also impressed. At 9:57 p.m., he tweeted his acknowledgement of Strasburg’s incredible outing:

But then, two minutes later, he tweeted the same thing, this time with a postscript:

This is a truly hilarious sequence. I mean, he wasn’t wrong — that Pirates team was bad. They had the worst offense in the NL and went on to lose 105 games, the most in baseball. But come on, man! No need to caveat such a dominant performance with a dose of reality. Just enjoy it!

June 11, 2010: The Road to Omaha

With Cincinnati’s season having ended in the Big East tournament, Kelce turned his college baseball attention to a high-profile postseason matchup between the Gators and Hurricanes.

There were a bunch of future big leaguers in this super-regional, including Yasmani Grandal and Mike Zunino. The Gators took Game 1 of the best-of-three, and Travis again expressed his love for America’s pastime — and don’t you dare judge him for it!

June 12, 2010: My game got rained out? Guess I’ll watch some ball

On this day, Kelce’s own game got rained out, which means it was back to the couch for another night enjoying some baseball as a fan. The Reds beat the Royals 11-5, scoring all 11 runs in the first four innings but allowing a five-spot in the second. Kelce’s analysis:

This would seem to be a much stronger take than his previous stance on the Mets being “good as hell.” Including this drubbing of Kansas City, the Reds hit .281/.350/.459 through their first 63 games in 2010 (for reference, the 2023 Braves hit .276/.344/.501). That would certainly qualify their bats as “too good right now,” and the talent on the mound was indeed underwhelming.

But it was the pitching staff that improved as the season went on, while the offense disappeared completely in October, most notably being no-hit by Roy Halladay in Game 1 of the NLDS. Credit to Philadelphia’s outstanding pitching staff, of course, but it turned out the Reds weren’t all that difficult to beat in October.

Next up for Kelce, Game 2 of the Gainesville super-regional:

A classic, indeed. The Gators won 4-3 in 10 innings to advance to the College World Series, and they did so in rather unlikely fashion. Kelce summed it up well:

He wasn’t exaggerating. Miami committed a staggering SEVEN errors in the ballgame, including two in the ninth to cough up a 3-2 lead they held going into the final frame. Even by college baseball standards, seven errors is preposterous, especially with a trip to Omaha on the line. If you’re curious, the record for most errors by an MLB team in a single postseason game is six, most recently by the Dodgers in the 1966 World Series — in a game started by another U of Cincinnati alum, Sandy Koufax, in what turned out to be the final game of his career. Good thing Travis wasn’t around to witness that defensive disasterclass. He would’ve been furious.

Finally, Kelce expressed his excitement that his Cleveland ballclub was on a bit of a hot streak — a complete game from Fausto Carmona (we didn’t know he was Roberto Hernandez yet!) had Travis buzzing — and there was a big game coming up:

June 13, 2010: Strasburg vs. The Land

Strasburg’s second career start and first on the road came at Progressive Field, and while he wasn’t nearly as dominant as in his debut, he still left a strong impression. Kelce fired off four tweets over the first few innings.

Sorry, Trevor Crowe. You’re just “batter number 1” now. Those are the rules.

I’m highly amused by Kelce, who was listed at 6-foot-6, 260 pounds on the Cincinnati football roster, tweeting about how gigantic Adam Dunn is. Yeah, Dunn is huge, but how do you think those poor kids who had to pitch to you in high school felt, Travis?

My best guess here is that Santana – still a catcher at the time – took a foul tip in an unfortunate place.

Long live Pronk. Once again, though, Cleveland went on to lose the game.

This was the last time Kelce tweeted about his boyhood team in 2010.

Sept. 26, 2010: The Rivalry

This might come as a surprise to anyone who followed Major League Baseball for the first time in 2023, but Red Sox-Yankees games in September used to be a big deal. Kelce was locked in for this Sunday Night Baseball edition, one with fairly significant stakes.

The Yankees had all but clinched the AL wild card but were on the verge of getting swept by a Boston team that wasn’t too far back in the standings entering the final week. Instead, the Yankees won on a walk-off walk in extras and clinched a playoff spot two days later. Gotta love the rivalry!!

Oct. 22, 2010: My Yankees

Cleveland finished with 69 wins, a four-win jump from the year before but obviously nowhere near good enough to reach October. Fortunately for Travis, the defending champion Yankees returned to their favorite month and advanced to the ALCS against Texas, giving him a team to bandwagon in the playoffs — a textbook LeBron move if I’ve ever seen one.

But bandwagon might not be a strong enough term for how Kelce phrased his disappointment when the Yankees were ultimately eliminated:

His Yankees! What? He’s hurting?! Really?! Come on, Travis, don’t forget about your team that easily.

April 6, 2011: We’re so back

Forget that Yankees tweet ever happened. Come spring 2011, Kelce is locked back in, his loyalty reinvigorated. It’s a new season, and Cleveland just handed Josh Beckett his first loss of the year, one of only seven he’d take in 30 starts across his third and final All-Star season amidst a truly wild career.

On this day, Josh Tomlin pitched great, and Taylor Swift had just wrapped up the European leg of her Speak Now World Tour. The vibes are immaculate.

April 26, 2011: A plea to the front office

Justin Masterson pitched into the seventh inning in a 9-4 victory over the Royals, moving to 5-0 on the season. And Kelce unleashed this absolute scorcher:

Kelce was in high school when Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia won back-to-back AL Cy Youngs, only to both be traded within a year of collecting the hardware. He was not about to watch the same thing happen with Masterson.

But then-general manager Chris Antonetti apparently couldn’t care less about Kelce’s feelings. Masterson made it through 2011 and 2012 in Cleveland, but you know what happened after he made his first All-Star team in 2013? He was gone the next July, dealt to St. Louis at the 2014 deadline. Ruthless. Kelce’s NFL career was underway by that point, so hopefully he was sufficiently distracted.

April 29, 2011: An innovative descriptor

This is where Kelce’s genius really kicks in. In all my years consuming words about baseball in every medium imaginable, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the term “comeback blowout” before, but it’s even funnier when you learn that Cleveland won this game 9-5 on a Carlos Santana walk-off grand slam:

Sure, winning by four runs could be considered a blowout. And yes, Cleveland was down 5-2 as late as the seventh inning. So by definition, it was both a comeback and a blowout victory. But wouldn’t you just tweet about the walk-off grand slam?! Isn’t that the headline?! I’m simply baffled.

May 15, 2011: My team is better than yours

Someone named Elizabeth tweets her support for the Reds after they sweep the Cardinals to move to 23-17. Kelce, with big reply guy energy, hits back two minutes later with a prompt reminder that Cleveland, 24-13 at the time, is better.

The 2011 Reds finished with 79 wins. The 2011 Indians finished with 80 wins.

Advantage: Kelce.

June 20, 2011: Back on the bandwagon

Uh, oh. The Yankees are in town, and Kelce can’t help himself. He’s back on the bandwagon. He was one of 41,173 in attendance to see a 5-3 New York victory and the 577th save of Mariano Rivera’s career.

Aug. 30, 2011: Halladay does it again

Nearly 11 months after no-hitting the Reds in Philadelphia in the postseason, the Hall of Famer dominated Cincinnati once again, this time on their home turf. I would correct Kelce’s referring to the musically gifted former Reds starting pitcher as “Brunson,” rather than “Bronson,” but if you haven’t noticed by now, spelling wasn’t exactly his strong suit at this age.

I’m curious how good Kelce’s seats were for this one, but we can’t know for sure, given that the link to the Instagram post is broken. Fortunately for this entire silly exercise, Kelce has seemingly done a much better job scrubbing his Instagram than he has his Twitter. And for that, I am grateful.

Travis Kelce, definitely a baseball fan. (Amy Monks/Yahoo Sports)

Travis Kelce, definitely a baseball fan. (Amy Monks/Yahoo Sports)

The end of that summer was roughly when Kelce stopped regularly tweeting about baseball. That timing tracks, considering that’s when he started to find more success on the gridiron for the Bearcats and also when tweeting a play-by-play of your daily activities became less in vogue in general. Kelce still offered a smattering of baseball shoutouts here and there once his NFL career began — especially during the Royals’ runs in 2014 and 2015 — but for the most part, his focus was on football, and rightly so. I’m no pigskin expert, but from what I can tell, that has worked out pretty well for him.

Even as he has developed a newfound media presence with his ultra-popular podcast alongside his brother, it’s clear that Kelce’s days as a prolific poster are behind him. Still, I’m holding out hope that at some point this summer, if he can find time while galavanting around the globe with his world-famous girlfriend, Kelce will log back in and fire off a scorching hot take about Tanner Bibee.

I won’t hold my breath, though.



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