This is long overdue. Long overdue as in it happened at the end of July last year. The date was Friday, July 26, and on this day, I was inaugurated as the governor of Brohio, Nick Swisher's special section of Progressive Field. It was a glorious reign and I represented the people in the best way I knew how.
Okay, so it was just for that game, but still, it was a pretty momentous occasion for me, a young Tribe fan from San Diego. And with the recent news that the Tribe is looking for a governor for the 2014 season (and some encouragement from my fellow LGTers), here is my account of when I was governor. It was only for a night, but it was a night I won't soon forget.
Rewind to July 24, the Wednesday before the game. I was hanging out with my family at my aunt and uncle's house in North Ridgeville. Nothing too out of the ordinary. During that afternoon, my phone buzzed with an email from Courtney Schilling, one of the Communication Interns for the Tribe. In her email (it was sent out to anyone who had purchased tickets for Friday's game in the Brohio section - Section 117 of Progressive Field, right out in RF), she said that they were looking for a governor for Friday night's game and, if anyone was interested, to send their "campaign" materials to her and the Cleveland Indians official Twitter. Naturally, as a 20 year old on vacation with a lot of free time, I set out to make my mark on the history of Brohio.
My family and I went to the store that night and bought some poster making supplies. Luckily, being in Cleveland and not San Diego, it was easy to walk into Wal-Mart and find Cleveland Indians merchandise to use. After the materials were purchased, we headed back to my relatives' house to get to work. We knew we were under a time crunch due to the game being less than 48 hours away. As we were making posters, I was busy taking pictures and posting them instantly to my twitter feed in hopes that Courtney or some other representative from the Tribe FO would take notice.
Probably one of my favorite posters was this one:
It's kinda hard to read, but at the bottom, it says that from Oceanside, CA (my house) to Cleveland, OH, it was a 2,409-mile journey. I finished up the posters, submitted them, and I waited.
...And I waited.
I actually forgot about the contest. I went to the Aeros game the next day and was excited to see Francisco Lindor play (that was his first Double-A HR if I recall correctly). And of course I was still excited for the Tribe game on Friday; it was my first game I was attending in Cleveland. Just going would be an amazing experience. But what came next was incredible.
Friday, the day of the game, my family and I were out at the Great Northern Mall in North Olmsted just browsing. We were there for a good couple of hours just walking around without much of a purpose. As we were getting ready to leave, my phone buzzed with another email:
"Congratulations, Tyler! You’ve officially been elected Governor of Brohio for tonight’s game.
We strongly encourage you to bring your signs and wear your Brohio title proudly. We'd also like to invite you to come to BP - we'd need to have you here at 4:15PM if you'd like to take advantage.
Let me know if you have any questions. We'll see you soon!
Thanks for your support and Go Tribe!
I almost lost it right there in the mall. I couldn't believe that I was getting chosen so close to game time! At this point, it was right around 2:30pm. I told my mom and we rushed back to my aunt and uncle's house to get ready, knowing that time was limited if we wanted to make it by 4:15pm.
By the skin of our teeth, we made it just before the gates opened up for batting practice. Once the gate opened, I rushed in to try and find out where to go. I was a little lost and didn't know where I was supposed to report. I found one of the ushers, who directed me to the information booth, where a man with a radio radioed down to someone about the arrival of the governor. A few minutes later, an older gentleman came up and met my family and I and escorted us down to the field. It was kinda cool to get to bypass all the closed gates and actually be on the field. I saw Aviles take some cuts, but the BP was fairly short for some reason, so I didn't get to see too many others. Tito came by and said high and signed a few autographs for random people standing around, myself included. He really seems like a cool guy. I wish I had had more of a chance to just chat with him, but even the governor has some limits.
By this time, Courtney found us on the field and introduced herself. She was really sweet and very talkative (I guess you have to be if you are the Communications Intern). She said that it's not every time that the governor gets to come down on the field for BP, so I felt half special and half like I broke rules I didn't know existed. Oh well, no harm no foul.
After BP ended, Courtney took us up to our seats after we got our Brohio shirts. The shirts are actually really nice and really soft. We were one of the first ones in our section, so we just sat back and watched the rest of the warm-ups.
Then the game started. It's hard to remember specific games unless they hold some specific meaning; for me, this was a game I wouldn't forget. I remember vividly Swisher coming to the plate and belting a HR, sending the section of Brohio into a frenzy in the first inning. I remember that, by the end of the fourth, Cleveland was up 7-1 on theRangers. I remember Kluber starting to waver as the Rangers started to inch back into the game. I remember Cody Allen, not surviving one inning. I even remember Rich Hill and Chris Perez being surprisingly efficient on this day (Perez went 2, TWO entire innings without allowing even a hit!). But out of all that, nothing is more vivid in my mind than this:
The electricity I felt in that crowd in that moment was unlike anything I had ever experienced. The place roared to life. John Adams was banging his drum and it was quickly silenced by the deafening applause by a fantastic crowd. In the frenzy that ensued as Raburn rounded the bases, I forgot that there was one more perk to being the governor of Brohio. Courtney was quick to remind me as she appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, in our section to escort me and my family down to the field. Once the Rangers had cleared out, we were taken in to the visitor side dugout for the post-game firework display. I did my best to just soak it all in, but I couldn't resist taking a couple pictures. Here was one of my favorites:
I went to the game the next day (it was Michael Brantley jersey giveaway), and that was an awesome game too. Seeing Masterson out-duel Yu Darvish was phenomenal to watch. Nothing will ever top my first game at Progressive Field though. Hollywood couldn't have crafted a better script. We all know what eventually happened in October. We know that the Tribe's postseason appearance was over far too quickly. We know that they weren't the champions. But on July 26, for a young fan from California and Governor for a day, they were the best thing on the planet.