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Twinsburg -- One might say it's been a crazy Swishalicious last month for baseball diehard Adam Gockowski, the Cleveland Indians' newly-elected "Governor of Brohio."
With his new title, the 2008 Twinsburg High School graduate and Lakewood resident is charged with bringing the noise in Section 117 at Progressive Field on Fridays and Saturdays, where the favorite "O-H! I-O!" chant of gregarious Indians player and "Brohio" native Nick Swisher will no doubt reverberate.
"If you're a lifelong baseball fan, or if you're at the game for the first time, I'm just going to ask people to love the game," Gockowski said Feb. 27. "While you're at the ballpark, love the environment, love the fans, love the players … every single Friday and Saturday."
Gockowski, 24, took the reins of the Swisher-coined "Brohio" governorship Jan. 25 during Tribe Fest, after a monthlong, 40-person online campaign that included a video on Indians.com from the final four candidates.
As he and three others joined Swisher on stage, they were allowed one final push for their candidacies -- and that's when Gockowski hit his walk-off.
The former videographer in Twinsburg Township presented Swisher with an autographed copy of a picture the two had taken before a July 2013 game in Seattle, during a ballpark tour inspired by the late Jeff Newbauer of Twinsburg (who toured 26 ballparks during his "Cancer Sucks Ballpark Tour" in 2006).
The autograph was Gockowski's own, hammed up with a personal note thanking Swisher for his support, always. Swisher ate it up.
"That's where I pulled the trick from my hat," Gockowski said. "When you're dealing with one of the bigger [personalities] in the game, you have to give it right back."
Gockowski added that there "must have been support from above" from Newbauer, a 22-year-old Twinsburg resident who passed away in October 2006.
"Jeff has always been such an inspiration for me," Gockowski said of his own tour, which has taken him to 11 stadiums so far. "Jeff sent his family to support me."
Through some wry networking with the city of Akron and the University of Akron, Gockowski also received an important endorsement from UA executive vice president and former Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel, who appeared in Gockowski's campaign video and tweeted his congratulations to Gockowski after his selection.
"This was a perfect move with Tressel being so close with [Ohio State graduate] Swisher," Gockowski said.
Joel Hammond, communications coordinator with the Cleveland Indians, said such promotions are important for both the organization and the fans.
"Swish is obviously really energetic, and it's important for us to see our players want to interact with the fans -- and then go out and actually do it," Hammond said. "We also want to engage the fans -- and this is a great way to find the most passionate ones."
Swisher's endless effervescence is evident on Indians.com in a video posted congratulating Gockowski:
"People in the 216 and Section 117, we have found your new governor … and his name is Adam Gockowski! Congratulations, my man, this is going to be amazing! I'm sure all your friends back in Akron are super stoked for you. More than anything, us and the Tribe are happy to have you, bro. Congratulations, my man, well-deserved."
Gockowski, who grew up on Sharonbrook Drive, is a 2012 graduate of Kent State University in electronic media productions and is currently a video producer for University Tees, a Lakewood campus apparel company.
"It's amazing all the support I received from everyone in Twinsburg," Gockowski said. "I would like to recognize Mr. Don Jones for showing up at Tribe Fest in support of me, as well as Casey Kirtley at Twinsburg High School … I told [Kirtley] when I walked out the last day of [high] school that I was going to thank him when I made it big."