Moments later, the side scoreboards flash the letter ‘K’ — usually multiple times in the case of Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco and Mike Clevinger — to signify the number of strikeouts each pitcher has accumulated during a particular game.
Most nights, the person behind that strikeout graphic — among numerous others seen throughout the scoreboards at Progressive Field — is Norwalk resident Taylor Brown.
A 2011 St. Paul graduate and an accomplished basketball player for the Lady Flyers, Brown is a CGC operator and a field producer at Progressive Field.
“I put up the graphics during the game, like the strikeouts, player headshots when they are batting, the ad pillars on the side — as well as the presentation of things between innings,” Brown said.
During the day, Brown works as a medical billing specialist at Quadax, Inc. in Milan. Then she heads from there to Cleveland for every home game, with the exception of weekday afternoon games.
That back-and-forth at two jobs with the extensive travel makes for long — but rewarding — days for the 25 year old. She wakes up at 5 a.m. and gets some things ready for the Indians job later, then works 6:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at Quadax.
“Then I actually use vacation time to leave there early so I can get to Cleveland around 3 p.m. or so,” Brown said. “If the game goes on real late, you never know when you’ll get home. But usually I’m home by midnight, then get about four hours sleep and do it all over again.
“Those are some 18-plus hour, tough days,” she added. “To other people they think, ‘man, that’s rough for you’ with regards to a second job. But it’s really not work. You get to hang out and watch a baseball game while working. It’s so exciting, and I love it. It’s a lot of energy drinks, but honestly, it’s about enjoying my job.”
Getting a foot in the door
Brown earned her Associates degree in graphic design at the Firelands campus of Bowling Green State University. Soon after, a full-time graphics design job opened at Kent Sporting Goods in New London, putting on hold the idea of further pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
Two years ago, Brown was randomly searching through various job search engines when a posting for the Cleveland Indians popped up. Thinking it would be nothing more than fun just to apply, Brown sent her resume.
“A week later, I got a call from a Cleveland number, and it was someone from the Indians wanting to do a quick phone interview,” Brown said. “I figured, ‘they won’t call me back again, but it was still cool.’”
But they did call her back two days later, and scheduled an in-person interview.
“My family was more excited about it than I was,” Brown said. “My mom (Jackie) took the day off of work just to drive me up for the interview. It sounds bad, but I went in with the mindset I was never getting the job — so I was really relaxed and nonchalant during the interview.”
A week later, Brown was notified she got the job — and she’s been enjoying every moment since.
Behind the scenes
While things may get stressful on the field as the Indians make another push toward ending baseball’s longest World Series drought (1948), Brown said things are very relaxed at Progressive Field — despite the long hours.
“We have to be there four hours before each game, and most of our prep work is done within the first hour,” Brown said. “After that, everyone that is a part of the show gets together for a meeting and goes over an outline of that night’s schedule.
“After that, we just kind of hang out until the game begins, maybe play a game of Euchre, just very relaxed,” she added. “You have to be focused at all times during the game, but it’s a very laid back approach and you get to sit back and watch the game. It’s all one big family up there.”
When she works as a field producer, Brown finds herself on the field interacting with fans, and even some of the players.
“The very first time I field produced, when we walked out onto the field I could have reached out and touched Francisco Lindor,” Brown said. “And I thought it was the craziest thing, even though it’s not that big of a deal. But I’ll never forget that day or that moment.
“A lot of my co-workers come from bigger cities, so they don’t understand what Norwalk is,” she added. “I am just so thankful that God blessed me with this opportunity to work for a Major League Baseball team — especially the one I grew up cheering for.”
Family comes first
Brown, who owns several three-point records at St. Paul, is hoping the job with the Indians opens doors to more opportunities — even if it means more work for the team in Cleveland.
“Sports have always been a big part of my life, and my parents and sister (Rachel) have been huge supporters, and that’s another thing that pushed me in this direction,” Brown said. “My family has pushed me to be the best person, to try and do big things and go for it.
“One of the most satisfying feelings I’ve ever had in my life was my dad (Jeff) telling me how proud he was of me,” she added. “My entire family was genuinely more excited than me when I got the job in Cleveland.”
So despite working two jobs that sometimes run 18 hours away from home in a day, Brown sees this as an opportunity for something bigger — and knows she has the support from home to reach her goals.
“I feel that God has a plan for me, and I’ve always stuck do that,” Brown said. “When I want something, I’ll push until I get it. Two jobs is tough, but I just love interacting with people. I’m always pushing forward. My ultimate goal in life, I know everyone wants money, and I get that makes life a lot easier — but I just want to live a fulfilled and successful life with a loving family.
“My family has shown me what I should strive for and given me a good life,” she added. “I’m just a little city girl, and this is still just so surreal to me that I even have this job.”