When a swarm of flying insects interrupted pregame warmups between the NFL’s Browns and Chargers at Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium last weekend, it only took a minute or two for the first notification to ping Joba Chamberlain’s phone. Players on both teams and fans alike were swatting away the pests, known as Lake Erie midges.

Oh, Chamberlain can tell you all about them. Fifteen years ago, Chamberlain was a Yankees reliever enjoying a fantastic rookie season — quickly earning the trust of manager Joe Torre, who’d begged the front office to let him use the kid with a nearly-unhittable fastball/slider combination. Then came Oct. 5, 2007, Game 2 of the American League Division Series: the “bug game.”

“You can hear them; they’re everywhere,” Chamberlain said recently. “You’re trying not to open your mouth and swallow them. Yeah, it was interesting.”

Then 21, Chamberlain had pitched to an 0.38 ERA in 19 regular-season appearances, striking out 34 batters. He’d exhibited good control, walking six and throwing one wild pitch over his first 24 big league innings. Cleveland had taken Game 1 of the ALDS in a 12-3 rout, but the Yanks were up in a tight Game 2 — the only run having scored on a Melky Cabrera homer.

Andy Pettitte pitched the first 6 1/3 innings, scattering seven hits. A double and a walk off the veteran lefty prompted Torre to extend a right index finger to summon Chamberlain, who escaped the seventh inning by striking out Franklin Gutierrez and retiring Casey Blake on a fly ball to right field. So far, so good.

But conditions had changed markedly when Chamberlain and the Yankees took the field in the bottom of the eighth. The midges had arrived, drawn by Northeast Ohio’s unseasonable fall warmth (81 degrees at first pitch). In search of mates, a cloud encroached upon the bright lights of what was then called Jacobs Field — and they seemingly centered on the pitcher’s mound.

“I’m just like, ‘This ain’t normal. I’ve never seen this,’” Chamberlain said.

As Derek Jeter swatted the bugs from his position at shortstop, the mosquito-like insects clung to Chamberlain’s sweat-streaked face, impeded his vision and crawled into his nose, mouth and ears. Chamberlain walked Grady Sizemore, then threw a wild pitch. Gene Monahan, the Yanks’ longtime head athletic trainer, produced a green canister of Off! bug spray. It didn’t help.

“I’m trying to throw and then it’s getting worse,” Chamberlain said. “I’m already sweating enough and I keep hitting the bugs. Geno comes out and [umpire] Laz Diaz was behind the plate; as we all know with foreign substances now, technically what Geno was doing was illegal because it gets sticky. But he’s spraying it over everybody, which backfired because they were attracted to the moisture even more.”

Chamberlain would later learn that that particular brand of spray is useless against midges; Torre would later say it “was like chateaubriand for the bugs.” Not pulling his team off the field is one of Torre’s greatest regrets of his Hall of Fame managerial career. Chamberlain said that he was later told that vinegar or dryer sheets might have repelled the midges.

“That would have been nice to know at the time,” Chamberlain said. “I was just glad they didn’t bite, because I would have been miserable.”

A sacrifice bunt moved Sizemore to third base and after getting Travis Hafner to line out, Chamberlain threw another wild pitch that scored the run. He hit Victor Martinez and walked Ryan Garko before mercifully escaping the inning with a strikeout.

“[Hideki] Matsui hit me in the back and they all flew everywhere,” Chamberlain said. “When I finally watched the video, that was gross. There was probably two hours where I felt like one was in my ear; I was trying to dig it out with a Q-tip. They were in my eyelids. I’m usually a quick in-and-out shower guy; that one, I did a little scrubbing.”

The lead was gone and the game proceeded into extra innings, decided in the 11th by Hafner’s single off Luis Vizcaino.

“Just when you think you’ve seen it all,” Jeter said at the time. “That’s home-field advantage.”

Cleveland went on to win the series in four games, then lost the AL Championship Series to the Red Sox — that year’s eventual World Series champions. All that anyone seems to remember from that ALDS now is the midges.

“The frustrating part for me was just not executing pitches,” Chamberlain said. “The bugs, I don’t care. That’s no excuse to have wild pitches and give up the game. I should take responsibility and be like, ‘Hey, we’ve got to let this go.’ The next inning, Fausto Carmona (later known as Roberto Hernandez) came out and they weren’t bad. So obviously, they knew the secret.”

At the Guardians’ Spring Training complex in Goodyear, Ariz., prospects walk past a black-and-white photo of Carmona/Hernandez from that game. The pitcher is focused, refusing to be distracted by the midges or anything else.

“It’s something you can’t get around,” said Triston McKenzie, who will start Saturday’s Game 3 for Cleveland (and also attended last weekend’s Browns/Chargers game). “You just have to steel yourself and get through it. It’s like a swarm of mosquitos, but when you try to swat them away, they don’t care. They will land on you anyway.”

Chamberlain spent nine more years in the Majors after that night — most of them with the Yankees — then bounced from the Tigers to the Royals before finishing his career in 2016 with, coincidentally, Cleveland. Chamberlain has since returned home to Lincoln, Neb., where he spends most days ferrying his son Karter to baseball tournaments. He said that hardly a day goes by when someone doesn’t share their memories of “the bug game.”

“It never fails,” Chamberlain said. “I guess you could always be remembered for worse things.”

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