MINNEAPOLIS -- Yan Gomes is currently the face of baseball in his home country of Brazil. The face of sports in his homeland simply goes by one name: Pele.
Imagine Gomes' surprise over the All-Star break when Pele, the legendary Brazilian soccer player, posted a pair of encouraging messages on Twitter about the young Indians catcher. Gomes was ecstatic that one of his country's premiere sports heroes had reached out to him.
"That was freaking awesome, man," Gomes said with a smile. "Can you imagine Babe Ruth tweeting you?"
The two posts from Pele landed on Monday.
"[Gomes] is such an inspiration for all the Brazilian kids dreaming to play in the [MLB] one day," Pele wrote. "All my encouragement to [Gomes] in his mission to promote baseball in Brazil."
Gomes said it took him a couple of hours to respond, because the catcher was so nervous.
"A lot of people were going to see it, especially in Brazil," Gomes said. "I wanted to make sure I said the right things."
When he finally logged in to his profile page, Gomes wrote: "What a great honor to receive support from [Pele] a great person who has inspired myself and so many others!"
Gomes, who is the only Brazilian-born player to reach the Major Leagues, hopes he can do the same for kids pursuing baseball in his country.
"I just try to set a good example," Gomes said. "That's pretty much it. I want to set a good example for guys and whenever I go down to Brazil, to inspire others."