2019: Enjoy Him
Cleveland Indians radio announcer Tom Hamilton was named as one of eight finalists on Friday for the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s annual Ford C. Frick Award.
This year’s Ford C. Frick Award focuses on “Current Major League Markets” (team-specific announcers) after recognizing “Broadcasting Beginnings” last year and “National Voices” the fall before. Criteria for selection for the Ford C. Frick Award, as established by the Board of Directors, includes a “commitment to excellence, quality of broadcasting abilities, reverence within the game, popularity with fans, and recognition by peers.” To be eligible for consideration, the broadcaster (either active or retired) must have worked for ten continuous seasons with a club or network. According to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, more than 200 broadcasters fit those qualifications this year.
The 2019 Major League Baseball season is in the books and the Washington Nationals are first time World Series Champions, taking home an improbable title after entering the playoffs as a Wild Card contestant before later taking four road games from the Houston Astros in the Fall Classic.
What may have been a surprising MLB season to some ended much the same way as a very veteran and older club in the Nationals knocked off the playoff-tested Astros, which had just won the title in 2017. The Nationals had to fight their way through the entire playoff bracket, entering as the top Wild Card club in the senior circuit before squeezing by the Milwaukee Brewers late in the play-in game. They defeated the reigning pennant winners in the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round before sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series. Despite taking a 2-0 series lead over the Astros by winning their first two World Series games ever, the Nationals went home and lost all three games in Washington, DC, before winning their fourth and fifth elimination games of the postseason back on the road in Texas.
Sometimes you have to take a step back and wait a few days before assessing situations. In this case, I needed a little more than that (but certainly not three weeks…) to reflect on the ups and downs of the Cleveland Indians’ 2019 season. (I also wasn’t helped any by an unrelenting work schedule for the job that pays the bills.)
A year that was expected by many to be a cake walk to a fourth straight divisional title turned into anything but as the Tribe had to fight all the way down to the wire in pursuit of a playoff spot, a battle the team ultimately fell short of in a disappointing end to a 162-game grind. The team managed to win 93 games (which given the hurdles of the year seems all the more impressive), but its inability to beat up better on some lesser opponents coupled with a slew of injuries did little to aid its cause as the Indians finished eight games in back of the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central and three games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the final AL Wild Card spot. The 93 wins tied the second-highest win total posted by an Indians club which failed to make the playoffs (see the 1921 Tribe club which went 94-60 in its title defense but finished four and a half in back of the New York Yankees in the AL).
Cleveland’s Chris Antonetti shared with the media on Wednesday that the Indians will pick up the team option on right-hander Corey Kluber, bringing him back for the 2020 season.
The Cleveland Indians’ late season collapse concluded with an 8-2 loss to the Washington Nationals, sending the team into the offseason on a five-game losing skid.
Looking for a moral victory in a game that had no playoff implications for either team, the Indians sent out the scorching hot Mike Clevinger to the mound for his final start of the season, but he was tagged for six runs while the offense slumped again to close out regular season action. The loss left the Indians with a 93-69 record for the season, the third-best record during Terry Francona’s tenure with the club and tied for the sixth-best mark for the Tribe in a 162-game schedule.
A nine-run second inning was more than plenty for the Washington Nationals on Saturday as they secured home field advantage in Tuesday’s National League Wild Card Game with a 10-7 blowout of the Cleveland Indians.
With meaningful games done for the Indians after being eliminated from 2019 playoff consideration on Friday night, a lineup filled primarily with bench bats put up a bit of a fight on Saturday, but only after Adam Plutko and the Cleveland bullpen were destroyed in a nine-run frame by the Nationals as they rolled to victory. The only blemish for Washington was a subpar performance from Patrick Corbin, their big offseason signing, who was tagged for six runs and was unable to finish five innings in his final regular season start of the year.
With their backs against the wall this week, the Indians brought little to the plate and little relief. Friday’s 8-2 loss to the Washington Nationals, coupled with a 6-2 win by Tampa Bay in Toronto, officially eliminated Cleveland from the 2019 postseason.
The end results mirrored those of recent days after the Indians dropped two of three to the Chicago White Sox earlier in the week in must-win situations. The Tribe was in the game briefly, but a disastrous five-run sixth inning by the Cleveland bullpen ended the team’s playoff hopes with one messy frame.
Cleveland managed just four hits off of Chicago’s relief corps in a bullpen game for the White Sox, while the home club put up four against Aaron Civale and four more in the middle innings to claim an 8-0 shutout on Thursday night.
The White Sox have been a thorn in the side of the Indians all year long and that continued as the Pale Hose won for the 11th time in 19 tries against Cleveland this season to deal the visiting team a devastating loss, putting their postseason dreams nearly to bed.
Needing to win every game down the home stretch to improve its playoff odds, Cleveland was dealt a defeat as former Indians hurler Ross Detwiler scattered three runs on five hits over five innings while the Tribe bullpen let the game get out of hand late in an 8-3 loss.
The White Sox claimed the season series over the Indians, winning for the tenth time in 18 matchups this year. That could prove to be the difference for the Tribe, which fared well overall against the other three teams in the American League Central, going 18-1 against Detroit, 12-7 against Kansas City, and 10-9 against first place Minnesota. The White Sox used some early offense, capitalizing on a defensive miscue by the Tribe, and put the game away late with a key three-run long ball.
The loss for the Indians (93-65), coupled with a win by Minnesota in Detroit, officially eliminated the Tribe in the American League Central race, with the Twins taking the crown from Cleveland after a three-year run atop the division. Tampa was victorious prior to Cleveland’s loss and now leads the Indians by a game and a half for the second AL Wild Card spot.
The Indians find themselves in a precarious situation in the final week of the season.
Instead of resting comfortably at the top of the American League Central, as the club has done for the last three years, the Indians find themselves on the outside looking in. Despite resurgent play in the second half of the season and catching Minnesota briefly atop the division, Cleveland has watched as the first place Twins have remained hot and kept some distance from the second place contenders. Their magic number after Tuesday’s win was reduced to just two, likely ending the Indians’ three-year title as the best in the Central.
The improbable return of Jose Ramirez, one month removed from breaking his right hamate bone, powered the Cleveland Indians over the Chicago White Sox, 11-0, on Tuesday night from Guaranteed Rate Field on the southside of Chicago.
One half of the heart and soul of the Tribe made a shocking return to action on Tuesday as the two-time All-Star third baseman was activated from the 10-day injured list and the move immediately paid off as Ramirez homered from each side of the plate in his first two at bats to post a career-high seven RBI in a story book comeback, powering the Indians to a big win from Chi-Town.