CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The crack of the bat. That will sound as sweet as ever.
As will the cry of a Hammy-called home run.
“A swing and a drive ... to deep right ... a waaaay back ....GONE!”
But the roar of the crowd? Not happening this season.
“What’s not normal is obviously not having people in the stands, but I also did games from Municipal Stadium in ’90 and ’91 and ’92, and there weren’t a lot of people in the stands for those games, either,” longtime Indians radio play-by-play man Tom Hamilton told me with a laugh during a Zoom interview.
“Hammy,” as he’s affectionately known, is about to begin his fourth decade of calling Tribe games.
He’s one of the best in the business, his tremendous skill of painting a picture in the listener’s mind will truly be put to the test, as he calls road games from the same place where he’ll call home games ... Progressive Field.
Covid-19 has wiped out any travel.
“When we’re on the road, we’re going to be doing it off a monitor, (in Cleveland)” Hamilton says. “But we’re also gonna be getting some other angles. Some ‘high home’, other camera angles, so you’ve got some ability to not only judge where the ball is hit or how hard it’s been hit, but where’s the defense playing. Is the infield in? Is the outfield deep? Is it shifted?
“So that’ll be a little disconcerting at first, just kind of getting used to not watching a field, but literally doing a game off multiple monitors. But you know what? That’s all part of it.”
It’s part of adjusting, which he said pales in comparison to what others are going through.
“I think of all the heroes that we have now,” Hamilton said. “I include all the people who work at the grocery store. I’ll never take for granted the people at the checkout counter again, or the people who are stocking shelves. They’re exposed to more of this than any of us are, and they’re doing their jobs and not complaining about it, so the least I can do is adapt to some changes.”
And at the very least, he’s able to do what he does--and loves--best,
“You forget how you sometimes take that for granted, or at least I do,” Hamilton said. “Where all of a sudden you’re like ‘this really is a privilege’ ... to walk into this facility and to see some of the best players in the game play. And just being around a ballpark again ... for me, that’s my workplace, so that kind of brought a sense of normalcy. Baseball has withstood so many challenges down through the years. I think it will rise to the occasion again.”