Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 5/29/13
I was listening to Les Levine and Ken Carman talking to Richard Skinner, a radio personality from Cincinnati, on the topic of Tom Hamilton and his reaction to Nick Swisher getting buzzed by Reds relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman. I also read the post at Cleveland Frowns yesterday as well as most of the comments there. I’m sure most Indians fans have seen the clip by this point, but when Nick Swisher saw a 100 mile-per-hour fastball barely miss the brim of his helmet, Tom Hamilton became about as incensed as I’ve ever heard him.  It was Hamilton’s opinion that Aroldis Chapman had intentionally thrown at the head of Nick Swisher. He was as understandably energized by the play as anyone who was watching it. Just a guess, but Hamilton would probably re-write exactly what he said if he had the chance. To his credit, Richard Skinner didn’t overreact talking to Levine and Carman and said that he told his Cincy-based audience yesterday afternoon to put themselves in Indians fans’ shoes. What if Chris Perez had thrown those same two pitches at Joey Votto? It’s so very simple, but it’s also perfect. Try and understand what an otherwise good man was caught up in when he said something that might have you questioning him. But for whatever reason rather than having that response to a situation, some portion of the population would prefer to engage in some kind of witchhunt to try and define everyone by their worst moments and have them extrapolated to the furthest negative degree. After thinking about it and discussing it on Twitter, my conclusion is just to wonder why Tom Hamilton’s enormous, well-documented track record doesn’t count for something. Make no mistake: I’m not saying that it is the job of Indians fans to support bad behavior. We’ve all played with fire in that realm. I tried to support Albert Belle at various points in my life whether he was running over a second baseman, or attempting to run down some Halloween vandals in his SUV. I also believe I was at the debut game for John Rocker as a Cleveland Indian and stood and applauded as he aggressively sprinted to the mound. I’ve used questionable judgment to try to be protective of people, but Tom Hamilton is far different. Consider this: If Tom Hamilton talks about baseball on the radio for the average two hours and 45 minutes that it takes to play a baseball game and does so for 162 games, that’s 445.5 hours of play-by-play per season. Yes, I know he sometimes misses games, and I know he doesn’t call every inning of every game. Tom Hamilton joined the Tribe in 1990 so he’s been doing this job for over 20 years. Point being that even if Tom Hamilton has five minutes of somewhat questionable commentary every single season, he’s not doing too bad. 1 For the purposes of this conversation let’s all agree that Tom Hamilton might have misstepped slightly when he spoke of Nick Swisher smoking a ball back up the middle—”off the pitcher’s temple”—as some kind of justice for a guy intentionally throwing at a batter’s head. One might defend Hamilton because one act is intentional and the other is not. Also suggesting a ball up the middle would be justice isn’t technically wishing for it either. Still, I think we can all agree the safer bet is leaving that bullet in the chamber rather than firing it out in a heated moment. Also, for the purposes of this conversation, let’s also agree that it was a mistake to mention that Aroldis Chapman might get away with throwing at people’s heads if he was playing the game in Cuba. Having listened to Tom Hamilton for as long as I have I’m willing to bet that he was referring to a different league of baseball with different cultural values. Similar can be said for Japan, which allows for only a certain number of non-Japanese players, or “gaijin,” on a given roster. I’m willing to bet this is what he meant as opposed to somehow invoking Cubans as being inferior people. In the end, Hamilton’s mistakes were leaving these negative interpretations open to suggestion when he was emotionally caught up in the moment. As to the suggestion that it would be justice to have a ball come back up the middle and hit Chapman, Hamilton briefly addressed it saying, “I’m not going to go over this. That sure wasn’t the intent to mean it that way.” And as a guy who has listened to hours and hours of Tom Hamilton that’s good enough for me. He’s earned it. Being caught up in the moment is exactly what everyone wants a broadcaster to do, by the way. So there’s the rub. Knowing what we know about Tom Hamilton and his history, he deserves support and the benefit of the doubt. He has enough of a track record that if this is determined to be his worst moment then he shouldn’t be defined by it. If Cleveland fans who know Hamilton better than anyone else don’t defend him, who will? And if you can’t stand up for the quality of a guy like Tom Hamilton, then who can you support? ___________________________________ Of course if the “questionable” commentary is of a certain inflammatory level there is no defense, but I don’t think what Hamilton said was anywhere near the Howard Cosell variety.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Redick gives Clippers ‘F-minus’ grade for losing Jordan

Report: PGA pulls Grand Slam event from Trump course

Three things to watch for on Hard Knocks with the Texans

Pierre-Paul could face charges for possession of fireworks

Report: Warriors trade David Lee to Celtics for Gerald Wallace

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rivers believes Gates' PED use was unintentional

Favre felt 'bothered' by Green Bay's decision to trade him

Ned Yost explains Alex Rodriguez’s All-Star Game snub

Donovan McNabb arrested for DUI after rear-ending car

It is progress time for the Philadelphia 76ers

Andrew Luck talks Super Bowl hopes and Patriots

Matt Bonner blames iPhone 6 for elbow injury, shooting woes

Evaluating Tarasenko’s eight-year, $60M contract

Tigers should accept reality and become trade deadline sellers

5 running backs who could break the Heisman Trophy streak

Roy Halladay snaps selfie while getting a speeding ticket

National Basketball Players Association to set up heath insurance for retirees

'Corrected' 2015 MLB All-Star Game picks

NHL expansion process begins, application cutoff set for Aug. 10

Cardinals send rookies to Starbucks to pick up order

Mark Cuban fined for discussing Matthews and Jordan deals

Baseball's most productive low-authority hitters of all-time

USWNT's World Cup triumph four years in the making

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

5 RBs who could break the Heisman Trophy streak

Watch to watch on Hard Knocks with the Texans

Tigers should become trade deadline sellers

JPP could face criminal charges?

'Corrected' 2015 MLB All-Star Game picks

MLB's 2015 All-Star snubs

Gronk, David Ortiz in latest Dunkin Donuts iced coffee video

The 2015 All-Star reserves & pitchers

Are LeBron, Cavs just playing teenage games?

Bucks threatens move to Vegas, Seattle

Bryce Harper to skip Home Run Derby

Video shows De'Andre Johnson punching woman

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.