Jason Giambi's walk-off, two-run, two-out, pinch-hit home run to beat the White Sox 5-4 in the ninth inning on Monday night was called postgame by WTAM radio play-by-play announcer Tom Hamilton as being possibly the biggest pinch-hit home run in Cleveland Indians history.
Al Leiter and Mike Lowell said on MLB Network's MLB Tonight that, considering the circumstances, Giambi's blow could be considered the biggest hit in MLB this season.
The calls on radio and TV carried different styles and emotions, depending on whether you were listening or watching a Cleveland or Chicago feed.
This presentation will present each one of those calls, either via video or by transcribing the calls. I will also present my observations on the emotions conveyed by the calls, the different styles used to paint the picture or describe the action and the information given during the broadcasts. Here are the four radio and TV calls:
Tom Hamilton, WTAM (Cleveland)
The inimitable Hamilton started off his commentary with his signature home run call: "The 1-1 pitch...a swing and a drive...to deep right...awaaay back...gooooonnnne!"
Hammy let the emotion and excitement of the moment set in until Giambi reached halfway between third base and home plate.
The next thing I love about this call was his "Mardi Gras in September in Cleveland!" He also painted the picture in the listener's minds of the team's celebration at the plate with "Oh, what a mob scene!"
If you're a Tribe fan, this call gives you goose pimples.
Hamilton also made an excellent and amusing point when he stated that his key to the game was that Giambi didn't get selected for the Colorado Rockies' managerial position.
Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson, WSCR The Score (Chicago)
Here is the sequence of calls by Farmer transcribed. They can be heard here on MLB.TV starting at approx 3:37 into the broadcast:
First, Farmer and partner Darrin Jackson have an eerie premonition during an exchange as Giambi comes to the plate:
Jackson: He got us once this year.
Farmer: Yes, he did.
Jackson: Giambi just hitting .177 in 68 games but has eight home runs, 29 batted in. One of those home runs came against the White Sox...as a pinch hitter.
Farmer's eventual home run call had quite the different tone and style as you can imagine. Farmer said during his call:
Jason Miller/Getty Images
One ball, one strike...Reed trying to save it for the Sox... and the 1-1 to Giambi...swing and a long one. Indians come back and they win it on a home run by Giambi. He's burned us twice. They come back and beat the Sox, 5-4. Keys to the game are next after this on The Score on the Chicago White Sox radio network.
That's how long it took for Farmer to make the call. No emotion. Told with great angst and depression in his voice. He couldn't get the call out fast enough. The commercial came immediately after the word "network" came out of Farmer's mouth.
How long was Hamilton's call?
Two minutes, 37 seconds...plus.
You can understand the difference in how long each announcer used to make the call, but the difference is striking.
Matt Underwood, Sportstime Ohio
Here is Underwood's call of Giambi's epic blast which can be heard under "Video" on the linked page:
Reed ready 1-1 pitch...Giambi with a drive...deep right field. Are you kidding me? Ohhhh, myyy. The Indians have won it...their 11th walk-off win of the season...and none...more dramatic...than this one...right here...right now!!!
Underwood paused for a little to let everything sink in and to let the viewers watch the home-plate delirium and then added:
If you don't believe there is something special happening with this bunch, then you haven't been paying attention. Incredible! Jason Giambi, who Terry Francona has gone out of his way time and time again to tell anyone who would listen...how important this guy has been to this team all season long...just in the clubhouse! But Giambi has always been quick to point out, 'I'm here to play. I'm not just here to be a guy ridin' out the string.' And he has come up with some monster moments for this club.
A little later, Underwood did a great job in capturing the swing of emotions that the ninth inning brought and said, "From the depths of despair...to the height of delirium...all in the span of what...10 minutes?"
Ken "Hawk" Harrelson and Steve Stone, WCIU Chicago
Say what you will about Hawk, but the guy bleeds White Sox colors. Stone also had a bit of a foreboding tone in his voice when he said prior to Giambi's heroics, "He's only hitting .177, but he's hit eight home runs, driven in 29...and the two pinch hits? Both home runs." Hawk added, "Giambi's faced Addison twice. He's 0-2. They got the shift on..."
After Giambi took a huge swing on Reed's first pitch, a nasty breaking ball to get ahead of Giambi at 0-1, Stone added some quality commentary on Giambi's possible approach as a pinch hitter and said, "Good idea for the simple reason that any pinch-hitter...goes up there with one thought in mind...first-ball fastball...air it out...Got the first pitch... but it was a slider...and he swung over the top."
Here is the rest of Hawk's call which can be heard (or more accurately...not heard?) here on MLB.TV:
This ball game isss over.
About a minute and six seconds of it. That is a lot of dead air.
Who had the best call?
Hawk, are you there? Hello, Hawk? Helloooo? You're on the air still.
After the silence, Harrelson also underlined Giambi's importance to the Indians. He said, "Well...your Jonny Gomes, your Jason Giambis...they bring a lot to a ballclub. Yet another tough loss..."
Stone capped off the call with telling what the pitch was and what Giambi was looking to do and said, "...this one a slider, he was looking for the one pitch that he could pull, and pull it he did, a no doubter."
So there you have it. Four ways of calling a huge home run, evoking different emotions depending on who you were rooting for and which call you heard.
Thanks for reading! Any good stories on what happened prior to, during or after Giambi's blast? Were you watching or listening? I welcome any comments you may have.