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Indians broadcaster Tom Hamilton got a little too into the Aroldis Chapman-Nick Swisher beanball incident

May 28, 2013, 5:45 PM EDT

Cleveland Indians v Cincinnati Reds Getty Images

I had missed this until earlier today but apparently Aroldis Chapman threw a couple pitches at Nick Swisher late in yesterday’s Reds-Indians game. They were likely inside on purpose and Swisher and Chapman stared each other down over it.

Indians broadcaster Tom Hamilton, however, took it to the next level, saying the sorts of things that normally get players fined if they say it:

“What you’d love to see Swisher do here is knock it right off the temple of Chapman and see how much fun it is to have a ball coming at your head,” Hamilton said. “That is bush league.”

Later, Hamilton predicted the Indians would retaliate during the series, which moves to Cleveland for two games on Wednesday and Thursday.

“You just can’t be throwing at people’s heads,” Hamilton said. “The first one may have gotten away, the second one did not. And there are three more games to go with the Reds. This isn’t over yet.

“I’ll guarantee you one thing: (manager Terry) Francona will make sure that this is settled on the field.”

Hamilton is not a player, of course, so he can say whatever he wants and/or whatever his employer allows. And I agree with him that throwing at a player’s head is serious business. But it does seem a bit much for a broadcaster to be basically asking for revenge to be paid, does it not?

  1. waiverclaim - May 28, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    Hamilton’s going to have to learn pretty quick that Swisher does indeed showboat, and teams do not like him showboating, and throw at him sometimes. He was being a real dick during the last series with Oakland, especially.

    • brewcrewfan54 - May 28, 2013 at 7:44 PM

      Chapman did a somersault after the last out of a save once. He’s not the guy who should be telling other teams to take it down a notch.

      • junglerat524 - May 28, 2013 at 10:31 PM

        He never did

      • brewcrewfan54 - May 29, 2013 at 12:00 AM

        Bullshit. I watched him do it against the Brewers.

      • junglerat524 - May 29, 2013 at 12:03 AM

        I thought we were talking about today. I forgot about his flips. Guess you haven’t.

      • brewcrewfan54 - May 29, 2013 at 12:40 AM

        You make it sound like me remembering it is a big deal. Its not. Its just one of those things that never happens so when you see it you remember. And just like my original comment said, a guy who does that can’t exactly be the guy enforcing other showboating things.

    • cinricy - May 28, 2013 at 11:02 PM

      Having played professional baseball for a short and many years in college and the minor leagues I can comment with some perspective about this situation. First, anytime you are facing a pitcher that throws as hard as Chapman you are often on edge, you have about 0.5 secs to make a decisionon to swing or not. Having said that your adrenaline is already elevated. Additionally it is a given in baseball that pitchers who throw that hard is often prone to spuratic release points. The release point on pitchers throwing motion dictates if the ball is a strike or a ball. I can say with a great deal of certainty the first pitch from Chapman was not by any means deliberate. Swishers reaction to that pitch was unwarranted. The stare down of a pitcher on a mistake pitch is not proper baseball mannerisms. The second pitch of Chapman was probably intentional, what I do belive was not intentional throwing that close to Nick’s head. He just lost his release point on the previous pitch. A seasoned veteran like Swisher should have know better that to stare down a pitcher for no reason. In the baseball world it is considered an act of hostility.
      Sencondly, the Indians announcer was extreamly out of place and should be fined for directly stating he wished Swisher would have hit Chapman. One I can say with authority there is very few players that would wish harm on player. I will go as far to say that very few human beings would wish any harm on anyone. It is obvious that the announcer is someone who devalues the well being of the players for his personal theatrics.RReprehensible conduct for a professional in the baseball world

      • junglerat524 - May 29, 2013 at 12:01 AM


      • largebill - May 29, 2013 at 8:15 AM


        Huh? You say “Swishers reaction to that pitch was unwarranted. The stare down of a pitcher on a mistake pitch is not proper baseball mannerisms.” Lighten up, Francis! Swisher did not charge the mound. He barely stepped out of the box after a 100 MPH pitch over his head. Then after the next pitch comes at his head all he did was step out and (if I read his lips correctly) say to the pitcher “Don’t do that.” That is actually pretty darn restrained considering what that baseball could do to his brain.

  2. pjmitch - May 28, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    I saw the game. Not sure Chapman was throwing at him, but I walked away from this game having a whole new respect for Nick Swisher. He is a stud. After two wayward pitches, the 2nd one almost hitting him in the head, Swisher stood right in there and took the next pitch to the warning track. Awesome.

    • cggarb - May 29, 2013 at 12:23 PM

      Actually, the 2-0 pitch was a slider that buckled Swisher’s knees. It was the *next* pitch that he smoked.

  3. randygnyc - May 28, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    Considering the mitigating factors (100mph), etc, I can see the frustration. The only way to avoid injuries, fights and retaliation is for the umpires to act. Chapman should’ve been tossed after the second pitch.

    • billybawl - May 28, 2013 at 6:43 PM

      I agree Chapman should have been tossed after the second pitch. Even if it’s not 100% certain he was trying to hit Swisher, he came damn near to decapitating him with a heater, right after throwing another pitch to the screen and getting into a staredown with Swisher. He should lose the benefit of the doubt given the sequence and fact that he almost hit his head. Err on the side of discouraging pitchers from trying to kill players. With no action taken, the Indians essentially get a free shot at a Reds player.

      As for whether it made sense to throw at anyone in a 4-2 game, is it reasonable to think that Chapman really cared about that?

      • jm91rs - May 28, 2013 at 7:05 PM

        Not totally disagreeing with everything you said, but he’s the closer so it is reasonable to think that he wouldn’t deliberately hit a guy in a close game in the 9th.

      • jm91rs - May 28, 2013 at 8:46 PM

        I’m sorry, am I lacking in baseball iq to think that it’s smart to bring up the tying run in the 9th deliberately?

        Watch the video again. Chapman is in the wrong and swisher is an ass. Chapman hits the backstop (he does this more often than most), swisher starts jawing, chapman looks a little shocked then tries to buzz the tower. After this chapman Doesnt even make eye contact so its obvious that was his “ill give you something to complain about” pitch.

        I can guarantee you he was told after the game Not to do that.

        Definitely never right to throw near a guys head, but don’t act like swisher had any right at all to start jawing on a pitch that got away.

      • junglerat524 - May 28, 2013 at 9:07 PM

        That’s what I said when I first posed on this story. Anyhoo, they hit Phillips (who laughed it off) so hopefully they feel better now.

  4. breastfedted - May 28, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    That quote isn’t that crazy. Quit fishing, Craig. You’re swimming into Chris Chase territory.

    • cggarb - May 29, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      A baseball announcer said he wanted an opposing player to take a line drive to the temple. Not “back through the box.” Not “buzz the tower.” But TO THE TEMPLE. That would almost certainly be a fatal event.

      But, sure’ its’ “not that crazy.” You hear that all the time.

  5. Kevin Gillman - May 28, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    If I am McAllister, first batter I’d face, throw behind Choo’s back, and then let it go. Unless, the umps decide to issue warnings before the game, which seems likely. The Indians don’t want to be a team known for being soft when it comes to these matters, and let things like that go, which I think we will see tonight. As for Hamilton, he went a bit too far with the hitting Chapman, but he let his emotions get the best of him. Hawk Harrelson would have done, and said the same thing. They are both passionate about their respective teams.

  6. bengalsucker - May 28, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    you honestly think he threw at swisher on purpose? in that situation how does It make sense to hit him and put him on base? they’ve never had any personal issues before either. saying its “likely” that was intentional is as stupid as saying that Tom Hamilton said. and Hamilton should have the commish office calling him for a little chat too. way out of line.

  7. eightyraw - May 28, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    Today, Tom Hamilton offered this strange apology for his outburst: “I don’t want to be the story here. What’s said is said.”

  8. gbpxlvi - May 28, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    What was so wrong with what he said?

  9. junglerat524 - May 28, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    If you actually saw what happened then you’d understand how it played out. There is no way the 1st pitch was even intentional. The ball was 10 feet over the catcher. Swisher stood there and stared Chapman down for whatever reason so Chapman was probably like ok, you want close you little bitch? The Indians are acting like kids. If Chapman wanted to hit him, he would have.

    • Kevin Gillman - May 28, 2013 at 6:24 PM

      How would you feel if a pitcher threw right at Joey Votto’s head? I’d get a feeling you’d be a little ticked too. Regardless, the umpire should have threw a warning at both teams, because the game was just 4-2. Indians could have easily scored 2 runs to tie the game, they beat Chapman’s ass last season.

      • junglerat524 - May 28, 2013 at 6:30 PM

        You just explained to yourself the reason Chapman wasn’t trying to hit him. 4-2 game. Again, if Chapman wanted to hit him, he would have. He dusted him. That’s baseball,

      • Kevin Gillman - May 28, 2013 at 6:49 PM

        It’s not Baseball to throw at a guy’s head with a 100 MPH Baseball. Then have the look to say “Bring it on” like he did with Swisher. By the way, the very next pitch was picture perfect, so don’t tell me that was “wildness” or “Just Baseball”. Baseball is throwing a pitch, and nailing a guy’s ribs, or back, but not at the head.

      • junglerat524 - May 28, 2013 at 6:59 PM

        Again. He wasn’t trying to hit him. Had he I would have been upset as well. Much ado about nothing.

      • Kevin Gillman - May 28, 2013 at 7:07 PM

        But you have to show something, do you not? Or else it would make other teams think Indians are soft. Even if it’s behind a back, do that and we can all move on.

      • junglerat524 - May 28, 2013 at 7:35 PM

        Francona is smarter than that. I could see retaliation if he had hit him but not for that.

    • billybawl - May 28, 2013 at 6:44 PM

      I don’t think Chapman could have come closer to the center of Swisher’s head if he tried. Even a jerk doesn’t deserve to be killed.

  10. ih1357 - May 28, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    Hammy is the man. The 2nd pitch was clearly thrown right at Swish’s head. I’m surprised he didn’t go at Chapman

  11. contraryguy - May 28, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    Hamilton is a noisy counterweight to the cardboard cutout guys who do the Tribe TV work. As a Reds fan have to say it was over the top, but when its Chappy throwing, ya gotta feel a little protective of your team’s batter.

  12. barkleyblows - May 28, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    Good for Hamilton! He’s dead on, on this one. Bought time an announcer doesn’t pussy foot around!

  13. kac360 - May 28, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    Hamilton went totally off on Josh Beckett a few years back, believed punk was the word he used then. Great announcer and love the passion. But what about when Albert Belle and Milton Bradley were on the team and Manny Ramirez was showboating? Lot of opposing announcers had things to say about that..

  14. cincyorangenblack - May 28, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    LOVE everyone defending that white trash announcer. The article failed to include the little sound bite where Hamilton made a semi-derogatory comment about Chapman/Cuba. The actual pitch(es) are/were a non-story, the story here is this trashbag of an announcer flying off the handle. He wants to speak of bush-league???? Bush league is proposing that he’d love to see a comebacker bounce of Chapman’s temple.

    Hope that clown gets fined. Let the players sort it out on the field amongst themselves.

  15. steelers88 - May 28, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    Tom Hamilton GROW UP! When Champman threw at Muccutchen’s head last year no Pirates announcer wished I’ll will on Chapman. It’s just a GAME!

  16. yanks33 - May 28, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    Hamilton is a loser and a homer deluxe

  17. hbdbrowns33 - May 28, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    I’m guessing the majority of you who are saying negative comments about Hamilton didn’t see what happened. So here is the video you judge for yourself. To me, the first one could have been a mistake but there is no doubt the second one was intentional.

    • junglerat524 - May 28, 2013 at 9:15 PM

      I don’t think anyone is saying it wasn’t intentional. It was. Swisher showed him up on the wild pitch so he gave him something to complain about. For the 100th time, if he wanted to hit him, he would have. You saw his next pitch was straight down the middle right? Mind games. The best part of baseball. He didn’t hit him & to Swishers credit he hung in there and almost had the last laugh.

      • hbdbrowns33 - May 28, 2013 at 9:40 PM

        its the fact that he throws the ball over 100 MPH and it was inches from Swisher’s head. A little bit more and he could have died. If you’re going to throw inside you throw it lower. Throwing at someones head is bush league and if you don’t think it’s a big deal then your’re naive.

      • junglerat524 - May 28, 2013 at 10:16 PM

        You’re not understanding. He put the ball exactly where he wanted just like the next pitch. There’s a reason he’s the best closer in baseball. He throws 105, is as wild as my first ex wife and still brings it home. He’s not afraid.

      • hbdbrowns33 - May 28, 2013 at 10:44 PM

        either he’s wild and doesn’t know where its going or he has great control and can put it wherever he wants, which is it?

      • junglerat524 - May 28, 2013 at 10:54 PM

        Look at his stats. Thanks.

      • hbdbrowns33 - May 28, 2013 at 11:36 PM

        Look at your own statement where you claim he put it right where he wants it and that he is wild. If he put it right where he wanted it he’s a dirtbag for coming dangerously close to hitting Swisher in the head.

      • junglerat524 - May 28, 2013 at 11:50 PM

        or…..wait for it……..wait……..he’s a hell of a pitcher. So far I’m leaning that way. You know you’d love to have him.

      • junglerat524 - May 29, 2013 at 12:05 AM

        Think Ricky Vaughn

  18. takemytalentstosoutheuclid - May 28, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    Yes, Hamilton is a homer. That’s what you want your HOME announcer to be. I have no problem with what he said, because I was thinking the same damn thing myself. As to whether this was intentional or not, let’s be real. Chapman has a 2.63 ERA and 41 K’s in 24 innings. Control is clearly not an issue, which ultimately leads to the conclusion that he’s just another punk that never has to get in that batter’s box himself. If he wanted to send a message to Swisher for staring him down after the first pitch, he should have hit him in the leg or the back. You aim for the head, especially with that kind of velocity, and you could potentially kill or end a career. Total bush, and typical of Dusty Baker led squad. Oh and Steeler’s88, that’s because the Pirates announcers were probably completely drunk by the 9th inning, ala Harry Doyle, due to the fact that, you know, there’s like 6 people that listen to Pirate’s games.

    • junglerat524 - May 28, 2013 at 9:28 PM

      Everyone loves their hometown homers. No doubt. Why Hamilton was wrong was mostly for the Cuban statement which somehow hasn’t hit yet but for thru fact that he didn’t even hit him when he could have. Even you agree from what you posted that if Chapman wanted to hit him he should aim for the butt, leg or back. I agree 100%. But he didn’t want to hit him. He just wanted to send a message. It worked.

      FYI, its looking like Chapman might be throwing again tonight.

      • takemytalentstosoutheuclid - May 28, 2013 at 9:31 PM

        I didn’t hear the Cuban statement, so will reserve judgement on that, but it doesn’t sound like Tom Hamilton. My point on Chapman is, if you want to send a message that you don’t like the staring, aim lower. By throwing near his head, whether he hit him or not, sends the wrong message, and will get one of your own players drilled.

      • junglerat524 - May 28, 2013 at 10:37 PM

        Agreed. But if you are a closer & you can pinpoint location wouldn’t you intimidate after something like that? When did baseball become the WNBA?

    • junglerat524 - May 28, 2013 at 10:41 PM

      Wrong about Chapman coming in tonight. I thought the Indians were going to make a game of it.

      Next time, In Cleveland………

  19. Bruce Gerencser - May 28, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    Evidently you haven’t watched Chapman pitch. Like other commenters have said, Chapman is wild. He was not throwing on purpose at Swisher. That said, I have no doubt Swisher will think twice about digging in the next time he faces Chapman.

    The pitcher has just as much right to the inside part of the plate as the hitter. If the hitter doesn’t like inside pitches he is free to move.

    • junglerat524 - May 28, 2013 at 10:42 PM

      Chapman has hit the screen at least 5 times already this year. It happens. Don’t cry about it.

    • junglerat524 - May 28, 2013 at 11:08 PM

      Old School. Love it.

  20. trollingforjustice - May 29, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    When these two teams play next the home plate ump should issue a warning before the first pitch is thrown..then start ejecting after that

  21. cggarb - May 29, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    The tough guy crap in baseball needs to go. And it certainly doesn’t need middle aged khaki-wearers egging it on from the press level.

  22. callmecynical - May 29, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    talk about karma, Mcallister took one off the posterior from a Red’s batter.

    How did that taste Tom Hamilton?

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