Indians broadcaster tears up watching his son's first MLB at-bat:
By Mike Oz
Take his job out of it — just think of Tom Hamilton as a regular ol' dad watching his son, Nick, get his first MLB-level at-bat, and the moment is pretty special.
But consider Tom Hamilton's job, that he's "the voice of the Tribe" and will be calling Cleveland Indians games on the radio for his 25th year in 2014, and what happened Monday is an amazingly touching moment.
A moment that we all get to see too.
Nick Hamilton, an Indians prospect who was drafted in 2012 out of Kent State, got his first at-bat Monday at the major-league level, with proud papa Tom, watching from above. As you can imagine, the moment overwhelmed him and he teared up.
The younger Hamilton was just an extra player for Monday's game against the Cincinnati Reds, thrust into the DH role after some confusion about whether this particular spring game would use one. The Indians had already given Nick Swisher the day off, so Hamilton got the nod, even though he hadn't played a day past Single-A yet in his pro baseball career.
Tom Hamilton had already taken the day off from broadcasting, knowing that his son had a chance to play. He wanted to watch the game as a dad, not a play-by-play guy. So he sat in a booth above the field. He didn't know Nick would be in the starting lineup. Terry Francona didn't make that call until 15 minutes before first pitch, knowing Nick was available to play and Dad had a prime view.
After the game, Francona Jordan Bastian:
"We were like, you know what? Hammy's sitting up in the booth," Francona said. "I think there's always maybe a little time in Spring Training to have a nice, special moment. I'm sure both of them thought it was really cool. I know our players got a kick out of it. We just thought it would be a nice touch to the day."
Nick Hamilton, 24, figures the totality of the moment hasn't hit him yet.
"I'm just grateful for the opportunity to be able to get out there and get that first taste of playing in the big leagues. It was just a lot of fun and something I can learn from and build on from here. Eventually, looking back, I'm sure this is definitely something that I'm going to cherish."
Nick went 0-for-4 Monday, grounding out to second base in that first at-bat. But, look at that beaming face. Tom Hamilton was proud of his son just the same.