The spirit of Hawk Harrelson, legendary White Sox homer, is alive and well in the AL Central, and it’s being carried on by the veteran play-by-play man for the Minnesota Twins, Dick Bremer. In a rough series for his team in Cleveland, a pair of walk-off home runs less than 24 hours apart left Bremer nearly speechless and palpably frustrated in the broadcast booth, leaving viewers to take in the ambient sounds of both an elated ballpark and some barely concealed bitterness.
The first walk-off, on Wednesday night, came off the bat of Josh Naylor, who capped a four-run 10th inning with a shot off the end of his bat that just cleared the left field corner wall.
“Fly ball deep left field,” Bremer narrated. “Gordon looks up. Gone.” Eighteen seconds of silence passed before he added, “Another bullpen meltdown for the Twins, another one-run Cleveland win over the Twins.”‘
It got even worse on Thursday afternoon, however. The Twins spent most of the day leading 3-1, but in the eighth, a loss of command by Tyler Thornburg allowed Cleveland to small-ball their way into a tie. And in the ninth, after Thornburg was for some reason allowed to continue pitching, a two-out, full-count blast into center by Andres Gimenez took even more words out of Bremer’s mouth.
The entirety of Bremer’s call before 16 empty seconds: “High fly, right-center field and deep. I think we’ve had enough of the Cleveland Guardians.”
Though these calls are mostly just something to laugh or roll your eyes at, they’re also a symptom of a budding rivalry between a couple of re-emergent midwestern teams. The Twins, who haven’t won a playoff game since 2004, lead the division with a 43-36 record. But after this series, the Guardians, who haven’t advanced in the playoffs since losing the 2016 World Series, only trail them by one game. Contrary to Bremer’s wishes, they still have eight games left against each other, though lucky for him they don’t come again until September.