Hard as it is to believe, Game No. 162 has arrived. That means that, once the final out is made at Comerica Park tonight, the Cleveland Indians’ 2011 season will come to an end.
There isn’t much at stake in tonight’s game. The Tigers could be playing for home field advantage and an Indians win would bring their season record to .500, but while the latter would be nice and the former could have repercussions for the postseason, neither would have a particularly large impact for Tribe fans.
Moreover, there aren’t too many players on the roster who will be departing this winter. Jim Thome has already taken his curtain call at Progressive Field, and besides Chad Durbin (who, conceivably, could return in 2012) and Kosuke Fukudome the Indians don’t have anyone else filing for free agency after the season.
For many Indians fans, the fact that the game is on is a good enough reason to tune in, let alone the last one of the season. But for those who need more allure, there is ample reason to flip on the radio tonight: it’s the last time you’ll hear Mike Hegan’s voice calling Cleveland games.
Last week, Hegan, 69, announced that he would be retiring from the broadcast booth after the season. He’ll still have some role with the team, but his time as regular analyst on the airwaves will soon be over.
Few outside Cleveland know it, but every Indians fan will tell you that Hegan and Tom Hamilton make one of the best broadcast teams in the country. In addition to simply having great voices, their insight, narrative abilities, and entertaining back-and-forths make listening to a Tribe game one of the highlights of a fan’s day.
Tribe fans: even if you don’t care about the game, even if you’re bored at the end of the season, and even if you’re already waiting for next year, make sure to tune in to the game tonight. Hegan is a class act, a fantastic analyst, and an Indians icon, and even though he’ll still be involved with the organization, his voice will surely be missed.