The Liberty Ford Grand Slam Inning has only been around

#1 von panxing18 , 06.05.2019 04:56

for five years , but it’s already carved out its own spot in the Indians mythos"WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections NewsAnalysis & EditorialsCleveland Indians prospects & minor leaguesGame RecapsTransactionsAnalysis & EditorialsThe unattainable bliss of the Liberty Ford Grand Slam InningNew,41commentsThe Liberty Ford Grand Slam Inning has only been around for five years, but it’s already carved out its own spot in the Indians mythosEDTShareTweetShareShareThe unattainable bliss of the Liberty Ford Grand Slam InningKen Blaze-USA TODAY SportsCarved into the Mount Rushmore of Baseball Occurrences are the faces of four sacred institutions: The perfect gameThe cycleThe no-hitterThe Liberty Ford Grand Slam InningThere are fewer things baseball fans love more than a predetermined set of circumstances happening over the course of a season. And, while the fabled perfect game has happened in 0.01% of major league starts and the cycle only occurs roughly 2.5 times every 162 games, only one of these marks of human achievement rewards a random winner with a brand new Ford vehicle. Hint: It’s not the cycle. The Liberty Ford Grand Slam inning is a giveaway created by Ohio-based Liberty Ford auto dealership that, since it’s inception in 2014, has given a randomly chosen fan the chance to win a new car if the Indians hit a grand slam in the third inning. Why a grand slam? Why the third inning? I don’t know! But the most obvious solution is that limiting the giveaway to one inning, and one rare baseball event, means a locally-owned chain of car dealerships won’t be giving away two-year leases on brand new vehicles every other night. It’s just smart business. But it’s still not impossible to win, either.Grand slam innings aren’t anything new. The San Francisco Giants’ radio affiliate, KNBR, has their own iteration of it where a random fan can win a large pizza. But that sucks — you can’t even drive around like a truck, no matter how hard you try. Nothing compares to excitement of the Indians’ Grand Slam inning, particularly because Tom Hamilton always hypes it up, and it’s hard not to be hyped about anything that Tom Hamilton is hyped about. It’s grown into a sort-of cult following on Indians Twitter to watch with baited breath, and shout in all caps, when the grand slam inning is on. When the Indians were bad early in what we’ll call the Grand Slam Inning era, it was a thing to root for while the Indians weren’t winning games. Now that the team is probably going to win the American League Central, it’s a thing to root for when 162 games of the regular season don’t really matter. Most recently, Ohio resident Marie-Elizabeth Dohar found out that she was on the block to win Saturday if Carlos Santana could come through with a grand slam over the struggling Blue Jays rotation. Santana struck out, Hanley Ramirez walked, Jake Bauers singled to unload the bases, and with that it was over. It’s rare that we actually get to know who was about to win with a Grand Slam Inning on the line, or at the very least, that person is rarely ever Very Online and noticeable to the public. Luckily, Marie-Elizabeth Dohar is on Twitter and our own Tyler Griffith noticed her excitement in preparation for that night’s recap. So I asked her what it was like knowing she was one big hit away from winning a brand new car. It’s as silly and weird as you would expect. But how rare, exactly, is the Liberty Ford Grand Slam Inning? Don’t worry Brandon Kintzler Jersey , I ran the numbers.Dating back to Opening Day 2014, when the promotion started, batters league-wide have come up to the plate with the bases loaded in the third inning 2128 times. Only 64 of those have resulted in a grand slam, for a 3.01 percent Ford Winning Rate (referred henceforth as, naturally, FWR). The Mariners lead all of baseball in FWR since 2014 with 9.21 percent of their third-inning bases-loaded scenarios resulting in home runs, or seven in 79 plate appearances. The Pirates, Brewers, White Sox, Cubs, and Braves have all never had a grand slam in the third inning. You may have noticed a key name missing from that last group, which brings me to a startling revelation I had in the course of researching for this post: SOMEONE HAS ACTUALLY WON BEFORE AND NO ONE SEEMED TO NOTICE. That’s right, the Indians have exactly one third-inning grand slam to their name since the giveaway started. Sixty-four grown men have come to the plate with a chance to send a fan home with a two-year lease on a brand new vehicle, and only one succeeded. Look, I even made a chart. ScienceThat lone pillar in a sea of dates is none other than Carlos Santana on one fateful night of September 18, 2015, when the middling 72-73 Indians were taking on the equally middling 69-76 White Sox. The Indians technically had a shot at the playoffs, three games back from the second Wild Card spot with only 17 games left to play. But LeBron James was preparing for his second season in his return to Cleveland fresh off an appearance in the Finals and Johnny Manziel was on the cusp of his first start with the Browns. There wasn’t much attention being paid to the Indians, even with their budding star at shortstop and signs of a dominant rotation lurking beneath a struggling, aging offense. This was during that period of time you try to block out of memory, when the Royals were in the midst of back-to-back American League Pennants, culminating in a World Series win. You know, the dark times. In the bottom half of the third inning, Santana came up to the plate with a trio of Indians legends on base: Mike Aviles, Michael Brantley, and Ryan Raburn in an odd-numbered year. Santana took a two-seamer from Chris Sale low in the zone and deposited it in the left field bleachers. The Indians’ official Twitter account was completely mum on the dinger and never so much as mentioned it. But they did rightfully praise rookie Francisco Lindor for his hit earlier in the game.As for the rest of Twitter, there was... nothing. Mostly because, following the Twitter breadcrumbs Tanner Roark Jersey , it appeared that Liberty Ford had abruptly cancelled the giveaway a month earlier. Without Tom Hamilton reminding everyone of the importance of that bases loaded situation, only a handful of Indians Twitter folks seemed to notice that it even happened: But then, a month later without much ceremony, Cleveland 19 News ran a report that Ohio resident Tom Paoloni did indeed win a two-year lease on a Ford F-150 thanks to the bat of Carlos Santana. Liberty Ford did share it on Twitter, but their 300 followers didn’t do a great job of spreading the message. As of this writing, it’s been nearly four years since Mr. Paoloni won that two-year lease. So the dream of winning the Liberty Ford Grand Slam Inning has already come and gone for one fortunate soul. Just like with Lee Richmond’s 1880 perfect game, the seal has been broken; it can happen again. Someday. The Browns and Cavs sold out for stability, while the Indians found it organically."It’s been a rough day for Cleveland sports. While the Indians sat frustrated at home watching the Red Sox claim a trophy that felt like it could have been theirs, the Cavaliers and Browns both seem to be spiraling the drain with Ty Lue and Hue Jackson both being let go over the span of 24 hours. Why both franchises are struggling makes a lot of sense — the Cavaliers the best player ever to touch a basketball in LeBron James, and the Browns are, as always, the Browns. The Browns did receive a sudden jolt of energy in Baker Mayfield taking the NFL by storm, but the rest of the team’s total incompetence has cost them a bit of the spotlight, and a whole lot of enthusiasm from the national media. Meanwhile, the Cavs are an abysmal 0-6 — the only winless team in the budding NBA season. Winning it all in 2016 did a lot to alleviate Cleveland as the sports world’s punching bag, but without the Indians holding out as a competent organization, we’d be right back to square one. You could make the argument that the Browns have improved in firing Jackson, but the problems always run deeper than the head coach, and that franchise has as many problems as it has ever had, even with Baker Mayfield. And with the Cavs halfheartedly “going for it” this year and not committing to a full rebuild, you can expect a rough couple years as they too try to rebound from the Second Era of LeBron. That leaves the Indians — who have three straight American League Central Division titles, arguably the best starting rotation in baseball, the best shortstop in baseball — as the last great team standing in Cleveland. I don’t mean to beat a dead horse as I’ve said this multiple times in the past, but it’s once again extremely clear: The Indians are the best-run team in Cleveland. And much like the late-90s where the Browns didn’t exist and the Cavs were consistently getting bounced in the first round of the playoffs, the Indians are keeping the reputation of Cleveland sports above water. Through Chris Antonetti, Mike Chernoff, and Terry Francona, the Tribe have found the kind of stability that major sports franchises lose sleep trying to acquire. Where the Cavs sold their soul to build everything about LeBron James and take a few shots at a championship Khris Davis Jersey , they never really had a chance without him. In a similar sense, the Browns held on to Hue Jackson for a year and a half longer than they should have just for stability’s sake. Not because he’s a great leader like Terry Francona, but because they didn’t want to be seen cycling through coaches yet again, even after a 1-15 season followed by a somehow worse 0-16 campaign. At least from the outside looking it, it was a bald faced attempt at looking like a well-run organization, when in fact everything was a disastrous as it has always been. Only the Indians have managed real stability — from the top of the organization down — over the past several seasons. Even before this current run of success, it’s not hard to see the tangible improvements the front office was making to the farm system and the major-league talent pool. Under Francona, since he became the manager prior to the 2013 season, the Indians have not had a single losing season, and they’ve gone to the playoffs in four of his six seasons at the helm, with most of those teams being carried by homegrown players (Lindor, Jose Ramirez, Jason Kipnis) or those acquired for way under their market value as prospects (Yan Gomes, Michael Brantley, Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Carlos Santana). The same restraint the front office showed in not pulling the trigger for Bryce Harper when the asking price was Shane Bieber — and, let’s not kid ourselves here, probably more — is the kind of thinking that has them as a winning team for so long. It’s unfortunate, and frustrating, that they are now stuck in the “get over the hump” holding pattern that so many teams find themselves in at their peak, but it’s the reason they’ll be the only good team in Cleveland for several years going forward. The Browns can get there with Baker and a whole hell of a lot of smart front office decisions, but there is plenty of time for the Indians to show themselves to Cleveland and the world in 2019, 2020, and beyond. If only everyone will listen. This isn’t some call to rally around Francona or the front office, and only have happy thoughts about the Indians. Lord knows I was annoyed this season and it became hard to watch them steamroll a bad division knowing only the playoffs matter — only to have them blow it emphatically. Just consider this your annual reminder to hug your competent Indians organization closely.

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