The Chicago White Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 7-5 in a wild 16-inning affair on Wednesday. The game would make history for a couple of reasons, but ultimately it might be remembered most for Hawk Harrelson's call (or lack thereof) on Kyle Seager's 14th-inning grand slam.
With the White Sox leading 5-1 in the bottom of the 14th, the Mariners' third baseman takes Chicago closer Addison Reed deep to tie the game at 5-5. The WGN play-by-play voice/unabashed homer, who just two weeks ago lost his composure on a blown call in extra innings, is his usual subjective self as he realizes what's unfolding.
Harrelson is rendered speechless for a full forty seconds as he watches Seager's blast land in the seats. Is he too shocked to describe the moment? Is there something medically wrong? Maybe he's taking his most recent blow-up to heart and deciding to show some restraint? Whatever the reason, it's a par for the course for Harrelson and his long track record of homerism in the booth. Harrelson has given the silent treatment before, and this one clocks in at 40 seconds of dead air.
After all of that, the White Sox actually won the game, thanks to a couple of runs in the top of the 16th. Hawk was a little more excited for that call. Just another day at the office for Harrelson and his broadcast partner, Steve Stone, who GQ once infamously dubbed the worst broadcast tandem in baseball.
The way Ken "Hawk" Harrelson acted last night when the White Sox won the game in the 16th thoroughly nauseated me. I very rarely watch a White Sox game on WGN because of his juvenile acting.
I don't get why people excoriate Harrelson so viciously. All major league teams have their own announcers who are sympathetic to their teams. Why does Hawk get singled out? I've heard Marty Brennamen make some pretty biased comments for Reds games, and that doesn't bother me. In a sense, these regional broadcast teams are knowledgeable fans with microphones. I'm really curious to hear someone explain, I just shrug and accept it as part of baseball.
I've got no skin in the game vis a vis Hawk Harrelson since I am a die-hard Cubs fan. But his "homerism" doesn't bother me in the least and I think criticism of homerism in general is a blow-hardy sentiment. Baseball is part of the toy store of life. It's all entertainment, people. In this particular instance, silence is brilliant. Why say anything? The Sox fan at home is going ballistic. They wouldn't be hearing what Hawk says anyway. I like Hawk. He played the game. He knows baseball. He tells it like he sees it. And he gets hot once in a while. So what? I also believe Steve Stone is a great, great analyst. The anti-Hawk. He knows how to handle things like this. Hell, how many years did he work with Harry Caray? And he gets paid handsomely for it. So it's hard to feel sorry for him.
You gotta feel for Steve Stone. He has to deal with the worst announcer in sports in Hawk (I think AA posted something a few months ago about how Stone almost quit because he couldn't deal with his crap as he left the booth after the Sox lost in the ninth leaving Stone to handle the postgame). But he also had to be Harry Carey's handler at the end of his life/career when he was a mumbling, gurgling fool (great announcer until the last few years--sorry). The radio show I used to listen to would play a clip from a Cubs game where Carey spent around 30 seconds of airtime stumbling over Hideki Irabu's name. Stone steps in to save Carey by saying, "Yes, Harry, there is a lot of controversy on how to pronounce his name!" Poor Steve Stone deserves better!
On the other hand, during a Saturday night Sox-Angels game several years ago when the Sox blew a ninth-inning lead, I think the Hawkless gap was a few minutes. I feel for Steve Stone, because I've always liked his work. His career is being dragged down by having to work with Harrelson.
that is nothing... I think he went 60 seconds in 2010 after Jim Thome beat the Sox on a walk off homer in early august... ALSO, as a White Sox fan I don't want to hear some talking head babbling after catastrophe strikes... Let the moment speak for itself... its TV not radio. best announcer in sports... behind Vin Scully anyways.
@katennant IMO it's because announcers are supposed to talk like announcers, not like fans, when they're in the booth. Their job is not to be a fanboy for the team, it's to narrate and explain the game.
Many announcers are fans of the team they cover, and that's fine. Most have a bit of mild homerism - that's fine too (e.g. their voice will raise more when "their guy" hits a home run compared to when the opposing team hits a home run). But nothing like this guy. Every time I hear a clip from Harrelson, he's not being an announcer; he's acting like a fan, and IMO not contributing anything useful.
In this particular play, the teams had played 13 scoreless innings. The visiting team scores 5 runs in the top of the 14th. And yet somehow, the home team mounts a comeback. With the bases loaded, down by four runs, two outs, and two strikes on the batter, he hits a grand slam to tie the game (apparently the first game-tying extra-inning grand slam in history). And Harrelson, other than calling it "deep to right center field," says NOTHING else about it. Doesn't even say that it was a home run or grand slam or anything. That's pathetic for someone who is supposed to be an announcer ... the guy who, in theory, "announces" plays for a game.
As far as why he's singled out ... the WSJ did a study and found that not only was he the biggest homer, but he was more (according to the metrics they used) of a homer than everyone else in MLB - COMBINED.
@AaronCannon or you could just hit the play button rather than swearing twice.
Well, when you can cite studies to back up your opinion... I see your point, and I guess there is a certain decorum and professionalism that should go hand in hand with being a sports broadcaster, even one employed by a specific team. And yes, he didnt actually do his job as "announcer." I don't feel as strongly as others about this, but I definitely understand your reasoning better. Thanks for explaining!