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White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson spent an entire game complaining about umpire Joe West

Aug 23, 2010, 10:15 AM EDT

White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson spent the bulk of yesterday afternoon’s game complaining about home plate umpire Joe West, whom he feels holds a longtime grudge against the team that led to the Royals getting favorable calls.

Harrelson talked about the umpiring for literally innings at a time and his broadcast partner Frank Thomas, who was subbing for a vacationing Steve Stone, frequently chimed in to agree.

After every close pitch that was called a ball for a White Sox pitcher or a strike for a Royals pitcher, Harrelson launched into another monologue about the umpires conspiring against the White Sox. He frequently used words like “disgusting” and “disgraceful” to describe the situation, and called it a “travesty” that West was even allowed to work White Sox games after his incident with Mark Buehrle earlier this season.

At one point Thomas noted that “back when I was playing” the catcher and pitcher would intentionally get “crossed up” on a pitch and let it hit the umpire, which seemed to be mostly a joke because a) Thomas laughed, b) “back when I was playing” was all of two years ago, and c) that rarely, if ever, actually happens. But then Harrelson liked the sound of Thomas’ “idea” and suggested the White Sox actually do it to West.


Finally, in the 10th inning Jason Kendall broke a 2-2 tie with a walk-off single, winning the game and the series for the Royals and dropping the White Sox to 2-4 on their road trip, at which point the following exchange took place:

Harrelson: This is absolutely … [five-second pause] … this is absolutely not right.

Thomas: This really sucks.

As a Twins fan I quite enjoyed the whole broadcast, but I can’t imagine many other people liking three straight hours of complaining about umpires and I can’t imagine MLB liking announcers publicly calling for teams to intentionally injure umpires.

  1. OperaReed - Aug 23, 2010 at 3:55 PM

    As a person living in a “non-major league city” I often find myself flipping channels to find ANY baseball game to watch. I started tuning into the Cubs on WGN, but found myself unable to enjoy a Sox game without turning off the sound. Hawk has to be the most partisan and obnoxious broadcaster in all of professional sports. I understand pulling for the Sox, but he shouldn’t continually rip on the other team or the officiating. WGN needs to start planning Hawk’s retirement party already!

  2. mightymike1250 - Aug 23, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    I would expect no less from Harrelson. He and Stone are the two biggest homers in all of broadcasting — bar none!

  3. walk - Aug 23, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    I usually watch my teams games on gameday as i watch on tv. It is really obvious when you see an umpire taking advantage of the system. They do get graded each game but they have a bit of leeway they can take advantage of. I have watched umpires give calls a few inches outside consistently for one pitcher and the other not get the call when ball would ride the black of the plate. With the leeway they are given both calls could be considered correct. I have no issue if it is called the same both ways but when one gets a call and the other does not then it is bothersome. Remember the strike zone is a three dimensional box and the k zone thing they show is a 2d representation of it on tv. It does help me at home but the best view i have found so far is mlb gameday. Watch a few games throughout the season and remember the umpires and pitchers. I guarantee you that you will soon have a good idea if your team is going to win or not before the game even begins.

  4. aztwins - Aug 23, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    I am a die-hard Twins fan and want the White Sox to lose every game they play. With that, I love Hawk Harrelson, I always have. He calls them as he sees them. Sure he’s a homer and damn good one at that, but even in the heat of pennant races, he gives props to the other team as they deserve. What Joe West is doing to the White Sox is completely ruining the integrity of the game. I for one am in complete agreement with Hawk on this. Joe West needs to go, along with that other arsehat Phil Cuzzy!!! If the Twins win this division, I want it to be fair, not because some creep has an agenda.

  5. ThinMan - Aug 23, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    I can’t believe Joe West is allowed to umpire MLB games, or that Hawk is allowed to announce them.

  6. El Bravo - Aug 23, 2010 at 5:23 PM

    not true: players have threatened to smoke batters in the head and got away with it (see pedro martinez) BUT that doesn’t make it right. There should be consquences for anyone making a threat of violence like that in any aspect of the game, b/c well, it’s a farcking game!

  7. El Bravo - Aug 23, 2010 at 5:31 PM

    Thank you for pointing out that Mariotti was arrested. I totally missed that gem of a story (I’m well versed in his ways as a Chi-town resident too). I propose this: 1 v 1 v 1 cage match featuring Mariotti wielding a microphone, Hawk with a can ‘o’ corn, and West using “Blue Cowboy” and “Diamon Dreams” as projectile weapons. THREE MAN ENTER, ONE (or no?) MAN LEAVE!!!!!!!!!!!
    P.S. Check out Cowboy Joe West’s page if you dare: …or just read this gem from the front page: “Joe’s peers in baseball regard him as one of the finest umpires in Major League Baseball, and now his singing and songwriting, are making him a successful artist, songwriter, and entertainer in the Country Music Industry. Joe West has become a star in two fields of entertainment, Country Music and Major League Baseball”

  8. El Bravo - Aug 23, 2010 at 5:46 PM

    If I knew fuckhead would make it on to this comments section I totally would have used it! I concur.

  9. ALH - Aug 23, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    Is Harrelson the White Sox announcer who bellows “…you can put it on the board, yeah!” every time a Sox player hits a home run?
    Whoever it is, that’s about the lamest, most annoying utterance I’ve ever heard issue from the mouth of an announcer in any sport. With his insufferable schtick the perpetrator obviously thinks the whole broadcast’s about HIM, and not the action on the field.
    The Commissioner’s office ought to impose a ban on such moronic practices.

  10. JimmyY - Aug 23, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    Harrelson is a disgrace because he’s such a homer and where’ it on his sleeve. One of the most unprofessional in the business. Get rid of him, now.

  11. Pisano - Aug 23, 2010 at 6:39 PM

    Hawk is such a homer ( biased to the team he works for ) it isn’t funny , so anything that goes against the Sox is open season on the one who called it . The only homer worst than Hawk was Rex Hudler of the Angels , and part of that was because the Angels kept him for awhile after he got popped for possession of pot at an airport . He was always a horrible homer , but after the pot thinh he got even worse , I think he felt he owed it to them .

  12. Art the Chart - Aug 23, 2010 at 7:01 PM

    Gleeman is only giving you part of the story here. He needed to mention that the two teams briefly (and unnecessarily) started a game Friday night that ended up rained out and forced a doubleheader the next evening. The brilliance of Joe West, the crew chief, forced the teams to start the game even though the forecasts said and radar showed that the storm was only minutes away from starting. The White Sox wasted a starting pitcher (Edwin Jackson), and that was the main reason for Hawk’s annoyance–more than just the usual “Joe West sucks attitude.”

  13. Scott in Bwk - Aug 23, 2010 at 7:19 PM

    Is that Woody Harrelson or Hawk Harrelson? It was almost a comedy routine from the old Cheers bartender.
    Some umpires do have an agenda when they call games. It really depends on how they are treated by the teams, and if they feel slighted, that grudge can last for a long time.

  14. Lukacs - Aug 23, 2010 at 7:19 PM

    Sox broadcasts have been straight downhill since the golden age of Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall.

  15. typelouder - Aug 23, 2010 at 7:26 PM

    Joe West is reminiscent of a cop who abuses their power. He has “the badge” so you can’t win. West loves to antagonize the players knowing he’s not going to change his call. He baits them into doing something that lets him throw them out of the game. He’s a disgrace to umpires. Hawk is a disgrace to broadcasting. I understand the “homer” type announcer and can live with that to some extent. Be bummed when you lose, excited when you win. Ron Santo is just as much of a “homer” for the Cubs but the difference between the two is Santo is mad he lost while Harrelson is jealous you won. If the opponent gets a bloop hit, “it’s a duck snort on an excuse me swing for a broken bat single.” If a Sox player does the same thing, “that’s a good piece of hitting as he fought that one off his fists and muscled it out there.” Can’t stand listening to him call a game. He’s Crap with a capital C.

  16. chase_me - Aug 23, 2010 at 7:55 PM

    Love Hawk. One of the most entertaining announcers in the game. I try to watch a few minutes of the Sox broadcasts whenever they appear on WGN. “Stretch! Stretch!!! Doggone it, he just missed it…”

  17. steves81 - Aug 23, 2010 at 9:41 PM

    What’s disgraceful is that Harrelson even has a job. He is the biggest homer broadcaster in all of baseball, bar none. He frequently uses the word “we” when referring to things the White Sox have done in a game (“we” have scored 5 runs, “we” have 7 hits) as if he is a part of the team and he has a jock on and is out there on the baseball diamond. His home run call is an absolute joke as well. I have no problem with a broadcaster taking a little bit of pride in the team they call games for but Harrelson takes it to a level none of the broadcasters for the other 29 teams even comes close to.
    White Sox broadcasts are a total joke and will continue to be as long as Harrelson is doing play-by-play.

  18. FrankZappa - Aug 23, 2010 at 10:32 PM

    to hell with the ball, Joe West should be hit with the damned bat…on deck, Frank Thomas…

  19. Kevin S. - Aug 23, 2010 at 10:53 PM

    This is what’s wrong with Joe West – he wants to be a star, he wants to be noticed. The less umpires are noticed, the better.

  20. Earthboundmisfit - Aug 24, 2010 at 1:11 AM

    Harrelson is probably the worst broadcaster in the business. All team baseball broadcasters are homers. That’s a given. But Harrelsontakes it to extremes. His proud use of words like “we”, “us” and “our” are absurd. Harrelson, you are NOT part of the team. You didn’t take that AB or throw that pitch. You aren’t on the roster. You aren’t a player, manager, coach or trainer. Seriously, get yourself a clue, you sound like an idiot.

  21. maninblack59 - Sep 18, 2010 at 6:25 AM

    i have listen to or watched MLB for over 40 yrs and i have never heard a man complain so much about the umps and players as this man, i can’t stand to listen to him, his comments about the umps and players, well it’s just bad, there is bad calls in all ballgames but there is a game being played and this man just sits on one subject, i won’t listen to him and haven’t in yrs

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