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Hawk Harrelson goes after another ump but doesn’t get in trouble for it

Aug 27, 2012, 1:30 PM EDT

hawk harrelson

In late May, White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson was called on the carpet by Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and by Bud Selig himself after Harrelson exploded on the air at umpire Mark Wegner, calling one of his calls “absolutely brutal,” “unbelievable” and accusing Wegner of not knowing anything about the game of baseball.

Getting called on the carpet usually implies a promise not to do whatever bad thing you did again. But Harrelson did it again on Saturday, ranting about umpire Lance Barrett in the Mariners-Sox game. Among his choice cuts, via ESPN Chicago:

• “I’ll tell you this is absolutely ridiculous. This is absolutely ridiculous.”

• “Lance Barrett has been absolutely brutal. Brutal.”

• “Lance Barrett has just stunk the joint up is all he’s done. That’s all he’s done.”

• “He’s terrible.”

• “This is one of those games where the film is going back to the American League office to show how bad he is.”

• “Everything that (Mariners pitcher) Blake Beavan has thrown up there that (catcher Miguel) Olivo has caught has been a strike. If he caught it, it was a strike. He’s got two different strike zones. He’s got a two-foot for Beavan, and he’s got a 10-inch for the White Sox. What does that tell you?”

• “This might be as bad as a two innings as I’ve ever seen from a guy behind the plate or 2 1/3 (innings.) So he’s bad, so he throws out our catcher and our manager because he’s brutal.”

If anything I think these comments were worse, at least in volume if not vitriol, than the stuff he said about Wegner. But Hawk is lucky. According to Scott Powers of ESPN Chicago, neither the White Sox nor Major League Baseball are going to do anything about it. Which is fine. I have a bit of a problem with teams or the league going after announcers for the things they say because that’s kind of chilling in my view.

But really, if you’re gonna make a point to act like you’re disciplining someone over something in one case, don’t you sorta need to keep that up in order to maintain credibility? Or did baseball maybe realize that it overstepped its bounds in the first instance?

  1. elmaquino - Aug 27, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at him first.

    Being critical of an unnecessarily archaic officiating system is not a “bad thing”.

    • Brian Donohue - Aug 27, 2012 at 1:57 PM

      No, Hawk was delivering another ad hominem attack. This has nothing to do with being “critical of a system” — it’s a verbal assault on an individual. That is, they might as well give the microphone to some drunken shirtless raging idiot from the bleachers. There is no excuse for Hawk’s incompetence and inanity, and certainly (mis) quoting Jesus doesn’t help.

      • delawarephilliesfan - Aug 27, 2012 at 2:09 PM

        “and certainly (mis) quoting Jesus doesn’t help.”

        May not help, but it can be funny

        http://uzar.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/lev24.jpg

  2. dowhatifeellike - Aug 27, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    I feel like an old man saying this, but what ever happened to neutrality? It’s one thing to play to your audience, another to be a more rabid homer than the drunken frat boys down the third base line.

    I have the mlb.tv package but I always go with the opponent’s broadcast if I want to check in on the game.

    • banksatdixie - Aug 27, 2012 at 1:58 PM

      Couldn’t agree more. I’m not sure anyone announcing is more of a homer than Hawk.

      • chicitybulls - Aug 27, 2012 at 2:38 PM

        @banksatdixie

        You obviously haven’t heard the Rangers broadcast.

      • artisan3m - Aug 27, 2012 at 4:32 PM

        Dixie, I’ve never heard the Rangers (radio or TV) crew berate an umpire nor make light of an opposing player’s miscue. They certainly have had opportunity to rag on another team, manager, or organization (most recently the Red Sox) but they don’t. Its okay to disagree with a call ~ be it a player or a broadcaster. But knowing where the limits are is critical and I think TAG, Buzz, and Eric respect those limits.

    • El Bravo - Aug 27, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      I do the same for the most part, except for LAD games of course. There just isn’t enough Scully out there. It’s like newscasters these days…everyone picks a side, no one stays objective.

      • Kevin Gillman - Aug 27, 2012 at 3:10 PM

        I think we can all agree that Hawk Harreson is no Vin Scully. I am glad he is coming back next season.

  3. El Bravo - Aug 27, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    I think is F’d up b/c he displayed such a gross amount of homerism here…even for him. I’ve heard complaints about umps, but usually it is equal bad calls on both sides. I’d like to see some stats on whether or not this up was truly lop-sided. My feeling is that there’s really no way to tell that much with your naked eye, but then again, I don’t’ have eyes like a Hawk.

    • El Bravo - Aug 27, 2012 at 2:02 PM

      Douchenozzle List Update:

      1. Randy Miller – South Jersey Courier-Post (abuses BBWAA privileges, HOF vote by submitting blank ballots; also invented superhero Saberboy, which is cool)
      2. Luke Scott – perennial all-star douchenozzle. Luke says, “you don’t have to worry about me unless you’re a criminal or communist.”
      3. Ryan Braun – for cheating and also for not cheating, either way we will likely never know the truth, and that is annoying.
      4. Jon Heyman – CBS (for having a documented history of talking up and selling Scott Boras clients to ball clubs)
      5. Nick Swisher – seriously, do I need a reason?
      6. C.J. Wilson – Tweeted Napoli’s cell number as “prank” b/c Napoli said he was looking forward to hitting HRs off of him this season.
      7. Matt Bush – DUI and for ruining his career
      8. Joba Chamberlain – for thinking he is capable of using a trampoline with his fat toady ass
      [Joba’s addition was rescinded given how unlucky the poor bastard was and he was just trying to be a good dad.]
      8. Bobby Jenks – DUI (influence mainly muscle relaxers…), amazing quote “When Deputy Sutphin asked Jenks if he had taken anything else other than the muscle relaxers, he told the officer that he “was going to be honest with you, I was just leaving Babes because I hit a car. I just had to get out of there.”
      9. Delmon Young – Assault; anti-Semitism; generally just a D-to-the-nozz all around.
      10. Pedro Gomez – BBWAA voter with no sense.
      11. Cole Hamels – for beaning Harper for being 19 and talented.
      12. Rob Dibble – Because he shoulda never left this list as the inaugural douchenozzle.
      13. Bud Selig – repeatedly suggests, nay insists, that no one wants more instant replay in baseball.
      14. Hawk Harrelson – homerism reaches new bounds by repeatedly calling out umps for hurting the “good guys” with bad calls.

      • Alex K - Aug 27, 2012 at 2:52 PM

        Bobby V. isn’t on the list yet? He said a coach taking time off to tend to his sick kid was “on vacation”. Total nozzle statement, bro.

        I also want to nominate HBT’s own Matthew Pouliot for suggesting that the parents of a handicapped kid are going to use the settlement money for lavish cars and vacations.

      • umrguy42 - Aug 27, 2012 at 3:09 PM

        Coupla points:

        1. Can you use the strikethrough tag on Joba? (Does that even work here?)

        2. Is there a major difference between a douchenozzle and a chipwich? BC’s not here any more, but I’m wondering, if there isn’t a terribly big one, if, EB, at the end of each year, you name the biggest douchenozzle of the year, who gets presented the annual chipwich award… (or some other type of award). Hell, maybe we can have a poll on it!

      • El Bravo - Aug 27, 2012 at 3:50 PM

        Bobby V….totally thank you. Total nozzle statement, bro. Indeed. Hahahha…

        Pouliot is on the cusp for his provocations in his various post (especially recently). I’m wondering if I continue to post here if I add an HBT blogger to the DN list. This isn’t completely “free” speech on here if you know what I mean, so I could get a raging case of the banhammer…

        Anyhoooo, thanks for the clearly overlooked new addition:

        1. Randy Miller – South Jersey Courier-Post (abuses BBWAA privileges, HOF vote by submitting blank ballots; also invented superhero Saberboy, which is cool)
        2. Luke Scott – perennial all-star douchenozzle. Luke says, “you don’t have to worry about me unless you’re a criminal or communist.”
        3. Ryan Braun – for cheating and also for not cheating, either way we will likely never know the truth, and that is annoying.
        4. Jon Heyman – CBS (for having a documented history of talking up and selling Scott Boras clients to ball clubs)
        5. Nick Swisher – seriously, do I need a reason?
        6. C.J. Wilson – Tweeted Napoli’s cell number as “prank” b/c Napoli said he was looking forward to hitting HRs off of him this season.
        7. Matt Bush – DUI and for ruining his career
        8. Joba Chamberlain – for thinking he is capable of using a trampoline with his fat toady ass
        [Joba’s addition was rescinded given how unlucky the poor bastard was and he was just trying to be a good dad.]
        8. Bobby Jenks – DUI (influence mainly muscle relaxers…), amazing quote “When Deputy Sutphin asked Jenks if he had taken anything else other than the muscle relaxers, he told the officer that he “was going to be honest with you, I was just leaving Babes because I hit a car. I just had to get out of there.”
        9. Delmon Young – Assault; anti-Semitism; generally just a D-to-the-nozz all around.
        10. Pedro Gomez – BBWAA voter with no sense.
        11. Cole Hamels – for beaning Harper for being 19 and talented.
        12. Rob Dibble – Because he shoulda never left this list as the inaugural douchenozzle.
        13. Bud Selig – repeatedly suggests, nay insists, that no one wants more instant replay in baseball.
        14. Hawk Harrelson – homerism reaches new bounds by repeatedly calling out umps for hurting the “good guys” with bad calls.
        15. Bobby Valentine – per Alex K, “Bobby V. isn’t on the list yet? He said a coach taking time off to tend to his sick kid was ‘on vacation.’ Total nozzle statement, bro.”

      • El Bravo - Aug 27, 2012 at 3:56 PM

        1. Not sure. I have the strike-through in my Word doc…doesn’t paste though. Thoughts?

        2. Not sure. I can define douchenozzle only by those that make the list. As far as I’m concerned, a DN is a term that is as benign or as harsh as the folks that make up the list each year. For example, there are already five more nozzles this year than 2011, so I conclude that to be a douchenozzle in 2012 is actually about 33% worse than being a douchenozzle this year (10 to 15 nozzle increase). The more nozzles added, and the more nozzley their actions are, the worse being a douchenozzle will be. Catch my drift? DN is NOT a constant, but a variable. I’m still determining the mathematical formula.

        Further, I can’t define a chipwich, but I bet there is large overlap between the two. That said, I need an expert on this subject to speak to this topic.

        Finally, I’d love to put my DNs up for vote for top nozzle this year. Stay tuned.

      • Alex K - Aug 27, 2012 at 4:07 PM

        I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t feel the wrath of the banhammer for simply making it official since people in the comments have been beating around that bush.

      • El Bravo - Aug 27, 2012 at 4:43 PM

        Pouliot should note this fact then: he’s on douchnozzle watch.

      • kopy - Aug 27, 2012 at 5:13 PM

        I’m pretty sure you can strike but putting around the words you want to strike, with i instead of 1.

      • El Bravo - Aug 28, 2012 at 11:33 AM

        [s]cake[/s]

      • El Bravo - Aug 28, 2012 at 11:34 AM

        Didn’t work. What is the code?

    • geoknows - Aug 27, 2012 at 2:36 PM

      Well, if you check the Pitch F/X data, Lance Barrett’s strike zone is kinda ugly. That said, the net count of miscalled pitches says he was favoring the Sox, though, not the Mariners.

  4. djpostl - Aug 27, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Dude is such a tool.

  5. lucassteele - Aug 27, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    I agree that MLB probably has no right to discipline this man, but this old dude is the one who is “absolutely ridiculous.” He sounds like a complete ass continually ripping the officiating and the other team.

    • sabatimus - Aug 27, 2012 at 2:08 PM

      Shoulda stopped at “He sounds like a complete ass”, period.

  6. xpensivewinos - Aug 27, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Well, if anyone knows anything about being “absolutely brutal” at their job, being completely unqualified for their job and being a complete f***ing joke at their job, it is certainly this worthless douche bag, Hawk Harrelson.

  7. sabatimus - Aug 27, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    “You can takeitoffthebooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrddddddddddd…..NO!”

    • El Bravo - Aug 27, 2012 at 4:51 PM

      So no ducks on the pond then? Perhaps Hawk needs to get back in the catbird seat.

  8. dude1974 - Aug 27, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    15. Dusty Baker—-I would have to write a book….

  9. rhowe360 - Aug 27, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    I am sick to death of Hawk Harrelson and his continuing haranguing of anyone and anything that isn’t “The Good Guys” Why this behavior has been allowed to go on this long is a complete mystery to me. I will site in my opinion the two best baseball announcers of all time. Ernie Harwell and Vin Scully. Both men, so identified with their teams (Tigers.Dodgers respectively) that you can hardly say the team name without their name/s coming up in the same sentence. However, these two classy, professional never maligned the opposing teams during their broadcast nor the umpires, etc. Nor have Ernie or Vin ever showed a HOMER attitude. We the listener/viewers were/are allowed to become part of the game with Ernie and Vin as our tour guides. Sure Ernie had his “Loonnnngggg Gone” home run call but Ernie would use it on both the Tigers AND the opposing teams HR’s. Hawk Harrelson’s contribution to the game consists of wearing a golf glove to the plate in the early 1960’s giving birth to the batting glove. That’s it. Harrelson’s abuse (I will throw in Tim McCarver and Joe Buck) in the mix as well, cannot and should not be tolerated. They’re “Homer” mentality just adds another black eye to a game that the majority of us love, warts and all. This wart, needs to be burned off and thrown in the scrap bucket. I’m a big believer in Karma, and know that Harrrelson’s “Old man Potter” attitude will eventually get his….I for one cannot wait until…He’s GONE!

  10. bigleagues - Aug 27, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    Hawk is one Red turned White Sox that no one ever wants to see back in Boston.

    • bigleagues - Aug 27, 2012 at 2:35 PM

      Then again, the man does have his great moments . . .

      http://deadspin.com/5915256/hawk-harrelson-has-sacks-packed-with-seamen

      That’s some improvised poetry, right there!

  11. aclassyguyfromaclassytown - Aug 27, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    I only hear him talk when watching MLB tonight and it happens to skip to a White Sox game, but when that happens, I now mute my TV. Half of the stuff he says is incoherent, and the other half is just cheerleading for the home team. People like him should not have that type of job. What are the odds of him not being with the White Sox or any other team after this season? Hoping someone else out there happens to know how long he’s signed for and if he’s actually well liked as an announcer to the point where someone else would pick him up.

  12. dadawg77 - Aug 27, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    To be fair the strike zone was horrible until the ejections occurred. Then it improved, so either the ump corrected himself or it just regressed to the mean.

    As for Hawk no one really cares what people outside the market think about him. His job is to entertain and inform sox fans watching the game and he I’d effective in this. That’s why its allowed to continue.

  13. Nick C - Aug 27, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Not a big fan of Hawk but he’s right on this one. I watched Lance Barrett essentially hand a game to the Pirates James McDonald on 8/17. Check out the normalized strikezone plot for the game and tell me that McDonald didn’t get a huge advantage. Please also note that the “normalized” zone is actually larger than the actual strikezone especially side to side:

    http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/zoneplot.php-pitchSel=all&game=gid_2012_08_17_pitmlb_slnmlb_1&sp_type=1&s_type=7.gif

    • paperlions - Aug 27, 2012 at 4:01 PM

      Yep, I check the Pitch FX after hearing about this over the weekend, and Hawk had a point…the attack was over the top (of course), but he was correct in his assessment of the team-specific strike zones.

  14. chicitybulls - Aug 27, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    Hawk is the MAN. If opposing fans hate him then he’s doing his job. He’s a White Sox broadcaster. Not a objective, national media outlet broadcaster so he should be skewed towards the Sox. He knows where he gets his checks from. I mean anyone here that works for someone if you “objectively” promote the opposition you will not remain at that company for too much longer. But the hate for him will continue I’m sure. So….in the word of Hawk….”dont stop now boys”.

    • dowhatifeellike - Aug 27, 2012 at 3:48 PM

      Unless the Sox own the network, they don’t pay him. As far as your other points… stay in school.

    • wsnydes - Aug 27, 2012 at 4:02 PM

      there is a very large and discernible difference between “objectively” promoting your opponent and trashing them and the umpires. quite frankly, I find it unprofessional. you can root for your team, but belittling the opposing team and umpires is classless.

      • chicitybulls - Aug 27, 2012 at 4:19 PM

        @ dowhat
        If you do not own your own business I’d like to hear what your bosses would think about you promoting the opposition. In regards to the “stay in school” comment I cant help it if you dont comprehend english

        @ wsnydes
        I dont recall him belittling the opposition but yes, if the umpires screws up (as has been noted in other comments) then they should be called out about it. Unless you believe in that “human element” and not in getting it right. The umpires have rabbit ears and short tempers and I do not believe they should act without impunity. But maybe we disagree on that point, which is fine. Difference of opinion. We’ll just agree to disagree.

    • wsnydes - Aug 27, 2012 at 4:45 PM

      @ chicity bulls
      umpires should be held accountable for poor performance. but there is still a big difference between professionally stating your opinion and going off on rants about it and belittling the guy. you can get your point across without belittling the guy. it isn’t like Hawk is the only TV/radio commentator to call out an official.

  15. 2dmo4 - Aug 27, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    This guy is annoying and needs to hang it up. “Put that on the board…..yeeeeeeessss!”

  16. jimatkins - Aug 27, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    I don’t mind a little homerism, like getting jazzed about a homer for your team. Trashing the umps, now, that’s unprofessional. As a long time southern Californian, I don’t think I’ve ever heard Scully do anything slanted, but he does get a little less relaxed when the Dodgers win a big one. There’s a big difference between honest emotion for the team you watch every single day, and outright garbage talk. Let’s face it, this thread is the only place where Hawk gets mentioned in the same sentence as Vin. The man is a national treasure. Dodger blue and solid gold.

  17. sox72 - Aug 27, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    As a biased Sox fan- Hawk is perhaps the worst (definitely top 10) general manager in the past 30 years of baseball. I still hold running Tony LaRussa and his staff (Including Jim Leyland) out of town against him.
    As for broadcasting – he’s always been an obnoxious windbag but that’s what the hometown audience wants. He’s the ultimate homer. Partnered with Steve Stone, one of the more knowledgeable color men in the game it creates a fairly decent tandem for their market which generally doesn’t extend far.
    While everyone’s dogging Hawk…Stone was extremely critical of Jim Joyce both Sat and Sun for stepping into situations that led to escalations of the drama. I always liked Joyce. He manned up in Detroit and after his heroics in Arizona a few weeks ago… I’ll buy that guy a cold one anytime.
    Having to listen to Hawk for the 120-140 games a year I watch. He does in fact compliment the umpiring crews quite often when it’s deserved. (Guessing Joe West might not have earned any…) Witnessing these acts makes the trashing that the national media highlights tolerable and even appreciable on the South Side. The zones (there were two of them) in that game stunk and improved greatly after the ejections.

  18. manchestermiracle - Aug 28, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    I don’t watch the White Sox so I couldn’t care less about their announcer. However, the point being missed here is that MLB umpiring, particularly balls and strikes, is pretty crappy. How is it possible for someone standing directly behind the catcher and hovering over the plate to call a pitch that is a foot outside a strike? How many games are altered each year by umpires creating their own versions of the strike zone? I watched as many LLWS games as I could and it seemed that those umpires were auditioning for MLB jobs as there were many called strikes that were obviously off the plate. As video broadcasting gets better and better it becomes more and more apparent that humans simply cannot consistently make unbiased calls.

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