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Brian Kenny to Hawk Harrelson: “You missed the revolution”

Apr 12, 2013, 10:30 AM EDT

Fun times: watch as Brian Kenny nearly blows a gasket responding to Hawk Harrelson’s ignorant comments on sabermetrics.

I think Hawk shows his hand when he says that sabermetrics “got a lot of people fired.” Baseball is a business and a meritocracy. Ever consider that maybe those people deserved to be fired? Or does Harrelson think that baseball teams are firing people who have good useful ideas that help the teams win all willy-nilly?

  1. Kevin S. - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    BK the man.

    • js20011041 - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:45 AM

      I really wish MLB network had a few more guys like Brian Kenny on there. I’m not saying it should be nothing but sabermetrics, but more opposing viewpoints would be nice. Players are great at teaching the mechanical aspects of the game. How the game is physically played. But they’re by and large not good at all analytically.

  2. billyboots - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    The Jerk Store called, they’re running out of Hawk Harrelson.

    • paperlions - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:58 PM

      No one buys Hawk Harrelson, they aren’t running out, they are just slowly decaying on the shelves.

    • klingonj - Apr 12, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      great line. just
      saw that episode a few days ago

  3. skeleteeth - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    Well that’s a duck fart.

    He gone!

  4. sleepyirv - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    If you’re going to write a post every time Harrelson says something stupid or mean, you won’t have time to do anything else.

    • 18thstreet - Apr 12, 2013 at 12:39 PM

      From Hawk’s biography on wikipedia:

      … briefly left broadcasting during the 1986 season to become the White Sox’s General Manager. During his one season as GM, Harrelson fired field manager Tony La Russa (who was soon hired by the Oakland Athletics) and assistant general manager Dave Dombrowski (who became baseball’s youngest general manager with the Montreal Expos just two years later). Harrelson also traded rookie Bobby Bonilla, later a six-time All-Star, to the Pittsburgh Pirates for pitcher José DeLeón.

  5. a125125125 - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    First off….Hawk’s an idiot.

    Second off….Craig’s an idiot. Hawk neither says nor implies that sabermetricians are getting fired “willy nilly.’ He says that sabermetricians get fired because sabermetrics don’t work. Just like an awful writer eventually gets fired because his product is awful…..not just willy nilly.

    • js20011041 - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:53 AM

      So, what part of the statement “sabermetrics doesn’t work” did Hawk get right? Craig is more or less stating that Harrelson is wrong about the failure of sabermetrics. Personally, I think it’s akin to being a flat earther or believing in creationism. On one side you’ve got evidence and science. On the other, you’ve got….what?

      • a125125125 - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:51 AM

        1) Sabermetrics do work….scouting works too. A mix works best.
        2) Hawk is DEFINITELY not right. Nor did I say he was.
        3) Craig’s “maybe those people deserved to get fired” comment shows Craig’s belief (rightly so) that sabermetrics is not infallible and sometimes sabermetricians deserve to be fired.
        4) Craig’s inference that Hawk suggested that sabermetricians get fired “willy nilly” is a blatant mischaracterization of what Hawk said. Hawk implied that sabermetricians get fired because sabermetrics don’t work (his point is wrong….but his line of reasoning is clear). Craig tried to make Hawk’s line of reasoning appear unclear (because Craig is an idiot that is trolling all of you)….which is wrong.
        5) js20011041’s reading comprehension is sub-par. So, don’t respond to my posts anymore, js20011041.

    • scottp9 - Apr 12, 2013 at 5:41 PM

      Actually, Hawk doesn’t say who is getting fired thanks to sabermetrics. I doubt he’s worried about sabermetricians getting fired, since he doesn’t have respect for the field. Based on his attitude, I think he’s referring to scouts and maybe managers and front office people getting fired since the advent of sabermetrics in the game.

  6. El Bravo - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    Hawk is a douchenozzle.

  7. sportsdrenched - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    I’m shocked that Hawk doesn’t get sabremetrics.

    • xmatt0926x - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:02 AM

      Yeah. Seriously.Hawk not getting into sabermetrics is astonishing. I hear in another unrelated but shocking story that there are lots of guys who would like a night with Kate Upton! (although she’s a little overrated).

      • sportsdrenched - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:57 AM

        I’m calling BS on that. If YOU got a night with Kate Upton you wouldn’t think she’s over-rated.

  8. chicitybulls - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    Ahh, nothing funnier than a media guy telling a former player about the game.

    • tuberippin - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:15 PM

      Ken Harrelson last played a game at the major-league level in 1971. That’s 42 years ago. The dude retired before the AL introduced the DH. He’s about as out of touch as it gets.

      Plus, his color commentary is fucking horrible.

      • chicitybulls - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:43 PM

        Maybe to you it’s horrible but he can’t be calling games as long as he has if he was “fucking horrible” as you so eloquently put it. And who cares how long ago it’s been. He’s still been around the game so I’m not sure what you mean that he’s out of touch. Bob Gibson retired in 1975 (38 yrs ago) so does that mean because he retired that long ago that he’s out of touch by your misguided logic? I’m not comparing their careers (I know I had to put that caveat in because you, most likely, would have been so foolish to say something like “are you comparing Bob Gibson to Hawk Harrelson”) I’m simply showing how dumb an argument like “he retired 42 yrs ago” even though he’s been around the game pretty much every since. Thanks for your comment though. Speaking of 42, go see it this weekend and have a good time.

      • tuberippin - Apr 12, 2013 at 2:30 PM

        Being out of touch isn’t premised entirely upon how long you’ve been out of the game, but it most certainly is a component of it. And last I checked, I haven’t heard Bob Gibson call sabermetrics entirely useless. Hawk Harrelson did, and it reflects just how out of touch he is with the game, in spite of the fact that he (unfortunately) calls games on a regular basis.

        And again, his color commentary is atrocious, horrendous, putrid, rancid, obnoxious, and bothersome, or in other words, fucking horrible (I know, heaven forbid I use the word “fuck” on a message board about baseball! Baseball players certainly don’t curse!). Your ability to provide commentary bears little relation to how long you can stay on the airwaves doing it. John Sterling has been announcing Yankees games since 1989, and he’s still terrible. Joe Morgan was a horrendous excuse for a commentator and he still got to call Sunday Night Baseball for 20 years.

        Harrelson’s folksy schtick is garbage, his catchphrases are annoying, and his unrelenting homerism makes watching White Sox games a chore instead of something enjoyable. Magically, it becomes enjoyable again when you hit the mute key. Unsurprisingly, FanGraphs did rankings of MLB’s television color commentary duos/teams, and the Chicago White Sox finished dead last, entirely because Harrelson sucks to the point that it outweighs the good things Stone can do as a commentator. It’s great if you’re an unabashed White Sox homer with a penchant for awful catchphrases, but aside from that, it’s like nails on a chalkboard.

        For what it’s worth, Steve Stone is a pretty good announcer.

      • chicitybulls - Apr 12, 2013 at 3:57 PM

        It’s your opinion that he and the other announcers you mentioned are horrible. You can’t have a job for over 20 years while there are other “better” options available in a industry with a turnover rate like sports. Unless you really think they think to themselves “lets keep horrible guys calling our games just because”. People usually try to better something that’s bad (or horrible), particularly when there are better options available. If something was horrible you can go from that to mediocre to good to great. But I guess they rather stay horrible for some reason. Hey, maybe you should apply for the job. I’m sure you can do better. If not calling the games then hiring someone better.

      • tuberippin - Apr 12, 2013 at 4:39 PM

        “It’s your opinion that he and the other announcers you mentioned are horrible.”

        An opinion which is shared by enough other fans of the game to border on a consensus.

        “You can’t have a job for over 20 years while there are other “better” options available in a industry with a turnover rate like sports.”

        I’m not going to change your opinion, nor did I intend to. However, it’s clear to me that you have a bias (based upon your user name) and much like Ken Harrelson himself, you seem to be unwilling to even consider the argument from the other side. I provided you with multiple examples and you seem to think I’m just reaching for subjective conclusions here, when any list of “worst commentators/announcers/broadcasters” for baseball will inevitably list the likes of Joe Morgan, John Sterling, Ken Harrelson and company, not to mention a few others.

        You seem to think that longevity is indicative of quality. I’m saying that this is not the case. Shit, his tenure as the GM of the White Sox should have been more than enough cause to fire him.

        I’ll leave you with this Wall Street Journal article. They did a study of all the MLB teams and their color commentary groups and ranked it based upon how many biased comments were made in a single nine-inning game. The White Sox had the highest home-bias index, with 104 biased comments. The next closest was the Indians’ commentators, who had a home-bias index of 23. That’s a difference of 81.

        I can’t overstate this: Hawk Harrelson is the antithesis of quality commentary. He is the inverse of Vin Scully. He is all that is wrong with baseball announcing. Congratulations on enjoying him, you are in the minority not only amongst White Sox fans but amongst baseball fans in general.

        I’m not saying he doesn’t know the game. To be around it for as long as Hawk has, there is no way you don’t know the game. But he does not apply that knowledge to his commentary in the manner that he should, and he comes off far more amateurish than professional in his demeanor when he calls games. That, and he has the worst case of Announcing Attention Deficit Disorder I have ever seen. He goes off on a tangent about the old days and playing in Kansas City or wherever, when there are things occurring on the field.

        And to put it another way…in the same way that Joe Morgan’s shitty commentary catalyzed the creation of FireJoeMorgan, Hawk Harrelson’s shitty commentary led to the creation of HeaveTheHawk.

        Ed Farmer is great. Steve Stone is good. Hawk Harrelson is the audible equivalent of taking a whiff of garbage that’s been left out in the sun on a July afternoon. Sure, he’s unique, but unique is not always good.

    • djpostl - Apr 12, 2013 at 2:21 PM

      Lol. The dude is a dinosaur. It really DOES matter how long ago he played.

      But it’s irrelevant to the discussion at hand based on this thing called history.

      Anyone who says it doesn’t work or it has somehow been disproven is an idiot.

      Every team has some sort of mixture of sabermetrics and old school scouting, some just favor one more than the other. But I don’t think there is one single organization in baseball that just totally tosses out the window the way Hawk does.

      As for the pathetic homer that douchenozzle is…that’s beyond dispute.

  9. themuddychicken - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    I’m used to the phrase “nearly blows a gasket” being used to describe Hawk himself.

  10. fearlessleader - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    It’s one thing to be ignorant, another to be willfully ignorant, and yet another to be PROUDLY willfully ignorant. The sabermetrics deniers are like the climate-change deniers, but with less at stake, at least.

    • anxovies - Apr 12, 2013 at 2:27 PM

      What’s climate change? Tim McCarver

  11. Chris K - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    Am I the only one who REALLY wanted to know what Harold Reynolds had to say? At least PTI lets both talking heads get a point in. Akra needs some lessons from Reali in how to loosen up on the clock.

  12. cubfan531 - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    The Hawk knows a lot about building a good team. Just ask Tony La Russa, Dave Dombrowski, or Bobby Bonilla.

  13. hughhansen - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    That real time twitter voting thing is wild. I don’t know what sample of people are willing and able to instantaneously tweet a live TV show, but I felt like that information added value to the show.

  14. butchhuskey - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Why do guys like Hawk think that talent and “wanting to win a baseball game” are mutually exclusive? Do they think that players that are naturally gifted don’t give a sh!t? I mean, I could put together a team of guys solely based on their desire, but it wouldn’t mean anything if they were terrible baseball players.

  15. zidanevalor - Apr 12, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    I always love when people say “the A’s and Rays didn’t win the World Series, so it doesn’t count.”

    Apparently going from a 65-win team to a 90+ win team doesn’t count.

    • Kevin S. - Apr 12, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      It’s like how the SSOL Suns were condemned because Robert Horry hip-checked Steve Nash and got Stat and Diaw suspended in the WCF. Clearly that means the system didn’t work, because they never won a championship.

    • anxovies - Apr 12, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      If you don’t win the World Series it doesn’t count. Ask any Yankee fan.

      • zidanevalor - Apr 12, 2013 at 3:29 PM

        I am a Yankees fan.

  16. onbucky96 - Apr 12, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Wan’t Hawk in Moneyball? Could have sworn he was one of those old timers in the A’s FO trying to tell Billy Beane how a bear shits in the woods. Or something like that. Or Hawk is a stupid tool who needs to retire.

  17. butchhuskey - Apr 12, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    I don’t think there’s a team that doesn’t employ some form of advanced statistical analysis, so I can’t see how anyone could say “it doesn’t work.”

    • Delicious Cake - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:34 PM

      Even Hawk’s favorite team, the White Sox, uses a mix of sabermetrics and scouting. There’s only one team which I know for a fact doesn’t use statistical analysis — the Phillies.

      • billyboots - Apr 12, 2013 at 2:42 PM

        I thought the Diamondbacks gave up on stats and were simply measuring a player’s grit level.

  18. Delicious Cake - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    What I don’t get is why MLB Network is reviving the old “Scouts vs. Stats” argument when the consensus nowadays is that you need to use both to succeed.

  19. largebill - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    Sports at the end of the day is a zero sum game. If someone wins someone else loses. You can scout great talent just to see it damaged by injury or immaturity. Every single team has had unforeseeable problems with player development. Sabermetrics is merely an additional tool to add to scouting to minimize your front office mistakes. However, every team uses some advanced metrics to supplement eye ball scouting. So winning and losing teams alike have same tools. You can swing a hammer correctly and drive a nail in cleanly or you can swing the hammer wildly and have the nail bend on ya. Not always the hammers fault.

  20. hitdog042 - Apr 12, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Winning and losing teams don’t have the same tools. Maybe in theory. But they all don’t have a Billy Beane or a Bill James theory. People rag on Boston’s acquisitions. They all were metrics and character based. The season will show how it will pan out. Oakland embarrasses metrics bashers yearly. The get blood from stones.

  21. ryanw822 - Apr 12, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    Hawk sucks but Brian Kelly is a nerd.

  22. macjacmccoy - Apr 12, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    Outside the A’s his 2 examples are dead wrong. The Rays didnt do really good in that 2-3 year span from 08-10 bc of sabermetrics. They were good then bc how bad they were before that. They had mutiple high draft picks before 08 and they also drafted well. They got to the WS not bc of sabermetrics but bc of the old fashion style of building a team. Through the draft and prospect development. They’ve had to sell off, trade, or let most of those players leave now bc of the money. But sabermetrics says you dont need money and big names to win you just need math and cost effectiveness. 2010 was the last season with the team they built the old fashion way and they had 96 wins but lost in the 1st round in the playoffs 1-3. So since the Rays have had to let those homegrown players go and start relying mostly on sabermetrics how have they done? In 2011 they were a 91 win team and made the playoffs as a wild card team, but were swept in the 1st round. 2012 they were a 90 win team and missed the postseason. So if sabermetrics has worked so good for the Rays why havent they won a single playoff since almost having to exclusively rely on it?

    And then to the Red Sox. Saying they won 2 world series bc of sabermetrics is absurd. Yes they had a sabermetric pioneer in house but that’s not what made them good. They had superstars or really good players at nearly every position. They also had the 2nd highest salary in MLB. The fact that anyone can contribute sabermetrics to the success of a team like that boggles my mind.

  23. scoocha - Apr 25, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    Red Sox won 1 division title. They would have missed the playoffs under old playoff rules. They wisely and fairly took advantage of those rules and anything could happen as long as they made the playoffs.
    The A’s had a great stretch but like always they don’t have the talent to win games in the playoffs.
    The Rays have some of the worst hitters I’ve ever seen but have a very solid pitching staff.
    I’m not sure that these “successes” are due to sabermetrics at all.

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