What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
It is no secret that I have little respect for the Chicago White Sox. I’ve written time and time again about why the White Sox are a deplorable franchise. Fans of the Mighty Whiteys are the flotsam and jetsam of baseball, and Ken “Hawk” Harrelson is the perfect representation of such a loudmouthed and idiotic fanbase. For those of you who know what a complete baseball buzz-kill Harrelson has become, there’s the website Heave the Hawk. For those of you who don’t, this past week gave the quintessential dose of Harrelson’s homerism-turned-delusional ranting.
Here’s the setup:
White Sux pitcher Jose Quintana fired a pitch behind Ben Zobrist during Wednesday’s Rays-Sux game and was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Mark Wegner. This led to the “Hawk” launching into a rant which set a new low, even for Harrelson.
CBS Chicago posted a soundboard so you can hear a prime example of his idiocy, but here’s the transcript:
“What are you doing, Wegner? You’ve got to be kidding me. That is so bad, that is absolutely brutal. That is unbelievable. I’ll tell you what, they have got to start making guys be accountable. That is totally absurd. That just tells you he has — here’s an umpire in the American League knows nothing about the game of baseball. That’s unbelievable! He has no business umpiring because he has no idea what the game of baseball is about. He ought to be suspended and if they want to keep him as an umpire, send him back to school and teach him what this game is about.”
The trouble is Wegner saw something Harrelson chose to ignore; this had been brewing for a while. During Monday’s game, Mark Wegner was the second base umpire who called White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynzki safe on an “in the neighborhood” In order to avoid Pierzynski, Rays shortstop Elliot Johnson came off the bag early during the turn but was not awarded the out. There’s one of those “unwritten baseball rules” about “close enough” on plays like this, but Wegner didn’t call it that way.
Harrelson had nothing but praise for that Wegner call deciding to ignore the “unwritten rule;” making the call based solely on what he saw.
“That guy was cheating,” Harrelson bleated. “And second base umpire Mark Wegner was all over it.“
The trouble came from the fact that Pierzynski deliberately spiked Johnson on the play, and there’s another “unwritten rule” about retaliation.
Flash the clock forward to Wednesday’s game. The Rays get their retaliation in the form of a fastball in the middle of Pierzynski’s back. At this point, the “unwritten rules” say the score is even; you spiked my guy, then I hit your guy…now we get back to baseball.
So, a bit later when Quintana threw behind Zobrist, Wegner knew he was watching a clear violation of the “unwritten rules;” one that likely was going to start a bean-ball war or worse. Wegner recognized Quintana’s intent and ran him before the situation got out of hand. In other words, Wegner once again made a based solely on what he saw, but since this time in went against the White Sux, all of a sudden Harrelson is outraged.
I understand Harrelson’s paychecks come from Comcast, and the Whiteys have power of approval over who does their games. I understand it is Harrelson’s role to be a “homer.” But I also understand there is a big difference between being a “homer” and being a buffoon. I also understand it must be pretty obvious a line was crossed when not only did Harrelson get called on the carpet by Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, but that I agree with these two guys whom I made of living from excoriating on a regular basis.
Apparently, both Selig and Reinsdorf took the “Hawk” to the woodshed; to the point of telling him going after the umpires in such fashion on the air is not going to be tolerated. From ESPN Chicago:
“I talked to Bud Selig yesterday,” Harrelson told ESPN Chicago.com’s Bruce Levine on Friday morning. “We had a talk. Actually, Bud talked and I listened. If it was a prize fight, they would have stopped it in the first round.”
“I also talked to Jerry, and I listened to him as well. That’s all I really have to say.”
White Sox spokesperson Brooks Boyer told ESPN Chicago “moving forward those type of bursts and snaps will be limited if not eliminated.” You have no idea how much I hope that means this is the beginning of the end for this blowhard. I don’t think by this point that Harrelson can help himself anymore. I’m old enough to remember when the “Hawk’s” act was little more than colorful homerism, but those days are long since gone. Now, Harrelson just spews invective and conspiracy theories about how every umpire umpire in the world is out to get the Whiteys.
He’s simply an abomination, and I sincerely hope he’s gone soon.
However, I’m not going to hold my breath.
First of all, Harrelson has been acting this way for years, largely because he knows that there is little chance of real repercussions. Sure, he got a couple of scoldings this time, but that’s about as bad as it will get. Selig really can’t do anything to Harrelson other than make Reinsdorf’s life miserable, and that isn’t likely to happen since Reinsdorf may now be (in the absence of George Steinbrenner) baseball’s most powerful owner.
Top that off with he fact that Reinsdorf has a major case of undying loyalty to Harrelson as he has become the face of the Whiteys, which is why we all may be listening to the “Hawk” for quite some time. In a weird, photo-negative sort of way, Harrelson stepped into the void left by Harry Caray. Like Caray, he’s become this larger than life figure who is loved by the fans of his team. However, Caray achieved this status by being like everybody’s lovable grandfather who may have liked his Budweisers just a bit too much; Harrelson has done it by being everybody’s pissed-off, “hates everything” uncle.
The biggest problem is that neither Harrelson or White Sux fans realize that he makes the team and thier fans look like a bunch of knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers. This is why I would be willing to bet that the “Hawk” will be one of the few announcers who has more than 25 years of service with one team who will never receive the Ford C. Frick broadcasting award in Cooperstown because he is little more than an embarrassment not only to the Whiteys, but baseball in general.