Hawking Loogies: Why Ken Harrelson Needs To Go Away

2/12/13 in MLB   |   CASE717   |   13 respect

Blog Photo - Hawking Loogies: Why Ken Harrelson Needs To Go AwayWhen the Chicago White Sox host the Kansas City Royals for their season home opener on April 1st, play-by-play man Ken Harrelson will be behind the microphone for his 27th season with the team and 37th as a major league announcer.  He is nicknamed "the Hawk" by his fellow Chicagoans for his distinctive beak and unwavering devotion to the club.  In addition to his Sox hoovering, Harrelson has been known for the occasional on-air attack on an umpire along with his endless "Hawkism" references during a game.  He is colorful, controversial and fanatical to say the least.

He's also terrible, unprofessional, whiny and tired.  Any adjective that describes what bad is defines the Hawk on the nose (no pun intended).

Anyone who has stayed at their craft for 37 years deserves the proper respect, and he has it.  Having said that, Harrelson routinely dismisses the White Sox opposition.  Phrases like "He gone!", "Mercy!", "Stretch!", "You gotta be bleepin' me!", and of course his most likely heart attack inducing "You can put it on the board, yes!" just to name a handful have grown very nauseating.  It's never about what the opponent does, it's mostly about what the White Sox didn't do, which disrespects the opponent.  It is somewhat comical to tune in to a White Sox telecast and hear Harrelson call a home run for the visiting team at a critical juncture of the game.  It is usually prefaced by a deep sigh with three to five seconds of dead air and reporting the score while the ball is in flight.  His criticisms of umpires have also been consistent, most notably in a May 2012 game when Tampa Bay hosted Chicago.  Umpire Mark Wegner ejected White Sox starter Jose Quintana for what he thought as deliberately throwing behind Ben Zobrist.  Earlier in the game, Tampa Bay starter Alex Cobb was not warned after drilling A.J. Pierzynski, which the White Sox felt as intentional.  Chicago would go on to win the game, so it's not like the Hawks rant was not justified, however the unnecessary emotion and venom against Wegner dismisses his credibility, despite his longevity.  Harrelson's outburst was so egregious that Major League Commissioner Bud Selig reprimanded him for his behavior.  He vowed never to have another on-air tirade.  He held out for about two months.  Not too shabby, Hawkster!

Sports homers have always existed.  Certain Mexican and English soccer announcers can attest, but at the very least show some respect to the game and the opponent.  Harrelson prefers to ignore such a fact, especially when the White Sox are down or defeated.  Sure, Chicagoans feel he is entertaining and beloved, and his dedication to the team is second to none.  Not all colleagues or even the casual fan would agree with such a sentiment.  Show as much class in defeat rather than make excuses for something you can't control, and occasionally mix in a hint of professionalism.  Harrelson has publicly said he has no plans to retire.  However he vacates the booth, the tears shed regarding his departure should be minimal to non-existent.  You can put that on the board.  Preferably in big letters.
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