I tuned in to the Cubs/White Sox game on Tuesday night and was greeted by the sound of a more professional broadcast. The duo of Steve Stone and Mike Huff sounded...ok. It would be easy to say they sounded great, but more accurately, it was the absence of Hawk Harrleson that made it better, improvement by subtraction and all of that.*
*A discussion about the poor quality of White Sox broadcasters, especially the play by play men, is another topic for another day
I've been a Hawk defender for a long time, mostly because I enjoyed Hawk once upon a time. When I first moved to Chicago Hawk was in his announcing prime, the days with Tom "Wimpy" Paciorek. During those years, they sounded like they were having fun, even if the team wasn't always so good. They both laughed a lot and shared some good stories. After Wimpy left, things started to turn sour. By the time Steve Stone showed up, Hawk transitioned from a relatively young broadcaster in the early nineties (he was 49 when he started for the White Sox) to a whiny, cranky old man.
And that is why I think Hawk needs to go. It isn't the worn out catch phrases or the repetitive stories about Yaz, but the attitude and energy he brings to the booth. He's like the relative no one wants to invite to the party because all he will do is suck the air out of the room. That is what Hawk does now, even when the White Sox are winning something during the course of the game will raise his ire. I half expect him to yell at the players to get off of his lawn.
Case in point: During Monday's telecast from Wrigley, Hawk complained a number of times about the cold and that the press box didn't have any windows. It was reported that his absence on Tuesday was a result of the forecast and not wanting to be in the cold another day.* An old man complaining about the cold? Seems better suited for Arizona than a baseball booth.
*I'd hate to show Hawk what some of the stadiums in England have for broadcasters, though I'd love to see Hawk bundled under a blanket with Stone on a gantry.
When the White Sox are losing Hawk is not only inaudible, he is unbearable. He sometimes complains about the poor play, but more often than not he'll complain about the umpiring going against the White Sox, feeding into the idea that MLB somehow has it in for the team. Yes, because a 99-loss team was only kept down by some sort of evil cabal. If it isn't the umps, it is the modern culture of baseball and statistics and the lack of the TWTW and...well you get the point. Over the course of a typical broadcast, we get to hear all about what Hawk doesn't like. Multiply that by 150+ games that Hawk does and that is a lot of bitching we have to hear. At some point, even when you best of friends can't stop complaining, someone needs to tell them to get over it.
At 72, however, I don't see Hawk getting over it. I only see it getting worse. I don't think for a second 1995 Hawk would have called in sick because of the cold. No, the older Hawk gets, the more bitter he is becoming. It would be perfect if next year, Hawk's 25th with the White Sox (continuously anyway) to call it a farewell tour. Twenty-five years is a good run, a fine career. It is also the perfect time to go.
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
Hey! Like me on Facebook!