May 31, 2012

Hawk Harrelson Goes Ballistic on Umpire: After home plate umpire Mark Wegner ejected Chicago White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana for throwing a pitch behind Tampa Bay Rays batter Ben Zobrist Wednesday, Sox announcer Ken "Hawk" Harrelson went on a thunderous tirade. "What are you doing, Wegner?" he yelled. "Here's an umpire in the American League knows nothing about the game of baseball."

posted by rcade to baseball at 03:05 PM - 14 comments

Without knowing what had gone on previously, one cannot tell whether or not Wegner was hasty in ejecting Quintana. A reference was made to a White Sox player being hit (I believe it was Pierzinsky), but no mention was made of warnings having been issued at that time. If there had been warnings, then Wegner was exactly correct, and even if warnings had not been given, he was still justified in trying to defuse a situation from developing before a batter was hurt or another player was injured during the likely brawl. Harrelson was a very good player, but his chief accomplishment as an announcer is to be a cheerleader. On the few times I have heard him, his analysis demonstrates that he has a firm grasp of the obvious and more interest in being funny than in passing on some knowledge of the game. As for accountability, the league office will look at the situation and announce any discipline being handed out to the umpire. There is far more accountability in MLB than there is in the NBA, for example.

posted by Howard_T at 03:37 PM on May 31, 2012

A warning was issued by the home plate umpire after Pierzynski was plunked, so Harrelson is either monumentally stupid or just displaying his gigantic homer boner for the White Sox when he claims he doesn't know why the pitcher got tossed.

And Pierzynski was hit because he is a dirty mofo who decided to plant his spikes into Ben Zobrist on a meaningless force out at 2nd base the night before.

There aren't too many players in MLB for whom getting drilled in the shoulder blades would only illicit a shrug from me.

A.J. is one of them.

posted by grum@work at 05:15 PM on May 31, 2012

As Ozzie Guillen once said about A.J., "When you play against him, you hate him. When he's on your team, you hate him a little less."

posted by TheQatarian at 06:15 PM on May 31, 2012

Harry Carey was a homer, but in a fun sort ... you enjoyed listening to him and he wasn't rabid in being one-sided. Harrelson, however, with his "we" and "they" / "them" references, often crosses the line. In this case, whether or not warnings had been issued is irrelevant: one can usually tell if a pitch gets away or is intentionally thrown at, or behind, a batter.

posted by jjzucal at 06:31 PM on May 31, 2012


I didn't watch the game, but I remember reading that there was no warning issued after Pierzynski. I just tried to read a bunch of articles, and nothing indicates a warning being given before, only after Quintana's ejection.

posted by bnlfanmatt at 06:51 PM on May 31, 2012

Okay, I may have to retract the statement that a warning was given.

When I saw the clip on TV, the umpire comes out and points at (what I thought was) the first base dugout. Then the clip ends.

When I watch the full scene on, I can't say for sure that he's not just gesturing towards first base itself (and telling A.J. to take it).

Since I don't see him then point at the 3rd base dugout on the MLB clip, I can't say for sure that he was warning the benches.

posted by grum@work at 11:35 PM on May 31, 2012

I'm glad my team doesn't have a homer like Harrelson calling games. That's an embarrassing lack of professionalism on display.

The ump had a quick hook and apparently did not issue a warning earlier, but pitchers who intentionally throw at batters don't always deserve a freebie.

posted by rcade at 09:37 AM on June 01, 2012

When AJ was hit the ledgers were balanced and settled. When Quintana "intentionally" tried to hit Zobrist and failed he was offering another credit transaction to the Ray's balance sheet. It was already closed. Quintana, rightfully, should of been tossed. Just play ball. I apologize for the financial analogy but I hate to see more "Toxic Assets" added to the game. I'm surprised that Hawk couldn't or wouldn't understand how these things are settled in a game with all of his experience on the field.

posted by bigduece at 01:44 PM on June 01, 2012

The ump had a quick hook and apparently did not issue a warning earlier, but pitchers who intentionally throw at batters don't always deserve a freebie.

This. Plunking should be far more actively discouraged.

posted by Etrigan at 03:17 PM on June 01, 2012

Plunking should be far more actively discouraged

I'd ordinarily agree but I defer my opinion to the esteemed Mr Carlin who once quipped that to make Baseball more interesting if the pitcher hits the batter he's out. Plunk 27 guys in a row you got yourself a perfect game. His rules remember.

posted by Folkways at 05:46 PM on June 01, 2012

I can't tell you why the Mets game is a can't-miss through seven innings tonight.

posted by rcade at 09:23 PM on June 01, 2012

I might be showin my age a bit here fellas, but you don't know what a homer is until you listen to Celtics legend Johnny Most on the call!! LOL!! Times have changed...

posted by slowride at 03:20 AM on June 02, 2012

And yet, Johnny Most (and his spiritual offspring Tommy Heinson) have redeeming qualities. I think the bigest difference between them and Harrelson is Hawk acts like he's on the team and still a dangerous hitter. The "SIT DOWN!" stuff when the White Sox strike a man out is annoying.

Then again, what am I talking about: Tommy Heinson has almost gotten thrown out of a couple games this year (or at least a T for the Cs).

posted by yerfatma at 11:53 AM on June 02, 2012

Johnny Most on the call

Unless you heard him during the game when he became overly animated and followed his call with "oops, there goes my brew", or another time when he became completely unintelligible and explained it by saying that his false teeth had slipped, you have no idea of how entertaining Johnny Most could be. ("McFilthy and McNasty are mauling the Celtics out there AND THERE'S NO CALL!" - referring to Jeff Ruland and Rick Mahorn of the Washington Bullets) If you are going to be a homer, be entertaining and confine your efforts to local broadcasts.

Heinsohn generally confines his tirades to the officiating, for which he is often justified. His analysis of the play of the game and the performance of the players is usually correct, and he does not exhibit 'homer-ism' here. He will criticize Celtic players when deserved, and he will praise good play and hustle on the part of opponents. More than a few years ago, Heinsohn did the analysis on network NBA broadcasts, and while he was somewhat more subdued then, he still had a few choice words for the referees. You can still see and hear some of his work on NBA TV.

posted by Howard_T at 08:29 PM on June 02, 2012

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