Of the people who have been begging White Sox management to replace Hawk Harrelson in the booth for a number of years, I’m a bit less critical of the man himself. He’s absolutely brutal, and not only does he not let you know what’s going on in the actual game but he also takes away the ability for Steve Stone to analyze the game. Yet, there is something charming about this old story-telling, vodka-sipping legend that will be missed when 2017 rolls around.
Hawk has coined numerous phrases that make ears bleed. Everything from “Put it on the board” to “this ballgame is OVA!” makes me want to cut my ears off with a butter knife. However, hating Hawk has become somewhat of a pastime and I’m not sure he deserves it. For one thing, he’s a super interesting dude. His stories on the air about Yaz and other hijinks are tiresome, but there’s a reason he has so many. He’s lived a pretty outstanding life and if I ever see him in a bar I’m making a beeline to the stool next to him so he can chat my head off with ridiculous stories. The guy wrote an autobiography when he was like 26, for god’s sake.
You could make the case for turning up the volume during away games to get the last bit of Hawk before he rides off into the sunset. I’m not here to make that case. As he has been for the past four seasons, he will be on mute for the for the entire length of the season. If you listen to one broadcast between Jason Benetti and Steve Stone you get a glimpse of what a broadcast is supposed to be. Hawk is much too entrenched in the old ideologies of baseball, whether it’s his war against sabermetrics or his disbelief in math…I can’t stand any of it.
I’m not asking for the broadcasters to let me know what each pitcher’s FIP is or to discuss the dWAR for outfielders in every game, but that stuff needs to be woven into the discussion. Instead of telling me how cold Todd Frazier is right now and chalking it up to luck, maybe throw in that his BABIP is .182 so he’s due to have some things go his way. For the uneducated fan, you don’t even have to say the name of the stat. These guys are linguists, so it’s assumed they can deliver the information that BABIP or any other stat they want to reference shows while making it easy for the fan to understand. Len Casper does a fantastic job with this.
Hawk has a place in the baseball world, and that place is giving interviews and reveling over really interesting stories. I want to hear those stories, but not while I’m watching a baseball game. I want to hear about the baseball game that’s being played, not about the time you and Yaz lit off fireworks in the clubhouse or something. It’s just too much. It’s been too much for some time. It’s time to go. I’m not going to be as hard on you as others are, but please get off my TV.