My dad is a White Sox fan. As a result, I’ve grown up watching games on TV and hearing play-by-play announcer Ken “Hawk” Harrelson’s voice behind the microphone. I remember laughing when he uttered catch phrases such as “He gone” and “You can put it on the board. Yes!” I thought he was hilarious.
In recent weeks, however, Harrelson has been in the headlines for criticizing just about everything that doesn’t go his way. During the Crosstown Cup series between the Cubs and White Sox, Hawk advocated for the White Sox to retaliate after Cubs pitcher John Lackey hit four Sox in one game.
“Let’s see which one of your boys is going to get drilled. Or maybe you,” Harrelson said during the July 25 broadcast.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the biggest John Lackey fan. I didn’t like when the Cubs signed him. But an MLB announcer advocating to throw the ball at someone in a baseball game is wrong. That’s not something you say on the air, especially when Little Leaguers who are just learning the game could be watching.
Harrelson’s defense for his comments was that he was “defending [his] Sox.” While they may not be the best team in baseball, they’re still major league ballplayers. It’s safe to say they could handle themselves without the help of a loud-mouthed broadcaster.
While the Lackey comments didn’t sit well, they weren’t the worst things he has said over the past few weeks. Recently, Harrelson has spoken badly of Wrigley Field — my idea of baseball heaven — going on the record saying he “will never set foot in that ballpark again.”
Harrelson has said he specifically doesn’t like the press boxes or visiting clubhouse and called for the replacement of the stadium that is one of the most iconic tourist attractions in Chicago.
Side note: The press boxes and visiting clubhouse are already scheduled to be renovated prior to the 2020 season. Harrelson will retire after the 2018 season, so he won’t get to see the finished product. What a shame.
While White Sox fans either love him or hate him, I don’t think Harrelson realizes just how unpopular he is with Cubs fans. If he doesn’t come back to Wrigley, Cubs fans such as myself will not be disappointed. He will be missed as much as a bad headache.
My chief goal is to be a broadcaster for the Cubs one day. I’ve learned that to get into broadcasting, you must maintain a certain level of professionalism. Harrelson seems to think he’s above that idea. Frankly, I’ll be jumping for joy when he retires after the 2018 season so I don’t have to hear about him complaining ever again.
When someone like Harrelson starts lashing out like this, it makes other baseball announcers look bad. He’s unprofessional, and that sets a bad example for young baseball fans.