|White Sox/Comcast/WGN broadcaster Ken Hawk Harrelson|
White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf also addressed Harrelson regarding his on-air comments directed at Wegner, while Sox senior vice president of sales & marketing Brooks Boyer said Harrelson will address his behavior during Friday night's broadcast: "We've discussed it, and we'll talk about it on the air and it will be gone as of tonight."
Boyer additionally hinted his support of Wegner's call while obliquely criticizing Harrelson's judgment in choosing to blast the umpire: "I could certainly be wrong but I think this was a good way for [Harrelson] to understand the importance of what's going on on the field. I think moving forward those type of bursts and snaps will be limited if not eliminated."
On Wednesday, Harrelson angrily vented and ranted about Wegner and several other unnamed MLB umpires: "You've got to be bleepin' me! What in the hell are you doing? What are you doing Wegner? You've got to be kidding me. That is so bad that is absolutely brutal. That is unbelievable."
Had Harrelson stopped there, he might have saved Selig the trip. Instead, Harrelson continued: "I'll tell you what, they have got to start making guys be accountable. That is totally absurd. Here's an umpire in the American League that knows nothing about the game of baseball. They have got to do something about this. They have got some guys in this league that have no business umpiring. They have no business umpiring because they don't know what the game of baseball is about and he is one of them. We have always had problems with this guy right here. I'll tell you, he ought to be suspended. He ought to be suspended and if they want to keep him as an umpire, send him back to school and teach him what the game is about."
Even after the pitching change commercials, Harrelson continued, showing off his math skills: "This guy behind the plate, Mark Wegner, has just made one of the worst calls in…I’ve been part of this game in all of part of 7 decades, 53 years, that is one of the worst calls I have ever seen in my whole career. He has no clue what this game is about. Wegner has no clue. He has no clue. None. Zero. We have seen him make not that bad of a call, but we’ve seen him make some terrible calls in the past. And now he throws out Robin. Robin is gone….There’s got to be some place…some place there is accountability. Incompetence like that…That’s sickening…It is an embarrassment to the game of baseball. It is an embarrassment to the profession of umpiring. I guarantee that is an embarrassment to Mike Winters, the crew chief."
The next inning, Harrelson wasn't quite finished: "[Mark Wegner] has no business being a major league umpire because he does not understand the game...Should this guy be umpiring postseason play? Because he's done it. No way!"
Boyer went on to praise Hawk's passion and dedication to the White Sox organization, but clearly differentiated between passionate homerism and umpiring rants: "He snapped."
Stay tuned tonight as the UEFL presents coverage of Hawk's on-air discussion of Wednesday's comments.
5:00 p.m. (PT): No, this isn't quite The Decision, but it is rare for a broadcaster to be counseled by an MLB Commissioner concerning remarks he has made on air. White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf also spoke with Hawk and has promised us a "talk about it" during tonight's Mariners-White Sox broadcast. We're calling it Hawkmaggedon.
5:01 p.m. (PT): The Comcast Sportsnet broadcast has begun and the Hawk is set to address his audience, looking chipper in his sunglasses and Comcast jacket. Harrelson and partner Steve Stone have begun by previewing tonight's matchup before throwing to commercial.
5:07 p.m. (PT): As fate would have it, Hawk will enjoy Joe West's crew for the Mariners-Sox series. Andy Fletcher has the plate and the crew chief is at second base. We anxiously await the first balk call.
5:11 p.m. (PT): As the contest begins, Harrelson remains mum on the issue.
5:19 p.m. (PT): At the conclusion of the first half inning, Harrelson has sounded especially dispassionate this evening and hasn't questioned a call, even though pitch f/x indicates Fletcher missed at least one call against Chicago (strike called a ball). Not one "he gone."
5:23 p.m. (PT): The first officiating controversy of the night goes against Seattle, Eric Wedge puts up a brief argument concerning an Alejandro De Aza hit by pitch vs. foul ball call. Harrelson stays out of the argument and does not give an opinion one way or the other.
5:26 p.m. (PT): Perhaps Gordon Beckham's two-run home run has awakened the Hawk. Harrelson excitedly gave his "you can put it on the board" and "mercy" calls and appears back to his old, passionate self.
5:30 p.m. (PT): CSN Chicago has reported the following quote: "I’m going to do everything in my power not to let it happen again, but who can say? I’ve snapped before. If I tell you right now it won’t happen again, I mean it. But I couldn’t guarantee it." Hawk also characterized Selig and Reinsdorf's counseling as decidedly one-sided.