Monday, June 25, 2007

Lashing out at Hawk Harrelson

I always knew what kind of demographic White Sox fans were. I always knew what kind of demographic that the team tried to cater to. After all, they were using terms such as "grill" and "pickle" to describe a person's face and a rundown situation. Terms that are used only by the uneducated, unsophisticated, and uncultured. But, after this weekend's happenings in the series against the Cubs, Hawk Harrelson made it clear. The White Sox organization needs to do something about the comments made on the air and address the issue. If not, it can only be assumed that the team does not have any problems with the commentary.

After the Cubs scored the go-ahead run in Saturday's ninth inning on a suicide squeeze, Harrelson's comments shocked me. The video of the play can be seen from the link posted below.

He actually advocated Bobby Jenks putting a fastball right into Ryan Theriot's head! What is the 10 year old watching the game supposed to think? It's okay to put an opposing hitter's career and life in jeopardy if it means you are trying to save a run.

Never mind the absurdity of his suggestion to drill Theriot in the head, the move doesn't even make sense from an in-game point of view! There are other ways to deal with the suicide squeeze. Ways that don't involve giving the batter first base. Ways that don't involve risking a wild pitch by throwing the ball more than five feet away from where your catcher was expecting the ball.

I was furious when I heard his comments initially, but I was willing to let it go without posting about it. His reaction (along with DJ's) in Sunday's eighth-inning debacle, however, forced my hand. The play and Guillen's ejection can be seen by following the link below.

Now, those of you that didn't see the play as reported by Len & Bob on WGN still may not know what happened, as Comcast Sports Net never showed the reason for the runners being put back as they were. As R1 (Pagan) was rounding second base, he was obstructed by F6 (Uribe), and thus the play should've been killed immediately after defense tried to put out R1.

Let me address a couple of issues about the play before moving on though:
* I'm sick of people saying that Uribe interfered with Pagan. He didn't. Uribe obstructed Pagan. The term "interference" only refers to a fielder illegally hindering a batter's ability to hit a pitched ball (i.e.: catcher's interference) or a runner illegally hindering a fielder's ability to field a batted ball. The term "obstruction" refers to a fielder illegally impeding the progress of a baserunner. The two terms are completely opposite of each other; the difference between the two is larger than the difference between a fair and foul ball.
* Joe West's crew handled the situation perfectly. The play ended up being the best case scenario for the White Sox. If anyone had an argument, it should've been Piniella. Under OBR Rule 7.06(a), Pie (R2) could've been awarded the plate and Pagan third.

Comcast Sports Net never showed the obstruction, probably because they weren't sure whether or not Hawk and DJ were smart enough to be able to react. Either that or because they were too irresponsible to show the fans the truth. (CSN has been a cancer to baseball, well all of sports, since it was created.) Meanwhile, Len & Bob pointed out the obstruction as it happened, alerting the fans immediately of what happened off-camera. Then, they showed numerous replays of the obstruction and the call made by both the second-base and third-base umpires.

Hawk and DJ assumed that they knew the rulebook better than 30-year veteran Joe West. Hawk and DJ assumed that a little rundown situation confused the umpires and they didn't know where to place the runners. Hawk and DJ kept repeating that the result of the play was simple, and didn't bother to think why the umpires had delayed the game for literally ten minutes trying to sort through what had happened.

Hawk and DJ yelled at Pagan to "run to any base, because he would be called safe anyway" when Pagan was caught in another run down later in the inning. They continued to complain into the next inning, when Len & Bob tried to inform their fans and obtained information from the one guy who knows more about baseball rules than everyone else at the ballpark combined, a guy who happened to be literally next door to the TV broadcasters (in the press box) -- decorated former big league umpire Rich Garcia.

It never occured to Hawk and DJ that perhaps they were wrong. It never occured to them to walk fifty feet between innings and ask Garcia what had happened. It never occured to them that perhaps the umpires knew what they were doing, and instead repeated over and over again that "the call was B.S." and the umpires "missed their responsibility."

The White Sox organization needs to save their reputation. The White Sox organization needs to address their TV crew and apologize to the fans for their behavior. The White Sox organization needs to force Hawk Harrelson to publicly apologize for saying he didn't understand why Bobby Jenks didn't bury a fastball into Ryan Theriot's head.

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