Hawk Harrelson says White Sox’ season has been ‘hell on me’
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org June 19, 2013 10:55PM
Ken “Hawk” Harrelson compared this season to 2007, when the White Sox finished 72-90 one year after going 90-72. | Getty
SOX AT TWINS
The facts: 12:10 p.m., CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.
The starters: John Danks (1-3, 4.50 ERA) vs. Scott Diamond (4-6. 5.29).
Updated: June 20, 2013 3:26PM
MINNEAPOLIS — Hawk Harrelson’s silence has spoken volumes about the White Sox.
As every viewer knows, the Sox broadcaster of 29 seasons takes every defeat personally. He isn’t afraid to admit that he’s a homer, and he isn’t afraid to say that what he’s watching this year is leaving him speechless.
The Sox are losing and looking bad doing it.
“It’s been hell on me, I can tell you that,’’ the 71-year-old Harrelson said from his broadcaster’s chair at Target Field before the Sox played the Twins on Wednesday night.
“To watch them, the way we’ve played, it’s hard to take. Because we’re finding ways to beat ourselves. I’ve seen things on the basepaths I’ve never seen. We’re making huge mistakes in every aspect of the game with the exception of pitching.’’
Harrelson compared this season to 2007. The Sox finished 72-90 one year after going 90-72 and two years after winning the World Series. The Sox were 85-77 last season, and with essentially the same team and coaching staff, few saw this coming. For Harrelson, it’s not only the losses (the Sox were 29-39 entering Wednesday), but how the team is losing.
“Last year at the All-Star break, we had missed the cutoff man three times,’’ Harrelson said. “And none of them hurt us. This year, we’ve missed cutoff guy after cutoff guy after cutoff guy.
“When you don’t pitch well, that’s one thing. But when you don’t hit, you look lethargic, like you’re waiting around to get beat. But the first rule in baseball is to catch the ball, and we have done a [crappy] job.’’
Harrelson has gotten to know the coaching staff well since manager Robin Ventura put it together before last season. He believes coaches Joe McEwing and Mark Parent will be major-league managers one day, and he’s so high on Ventura that he said Ventura should have a blank contract to manage as long as he wants.
“I feel so bad for some of the players — not all of them,’’ he said. “And I feel bad for Robin and his staff because this is a helluva staff. ‘’
During that rough 2007 season, Harrelson said he tried to stop taking bad losses home but couldn’t. He still can’t stop. Alvin Dark wrote in a book that Harrelson hated to lose more than any other player he managed. Harrelson still hates to lose as a broadcaster.
“From an announcing standpoint, I take it personally,’’ he said. “I have to bite my tongue a lot because the culture of the game has changed.
“Under some managers I’ve played for, if we had played like we [the Sox] have played, it would have been obscene. They went locker to locker. ‘You no-playing son of a [expletive], who the [expletive] are you? Hawk, hundred thousand dollars a year my [butt].’ The accountability isn’t the same. That’s why I have to bite my tongue.
“I shouldn’t do it [take the losses so hard], but I can’t stop it. I have tried, but I can’t. After we lose a game, when I make my drive home, if we get beat when we give them the game and we beat ourselves on a continual basis like we’ve done this year, I can’t let it go. And I know it’s bad.
“I feel bad for the fans because I told them this spring it was going to be a fun year, and it’s been anything but that.
“I’ve said fewer words in a 68-game period than I have in my career. Because it’s been horse [expletive] baseball. Because silence is the great communicator. Am I going to b.s. the fans? No. Today, fans know too much. If you try to b.s. the fans, you’re doing them and yourself a disservice.
“What am I going to say? There isn’t a thing I can say to embellish that moment.”