Hawk Harrelson scolded by Bud Selig, Jerry Reinsdorf after tirade against umpire
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org June 1, 2012 12:38PM
Hawk Harrelson was reprimanded Thursday by MLB commissioner Bud Selig and White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf after his on-air tirade on Wednesday.
Updated: June 1, 2012 7:00PM
Ken Harrelson still intends to be ‘‘Hawk Harrelson’’ when he broadcasts White Sox games. But he may be a bit more tempered after the firestorm that erupted following his on-air criticism Wednesday of umpire Mark Wegner.
‘‘Bud [Selig] is the boss and Jerry [Reinsdorf] is the boss — let’s put it that way,’’ he said Friday after both the baseball commissioner and Sox chairman talked to him privately on Thursday. ‘‘Let’s just say I am done talking about the thing. I didn’t talk to the commissioner — he talked to me. I didn’t talk to Jerry — he talked to me.
``As you all know, I’m not afraid of many things, but if it had been a fight, it would have been called in the first round.
``It happened. I said it, and it’s out there. I’ll do everything in my power to not let it happen again, but who can say,’’ he added. ‘‘I’ve snapped before. I’m tired of taking Advil.’’
Harrelson’s scolding came after he erupted on the air when Sox pitcher Jose Quintana was ejected by Wegner for throwing behind Tampa Bay’s Ben Zobrist in the fourth of the Sox’ 4-3 victory over the Rays. Sox catcher A. J. Pierzynski had been hit in the back by Rays pitcher Alex Cobb an inning earlier.
When manager Robin Ventura protested, he also was ejected for the first time this year.
Harrelson fumed on the air, saying, ‘‘You’ve got to be bleepin’ me! What in the hell are you doing? What are you doing Wegner? You got to be kidding me. That is so bad that is absolutely brutal. That is unbelievable.’’
He went on to say, ``I’ll tell you what, they have got to start making guys more accountable. That is totally absurd. Here’s an umpire in the American League that knows nothing about the game of baseball. 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.’’
Harrelson was asked if he worries that umpires might retaliate against the Sox for his comments.
``No, they’re above that,’’ he said. ‘‘I had a problem with an umpire when I was playing, but that’s always been the case [for players and umpires]. I’ve been complimentary toward the umpires, but when [Wegner] threw that kid out, I was angry because he had a chance to win that game.’’
Major League Baseball has no disciplinary authority over non-MLB employees. Harrelson works for Comcast SportsNet and WGN-TV.
Harrelson, 70, added he doesn’t intend to change his style. ‘‘If I do that, I’ll quit.’’
Harrelson is in his 28th season as a Sox broadcaster, serving since 1982 except for the 1986 season when he was the team’s general manager.