A matter of taste

I understand that Stinky has taken some guff for comments we made about the inappropriate behavior of announcers Ken Harrelson and Steve Stone. Since these inappropriate behaviors have not abated, I will now take my opportunity to chime in.

I will not blaspheme their parentage or personalities, I'm sure that both are very kind gentlemen who tousle the hair of small children, appreciate sad puppy dog eyes and help little old ladies load groceries into cars. But they are now officially my least favorite announcers (outside of Fox).

I'm not saying this out of personal rancor or animosity (as I do with the nattering nabob, nincompoops like Joe Buck and Tim McCarver), I'm saying this based purely on the two announcer's utter lack for decorum or variable behavior. I understand that if you follow a team for every game over the course of a season (or twelve) that you will have a strong personal allegiance to that squad HOWEVER, this does not give you license to behave like an utter knob when another team comes to town.

The Us. V.s. Them Mentality, the nitpicking, the whining, the complaining--these are signs of a small minded desire to belittle, badger and bully another squad. This is Yankee announcer behavior, this is Mets announcer behavior, this is not solid Midwesterner behavior. I'm stuck here in Ohio, watching and listening a variety of other broadcasts and nowhere have I encountered this personal vitriol. The Kansas City Royals announcers are down right chummy. The Blue Jays announcers relatively nonplussed but occasionally complimentary, Rangers announcers--like the Rangers themselves--totally nondescript.

Why then, White Sox, must you have two men who choose to remain utterly oblivious to Jason Kubel's name and existence (one of the most potent forces on an offense that's beaten them 2/3rds of the year), totally bumfuzzled by Carlos Gomez's defense (did it ever strike you that he might be good?), or completely incompetent at the pronunciation of Jose Mijares' name (Seriously? Me-har-ess, Mientkiewitcz I can understand, Mijares? That's a walk in the park!). {To be fair though, they love Delmon Young, no idea why, they just LOVE Delmon Young.}

To make matters worse I just had to listen to five minutes worth of whining over a bad strike call in the 9th inning. I understand that its frustrating to have a bad call go against you that late in a game, I certainly appreciated Dick and Bert sticking up for our side on that craptasm of poor Umpirery in Oakland. But to cover one bad pitch like it was responsible for the down fall of civilization (it ran the count to 1-2, and AJ swung at an even worse pitch for strike three--how was that Joe's fault?)--that's just dumb.

Finally, I want to say this--in three games I figured out Hawk Harrelson's mannerisms and calls, his home run chant: "Stretch! [Pause] You can put it on the board!", his strike out call: "he gone", and his game ending call: "Once this (comes down/gets to first) the game will be over." I can see the claim that such familiarity is charming, nearly comforting to regular fans of the White Sox--but I almost have to wonder, can't you be a trifle inventive? He seemed to wait for an excuse to say these catch phrases rather than weigh in with anything interesting. For every: "Touch 'em all," John Gordon utters he also spews forth intriguing stats and reminisces about by gone fishing buddies. Heck, Vin Sculley practically invented half the baseball lexicon and he still makes stuff up--he paints a picture, makes you feel like a part of the game--in three games I got the sense that Hawk Harrelson preferred to be the center of the show.

So just to sum up, I understand if these guys are your cup of tea, I understand if you love them with all your heart and mind and soul--but these announcers are anathema to making baseball universally accessible. There' s none of Vin Sculley's charm or Ernie Harwell's passion or Bert Blyleven's child-like glee, it's selfish, self-centered, egotistical, pomposity.

Fittingly--we've punished this poor announcing with a sweep in Chicago, so Pbbbt on you Chicago announcers. Pbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbt!

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