Admittedly, I have been spoiled when it comes to baseball announcers. I grew up in Seattle and I had the pleasure of listening to the late Dave Niehaus. Now I live in Los Angeles, which means that I get to enjoy the timeless and classy Vin Scully. When my Mariners play the Chicago White Sox, I will sometimes tune in to WGN. Unfortunately, this means I have to listen to the overbearing and unapologetic Ken “Hawk” Harrelson. Ugh. Here are three reasons that I am really tempted to mute the television when he talks.
This is a pet peeve of mine when it comes to sports, and I am not alone. Whether you are a play-by-play guy or a casual fan, there should not be a “we” in sports. Unless you own a jersey that was provided by the team so that you can play a position, do not act like you played a role in the team’s success. Do not say, “We won the game” or “We are playing better right now.” Harrelson consistently says “we” and “us” when referring to the Sox. Please, stop.
If you are going to be a play-by-play announcer, at least give the impression that you are going to be objective. Harrelson does not seem to have the capacity to be objective or the professionalism to simply call the game. I can understand the play-by-play announcer being enthusiastic about the team, but if this is the way the job is going to be performed, why not have a fan do it? The Sox could have a lottery and rotate fans through the booth each game, just like there is a different individual who sings the National Anthem. His phraseology such as “can of corn” and “he gone!” are irritating, but he is most annoying because of his general approach to the job.
Harrelson does not like umpires, and there are one or two that have been publicly ripped during a broadcast. I can understand where a poor umpiring performance would be a distraction. After all, the focus should never be on the umpires. However, Harrelson has to maintain his professionalism and simply report what is going on. He and Steve Stone can’t pull up the computerized pitch tracker and complain about the pitches outside the zone and then stay silent when the same outside pitches benefit Chicago.
I imagine someone like Ken Harrelson still has a job because loyal fans like to back their own guy, and in some cases the colorful personality will solicit even more support from a minority of fans. However, there is a reason that this guy consistently shows up on lists of the worst announcers in baseball. Plenty of fans will be much happier when Hawk’s last day arrives and “he gone!”
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