Harrelson apologetic over broadcast outburst

Harrelson apologetic over broadcast outburst

Harrelson apologetic over broadcast outburst
CHICAGO -- White Sox announcer Ken "Hawk" Harrelson was reprimanded by Commissioner Bud Selig and White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf for his outburst at umpire Mark Wegner during Wednesday's game at Tropicana Field.

"I'm going to do everything in my power not to let it happen again," said Harrelson, standing in the White Sox dugout and addressing the media prior to Friday's series opener with the Mariners. "But who can say. I've snapped before, you know."

The venerable and colorful television play-by-play man can't make any guarantees, even after the fallout from his emotional outburst aimed at Wegner.

During his 28 years in the White Sox television booth, Harrelson has found more than a few moments of disagreement with the men in blue. But nothing can really compare to his disagreement with Wegner, who tossed Jose Quintana after the rookie southpaw threw a pitch behind Rays infiedler Ben Zobrist with two outs and nobody on base in the fourth inning. Quintana simply said he was crossed up on what pitch to throw to Pierzynski, but Wegner disagreed.

Just two innings earlier, White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski had been hit in the back by an Alex Cobb pitch, perhaps in retaliation to Pierzynski's hard slide to break up a double play in Tuesday's game. With that context, Wegner ejected Quintana without issuing a warning, sending Harrelson on his now-infamous rant.

While appearing on a Chicago morning radio show Thursday, Hawk claimed that he meant what he said and said what he meant. His tune changed a little bit after hearing from Selig and Reinsdorf later in the day.

"I didn't talk to the Commissioner. The Commissioner talked to me. I didn't talk with Jerry. Jerry talked with me," Harrelson said. "As you all know, I'm not afraid of many things. But if it had been a fight, they would have called it in the first round.

"The only thing I can tell you is that I know that Bud is the boss and Jerry is the boss. Let's put it that way. It's one of those situations that if I can tell you right now it won't happen again, I mean it. But I couldn't guarantee it."

Brooks Boyer, the White Sox senior vice president of sales and marketing who also oversees the broadcasters, talked with Harrelson and believes this incident will pass, with Harrelson having talked to all the necessary parties.

The outburst hasn't changed the White Sox opinion of a valued member of their family, and they don't expect him to change his highly supportive broadcasting style.

"He's not going to change, but I think he's going to be very aware of what his type of reaction ultimately can create," Boyer said. "He'll tone down the emotional outburst.

"Hawk was absolutely receptive to what was said, 100 percent professional with everybody and he totally understands it. He also understands he's an important part of baseball and this town, and obviously when you have something happen, the emotional outburst that he has, it garners national attention."

Most of the White Sox pleaded the fifth when asked about Harrelson's rant, saying they hadn't really heard it. Paul Konerko, who has been around Harrelson longer than any player on the team, believes the broadcaster's unique style comes from his unique announcing hybrid.

"Most of the time, it's the play-by-play guy and the color guy. Hawk's kind of both," Konerko said. "He's going to say what's on his mind usually, and that's that. Obviously as players, we find a lot of his stuff comical. It's good stuff to keep us occupied."

"Really, he's an emotional guy and passionate about the White Sox," Boyer said. "In a world where there's so many broadcasters that want to be right down the middle, it's scary to think that Hawk is a bit of a throwback of that guy that you know he's as passionate as you are when you are watching the broadcast."

All of this passion might be toned down, although Harrelson said he would quit before he would change completely.

"You guys have watched the games and see how much I've been complimentary to the umpires this year," Harrelson said. "When he threw the kid out the other day, I snapped. It was just one of those things. It's out there, and I said it and I'm done talking about it."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.